What To Do In Belleville: 7 Fun Things To Do
Usually overlooked by the average tourist, Belleville is certainly a hidden gem of Paris. With amazing ethnic food, park views of the Eiffel Tower, and history tucked away in every street, Belleville is a must-see for any visitor wanting to escape touristic Paris. Although it is less advertised than the rest of the city, there is plenty to do and see around Belleville—and we’ve gathered the best points of interest just for you!
A Little History
Stretching over four different arrondissements, (mainly the 20th, 19th, and parts of the 11th & 10th) Belleville is quite the historic neighborhood. Once an independent commune, Belleville was the secret birthplace of communism. Nowadays, it serves as a multi-cultural, bustling neighborhood with open-air street markets, cheap eats, and eclectic street art.
Before 1860, Belleville was independent of Paris and located just outside a city wall built by Louis XVI. Because goods such as alcohol and food were taxed upon crossing the city wall, it was still very much affordable to have a good time in Belleville during these tough economic times for the French. This spirit of enjoying life and getting together has survived in Belleville, making it a great place to enjoy Paris without spending too much money.
Belleville just happens to be home to two of my favorite parks in the city! There’s nothing more Parisian than packing a picnic lunch (don’t forget the wine!) and heading over to a sunny park to pass the day slowly. Of course the Champ de Mars and the Jardin des Tuileries are excellent locations and utilized by tourists and Parisians alike, head over to Belleville for something a bit more tranquille.
1. Parc de Belleville
Located at 47 Rue des Couronnes, Parc de Belleville is a peaceful, mysterious park with plenty of privacy. Situated on top of winding hill covered in trees, this park features an excellent view of the Eiffel tower and a panoramic Parisian skyline at the top. You can also find waterfalls and hidden steams throughout the park, making it a great little treasure-hunt for the perfect picnic spot. You may even also stumble upon the park’s 140 grape vines!
2. Parc des Buttes-Chaumont
If Parc de Belleville wasn’t enough to satisfy your picnic fancies, head over to my favorite park in the city located at 1 Rue Botzaris, a mere 15 minute walk from Parc de Belleville. One of the biggest green spaces in Paris, Parc des Buttes-Chaumont will make you feel as if you’ve left Paris completely. Equipped with sprawling greenery, waterfalls, and even a lake, you’re sure to spend at least a couple of hours here. Make sure you check out the map upon arriving, it’s very easy to get lost in all of the exotic and indigenous species of plants here.
And, if by chance you forgot to pack your picnic, don’t worry! There is a restaurant, Le Thermos, in the middle of the park. We’ve got you covered.
3. Père Lachaise Cemetery
Another surprisingly beautiful feature of Belleville is none other than the Père Lachaise Cemetery. Even if strolling through a cemetery doesn’t sound like your thing, give Père Lachaise a chance—you’re sure to be pleasantly surprised. Not only is this cemetery a peaceful break from the hustle and bustle of Paris, it’s also home to many famous graves, including Édith Piaf, Jim Morrison, Oscar Wilde, Marcel Proust, among others. Located at 16 Rue de Repos, the cemetery is open 8-6 PM most days. Be sure to consult your map, however, as it is also very easy to got lost in this grand cemetery!
4. Edith Piaf’s Home
One of the coolest things you’ll find in the Belleville neighborhood is the actual childhood home of French cabaret singer Edith Piaf! Born in the doorway of 72 Rue de Belleville, this site serves a must stop for your Belleville trip, as most of her music was influenced by the neighborhood she grew up in. After you’re done, head over to the Edith Piaf museum located at 8 Rue to Belleville to discover more about the impressive, romantic life she lived.
5. Ateliers d’Artistes de Belleville
One thing you’re sure to notice about Belleville is that it is quite the artistic neighborhood. Of course you can find street art all over Paris, but there is a special quality to what you will find in Belleville and the surrounding areas. Be sure to head over to 1 Rue Francis Picabia to check out even more artwork by the emerging artists in the Belleville area. The gallery is home to 20 exhibitions and always changing. Be careful about the hours, however, as they are only open from 2-8 PM Thursday through Sunday!
Drinks and Food
6. Aux Folies
If you’re an Edith Piaf fan after visiting her museum, then you must head over to Aux Folies for a drink! Located right next to the museum, this bar served as one of Edith Piaf’s most famous stomping grounds and performance venues. Named after an 18th century watering hole, Aux Folies is one of the more affordable places to drink at in Paris, with a beer only setting you back a mere 2.5 euros!
7. Auberge des Artistes
One of my best discoveries in Belleville, you must head in to Auberge des Artistes at 132 Boulevard de Ménilmontant if you’re feeling hungry. They serve traditional french cuisine with a modern flair, with very affordable prices to boot. The cocktail d’avocat is a must try, that is if you love avocados and anything creamy, fresh and delicious. If you haven’t tried duck yet, now is the time—simply order their Magret de canart au miel—duck breast with honey. Not only is everything delicious, but the staff are very kind. Trust me, you won’t regret it.
We hope this list helps you find something fun to do in Belleville! Let us know if you get a chance to visit these cool places. Have fun in Paris!