Expat Magazine

Paris, That Village...

By Frenchgirlinseattle

Paris, that village...
Paris is a bustling, crazy city.Visitors often complain about the large crowds;Nobody has gotten lost in la Joconde's smile (Mona Lisa) since the 1960s;La Vieille Dame (the Eiffel Tower) will keep you waiting, and waiting;Les Champs-Elysées look like a cosmopolitan ant world, day and night;Notre-Dame only gets quiet if you climb her towers, looking for Quasimodo.

Paris is a city of villages. Former villages; now neighborhoods;Each with a distinct flavor.Venture out of the beaten path, visitor;You shall be rewarded. Somewhere on the Left Bank, a special place hides. It is known as la Butte aux Cailles (Quail Hill.) 

Paris, that village...

Once a working-class neighborhood, it sat by the Bièvre river.Today, the river still meets the Seine, but it runs underground.On the shores of la Bièvrethere were tanneries, windmills, and limestone quarries.The ground became so unstable it could not carry the weight of heavy construction.That is why la Butte aux Cailles still looks like a village.Private homes, tucked away from the street behind green metal gates.

Peaceful streets, sleeping in the summer sun.

Paris, that village...

Paris, that village...

Villa Daviel

Paris, that village...

A friendly local...

During la Commune, a violent civil insurrection in 1871, People in La Butte aux Cailles fought long and hard. Memories of the uprising linger on la Place de la Commune de Paris.

Paris, that village...
Paris, that village...

The only signs of rebellion today are tags and graffiti. 

In la Butte aux Cailles, they call this street art. 
Paris, that village...

Paris, that village...
There is a small square, la place Paul Verlaine
In the center, the fountain's water supply comes from
an old artesian well, sourced by natural spring water.

Paris, that village...

The fountain was closed when I stopped by in early July... Dommage.

Place Paul Verlaine, there is a swimming pool, inaugurated in the 1920s;

One of Paris' three public swimming pools at the time. 
Red brick façade. Art Nouveau style. Water pumped from the artesian well;
Kept at a comfortable 28 degrees Celsius (82 F) year round.
The old public baths are still there too.
Paris, that village...

Paris, that village...

The three pools (one indoors, two outdoors) were renovated and re-opened a few weeks ago
(Commons - Wikimedia) 

These days, nobody goes starving in la Butte aux Cailles.

This is Paris, after all. 
Visitors can sit in a wine bar; eat a crêpe, or sample traditional cuisine. 
At night, locals, artists and hipsters mingle.
The old neighborhood wakes up with the sound of animated conversations;
Tables and chairs crowd the sidewalks.

Paris, that village...

Loved my lunch at L'Oisive-Thé, 
restaurant; knitting and crochet club. 

Paris, that village...

La Butte aux Piafs (Piaf = small bird) 

In Paris, you get the visit you deserve. 
Mine always include a stroll in a favorite "village." 
And as villages go, la Butte aux Cailles is as authentic and special as any.
Paris, that village...

This is your lucky day. 

How about a stroll there, right here, right now?
The greatInès de la Fressange is more than a style icon.
She embodies the ultimate Parisienne.
Les Parisiennes know their city, and Inès has many scoops on Paris.
Follow her in this entertaining video clip, as she takes us to her favorite boutiques
in Paris' la Butte aux Cailles neighborhood. 
(Note: Isn't it great to see that even a fashion icon can be a total klutz?) 

Bonne visite et à bientôt. 

To visit la Butte aux Cailles:

Metro Line 6 
Station: Corvisart
Walk up la rue des 5 DIamants (street of the five diamonds)
until it meets la rue de la Butte aux Cailles. 
You have arrived. Relax. 
All photos unless otherwise noted by French Girl in Seattle.Please do not reprint, use or Pin without Permission.Thank you.

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