Hello my dear readers! I am back after a wonderful time in Paris and brought back loads of pictures of the ever inspiring City of Lights. Many of you know that I am a frequent traveler to Paris and no matter how often I travel to Paris I am always enchanted by the fantastic view of the Eiffel Tower, the magic of Sacré-Coeur and Montmartre and the timeless beauty of the Louvre. But I dearly love the areas of Paris that are off the beaten path. The parts of Paris that are actually devoid of tourists and the regular habitat of locals. Like the 20th arrondissement in the east of Paris.
In fact, I have my second home in the 20th arrondissement in Paris which is why I love this quarter in particular. It is comprised of an area called Belleville and Ménilmontant, both of which used to be villages at the eastern outskirts of Paris thus not even belonging to the city itself. Over time as the city grew, this areas have been included in the city borders and made the 20th arrondissement.
The charms of this part of Paris is that you can actually still see that formerly this used to be villages. There are many hidden corners in the 20th arrondissement: Secret passages, cobbled streets, small houses, hidden courtyards, many of the houses there have even got a garden – a real rarity in Paris! I have even discovered a garden with ripe kiwis – probably the only ones in Paris. But this arrondissement has become as urban and cosmopolitan as the rest of the city, too. Big boulevards, great shopping opportunities, a very mixed population and an authenticity that I sometimes miss in those central, touristic areas of Paris. Oh, and one of the greatest French stars was from this very corner of Paris: The one and only Edith Piaf was born in Belleville.
I walked around Belleville and Ménilmontant on a overcast Tuesday morning and took pictures on the way. I walked through many quiet, almost empty alleys and wondered who lived in those small houses facing cobbled streets, having little gardens and courtyards. And yes, I was dreaming how it would be to own such a small house in the big city. Maybe this would be the best combination: A big city life in your own little village atmosphere. Moreover, the 20th arrondissement is trending right now – various corners in Belleville and Ménilmontant have become the new hip neighborhoods with great bars, restaurants, galleries and ateliers. I hope this will inspire you too and if you ever want to visit those corners of Paris, feel free to drop me an email!