Paris Muse docent Madeline tells us why the 20th district is Paris’ best kept secret.
With its arresting city views, serpentine alleyways and relaxed atmosphere, this off-the-beaten-path neighborhood offers unique Parisian experiences. In 1860, Napoleon III and Baron Haussmann incorporated the area into Paris as part of an ambitious modernization project. Since then, it’s lost nothing of its good old neighborhood charm.
The birthplace of famed singer Édith Piaf, the vingtième (twentieth) was known for its street performers, bars, and nightlife. Today, its artistic heritage is alive and well through colorful street art, live-music venues, city-sponsored exhibitions, and artist workshops. Seek out this diverse quartier (neighborhood) for a respite from city life, and enjoy its charming streets and small town feel.
Père Lachaise Cemetery
16 Rue du Repos
Metro: Père Lachaise (lines 2 and 3)
Whether on a first or fifth visit to Paris, Père Lachaise Cemetery is worth a special trip. Opened in 1804 at a time when this rural, hilly area lay outside the city, Père Lachaise is Paris’ largest cemetery and the final resting place of famed artists, musicians, and writers, including Jim Morrison, Édith Piaf, Sarah Bernhardt, Oscar Wilde, Molière, Frédéric Chopin, Amedeo Modigliani, and Eugène Delacroix. Pick up a map at the gates to locate specific grave-sites, or wander freely between the tombstones and chestnut trees.
La Campagne à Paris
Rue du Père Prosper Enfantin – Rue Irénée lanc – Rue Mondonville – Rue Jules Siegfried
Metro: Porte de Bagnolet (line 2)
A 10-minute walk east of Père Lachaise hides a little piece of countryside right here in Paris. Developed between 1907 and 1926 as housing for stone-quarry workers, today the picturesque La Campagne neighborhood features cobblestone streets dotted with charming houses perched upon a small hill.
Parc de Belleville
47 Rue des Couronnes
Metro: Couronnes (line 2), Pyrénées (line 11), Belleville (lines 2 and 11)
With great heights come great vistas. Belleville Park — built in 1988 — is an ideal location to take in panoramic views of Paris and the Eiffel Tower while enjoying a green oasis and fabulous playgrounds. A small vineyard can be found near the top of the park, a memento from the district’s wine-producing past. What’s not to love?
Where to eat:
Get a coffee jolt or quick snack at this café located in the heart of the increasingly trendy Belleville neighborhood, just blocks away from Édith Piaf’s place of birth. CREAM’s coffee is locally roasted at the nearby Belleville Brûlerie. Friendly service a plus.
Enjoy a drink at this cute little brocante (flea-market) — an antique shop which moonlights as a bar — after hunting for unique souvenirs.
When locals want to impress visitors with traditional French cuisine, they bring them to Le Baratin. Quality food and seasonal ingredients in a relaxed setting make this bistro the “real deal.” Be sure to reserve at least several days in advance. Closed Sundays and Mondays.
Leave room for dessert and visit this exquisite local patisserie located across from the Saint Jean-Baptiste church. Don’t worry, in hilly Belleville you’ll walk off every calorie!
Madeline at CREAM Café