Monday, 23 April 2018

An Afternoon in Belleville

Now the sun is out here in Paris and I have a few free days of not-doing-much I decided to explore a part of Paris that I don't claim to know very well - the northeast corner of the city hides the area of Belleville. This area is known to be less touristy than most and is easily the most culturally diverse part of inner Paris - and you can see this the minute you exit the metro - the wonderful coloured shop fronts and the amazing smell of spices fills the air!

I first heard of Belleville many years ago as part of a cartoon called 'The Triplets of Belleville' so it had to be somewhere I was going to see whilst here, and it did not disappoint.

Take line 11 to Belleville or
 Pyrénées and you'll arrive right in the heart of Belleville. 

I would recommend taking your trip to Belleville on a Tuesday or Saturday when the Marche Belleville occupies the Boulevard de Belleville stuffed full to the brim of people and produce - this is the real Parisian market! 

This place sells everything from shoes to meat, fish and hundreds of stalls of produce at super cheap prices - pick up a bargain or something new here within seconds of entering the market! I managed to wrangle myself some plantain for less than a euro and a kilo of oranges for €1 and it's all super fresh. My one regret is that I hadn't found this place sooner as the fish looked incredible and the spices smelt to die for.

Next, I'd walk back up the boulevard to rue de Belleville with a quick turn into rue denoyez which is one of Paris's official graffiti streets and has a multitude of colourful cafes to duck into if it takes your fancy, but right at the end of the street is aux folies which is open 7am into the early hours and is the traditional old school bistro for a coffee in the morning, afternoon drinks or a full night of partying, it's got you covered. 

Feeling hungry? Le Cantine Belleville has tradition written all over it. Be prepared to wait a while but this is a great place to grab a bite if you don't fancy any of the street food stalls in the market but still being on a budget.

Now, be prepared, the walk up rue de Belleville is a slow steep hill but well worth the climb as at number 72 you will find the doorway in which Edith Piaf was born and the plaque with her name on.

When you get to the top of the hill head left, here you'll find the edge of Parc des Buttes-Chaumont, which is the 5th largest parc after the Tuileries and has hills like nowhere else in Paris! If you are feeling athletic you can climb to the top of the island in the middle of the parc in which there is the Temple de la Sibylle from which you can see all the way to Sacre Coeur on a clear day.

There is lots to explore in the parc, but my favourite time was finding a spot in the sunshine on the hill with a good book munching on an orange, fresh from the market.

While there is always more to see in Paris, this is not a bad way to spend an afternoon in Belleville.

Have a good week my loves!

Lots of Love, Kate xxx

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