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The Lows And The Highs Of Belleville And Les Buttes Chaumont

These parts of the Paris are virtually unknown to the average tourist, but Parisians know that they are rich in history and offer many amenities and advantages. Both Edith Piaf and Maurice Chevalier come from these neighborhoods and The French Communist Party headquarters resides at 2, place du Colonel Fabien in an avant-garde building designed by Brazilian architect Oscar Niemeyer (for no remuneration), considered to be very “hip.”

These last two of the 20 arrondissements in Paris, at the outer northeastern and eastern edges, are still offering some of the least expensive property values in the city…but I doubt they will for long. The 19th is showing growth of 13.5% and the 20th is showing 16.5% (for 3rd quarter 2002 to 3rd quarter 2003), well above the city’s average.

These are some of the highest points in the city. The 19th has an altitude of 63 meters (although Montmartre boasts 130 meters) and views from the top are breathtaking. If you’re living near the 25 hectare Parc des Buttes Chaumont, then your views of the luscious grounds could fool you into thinking you’re in the woods (today we offer you three property picks with views of greenery). The parc is astonishingly romantic with a waterfall, grotto, lake and suspended bridge (well-known as a point for suicides). I have often seen wedding photos being taken there among the trees or on the expanses of the lawns.

An even larger expanse is the cemetery “Père-Lachaise” — 44 hectares occupied since 1850 by some of the most illustrious dead Parisians. A visit there will take you to the resting spots of Jim Morrison, Oscar Wilde, Sarah Bernhardt and hundreds of others whose graves are seriously worth a visit.

The second most important Chinese community resides in Belleville (the 13th around place d’Italie is considered the first). When you ascend from the Belleville Métro Station, you may notice most of the signage is in Chinese. One of the largest Chinese restaurants resides at that corner, Le President, but skip it and move on and up the hill to what I think is the best in town…Lao Siam (Chinese, Thai, Laotian) at number 49, rue de Belleville,, under 20 euros a person (it has long qualified as one of my Good-Value finds).

Last November we wrote about American author Harriet Welty Rochefort (“French Toast” and “French Fried”) who gave up her apartment in the chic Paris suburb of Neuilly-sur-Seine for a 100 square-meter ground-level apartment with 185 square-meters of private garden near place Gambetta. She found her dream come true for a song…in the 20th. She says it brings out the “Iowa girl” she really is.

A la prochaine,


Adrian Leeds
Editor, Parler Paris
E-mail: [email protected]

P.S. There are bargains t
o be had on IL luxury Paris apartment rentals if

you book for March and April and my own apartment is still available for rent March 10 – 20 while I’m at the IL Live Overseas Conference in Delray Beach and the Living and Investing in France Conference in San Francisco. Book now! Visit /parlerparis/apartments or Email fpi@InternationalLiving for more information.


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