Before the 18th century, Belleville was just a rural area with farms, windmills, and cafés with tables outside. Since its transformation into a city at the end of the 19th century, the former town has experienced a significant influx of wealthy individuals. The 45,000 square meter Belleville Park, opened in 1988 on Belleville Hill, provides an unobstructed view of the city below.
A kid-friendly forest community complete with towering stairways and various-sized toboggans. Waterfalls and streams make up the watercourse, and there’s a lookout point where you can take in the Parisian panorama. The park also features 140 vines, each of which contributes about 2–3 kilograms of grapes each year, testifying to the area’s long history of winemaking. The harvest season occurs annually in Parc de Belleville.
Until the 19th century, this hill was home to many vineyards, and Parisians flocked there to sip the Ginguet, a wine that eventually gave its name to the Guinguettes, popular Parisian cabarets. This history was honored in the leveled construction of Belleville Park. In this area, known as rue Piat, a vineyard was established in 1992.
The “Maison de l’Air” (Air House) is located below the observation deck and has a huge public lawn as well as a permanent display of air and its significance in the environment. The garden changes the scenery and includes a waterfall that drops into a deep water garden as you proceed downward. Another representation of the historic Belleville waterworks that have served eastern Paris for 500 years.
Nearly 400 trees, including lime, apple, maple, ash, and more exotic varieties like the Judas tree, can be found at the beautiful Parc de Belleville, a popular destination for nature enthusiasts.
A lovely park that doubles as a gateway to the neighborhoods of Belleville and Ménilmontant, a multicultural and cosmopolitan locale that has managed to hold on to its quaint village vibe despite modernization.
The Belleville Neighborhood in Paris
Located in northeastern Paris, between the 19th and 20th arrondissements, lies the neighborhood of Belleville. This neighborhood is as gritty and chaotic as it is unsophisticated, but it is also genuine and full of life.
Belleville, like Montmartre, is perched on a hill. Both provide breathtaking panoramas of the lower levels of the French city. Although most of the artists who set up shop on the sidewalk near the Sacré Coeur focus on visitors, the street art in Belleville is just as popular with the locals.
One of Belleville’s most popular attractions is, without a doubt, Parc de Belleville, which we have provided a guide for it in this video.
History of Parc de Belleville
During the Haussmannien expansion and rebuilding of Paris in the 1860s, the Belleville neighborhood was formally incorporated into the city. Prior to then, the area was used as a wine-growing community outside of the city. To take advantage of the hill’s slope and the nearby springs, monks established vineyards there in the Middle Ages.
Because it was located beyond the “tax-walls” of Paris, the city’s fortifications, the district became known for its low-priced bars, restaurants, and nightclubs. Legendary drinking sessions capped off the annual Mardi Gras celebrations on the hill in the 19th century. Most of the hillside vineyards were destroyed in the middle to late 19th century so that limestone could be mined for use in constructing the new Paris.
Thousands of people from other regions of France (especially Limoges) settled in Belleville during the winter so that they could work on the Haussmann building or mine the limestone before returning home for the summer. When the Parisian reconstruction project ended, and the migrants were left without employment, their living circumstances did not improve.
A park was constructed on top of the former Belleville slums in the 1980s. The Parisian government called Parc de Belleville “one of the most beautiful achievements of the City of Paris in the last 20 years, in a neighborhood that was mainly lacking green spaces.” Hundreds of species of birds have chosen Belleville as their permanent home, joining the over 1,200 trees and annual/perennial flowers already established in the park.
Highlights of Parc de Belleville
Even though it’s not in the heart of Classic Paris and you don’t have to venture out to the 20th Arrondissement to find a pleasant Parisian park, Parc de Belleville is well worth the Metro ride if you’re looking for a place to let the kids run around and play while you take in the breathtaking view of the city.
Taking advantage of its position as Paris’s highest park (above sea level), Parc de Belleville offers some of the city’s most breathtaking vistas. As the highest park in Paris, it features the city’s longest cascade (waterfall) and longest children’s slide. The park’s elevation ranges from 30 to 40 meters.
The Belvédère is a pavilion at the highest point of Paris’s Parc de Belleville, adorned with street art. You can see the dome of Napoleon’s Tomb, the Ferris wheel at the magnificent Place de la Concorde, and the Eiffel Tower from just about anywhere in the park.
The Fontaine de Belleville, which can be seen below you, is a sequence of waterfalls that winds its way downhill, through bubbling fountains, beside verdant walkways, and past sloping ground to a pond with a gentle bend.
The park, located right in the southwest corner of Paris in the 15th Arrondissement, was constructed around the same time as the modernist Parc André Citron; the two parks are across from one another. In contrast to the symmetrical geometry and straight paths of the Tuileries and Luxembourg, both parks have irregularly spaced trees and paths.
Belleville’s paths wind down the hillside in a zigzag pattern, parallel to one another, and are joined by a central stairwell. Trees, flowery walkways, and seats dot the landscape. Unlike most of the grassy spaces of the Tuileries and Luxembourg, visitors are welcome to relax, picnic, and sunbathe on Belleville’s 1,000-square-meter lawn.
You may relax in the sun or read a book on the lawn while the kids run around and play. Children will find the canal to be a never-ending source of wonder. A wooden playground that winds its way down the slope is, however, their favorite part. The longest slide in Paris is located here, along with sloping climbing walls, portholes, steps, and more.
This beautiful urban park, perched on a hill 128 meters above sea level, spreads out over an area of 4.5 hectares and has fountains, clipped hedgerows, a gigantic slide, a toboggan ride, and a climbing frame for children. Hidden away, its vineyard of 140 vines yields 2 to 3 kg per plant year, and its wines are often available for purchase in the fall, around October.