Paris’s 19th district I feel is sometimes misunderstood. It’s a big district, so this is split into two parts. Part one is the Eastern 19th. (Western 19th will come later on)
The 19th arrondissement is the home of Place des Fêtes, Jourdain, the Quartier d’Amérique and La Villette as well as many other unique- and sometimes forgotten- places. In case you’re a bit unsure of where the 19th is, it spans the northeastern Parisian limits. It is such a charming and different area. I started to fall in love with it while roaming around. It almost feels untouched by the cliché mob of tourism that often takes over Paris.
The whole adventure started with a view looking down on Paris through rue de Belleville from Pyrénées (line 11), where Annie and I met up one cold and rainy Saturday. From there we wandered north on rue de Bellville into the midst of the 19th’s treasures. Once we got up by Télégraphe we went due north on Rue du Docteur Potain to find the Mouzaïa Villas that are hidden up by the périph behind Place des Fêtes. Sure enough, heading eastwards on Rue de Mouzaïa brings you right to the bottom of the most precious streets packed with pastel-coloured duplexes on both sides. It was so incredibly picturesque. Ever so kindly, a man saw us awing over the adorableness of the houses and he chatted about the area and how pleasant it was to live there- and of course full of history. I would love to have a neighbor like him! I have had issues finding information on Le Quartier d’Amérique’s history, but all I can say is is that it has the most interesting yet flawless combination of architecture.
From the villas we looped around between the towers to Place des Fêtes, which that particular Saturday had an antique market/garage sale. It was busy and exciting as everyone was out and about. From here, you’d only be a short walk to Parc Butte Chaumont, which I find to be one of Paris’s best kept secrets. Of course the 19th reaches Paris’s limits at Parc de la Villette as well, which is whole other ballgame of adventures. (You’ll see both of these places in Part 2!)
While roaming this area, I felt as if I was not in Paris for a short second… but then I realized that maybe people have an incorrect vision or cliché expectation of the city as a whole. Paris is a puzzle of unique and diverse sectors. Each arrondissement has it’s own little twist. Sometimes you’ve got to branch out from the center to experience it all.
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Some random suggestions in the 19th:
Aux Bons Amis – Bar/Restaurant – Belleville
BarOurcq – Bar – Laumière
Butte Chaumont – Park – Laumière
Cabaret Sauvage – Concert Venue – Porte de Pantin
L’heure Bleue – Restaurant – Botzaris
La Faitout – Snack – Belleville
La Géode – Cinéma – Corentin Cariou
La Rotonde – Bar/Venue – Place Stalingrad
Le 104 – Art Center/Venue – Crimée
Les Mère Veilleuses – Bar – Pré Saint Gervais
Les 400 Coups – Restaurant/Bar – Jourdain
Rosa Bonheur - Restaurant/Guinguette – Botzaris
Zoé Bouillon – Restaurant – Butte Chaumont