Parc de Belleville, Paris
The singer Edith Piaf (1915-1963) grew up in Belleville and sang in the local music halls before becoming world-famous with such songs as "Mon Légionnaire," "La Vie en Rose," "L'Hymne à l'Amour," "Milord," and "Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien".
Second photo: Above the door of 72 rue de Belleville is this plaque which reads: "On the steps of this house was born on the 19th of December 1915 in the most abject poverty EDITH PIAF whose voice later would astound the world."
(But her birth certificate says she was born in the Tenon Hospital, which is about a dozen blocks away near Place Gambetta.)
Location on the Vélib' map
GPS 48°52'24.18" North; 2°23'0.83" East
Belleville is a traditionally working- class district in the east of Paris.
I think I first heard of Belleville from Puccini's opera Il tabarro (the first of the three short operas of Il trittico), in which the illicit lovers Giorgetta and Luigi discover that they both grew up in Belleville. This gives them something in common right from the start, and establishes their working-class background.
If you climb the hill to Belleville Park -- or ride up on a Velib' as I did -- you can get some wide views out over Paris.
I took this photo on a beautiful but -- err -- somewhat cloudy day with the Eiffel Tower sticking up on the right and the Montparnasse Tower on the left.
Second photo: Pavilion at the top of the hill in Belleville Park.
Third photo: The hillside in Belleville Park.
Fourth photo: The Eiffel Tower from Belleville Park.
GPS 48°52'17.62" North; 2°23'5.88" East
Belleville is a hub activity even in the middle of August when everyplace else in Paris is dead. Just off the metro at the Belleville stop you will find yourself at an intersection and depending on which direction you take, you will feel you are in another part of the world ethnically speaking. If you walk up Rue de Bellville you will be in Chinatown. If you walk down Blvd. de Belleville you will feel like you are in Tunisia or North Africa.
Along with the different ethnic groups came the artists and musicians. They settled here in the the 1960's and 70's. Walking up Rue de Belleville going towards Chinatown, you will very soon come upon Rue de Noyez. It is a block long street, almost a passage. There you will see every square inch of wall covered with wall paintings and graffiti.
La colline de Belleville a connu un destin bien différent selon les siècles. Domaine royal sous les Mérovingiens, au XIVème siècle, tavernes et guinguettes se disputaient la place.
The hill of Belleville knew a very different destiny according to the centuries. Royal domain under the Mérovingienses, at the XIVth century, inns and guinguettes argued the place.
In top of the popular district of Belleville, the garden, where one cultivates the grapevine again, dominate the capital.
You will be able to admire the point of view there, and a garden to the quiet alleys, filled of scream of the children of the district that come to play there. The floors are ornament by numerous vivacious plants, in mixed borders, or in large stains as in the romantic gardens.
C'est une des plus belles réalisations de la Ville de Paris depuis ces dernières années, dans un quartier qui manquait particulièrement d'espaces verts. Vous pourrez monter jusqu'à la terrasse, à près de 30 mètres de hauteur (8 mètres de plus que la Butte Montmartre), pour admirer la magnifique vue panoramique sur Paris. De Saint-Ambroise à l'Est, à la Trinité à l'Ouest, on peut découvrir tous les monuments du Centre de la Capitale.
Vous flânerez à l'ombre de ses 1 200 arbres et arbustes, (sophoras, tilleuls, catalpas…), profiterez de la beauté des massifs de plantes vivaces, grimpantes ou tapissantes et des très beaux rosiers. Choisissez de préférence le joli mois de mai, les floraisons du parc prenant des tons doux et frais de bleu, blanc et rose, des dégradés de couleurs savamment orchestrés par les jardiniers qui rivalisent de talent chaque année.
Quelques pieds de vigne de pinot meunier (Champagne) et de chardonnay (Bourgogne), rappellent le passé festif de la colline, tout en haut du parc.
You can enjoy a great view of Paris from Parc de Belleville, a small park almost hidden in the busy area of Belleville in the 20th district. Belleville is far from being one of Paris's nicer neighbourhoods though it does have a certain buzz to it. It is mostly populated by immigrants though the cheap rents have attracted French students and twenty-somethings. Other than the park there is little to see in this area though the different immigrant communities give it a bit of character. To get to the park take Rue de Couronnes from Boulevard de Belleville or Rue Piat from Rue de Belleville.