Belleville was the first place I stayed in Paris when I moved here a decade ago, and after jumping around the city several times, it's where I've again settled-- and will probably always feel most at home. It's not the most postcard-picturesque part of the city (although there's a little-known view of the Eiffel Tower from the heights of Rue de Belleville, and a sublime panorama from the Parc de Belleville, pictured here), but it has a cosmopolitan energy some will love, while still preserving a sense of old-world Paris in its unpolished, half-haunted streets. Not to mention the great nightlife scene, abundance of intriguing street art (pictured is one example), tiny hidden galleries and humble kitchens serving authentic Chinese, Vietnamese or Thai specialties for next to nothing.
In May, don't miss the Portes Ouvertes des Ateliers d'Artistes de Belleville: over 200 local artists are opening their studios to the public, which should make for some interesting ambling and conversation. Check back later for dates and locations which have yet to be announced.
- All About the Belleville Neighborhood
- Belleville Artists Open Studio Days (Portes Ouvertes d'Ateliers d'Artistes de Belleville)
- Guide to the 20th Arrondissement (district)
- Guide to the 11th Arrondissement (district)
Image: Views from the Parc de Belleville. 2012 Nicole Smith/Licensed to About.com.