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Belleville is a neighbourhood of Parismarker, Francemarker, parts of which lie in four different arrondissements. The major portion of Belleville straddles the borderline between the 20th arrondissementmarker and the 19thmarker; the remainder lies in the 10thmarker and 11thmarker arrondissements.

It was once the independent commune (municipality) of Belleville which was annexed by the City of Paris in 1860 and divided between two arrondissements along its main street, the Rue de Belleville. Geographically, the neighborhood is situated on and around a hill, the highest of the French capital. The name Belleville (literally "beautiful town") is most likely derived from belle vue (beautiful view).



History

Historically, Belleville was a working class neighborhood. The independent village of Belleville had played a large part in establishing the Second French Republic in 1848. Some 20 years later, residents of the incorporated neighborhood of Belleville comprised some of the strongest supporters of the Paris Commune in 1871. When the Versailles Army came to reconquer Paris in May of that year, it faced the toughest resistance in both Belleville and Ménilmontantmarker. The bloody street fighting persisted in the two eastern districts, and the last barricade is said to have been in the Rue Ramponeau in Belleville.

During the first half of the 20th century, many immigrants settled there: Ottoman Armenians fleeing systematic massacres around 1918, Ottoman Greeks fleeing persecution in Anatolia around 1920, German Jews fleeing the systematic persecution around 1938, and Spaniards fleeing civil war in 1939. Many Algerians and Tunisian Jews arrived in the early 1960s.

Belleville is home to one of the largest congregations of the Reformed Church of France in Paris. The Église Réformée de Belleville has been in the area about a century.[162665]

Culture

Today, Belleville is a colorful, multi-ethnic neighborhood and also home to one of the city's two Chinatowns, the other located in the 13th arrondissementmarker near the Place d'Italiemarker. Since the 1980s, an important Chinese community has been established there. There are many restaurants and associations as well as stores offering Chinese products. A fairly large and popular outdoor market is held there every Tuesday and Friday along the Boulevard de Belleville, where many local Île-de-Francemarker farmers sell their produce.[162666]

The Parc de Belleville.


During the 1980s Parisian artists and musicians, attracted by the cheaper rents, the numerous vacant large spaces, as well as the old Paris charm of its smaller streets (Belleville was ignored, perhaps spared, during much of the architectural modernization efforts and reparations of the 1960s and 1970s, the greatest exception being the area around the Place des Fêtesmarker), started moving there. Many artists now live and work in Belleville and studios are scattered throughout the quartier. Some abandoned factories have been transformed into art squats, where several alternative artists and musicians, such as the band Les Rita Mitsouko began their careers.

The demographics of the neighborhood have undergone many changes throughout the decades. While Armenians, Greeks, and Ashkenazi Jews were once the predominant ethnic groups, North Africans, and more recently, sub-Saharan Africans have been displacing these others.

Within the neighborhood there is a cemetery and park, the Parc de Bellevillemarker, which ascends the western slope of the hill and offers, in addition to a panoramic view of the Paris skyline, a strikingly modern contrast to the classical gardens of the city center and the eccentric nineteenth century romanticism of the nearby Parc des Buttes Chaumontmarker. A School of Architecture is also located in Belleville.[162667]

The iconic French singer Édith Piaf grew up there and, according to legend, was born under a lamppost on the steps of the Rue de Belleville. A commemorative plaque can be found at number 72. A true Bellevilloise, Piaf sang and spoke the French language in a way that epitomized the accent de Belleville, which has been compared to the Cockney accent of Londonmarker, Englandmarker, although the Parisian dialect is nowadays rarely heard. Belleville is prominently featured in the 2007 biographical film of her life, La Vie En Rose.

Other famous Bellevillois include film director Maurice Tourneur, legendary French can-can dancer Jane Avril and popular singer and actor Eddy Mitchell.

Popular culture

Belleville has featured in several films including director Jacques Becker's 1951 "Casque d'or", starring Simone Signoret and Serge Reggiani. Albert Lamorisse set the 1956 Oscar Winning short film "Le Ballon Rouge" also known as The Red Balloon[162668] in Belleville and featured many parts of the region which were subsequently demolished in the 1960s.

In terms of books the Malaussène Saga, a series of crime novels written by contemporary author Daniel Pennac, is set in Belleville. Belleville is the subject of several French songs, including Eddy Mitchell's Belleville ou Nashville? and Claude Nougaro's Le Barbier de Belleville.

Politics

Traditionally, Belleville is leftist and votes accordingly for either the Parti Socialistemarker (the French Socialist Party), the Parti Communiste Français (the French Communist Party) or the Lutte Ouvrière (Workers' Struggle). Communist Party headquarters is just outside Colonel Fabienmarker station, between Belleville and its northern neighbor La Villette.

Transportation

Belleville is served by the Metro stations Bellevillemarker, Pyrénéesmarker and Jourdainmarker.

Films shot in Belleville



External links




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