Destination: Belleville

When people come to visit Paris, they generally have a standard list of things they want to do. A trip to the Belleville neighborhood is generally not one of those things. But perhaps it should be for those very reasons. Recently one of my professors lent me Soundwalk: Belleville, an “interesting” (and very French feeling) DVD she had purchased about the neighborhood she calls home. While the video was nothing I expected, it did do a good job of showing a bit of the everyday in this unique and very real Parisian neighborhood. It also was the perfect excuse to get me out of the house and explore for myself.
I’ve always had a thing for for street art. So after instantly falling in love with this neighborhood by the mere fact that after rounding the corner from the metro and finding my first Bubble Tea in Paris, and then seeing an incredible alley of graffiti, I was sold. While I love Paris for its architectural beauty and clean streets, I also like to find a little grit and grime from time to time. Ironically, walking down this alley to find a bunch of “stuff” mosaic-ed on the facade of a shop, I also knew why I liked this neighborhood a lot – it reminded me of Baltimore.
Part of the fun of exploring Belleville is not having a set destination in mind, but rather weaving the streets as you wander to the next eye-catching landmark. Sometimes you have to look closer to find the charms. Before I knew it, I was finding these “eye balls” all over. (See flickr set for more!)
And if you ever don’t know where to go next, just head to Parc Belleville. There’s wonderful people watching and great views of Paris.
Click here for more images.

6 comments

  • I know exactly where you took that first photo! When it gets warmer, you definitely need to head up rue de Belleville and check out the Parc des Buttes Chaumont. There is a bar inside the park called Rosa Bonheur, and I think hanging out there really captures the spirit of the 19th!

  • yes! when i was in college i studied in toulouse, france. before heading to toulouse, i stayed for a week in paris, in belleville. gritty and charming all at the same time.

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