The 19th : Buttes Chaumont - La Villette
Updated: Nov 12, 2021
"Uphill, Exotic, Edgy"
If I could choose a preferred location for living in Paris at the moment, I would head for a top-floor apartment on the edge of the Buttes-Chaumont, one of the largest and certainly the most diverse and fanciful parks the city has to offer. It’s not that I would say no to an apartment with a view on the Seine and its iconic monuments, so perfect for a life of never-ending romance. It’s just that these days I have an urge for fresher air, green grass, trees, birds, and bees. There are glorious trees there: poplars, chestnut, acacia, linden, ginkgo, and sequoia. This park was not intended for foreign tourists in search of something quintessentially French; rather, it was landscaped with the idea of providing an exotic escape for locals. With its many hills, cliffs, and viewpoints, it does the job superbly well.
Lovers of culture are also well-endowed in the 19th, which boasts the very recent Philharmonie and the Cité des Sciences, all located within a provocatively modern park known as La Villette.
On the far side of Buttes-Chaumont, near the Danube metro station, there is an unexpected neighborhood enclave of quaint row-houses, each with its own tiny garden. Strolling its narrow, mostly pedestrian streets, you easily forget you are in Paris.
Heading from the Buttes-Chaumont towards Belleville on the rue des Pyrénées, you experience the authentic Paris, replete with its typical cafés and specialty shops….but without the tourists.
That, along with the “high altitude”, is a breath of fresh air!
Those are the highlights of the 19th; there are also a good many places in this arrondissement where you would certainly not choose to live because of the density of social housing and awful architecture from the 1960-1980 period.