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A walk in the Parc de BellevilleParis
BALADE DANS LE PARC DE BELLEVILLE
47 Rue des Couronnes
On the agenda: Take a walk on Ménilmontant’s slopes, Rue des Cascades. Take in a beautiful view of Paris. Have an "apéritif musette" to the strains of an accordion. Enjoy this working class neighbourhood of Paris where four generations of Parisians and immigrants live together off the normal tourist routes.
The hills of Ménilmontant
The highest point in Paris, higher even than Montmartre, is located at the corner of Rue des Pyrénées and Rue Ménilmontant. It's the perfect spot to start a walk through 18th century streets, along aqueducts, and to view the colourful testimonials on the walls left by the ageing punk artist fauna that lives here. La Miroiterie, an art squat, is located at 88 Ménilmontant. It's a self-managed venue for alternative concerts. Lower down on the right, Rue des Cascades snakes along the vestiges of Belleville’s domesticated sources. This is a little village where locals watch you as you walk by and bistro owners chat with regulars. The "Casque d'or" gardens, from J. Becker's 1952 film, with a glassblower's workshop at the back, are located at number 44. Old buildings have been renovated rather that razed. The neighbourhood is coming back to life. The high-rise council flats are slowly being renewed. They make up about 30% of housing in the area.
The gardens of Belleville and its balcony
The park at the bottom of the street is barely 20 years old. The view of Paris from the square overlooking it is exceptional. The park has play areas for children that fit perfectly into the surroundings. A fountain cascades 100 metres down the side of the hill. A small vineyard was planted on the hill in 1992, formerly home to a village of guinguettes (open-air cafés), to pay homage to "Piquette" a young wine produced here until the 18th century.
The neighbourhood is being reborn on the sound foundations of its history and awaiting tourists. A few of the area's bars are bringing back the accordion and the old guinguette tunes.
Comfortable in working-class neighbourhoods and the tonier areas of Paris, I never get tired of rediscovering this timeless city. The Sex Pistols set the pace when I was younger. New technologies fill my working days now. My little extra: discovering fine eating spots around the capital for romantic dinners!