The 20ème isn’t best known for its culinary scene, but in recent years gourmet restaurants like Chatomat and Roseval have moved into the neighborhood. Last May, the hip bar and bistro Triplettes opened on Boulevard de Belleville and has since established a popular nightlife and brunch scene as well. Thanks to the newly opened CREAM (run by two former Ten Belles baristas), Belleville now has its own artisan coffee shop. As its restaurant and bar scene continues to evolve, there are more and more reasons to visit the 20ème.
Boulevard de Ménilmontant
If you’re a writer, student, or just looking for a relaxed atmosphere to enjoy un verre, check out Les pères populaires. This bohemian bar has comfortable couches, plenty of table space, and free Wi-Fi. Stick around until nighttime when things liven up with performances by local bands.
On a hidden alleyway near Metro Gambetta, there is a local favorite so off the grid I hesitate to give it away. Simply called Le Comptoir, this quaint bistro opened in January 2014. They serve a minimal menu of fresh, homemade French dishes at unbelievable prices with an excellent wine list to match. The tiny tables are packed every night, and on Sundays you can get a discount on your meal by helping the chef cook.
Head to celebrated Wen Zhou in the heart of Belleville for some of the best authentic Chinese food in Paris. Behind its inconspicuous exterior, Alex Wu serves up mouthwatering plates of fried noodles, dumplings, and other specialties of Northern China, the majority of which you can get for less than 10 euros. Their homemade shanghai-style pork buns, or “brioches,” sell out before the afternoon.
Wen Zhou, Brioches
A few feet away is the famous bar Aux Folies, next to what was once a cabaret where Edith Piaf, a Belleville native, sang during her tumultuous younger years. One of the cheapest bars in Paris, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a table – let alone elbow room – on a weekend. But once you do, you’ll want to settle in for a few hours to soak up its colorful, laid-back scene.
For nightlife, there’s a circle of bars and restaurants at the corner of rue Victor Letalle and rue des Panoyaux that never disappoints. The always-packed terrace of Lou Pascalou hosts live Jazz, Latin, and Blues concerts at Happy Hour and short film screenings every first Wednesday of the month. Les Trois 8, opened in 2013, is a funky, low-lit craft beer bar offering slightly pricey but delicious options. If you still have energy, end the night at La Féline, a rock n’ roll bar where you might meet new friends among the leather-clad bikers who frequent it.
Les Trois 8
Be sure to check out Mama Shelter (across the street from beloved nightclub and salle de concert La Fleche d’Or) for a modern and chic hotel bar experience. Designed by the legendary Phillip Starck, the bar comes with foosball, a photo booth, and international DJs on weekends. And the romantic rooftop restaurant offers an unbeatable view of the city.
Les pères populaires – 46 rue de Buzenval, 75020. +33 1 43 48 49 22
Le Comptoir – 30 rue Villiers de l’Isle-Adam 75020. +33 9 50 24 96 94
Wen Zhou – 24 rue de Belleville, 75020 +33 1 46 36 56 33
Aux Folies – 8 rue de Belleville, 75020. +33 6 14 17 91 33
Lou Pascalou – 14 rue des Panoyaux, 75020. +33 1 46 36 78 10.
Les Trois 8 – 11 rue Victor Letalle, 75020 Paris. +33 1 40 33 47 70
La Féline – 6 rue Victor Letalle, 75020. +33 1 71 11 55 49
Mama Shelter – 109 rue de Bagnolet, 75020 +33 1 43 48 48 48
La Fleche d’Or – 102 bis rue de Bagnolet, 75020 +33 1 44 64 01 02
Rue de Belleville
- See also Isabel’s article on the history, culture, and shopping scene in Paris’ 20ème.
- Check out our review of CREAM, serving up Belleville’s own craft roasted coffee to locals.
- Budget Travel explores the area around Belleville, pointing out historic restaurants and bars.
rue des Pyrénées
Written by Isabel Miller-Bottome for the HiP Paris Blog. Images by Isabel Miller-Bottome. Looking for a fabulous vacation rental in Paris, London, Provence, or Tuscany? Check out Haven in Paris.