Walking Down the Streets of Ménilmontant
At the dawn of the 19th century, Ménilmontant was still only a hamlet perched far from Paris, a pleasant countryside strewn with vineyards that in his time Jean-Jacques Rousseau paced up and down to draw inspiration for his famous Reveries of a Solitary Walker. Once a popular suburb, Ménilmontant is generally associated to Belleville, its neighbor, on which it depended until their annexation to the city of Paris in 1860.
Don’t expect any historic monuments here though! History here was made by the people and the popular actions that keep a neighborhood strong. A reality that you will discover at every corner of this stimulating Ménilmontant! And if Belleville prides itself on the complaints of Edith Piaf, who was born there, Ménilmontant prefers to have fun with the joyfulness of Maurice Chevalier, a child of the district!
This guided walk with your guide who has been living in the neighborhood for several years, walks on the porous border between Belleville and Ménilmontant. It will help you cross the now symbolic fords above the old rivulets which used to striate the district, and will build bridges between subjects as varied as street art –extremely well represented in this corner of Paris–, shared gardens, social philanthropy or “Matrimony”.
Starting from Place Gambetta, and briefly going along the Père Lachaise cemetery, this guided walk will allow you to discover the hidden and lively alleys of a neighborhood away from tourists. You will learn of the dynamic Bellevilloise –an important workers’ cooperative that shaped the lives of workers in Eastern Paris at the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th century– the routes of the waters from the Belleville-Ménilmontant hill diverted towards the abbeys of central Paris, the secrets of the rehabilitation of an old railway line in an urban park, or even some emblematic places from which Willy Ronis shot his timeless images and where Jacques Becker filmed his masterpiece “Casque d’Or“, with Serge Reggiani and the very young and dazzling Simone Signoret. Ménilmontant will keep you in awe until the end, with the church Notre-Dame-de-la-Croix de Ménilmontant, the third longest in Paris, in front of which the walk will end.
A refreshing and original visit, with your (very) local guide, through the green alleys of an ancient village which has been able to maintain its look of easy-going countryside over time, and sometimes gives the feeling of being perhaps the best neighborhood in Paris!
Highlights of your guided tour:
– Walk down the former countryside where Rousseau took inspiration for his second Reverie;
– Find back the numerous pieces of street art covering the walls the 20th arrondissement;
– Start thinking about the place of women in the city and the question of “Matrimony”;
– Enjoy green alleys carefully maintained by “proud locals”!
TheWaysBeyond is a signatory to the Caring Attitude charter of the Paris Tourist Office.
In this sense, the guided walking tour “Another Paris: the Batignolles” complies with current health and safety instructions, with the guide wearing a face mask and respecting physical distancing practices and other government-recommended preventive measures.
Participants are asked to please wear a mask and respect physical distancing practices when walking together on the tour.