With their narrow streets sloping down to the bustling boulevards downhill, Belleville and Ménilmontant are two of the most iconic neighborhoods of Eastern Paris.
Former villages perched on the side of a hill, these historically working-class districts became a favorite nightlife retreat for Parisians even before they were incorporated as part of the capital in 1860. Their lively reputation remains true to this day!
Many residents of Belleville and Ménilmontant fully embraced the social uprisings of the 19th century – notably during the Paris Commune of 1871, with the last barricades standing right below today’s verdant Parc de Belleville.
In more recent history, waves of new residents arrived from all parts of the world, originating from Armenia, Central and Eastern Europe, North and West Africa, and finally Southeast Asia and China in the 1980s – Belleville is indeed Paris’ second largest Chinatown. Along with Ménilmontant, they have quickly become a mosaic of cultures in the heart of the capital.
Beyond its hidden cobblestone streets and secret stairways, Belleville and Ménilmontant have much more to offer than the old Parisian cliché. Today, locals and visitors alike can be found sharing a drink on a terrace, enjoying a truly international cuisine, and leisurely wandering around the area’s two large green spaces: the Parc des Buttes-Chaumont and Parc de Belleville.
SIGHTS AND ATTRACTIONS
Like a charming little village perched atop a hill overlooking the Parc des Buttes-Chaumont, the Butte Bergeyre ranks among the few micro-neighborhoods spared by the Parisian traffic. Standing at an altitude of 100 meters (330 feet), this residential – and rather wealthy – neighborhood is lined with many houses and villa, some vines, and a community garden. It also offers some of the best views of Paris’ most famous hill, Montmartre! We can only recommend to enter from the staircase located at 54 Avenue Simon Bolivar, celebrated in a 1950 photograph by Willy Ronis.
Rue Georges Lardennois, 75019 Paris
Parc & Belvédère de Belleville
At the heart of the neighborhood, the Parc de Belleville offers wonderful views of the Parisian cityscape and green lawns to relax in the summertime. Atop the hillside park stands the Belvédère, a popular hanging spot for locals where community events are held regularly.
27 Rue Piat, 75020 Paris
Place Henri Krasucki
A maze of narrow streets lead to this charming roundabout, where Bellevillois gather to meet at one of the cafés surrounding the square. Don’t forget to check out the corner bakery, registered as a historic building thanks to its ancient tile decoration. The surrounding Rue des Envierges, Rue de la Mare, and Rue des Cascades are all very popular among Parisian street artists.
Place Henri Krasucki, 75020 Paris
Rue de Belleville
This very unique street at the heart of the Belleville Chinatown offers a great diversity of Asian cuisines and boasts an incredibly rich history, from its enduring status as a nightlife hub to its connexions to the historic struggles of the Parisian working class. Take a stroll from the Belleville metro station to the next stops Pyrénées or Jourdain (or the other way around if you want to avoid the walk uphill) to catch a glimpse of its architectural diversity, vibrant businesses, and general liveliness. At the crossroad with Avenue Simon Bolivar, you’ll be rewarded with an incredible view of the Eiffel Tower in the distance.
Rue de Belleville, 75019/75020 Paris
This cobbled little street running parallel to the Boulevard de Belleville used to be an iconic spot for Parisian street artists. The former artist cooperatives are currently being turned into social housing, with trendy cafés and boutiques opening all around. Street art enthusiasts are advised to explore further north, towards the heights of the Parc de Belleville.
Rue Denoyez, 75020 Paris
This quaint neighborhood is a mosaic of peaceful streets adorned with colorful facades, lively cafés and hip boutiques. Locals flock to the little square at the heart of the Sainte-Marthe neighborhood, a haven of peace amidst the hustle and bustle of Belleville and Rue Saint-Maur.
Rue Sainte-Marthe, 75010 Paris
Villa de l’Ermitage & Cité Leroy
A well-known detour for Bellevillois, the Villa de l’Ermitage is without a doubt one of the most charming passages of Eastern Paris. Artists workshops, sunny courtyards, finely wrought porches and lush vegetation – by Paris standards – it is hard to imagine that the lively Rue de Ménilmontant is right around the corner! With an old fashioned and simple charm, these two passages are a must-see for those exploring the hilltops of Belleville.
Villa de l’Ermitage / Cité Leroy, 75020 Paris
Ateliers d’artistes de Belleville
1 Rue Francis Picabia, 75020 Paris
+33 1 73 74 27 67
Maison des Métallos
94 Rue Jean-Pierre Timbaud, 75011 Paris
+33 1 47 00 25 20
Pavillon Carré de Baudouin
121 Rue de Ménilmontant, 75020 Paris
+33 1 58 53 55 40
Théâtre de Belleville
94 Rue du Faubourg du Temple, 75011 Paris
+33 (0)1 48 06 72 34
3 Rue Clavel, 75019 Paris
+33 9 75 45 60 56
Théâtre de Ménilmontant
15 Rue du Retrait, 75020 Paris
+33 1 46 36 98 60
– Find more art galleries in Belleville and Ménilmontant here –
Opened in 2015, this state-of-the-art hostel boasts some pleasant features including a café, a restaurant, and a lively rooftop bar offering great views of the city. The property is located right above line 2 of the Metro, and is only a short walk away from the Canal Saint-Martin and the charming Saint-Marthe neighborhood.
The Loft Boutique Hostel and Hotel
This colorful hostel is located in the heart of the bustling Belleville neighborhood: an ideal situation the enjoy the area’s many restaurants and bars. The property is nestled right under the slanted Parc de Belleville, which boasts some of the best views of the city.
This elegant hostel is located on a corner building overlooking the busy Boulevard de Belleville, in the heart of one a multicultural neighborhood rich with cafés and nightlife venues. Don’t forget to enjoy a craft beer at the bar or on the terrasse, or check out the rooftops of Paris from the rooftop patio.
♥ Lebanese Restaurant
This stylish eatery wins hearts with their flavourful Lebanese fare; it’s also friendly to our fellow vegetarians. L’Artisan Libanais is a lunchtime favorite turned intimate restaurant at night, boasting an impressive display of freshly made spreads, beignets, and more. Their pitas and generous plates are a must have!
91 Rue de Belleville, 75019 Paris
+33 (0)1 44 65 95 25
Les Bols d’Antoine
Ⓥ Vegetarian – Vegan Restaurant
10 Rue des Envierges, 75020 Paris, France
+33 6 99 18 39 52
La Cantine de Belleville
108 Boulevard de Belleville, 75020 Paris
+33 1 43 15 99 29
Chinese and Southeast Asian Restaurant
As the first Asian restaurant in Belleville, Guo Min has a dish for every occassion. Diners are treated to classic Chinese and pan-Asian food at its finest. With its friendly hours, patrons can visit this establishment from lunch til midnight. This place is great for big groups as well!
39 Rue de Belleville, 75019 Paris
+33 (0)1 42 08 88 88
Ⓥ Vegan Restaurant
Walking past Le Faitout, one wouldn’t expect its vegan origins. Surprisingly discreet, diners enter into a warmly lit classical French bistro featuring a wrap around bar. At this convivial restaurant, patrons are greeted by a friendly staff and local brews. The plant based cheese is texturally delightful, and the generous portions make this restaurant a classic go to spot for both tapas and French vegan comfort food. Plan ahead, and you might even make it to one of their lauded jazz nights!
23 Avenue Simon Bolivar, 75019 Paris
+33 (0)1 42 08 07 09
Cultural Café welcoming Rotating Chefs
Fully renovated, this historic venue at the foot of the Parc de Belleville reopened in late 2018 as a café, restaurant, and cultural center.
43 Rue des Couronnes, 75020 Paris, France
+33 1 43 61 94 66
This Kurdish restaurant is located at the crossroad of two of the area’s busiests streets, the Rue du Faubourg-du-Temple and the Rue Saint-Maur.
175 Rue Saint-Maur, 75011 Paris
+33 1 40 21 04 69
Krung Thep Mahanakorn
61 Rue de Belleville, 75019 Paris
+33 1 53 19 08 46
Behind its pleasant terrace in the vibrant heart of Ménilmontant, Lou Pascalou is much more than a simple café-restaurant. This neighborhood staple features live concerts, debates and slam nights, and is the perfect place to see local artists.
14 Rue des Panoyaux, 75020 Paris
+33 1 46 36 78 10
Le Mezze du Chef
Ⓥ Vegetarian Turkish Restaurant
80 Rue de Ménilmontant, 75020 Paris
+33 (0)6 95 65 19 20
♥ Chinese Restaurant
In Paris’ burgeoning fresh noodle scene, Mian Guan is a star. The spicy beef stew with hand cut noodles is perfect for a cold night. As a bonus: at the far end of this casual eatery, lucky diners will spot chefs making long strings of artisanal noodles—all from scratch!
34 Rue de Belleville, 75020 Paris
+33 (0)1 40 33 45 01
♥ French Restaurant
Le Mistral is a well kept neighborhood secret. Hiding in plain sight on the Rue des Pyrénees, this bistrot boasts a gorgeous backyard patio and is a beacon of hope for those seeking excellent regional food from Aveyron. We wholeheartedly recommend the aligot!
401 Rue des Pyrénées, 75020 Paris
+33 1 46 36 98 20
We can only recommend the ourmet pizzas, prepared by a dedicated Italian staff. Modern indoor setting and wide terrace on the lively Rue des Pyrénées.
356 Rue des Pyrénées, 75020 Paris
+33 1 43 66 18 58
Le Président is the epitomy of Chinese dining in Belleville. An elegant interior is paired with white tablecloth service at this grand establishment. The tea smoked duck is the dish which piqued our interest for its tantalizing plating and rich flavors. Fun fact: this restaurant has, in fact, been patroned by various French presidents!
120 Rue du Faubourg du Temple, 75011 Paris
+33 1 47 00 17 18
Ⓥ Vegetarian – Vegan Restaurant
4 Rue Lemon, 75020 Paris
+33 (0)1 71 70 95 28
10 Rue Pixérécourt, 75020 Paris
+33 9 51 07 78 68
Tang Gourmet Belleville
Chinese and Southeast Asian Restaurant
In the heart of the Belleville Chinatown, a simple cantine offering roast duck and crispy pork belly.
8 Rue de Belleville, 75020 Paris
+33 (0)1 43 58 18 11
17 Rue Louis Bonnet, 75011 Paris
+33 (0)1 43 55 50 13
GRABBING A DRINK
Aux Folies ♥
Aux Folies is a staple for locals and visitors alike. This classic Parisian bar has a large terrace to share drinks while enjoying the hustle and bustle of Rue de Belleville. Service is efficient and the prices are consistently low!
8 Rue de Belleville, 75020 Paris
Pleasant literary café-bar hiding at the end of the pedestrian Rue Denoyez.
1 Rue Denoyez, 75020 Paris
+33 9 84 32 13 21
Café Chéri ♥
Popular neighborhood bar with low prices, lively terrace and warm neon lightings.
44 Boulevard de la Villette, 75019 Paris
+33 9 53 05 93 36
Artsy bar-café with occasional open mics and consistently low prices. Culture Rapide has one of Paris’ most pleasant terraces, sprawling on a lively square facing Rue de Belleville. Concerts, comedy nights: there is something for every taste in the bar’s busy event calendar.
103 Rue Julien Lacroix, 75020 Paris
Hip neighborhood bar at the corner of the peaceful Rue Sorbier.
1, rue Sorbier, 75020 Paris
Cute bistro with a terrace, a perfect spot to enjoy the quiet Place Henri-Krasucki.
82 Rue de la Mare, 75020 Paris
+33 (0)1 42 52 99 69
Les Nouveaux Sauvages
Colorful bar with a prime terrace on the pleasant Rue des Pyrénées.
12 Place du Guignier, 75020 Paris
+33 (0)9 53 82 66 23
This colorful bar, with stickers and protest posters playing a central role in the local decor, embodies some of the radical politics that have long been part of Belleville and Ménilmontant history. Great spot to grab a beer while enjoying the reggae or ska playing in the background.
11 Rue des Panoyaux, 75020 Paris
La Sardine ♥
La Sardine has a wonderful location on the peaceful square at the heart of the Sainte-Marthe neighborhood. Locals fill up the wide outdoor terrace almost year-long to enjoy some snacks and reasonably-priced drinks.
32 Rue Sainte-Marthe, 75010 Paris
Located on the corner of the busy Boulevard de la Villette, this bar has a popular terrace and a basement dancefloor. Guests can enjoy regular electronic music gigs – just check the events calendar on their website.
68 Boulevard de la Villette, 75019 Paris
LATE NIGHT & CONCERTS
Founded in 1923, this historic venue on the lively Rue du Faubourg-du-Temple has featured artists such as Édith Piaf, Django Reinhardt and Maurice Chevalier. Now dedicated to alternative, underground and electronic musical genres, La Java remains a staple of Eastern Paris’ nightlife. Don’t hesitate to check out the event calendar to experience the local club culture.
105 Rue du Faubourg du Temple, 75010 Paris
A former worker cooperative founded in 1877, la Bellevilloise is now dedicated to various cultural experimentations: concerts, clubbing, festival, exhibitions, debates, film screenings, etc. The historical building also features café-concerts and diners with live music from Wednesday to Saturday evenings. The Bellevilloise’s Sunday jazz brunch is also very popular among locals.
19-21 Rue Boyer, 75020 Paris
+33 (0)1 46 36 07 07
A neighbor of La Bellevilloise, La Maroquinerie has become an essential venue for all lovers of contemporary music over the past 10 years. The venue used to serve as a leather goods factury. More than just a concert hall, it features a restaurant and a lovely courtyard terrace, which is quite popular on sunny days and before gigs start.
23 Rue Boyer, 75020 Paris
+33 (0)1 40 33 35 05
Studio de l’Ermitage
Climb to the top of the steep Rue de Ménilmontant to find the Studio de l’Ermitage, one of the neighborhood’s leading music venues. Mainly dedicated to jazz and international artists, the Studio de l’Ermitage aims to explore new musical horizons.
8 Rue de l’Ermitage, 75020 Paris
+33 (0)1 44 62 02 86
Article © S.T.
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