View across bed to window

Paris food & wine: Belleville

I discovered Belleville when I stayed at Babel Hotel Belleville, which has become one of my favourite hotels in Paris. Belleville is a vibrant district, home to successive waves of immigration from cultures around the world, from Spain, then North Africa and most recently from China.

The neighbourhood is well connected to the rest of Paris, being just two stops from République and on the new Line 2. It also has greenery, which is rare in Paris: the Buttes-Chaumont park. And it is home to some of my favourite Parisian haunts, which, like Babel Hotel, are ‘simple and real’.

Going for a dip in Le Grand Bain

I first found Le Grand Bain back in 2018. It was listed in a fashion magazine as a restaurant for the Gen Z crowd.  My son may be Gen Z, but I am not. I was in Paris for work, and on my own. Five evenings in a row, I travelled from the other side of the city to sit at the bar at Le Grand Bain.

The small-plate, seasonal food, the natural wine, the energy of the music, and the babble of happy voices wasthe perfect antidote for my flagging spirits after a day on my feet working at Paris Photo, the art fair. Like many restaurants with a night-time vibe, it’s only open in the evening.

The signature dish was the panissen, deep-fried chickpea-flour ‘fingers’, made to be dipped into homemade mayonnaise with a dash of Worcestershire sauce. A take on this dish which is typical to the south of France.

Other favourites of my five nights at the bar were: Scallops, smoked pear, black radish & dulse (a red alga); and Beetroot, walnuts & lovage, which reminded me of my trip to Les Grands Causses, where the garden was full of lovage.

Natural wine at Le Grand Bain

As for the wine, I particularly liked: L’Aubinaie – a Cabernet Franc from Domaine Les Grandes Vignes; and the Chiroubles Vin de KaV 2017 – a Beaujolais by baker-turned-winemaker Karim Vionnet.

Pastries at Le Petit Grain

Le Grand Bain was founded by two Edwards: Edward Lax and English-born Edward Dwelling-Williams.  They have also opened the bakery Le Petit Grain in the same street. The perfect place for a quick pastry or to buy some (organic) bread.

Close up of peeled apple swirls
A pastry from Le Petit Grain
View from Aux Folies onto rue Denoyez, Paris, with graffiti on the walls
Le Grand Bain and Le Petit Grain are in rue Dénoyez, named after the Folie Dénoyez a dance hall in the 1830s, now the Café aux Folies.

From Girona to Paris: Le Baratin

A while back, when I was in the Catalan city of Girona, I met a couple at the bar who had a restaurant in Paris. It turned out to be Le Baratin, which is a couple of streets up rue de Belleville from Babel.

Raquel Carena and her husband opened Le Baratin 30 years ago.  It’s an excellent place for lunch. It has a bistro feel, with a zinc bar, tiled flooring and a small library, but there’s something more … much more – a familiarity, a sense of being at home after a long time travelling.

Within 10 mins of Babel

The Buttes-Chaumont park is one of the hilliest parks in Paris. The Temple de Sibylle, inspired by the Temple of Vesta in Tivoli, Italy, perches on a cliff overlooking the lake. The park is a quiet refuge, despite being so popular with the locals. Lots of trees for shade and paths to walk.

Empty bench, Park Buttes-Chaumont, Paris
One of my favourite benches in Buttes-Chaumont
Fruit on loquat tree, Park Buttes-Chaumont, Paris
Autumn in the park

Other addresses in Belleville

  • Dame Jane: a cave à manger. Check out the opening times, and remember to book.

This blog post is an update of my previous blog post on Belleville, originally published on 25 November 2018.

  • Catherine
    Posted at 22:03h, 25 November Reply

    Thanks Gina. I feel well organised for my next visit to Paris – your choices and tastes are impeccable! Just what I usually look for! Merci Madame!

  • Alice, Babel Belleville
    Posted at 21:03h, 26 April Reply

    Dear Gina,

    We would like to kindly thank you for this lovely post, well writing.
    We are very delighted to welcome you at Babel and we can not wait to see youn next month!

    All the best,

    Babel Belleville

    • Gina Power
      Posted at 09:25h, 02 July Reply

      Dear Alice, Thank you so much! And I so loved my stay this June. I find I can really relax and feel at home at Babel Belleville. I hope to be back soon! Very best, Gina

Post A Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.