Parc de Belleville Park in Paris
The Parc de Belleville park was only established back in the 1980s, yet located on a hill it offers a great panoramic view of the city, also has a rich history including vines that are still being cultivated, an open air theatre, childrens playground and the Musee de l’Air museum.
A bit of history
The Belleville hill has a very rich history right through from the Middle Ages when many religious communities acquired different areas on the hill to cultivate vines etc and during the 14th to the 18th century many dance halls and tavern popped up in the area and served the local wine.
However, during the 18th century, the land became mainly agricultural and the landscape was dominated by a windmill, then with the opening of the gypsum quarries, this area attracted a new population that worked for Baron Haussemann during the winter and harvested their land in the summer months, yet the area was deemed an unsafe place to live.
But during the 19th century, some small houses were generally located on either side of two sets of stairs on the Belleville hill, and were inhabited by people of modest means, and every year there were always celebrations held on the hill and in the many of the taverns. Yet by the 20th century, these small houses, courtyards and passages had gradually disappeared and had given way to far more modern homes and the Belleville park as it was, however in more recent years, this has undergone another complete change.
About the Parc de Belleville today
In an area that was lacking many green spaces, this park in Paris has got to be one of the best achievements for the 20th Arrondissement of Paris over the last few years, which was designed by the architect Francois Debulois and the landscape architect Paul Brichet.
Created in 1988, the Parc de Belleville is spread over an area of around 45,000 metres squared and offers a fabulous view over the city if you climb the 30 metres or so to the terrace, yet still has around 140 vines that are harvested each year, as a reminder of the history of this park in Paris.
Within the park you can discover one of the largest cascading fountains in Paris, which is approximately 100 metres long and runs down the side of the hill, plus there are green spaces where you can just relax or have a picnic, along with an open air theatre where numerous events take place each year.
Or why not take a walk on the paths that crisscross throughout the Parc de Belleville in between the flowers, perennials, vines and under the shade of numerous different species of trees, but if you want to catch up with friends or family, there is also a WiFi hotspot as well.
In addition to these, there is also a childrens playground that was devised with the support and ideas of the residents within the area, and is designed for children from the age of 6 years and upwards. Mainly built of wood, it clings to a 30 degree slope and has three different levels that are accessed via stairs and exited via different slides, plus there are also table tennis tables as well.
However, also located within the Parc de Belleville, there is the Maison de l’Air, which translates to House of the Air, and this is where the air quality of Paris is measured, along with satellite imaging of the weather over Europe.
Plus it also used to be home to a museum in Paris with permanent exhibitions where you could discover more about atmospheric phenomena, pollution and air quality and the roles that air plays within our environment, yet unfortunately the Maison de l'Air is now closed to the public.
Access to the Parc de Belleville
There is free access to the Parc de Belleville all year round and you will be pleased to know that the majority of the area is accessible to the disabled. It opens 8am during weekdays and 9am on weekends plus on French National holidays. Yet when it comes to closing times, this varies depending upon the time of year, which can be as early as 5:30pm in winter through to as late as 9:30pm in summer.
Another point is the fact that guided tours of the gardens are organised by the Direction des Parcs et Jardins and to find out more about when different tours are going to be conducted in the parks and gardens in Paris, then you would need to telephone +33 (0) 1 40 71 75 60.
As we mentioned earlier, this park is located in the 20th Arrondissement and close to the Pere Lechaise cemetery, pedestrian access is via the Rue Piat.
When it comes to getting to the Parc de Belleville via public transport in Paris, then the nearest Metro station to the entrance on the Rue Piat is the Pyrenees stop serving Line 11. Alternatively there is the Couronnes stop at the opposite end of the park serving Line 2, along with the Belleville stop serving both lines 2 and 11.
However, the bus lines 26 or 96 along with the Noctilien Night Bus Service via lines N12 and N23 will also get you within walking distance of the Parc de Belleville.