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An Afternoon in Belleville

March 16, 2011

Graham and I spent a sunny Saturday afternoon in Belleville, the neighborhood that straddles the 20th, 10th, 11th, and 19th arrondissements. Home to one of Paris’ Chinatowns, legalized graffiti, the beautiful Belleville Park, cute shops, and Edith Piaf, Belleville is a lively place to explore for a day.

We started out by relaxing in the sun outside of a cute cafe perched on the end of a street (Rue Denoyez) where they have legalized graffiti. The cafe was cheap, charming, and very welcoming.

Right across from the famous Cafe aux Folies, it was a great spot for people-watching, and we could also take in some of the strange surrounding street art. Like this little guy who was hanging out under our table.

After our cafe sit,

we walked down the Rue Denoyez.

I tried to blend in.

After the Rue Denoyez, we headed toward the park, but stumbled into a parking lot that was also filled with graffiti.

We then found the park,

which had a gorgeous panoramic view of the city.

We had a little picnic (vegan croissants with Vegusto cheese, plus some chocolate-covered candied ginger from our care package), and then headed to see the alleged birthplace of Edith Piaf (on Rue Belleville).

It’s actually only a legend that she was born on this doorstep (I believe she was born in a nearby hospital), but the residents of Belleville still treat this spot with special care.

We then headed down the Rue Villette, which is dotted with galleries, fancy spice shops, and cute boutiques. This little shop was my favorite:

Finally, we went into Cafe aux Folies, where you can get cheap beer and cheap mojitos.

My mojito was pretty good, and very big.

It’s nice to be able to sit near the North window in Folies (Folies mostly has windows for walls), since you can then see bits of the Rue Denoyez.

On this particular night, we headed home to make tacos (with our care package ingredients!). However, if you’re looking for some vegan eats in Belleville, try Tien Hiang, a tasty, welcoming, and wallet-friendly vegetarian Buddhist Chinese restaurant on Rue Bichat. Try the vermicelli bowl with lemongrass beef!

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Caroline Brooks permalink
    March 20, 2011 10:45 pm

    Great post! Looks like a wonderful way to pass a spring afternoon. I loved the photo of you ‘blending in’ as well as all the artful graffiti and the park looks awesome! 🙂 I can tell you’re really going to miss Paris soon…

    • March 21, 2011 6:04 pm

      I am definitely going to be missing Paris. I console myself with thoughts of sweet Twila and mischievous Lopez. And cheap beer.

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