The area of Belleville is an interesting creature indeed. Most travelers spend weeks in Paris without even hearing of it, and those who do usually aren’t sufficiently convinced – or maybe just lack the time – to make the journey to what in their minds is a faraway land with fewer sights of interest. So for the average outsider it continues to be, in the grand book of Paris, a rather crumpled and invisible footnote.
This of course is why Parisians absolutely adore it. Belleville is way too cool for the conventional beauty of a cathedral or palatial museum; it draws its magic instead from rough-hewn layers of real people and real life…always with an artsy, vintage flair. For the locals who actually make Paris run, it’s home. For lovers of roads untrodden and unexploited, it’s a visual playground.
Yesterday I went to the area’s western edge (10th arrondissement) determined to explore several streets for a blog post. In less than an hour I’d gathered more than enough inspiration and intriguing photos…and I had walked a total of just two streets. Fertile land indeed!
Being Sunday the sidewalks were empty and all shop windows shuttered, producing a moody atmosphere. All perfectly conducive to the type of meditative treasure hunts that made me fall in love with Paris in the first place. So here’s shabby-chic Belleville on a Sunday afternoon, via 21 facades.
For the record these photos were taken primarily on Rue Sainte-Marthe and Rue Jean et Marie Moinon. Stay tuned for my next post dedicated to the smaller details of this walk that I didn’t have space for!
Check it out when the artists de Belleville open the doors to their ateliers!
Corey, you read my mind. I’m planning a trip and trying to decide between le Maria’s (again) or Belleville. Thanks for the insight.
Hi Barbara! It’s been a while, how are you? Belleville is less refined than the Marais but you’ll get more of an artsy local vibe. It’s sort of what the Marais was a few decades ago, before it got ultra hip. Either way I don’t think you can go wrong!
Seems to me that a few years ago Belleville was listed as a place not great for tourists; maybe even dangerous. The way the businesses are boarded up gives me the impression the warning may be correct. Can you clarify? Thanks. By the way, I look forward to your blog, it is extremely enjoyable.
Hi Pat, these places were only boarded up because I was there on a Sunday. While some parts of Belleville are far from picture postcard Paris, I wouldn’t say it’s unsafe. In fact many French parents are raising families in this area. There are more hipsters than anything else. 🙂
Love these. The “sideways” map of Italy caught my eye. Looks like the writing is right-side-up, so this is an exception to the usual North is Up convention.
Good eye Lee, I must admit I hadn’t noticed that!
Oh sweet French Frye…you are my kinda guy! I am so glad I found you. I love your view…keep writing! I am addicted.
Thank you so much Honey B! That’s really nice to hear. Take care and thanks for following!
What a wonderful collection of images, Corey. Each is lovely in its own right — but collectively they really impart a sense of place, don’t they. Thank you (once again) for not just telling us about Paris’ secret treasures, but for showing us so beautifully as well.
Thanks friend! Yes a “sense of place” is a wonderful way to put it. I didn’t plan to do a post specifically about facades but I found so many along the same street I knew exactly what I had to do.
… and you did it very well, indeed! :)
Hey these photos are original, and I like your name 😉. I’ll stay tuned for your follow up post with more pictures!
Thank you and welcome!
Corey, these photos are absolutely gorgeous!
You should have them made into postcards and prints and sell them on your site or etsy, I know that I’d buy a set of them.
I’m going to check out part 2 right now. ~joanie
Thank you for the kind support! I’d never thought of the postcard angle but maybe it would work!
Once again a wonderful visit! You have “the eye”. Great pictures!
Thank you I appreciate that!
I love the geometric cat street art!! Do you know who the artist is?
Sorry Keryn I don’t. First time I’ve seen that kind of thing!