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The hidden 13th arrondissement

Hi everyone, we meet again today for an unprecedented discovery. Today, you will get to know one of the most underrated arrondissements of Paris. Indeed, even among Parisians, the 13th arrondissement of Paris divides. The fact is that most people don’t even know how full of surprises this district is! Between large green parks, old working-class neighbourhoods and magnificent works of street art, get ready to discover a Paris that doesn’t figure on postal cards, a true Parisian Paris! Let’s go!

If you ever feel lost, don’t worry, you'll find bellow a link to the itinerary's map!

First, go to the metro station Place d’Italie (lines 5/6/7). If you ever have to buy a gift for someone, you can take a detour to the mall Italie 2.

La Place Paul Verlaine, a dive in the 19th century’s Paris

Then, take the large rue Bobillot and walk straight to Place Paul Verlaine, a charming 19th-century place. Here, you should taste the purest water of Paris that emanates from the “Puits Artésien”, a 200’s years water well that has supplied the neighbourhood in water since the 1800s. Just behind it, take a look at the oldest pool of Paris. The building is made in red bricks and reminds the British architecture!

Oh, and a little anecdote: this is precisely where the first human flight took place in 1783. Pilatre de Rozier and the Marquis d'Arlandes initiated the first hot-air balloon flight and landed here, in the middle of Place Paul Verlaine.

La butte aux Cailles, In the footsteps of the Communards

Once you have well admired the Place Paul Verlaine, take the famous Rue de la Butte aux Cailles. In that street, bars and restaurants rub shoulders in a very festive mood. Don’t hesitate to take a good beer before continuing your walk :)

You are now walking in the historic district of La Butte aux Cailles which has a very bloody history. In 1870, during the “Revolution de la Commune”, the rebels took control of the Parisian mounds and La Butte aux Cailles was occupied by those who are called “the reds”. They delivered violent battles for days before being crushed and massacred by the soldiers of Versailles. The memory of these tragic events is maintained by the presence of a communist shop that belongs to the association “en mémoire de la commune de Paris” which sells products in tribute to the commune of Paris.

Oh and here is an advice: from the moment you are in the rue de la Butte Aux Cailles and until the end of your walk, open your eyes! Look at the walls of the buildings and the sidewalks, this part of the 13th arrondissement is full of street art!

A stroll outside of Paris

Once your beer is over, continue to walk to Rue de l’amiral Mouchez, You will be on the right track if you come across the Temple of the Antoinists, a variant of Protestant worship.

Follow the street of the Temple and you will find The Villa Daviel, a unique dead-end street with some old working-class houses that have been rehabilitated. Admire the coloured shutters, it will take you out of Paris for a minute!

If you liked it, you will fall in love with the rest of the walk! Penetrate now in the district of Maison Blanche and go to the Cité Florale, an old working-class neighbourhood too. This tiny neighbourhood is absolutely charming. Each street is named with a flower appellation and there is vegetation everywhere. Enjoy the calm and the serenity that comes from this place…

As it’s a dead-end street, make a U-turn and take the direction of the Parc Montsouris, one of the most beautiful parks of the capital! With its swan lake, green alleys, ping pong tables and basketball court, Parc Montsouris is worth more than a detour. Take to the height and admire the lake from a bench before continuing your walk!

Meet the old working-class districts of Paris

Continue straight on Tango Street for a good twenty minutes! You will cross the neighbourhoods of Maison Blanche and Peupliers: two working-class districts which reached their heyday in the 19th century.

At this period, the 13th arrondissement of Paris was a strongly industrialised area: there were several tanneries, perfumeries and steel factories. Most of the workers lived near the factories and the french government gave them little houses with little gardens. Today, these houses have nothing to do with the workers and are mostly occupied by the bourgeois.

As you walk, take the time to observe the buildings and small houses that line the avenues. You will see tiny gardens there, residues of the workers' vegetable gardens that made the charm of these districts.

PS: a little reminder: open your eyes, these districts are full of street arts.

The last step

Once you have crossed Maison Blanche and Peupliers, here you are at the final stage of your walk: the large Parc de Choisy. Take a walk, rest, enjoy the relaxing shade of the large plane trees that strew the paths of the Park, listen tenderly to the sound of the water flowing from the fountains in the central path. You have just discovered the 13th arrondissement from its hidden angles, take advantage of this final appeasement.

Finally, get out of the park and go back to Place d’Italie. Thank you and bravo to you for this discovery!

Itinerary practical info:

Time: One hour

Distance: 4.8km

Start : Place d’Italie

End : Place d’Italie

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