How I Saw Paris This Week (Part Eleven)

The past week was slightly more fruitful in the picture department: 13 shots this time, with a usual mix of architecture, food, and other details that seemed shareworthy.

Most of these were taken in Belleville. It’s an area of Paris that I’m determined to get intimate with, and it’s also pretty fertile land for a street photographer. Hope you enjoy this week’s set and I’ll see you in the comments section!

I finally tried the coffee at Cerwood Coffee (20th arr), the rustic “mountain man” café I featured in a previous post. I’d give the coffee itself a 7 out of 10. But considering the fireside leather sofa is a 10 out of 10, I’d say overall this is a stop worth making.
The church of Notre-Dame-de-la-Croix (Our Lady of the Cross) is in the 20th as well, and its orientation allows gorgeous afternoon light to flood inside, right onto the paintings of the transept. Probably bad for the artwork, but good for flaneurs and photogs.
Occasionally when a construction crew is renovating a courtyard the door is left open for moving materials around. I used to be timid about taking advantage of that, but I eventually got over it. The potential reward is just too great and you only live once in Paris after all. I believe this was #38 Rue de Belleville (20th arr), and I found a series of coutyards that felt almost like Provence. I mean look at that ochre! Glorious.
As brazen as I am with courtyards, I still shy away from asking strangers if I can take their picture. Luckily the best shot here was from behind the girl, so awkward social interaction averted. This is from Parc de Belleville (20th arr) where you can see most of Paris including its two tallest structures – the Eiffel Tower and the Awful Tower. :-)
I’m just now realizing this photo’s a bit blurry when blown up. Oh well. It gives a sense of the fantastic floor of the church previously mentioned, Notre-Dame-de-la-Croix. If you study the pattern it’s rather ballsy by church standards. (Is it proper to use the term “ballsy” when describing a religious structure?)
If you’re at Parc de Belleville looking at those two towers on the skyline, don’t miss a chance to blend with the locals at the hip café just behind you. They have sandwiches, coffee and plenty of fresh baked goodies. The menu also teases a “Dirty Chai”, which I must investigate on my next visit. The place is called Panorama Gourmand.
In the Villa de l’Adour (20th arr) there seems to be a gang of felines keeping watch. My friend and fellow photographer Deanie is a cat lover who visits Paris often. She claims that her kitties vastly prefer French cat food to their American diet, so she stocks up whenever she’s over here. Is it a surprise that even the pet food is better quality? I guess not.
Another random leafy alley in the 20th. Belleville was outside Paris for centuries and was covered with vineyards, orchards, windmills and cottage homes. Hence the name of the area, which translates to “beautiful village”. The construction boom in the 19th century changed the face of the neighborhood but its country soul survived in the form of these quiet corners. 
This is métro station Cité, near La Sainte-Chapelle. The Art Nouveau style that makes up these stations is sometimes overlooked but it’s really worth looking at. I love how Paris always built structures that weren’t just practical but also aesthetically pleasing. They really got it right in that regard. Art Nouveau was all the rage at the turn of the century but it did have its detractors – some called it the “noodle” style because it looked like wet spaghetti; others said the green was “too German”, and some considered the station entrances too sexy, warning that young women who got too close risked having unsavory and sensual thoughts… 
Sometimes I take my café gourmand with a cup of tea instead. This one is at a nice brasserie from the 1920s called Le Zephyr (20th arr). You’re looking at a mini crème brûlée, fromage blanc with red berry coulis, a pistachio macaron and a brownie. Not the worst way to finish a meal! Hate me if you must…
This is a hip wine spot called La Cave de Belleville (20th arr). Technically it’s a “cave à manger”, meaning there are plates of cheese and charcuterie on offer as well. Across the street you’ll find a coffeehouse called Cream, so you can appease several of your vices at once!
On Rue Sainte-Marthe (10th arr) there’s a shop so small it’s referred to as a “micro boutique”. It’s a charming Italian foods store run by a friendly Sicilian gentleman. If you’re in the market for olives, tapenades, olive oils, or in this case organic lemons – he’s your man.
This was part of my commute to Montmartre the other day. The morning light usually spruces up this station and I’m often compelled to snap a shot or two. There’s a bit Eiffel-esque riveted iron goodness at this station, which is always nice. 


Have a great day everybody and thanks for stopping by! If you missed last week’s set of photos you can pop over here.

20 comments

  • So lovely! It really captures what I love about Paris the most :) and I agree Belleville is certainly worth exploring, although it’s so often forgotten.

  • In 2007 I decided to photograph at least one parish church in each arrondissement (a challenge because there was a transit strike for a good part of my visit). Notre-Dame-de-la-Croix was my choice in the 20th. I just reviewed my photos, and I see that I did not pay attention to that wonderful floor!

    • Ah well I’m sure I missed a few details along the way as well. :-) I love that idea of one church in each district! I have a dream of starting a project where I walk every street of Paris, perhaps blogging about it along the way. I may need another lifetime for that one though…

  • In 2007 I decided to photograph at least one parish church in each arrondissement (not easy because there was a transit strike for half of my visit. Notre-Dame-de-la-Croix was my choice in the 20th. I see from my photos that I did not pay attention to that wonderful floor!

  • What a great week! I’ll have to add Belleville to my Paris “to do” list. Happily, I keep working on the list, and happily it keeps getting longer! My favorite was the little courtyard photo with the table and two chairs. I too feel a tad guilty stepping into open courtyards, but am doing it as much as possible!

    • Hi Joyce, yes 7 years into Paris now and I don’t think my to-do list has gotten any smaller! It’s one of those deals where the more you learn the more you realize how much you don’t know yet…but like you said, that’s the magic of a rich city like Paris.

  • You might have guessed that my first fave goes to that wonderful church floor :)
    2nd place is shared between the gorgeous croissant close-up & the first in-church-shot!
    And excuse me, Corey, but your ‘girl’ on the lofty place sure looks like a young man to me…. Just look at the strong arms, tatooed as well and the rather bycicle-trained looking leg in totally ripped jeans – would any girl REALLY be seen in jeans demolished to that point? ;)
    I am a lot more angst- and guilt-ridden for ‘personal’ shots AND for entering courtyards….. That’s why I have very, very few of both. I even went as far as asking a SA friend who was staying with us for a few days, if I could use HIS photo of a beggar with a tiny sweet puppy, because although I rendered him attentif to the ‘sight’, I wouldn’t dare asking +/or taking a photo. It’s a bit like stealing a part of their soul.

    • Hi Kiki, I can solve the girl/guy mystery by confirming that I spent a few minutes looking at her from the side and it was definitely a girl. :-)

      You’re right about photographing people, especially street musicians, the homeless, etc. I hate to think I might be exploiting them for my own personal enjoyment. For musicians I always throw a tip in the hat first and then ask them for a photo. They’re much more receptive that way!

    • Hey Debra, thanks for the taking the time to send a few kind words my way. It helps! Glad you enjoy my little Paris updates and I’ll see you for the next one.

  • I took a good look at the girl/guy photo and a see a bra under the shirt. A telltale sign for sure. As always you have a discerning eye. Thanks for the perfect tour of the Canal St Martin area today. I will revisit soon. See you again.

    • Yep you’re right Bonnie, it was certainly a girl because I spent a bit of time studying her from the side (respectfully and gentlemanly of course!).

      So glad you enjoyed the canal today. It’s a fun neighborhood and it was a pleasure to meet the 3 of you. Would love to meet again next time you’re in town! Take care.

  • We have been in France for 3 days – Vence, near Nice. Will be in Paris in 3 weeks – can’t wait to see, in person, the places where your lovely photos have taken me in my dreams. Please, keep up the good work!

  • Your post looked so sumptuous that I saved it for the weekend to enjoy with all of my other decadent treats. :) I love seeing your Paris, Corey — you have such a great eye, and such a refined appreciation for the small pleasures (like hidden courtyards, slinky cats and dessert trays with tiny crème brûlées) that make this city a true feast for the senses. Thank you for another wonderful virtual tour!

  • Your tours are a must with my mid-morning break on Sunday; a delightful stop along the way to dip and peer into nooks and crevices that most would pass en route. Please keep them coming.

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