On my quest to satisfy my craving for Thai food, I took the advice of some Chowhound friends and went to both Chinatowns. This is Chinatown in Belleville. Unlike Chinatown in the 13th arrondissement, the buildings are old and the streets narrow. This Chinatown was settled in the 1980's in the heart of an artist colony which is evidenced by Rue de Noyez and all the wall paintings up and down the street.
It is also next door to the North African, Tunisian, and Jewish communities as you will see if you walk up Blvd. de Belleville. You will see many ethnic and cacher restaurants and people walking the street dressed in their beautiful African garb.
Belleville is full of life no matter whether you walk on Rue de Belleville or Blvd. de Belleville. Even in the middle of August when other parts of Paris have been vacated for parts unknown, Belleville is still full of the hustle bustle of city life.
This week I decided to walk Chinatown while looking for a Thai restaurant which was recommended to me. I never found it because later when looking at my notes and the map I realized I had walked in the wrong direction on the street where the restaurant was located. All was not lost, however, because I pretty thoroughly explored le Quartier Chinois and also stumbled upon a very good Vietnamese restaurant where I had the most delicious Cha Go (nems in French) that I have eaten in years. See my restaurant tips for name and address of the restaurant.
Originally a working class neighborhood, it was torn down and semi skyscraper apartment buildings were built for the Parisians. People from New York City might feel comfortable living there, but the French wanted nothing of it. The Vietnamese boat people arrived around this time and that is where they settled. Eventually the Chinese and Loatians came and Le Quartier Chinois was born.
It's a small pie shaped area enclosed by Rue de Choisy, Avenue d'Ivry, to Porte d'Ivry. It spills out beyond these borders but this is the heaviest concentration.
It's not far from Place d'Italie.
This house comes as a surprise when you arrive Place du Perou in a very residential/classical parts of Paris (just a bit down the Parc Monceau).
The house was built by a businessman dealing with China may years ago.
It is now an antique asian furniture store and a small asian art museum where you can even rent reception rooms for special events.
Address : 48 rue de Courcelles 75008 Paris
Open tuesday and saturday afternoon (14h-18h) or on apointment
Yes, we have a china town in Paris, situated in the 13rd district. But this one is definilty smaller than chinatowns in Ny or San-francisco. The only two nice things to find there are lots of chinese restaurants and chinese markets with cheap food.
Metro : Place d'Italie or Tolbiac.
Le 13eme arrondisement (13th district) offers Paris's China Town. You will find all sorts of Asiatic goods on offer, including wonderful restaurants.
The McDonalds' building is even influenced in the Chinese way!
(photos to come)
Go to Place d'Italie or Tolbiac on the metro.
Most visitors to Paris don't even know that there is a Chinatown in the city, but it's a vibrant, if relatively small, community, well worth a visit for some excellent Asian food.
Although the residents of Chinatown are ethnic Chinese, many of them resided in South-East Asia until the 1970s, so the restaurants here offer Thai, Vietnamese, Laotian and Cambodian dishes along with Chinese specialties. There is a bewildering variety of languages on many shopfronts.
As with Chinatowns elsewhere, follow the crowds: the places that are popular with locals usually yield the best food.
In addition to the many restaurants, there are all manner of Asian stores, selling everything from vegetables to the latest CDs and DVDs (if you like kung fu films or Cambodian pop, this is where you need to go!). There are also two temples, hidden among the grey tower blocks, which are open to visitors if you're able to find them!
CHINATOWN in Paris.
To breathe in the Asian atmosphere go to rue de Choisy and rue de Vitry (metro : Tolbiac).
SEE TRAVELOGUE 'CHINATOWN'.