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What you will do
The first 3 steps - mainly Les Buttes-Chaumont Park and the Mouzaïa street's neighbourhood - can be a full walk, and you may choose another day to follow the rest of the itinerary, which will focus on Belleville street and its south side - notably Belleville Park and Ménilmontant.
Get ready to explore yet another Paris : one that has somehow resisted the hausmannian public works of the late XIXth century, one that was once a working-class hilltop village, now thriving with artists and welcoming to all - in Belleville, the Asian community is side by side with the Jewish's, the North African's, the Polish's. If you've ever heard of the parisian "titi" or "môme", this is the place !
Further north, at the onset of the 19th district, don't miss the exquisite large hilly park of the Buttes-Chaumont - this one is hausmannian, yes, but a famous one with a lovely atmosphere.
Step by step
- We begin at du Colonel Fabien square (subway station line 2), right in front of the Communist Party's building. 1
- Take de la Villette boulevard southbound, then turn left into Henri-Turot street to get to Simon Bolivar avenue. Take the latter to the right and head to the park. 2
- Exit the park near Botzaris subway station, then take du Général-Brunet street. You'll then find de Mouzaïa street on your left. 3
- At the end of de Mouzaïa street, turn right into Pelleport street, then right again into des Bois street, then right still into Henri-Ribière street, up to the garden of the Regard-de-la-Lanterne. Compans street will then lead you to Belleville street. Take the latter to the left until the cemetary and du Télégraphe street. 4
- Here we suggest another detour : follow du Télégraphe street until du Borrégo street, which you'll take to the left, then go around Notre-Dame-des-Otages church and turn right into Haxo street. Follow it up to Saint-Fargeau subway station. On the way, have a look at the painted trompe-l'œil wall of the fire station. Then take Saint-Fargeau street and de Ménilmontant street in the continuity. Finally, turn right into des Pyrénées street and you'll find the Cité Leroy on your left. 5
- Instead of following des Pyrénées street northbound - unless you're getting short on time, in which case it will lead you straight to Belleville street -, go back to de Ménilmontant street and turn right into du Retrait street. At number 17, find the nice passageway that will lead you to Boyer street, which you'll take to the left. Once near de la Bidassoa street, make a sharp turn right into the latter to get to de Ménilmontant street once more. Take Henri-Chevreau street just opposite, and go and see the Villa Castel at 16, du Transvaal street - a charming set of cosy little country-like homes - before crossing the Square des Couronnes and Belleville park. Exit the latter at Ramponeau street, which you'll follow up to de Belleville boulevard. A last turn right will lead you to de Belleville street. 6