19th Arrondissement

Buttes Chaumont

Part of the area known as Belleville but stretching across to the Canal de L’Ourcq and covering the beloved Parc Buttes Chaumont, the 19th arrondissement is a stew of various ethnicities, leftwing politics, nightlife, and popular green spaces. This is Paris unfiltered.

The 19th boasts the Ministry of Culture’s success story, Le Cent Quatre art center, sweeping canal-side waterfront vistas and is chock‐a‐block full of hip cafes. The arrondissement runs north to the Parc de la Villette and sweeps south to bucolic Parc Buttes Chaumont. Foodies rave about the culinary rebels on Rue Rebeval, bookended by savoury Thai and Arab epiceries and restaurants.

Lace up your Chuck Taylors and on y va!

First stop is the artists’ residence Le Cent Quatre (104). Accessible by metro from Crimée (7), walk south on Avenue de Flandre, turning right on Rue Mathis, and left onto Rue Curial. The 104 is as big as an airplane hangar with events, programs and artist talks open to the public. A municipal funerary warehouse (i.e. a massive mortuary) until the mid‐1990s, the City renovated it to breathe life into (an ironically appropriate) renaissance of French art and creativity.

Read more

From the Rue Curial, walk south until the Rue Riquet and turn left until you reach the Quai de la Seine. Turn left again and walk up the Bassin de la Villette and over the Pont Levant de la Rue Crimée bridge. Pause to take in the tranquil waterway. Life seems to slow down around the Paris canals.

Across the bridge, turn right onto the Quai de la Loire. Follow the waterway until the Bar Ourcq. The Bar Ourcq gets jumping after dark and during the day it is an idyllic spot to enjoy a coffee on the Bassin. Get un double café. You’ll need the caffeine to canvas the 19th.

Leaving the Bar Ourcq, wander south on the Quai de la Loire. At the foot of the Bassin de la Villette is the noisy roundabout of Jaurès. Cross the roundabout to the left, and turn left against traffic onto the Boulevard de la Villette then make a quick left onto the Avenue Secrétan. You are walking towards the former indoor market known for its flower purveyors, the Marché Couvert Secrétan at number 33. Sadly shut down now, a few holdover flower vendors can still be seen in the place just in front of the abandoned market building.

Need another energy boost? Walk south on Avenue Simon Bolivar to Passion Chocolat. They’ll hack off a 100 gram slab of artisan chocolate to curb your craving. If you’re in the mood for pastries, stop by at 83 Rue Crimée for a taste of Chef Mauclerc’s pastry magic at La Boulangerie par Véronique Mauclerc. Baker and pastry chef Véronique Mauclerc uses only organic ingredients and artisanal techniques to make her famous breads and pastries. Mauclerc takes her métier very seriously, focusing on the smallest details of the process. Her bakery throws a twist on the classics and even offers treats originating from Scandinavia.

Gather some chocolate, olives, bread and wine, and head due south to the Parc des Buttes Chaumont.

Crowd‐pleaser Parc des Buttes Chaumont has rolling green knolls perfect for a picnic. Continue south on the Avenue Simon Bolivar to the Avenue Mathurin Moreau and bear left until the park entrance. Getting lost in Buttes Chaumont is part of the adventure. Find a spot next to the lake or one with a spectacular view (remember, “Belleville, belle vue”).

Art, food, and leisure are unusual albeit comfortable bedmates. That said, the Bugada & Cargnel art gallery is found past the southern‐most tip of the park, down Avenue Simon Bolivar, right onto Rue Pradier, and left on Rue de l’Equerre. Bugada & Cargnel’s shows are sexy and often provocative, with a wink and a smile. The gallery is open Wednesday through Saturday from 2‐7pm. A post‐exhibit apéritif at local favorite Le Faitout (continue on Rue de l’Equerre to 23 Avenue Simon Bolivar) unleashes the evening.

Rue Rébeval cannot be argued with for dinner. It claims restaurants most frequented and best loved by foodies. The bistro Chapeau Melon is the chouchou or darling of the Rue Rébeval. To find this culinary oasis, backtrack to the Rue de l’Equerre and walk southeast (against traffic) until number 92 Rue Rébeval. Et voilà! Chapeau Melon offers a prix fixe, four-course, no‐choice menu for just 34 euros. Positively swoon‐inducing. The wine selection is the star of the show at Chapeau Melon. All are handpicked by the owner, caviste Olivier Camus.

French cuisine overload? The Rue de Belleville is a mash‐up of cuisines from the world over. Pop into Epicerie Le Caire at number 63 for intoxicating Middle Eastern spices and advice from the friendly proprietor, Adel Moussa. Press onward to Lao Siam and a sea of Thai delicacies ‐ waltzing from crispy tofu, to silken noodles, incorporating basil, ginger, coconut, and lemongrass flavors.

A languid summer day strolling the 19th should always end at the Rosa Bonheur in Buttes Chaumont. Accessible by the park entrance next to metro Botzaris, the bar‐restaurant can be found by the streams of people and the buzzing conversation floating up from the park. Named after a famous French lesbian artist, the «Rosa» is one‐of‐a‐kind in Paris. Munch on terrine, cheese and meats and then dance the night away with killer djs and a stellar outside terrace – if you can find a seat.

The 19th represents the total Paris experience, to many Parisians and to those of us passing through. Whether in the City of Lights for a week or forever, walking the 19th arrondissement sneaks a peek into the uncooked, uncut, and uncorked side of Paris.


Chapeau Melon
92 Rue Rébeval
Ph. 01 42 02 68 60
Hours W‐Sat 8:30‐11pm, Sun 7:30‐10pm
Metro: Pyrénées (11)

Table d’hôte with four incredible courses and an incomparable wine selection. Reservations required.

Lao Siam
49 Rue de Belleville
Ph. 01 40 40 09 68
Hours 7/7 noon‐3pm, 7-10.30pm
Metro: Pyrénées (11)

Top‐notch Thai food on a budget.

Café Cheri(e)
44 Boulevard de la Villette
Ph. 01 42 02 02 05
Hours 7/7 8am‐2am
Metro: Belleville (2, 11)

Rosa Bonheur
Parc Buttes Chaumont, Avenue de la Cascade (entrance near Botzaris)
Ph. 01 42 00 00 45
Hours W‐Sun noon‐midnight
Metro: Botzaris (7 bis)

Le Bar Ourcq
68 Quai de la Loire
Ph. 01 42 40 12 26
Hours W‐Th 3pm‐12am, F‐Sat 3pm‐2am, Sun 3-10pm
Metro: Laumière (5)

See and be seen at night, or be pleasantly unnoticed over coffee during the day.

Le Faitout
23 Avenue Simon Bolívar
Ph. 01 42 08 07 09
Metro: Pyrénées (11)

Bar and after‐hours locals joint.


Passion Chocolat
122 Avenue Simon Bolívar
Ph. 01 42 06 27 33
Hours Tues-Sat 10am-7.30pm, Sun 10am-1pm
Metro: Bolivar (7)

La Boulangerie par Véronique Mauclerc
83 Rue Crimée
Ph. 01 42 40 64 55
Hours W-M 8am-8pm
Metro: Botzaris (7bis), Laumiére (5)

Hammam Medina Center
43‐45 Rue Petit
Ph. 01 42 02 31 05
Hours M‐F 11am‐10pm (women only), Sun 9am‐7pm (women only), Sat 10am‐9pm (mixed) – bathing suit required
Metro: Ourcq (5)

Epicerie Le Caire
63 Rue de Belleville
Ph. 01 42 06 06 01
Hours Tue‐Sun 10am‐10pm
Metro: Pyrénées (11)


Le Cent Quatre
11 Rue Curial
Ph. 01 53 35 50 00
Hours T‐Fri 11am-9pm, Sat, Sun 11am‐7pm
Metro: Crimée (7)

Home to a renaissance of French art and creativity. A welcoming space as big as an airplane hangar, holds public programs and artist talks regularly.

Cité de la Musique
in Parc de la Villette
Ph. 01 44 84 44 84
Hours Tue‐Sat 12‐6pm, Sun 10am‐6pm
Metro: Porte de Pantin (5)

Parc du Buttes Chaumont
1 Place Armand Carrel
Ph. 01 42 45 66 91
Hours 7/7 7am‐10pm (shorter opening hours in winter)
Metro: Buttes Chaumont (7 bis)

Le Plateau Galerie
Corner of Rue des Alouettes and Rue Carducci
Ph. 01 76 21 13 41
Hours W‐F 2‐7pm, Sat‐Sun 12‐8pm
Metro: Buttes Chaumont (7 bis)

Bugada & Cargnel
7‐9 Rue de l’Équerre
Ph. 01 42 71 72 73
Hours W‐Sat 2‐7pm
Metro: Pyrénées (11)

Chinatown(s) in Paris

Image: Passion Leica Where to go if you wanting to discover Paris’ most Asian-influenced areas – restaurants and shops to fill your stomachs and pantries with the best of the East. Nouveau Chinatown: The 3rd;… Read more

A selection of African restaurants in Paris

Text: Ndali Amobi Home to over 5 million people of African and Arab descent, France enjoys a rich culinary diversity; and where better to experience this than in the cosmopolitan metropolis of Paris. Stroll around… Read more

Le Centquatre

Text: Tiffany Tang Developed as one of the cultural projects by the Mairie de Paris with the vision of reviving the city’s contemporary art scene, Le Centquatre – its name taken from the street number 104, Rue d’Aubervilliers… Read more

Rosa Bonheur

Located inside the Buttes-Chaumont park, this bar/restaurant is Paris outside of Paris, an ideal place to go to watch the sun set over the city. You can either sit on the grass with your friends… Read more

Réseau Tram

Text: Adrian K. Sanders There’s a lot going on outside the périphérique, but it can be hard to know where to go. Some of the most interesting events and contemporary artists in France are either based or… Read more

Parc de la Villette

Image: Martyn Davis In the Parc de la Villette, which was the site of Paris’ old abattoir, you’ll find a multitude of things to do.  The area was part of a local urban regeneration plan… Read more

Cinéma au Clair de Lune

Image: Guillaume Mangeret So it seems that the streets have emptied out during the month of August and you can’t find anything to do? Everyone knows Parisians love their films en plein air and so… Read more

Paris’ Hammam Steam Baths

Text: Susie Hollands Image: Ed Porras A popular way of winding down in Paris is to hit the Hammam. It’s a type of relaxing steam bath that was imported here from the Maghreb (North Africa)… Read more