I have already made some posts about rue Belleville, rue Menilmontant and the adjacent parts of Paris which were incorporated in 1860, traditionally and area of workers and lower middle-class - often active in the different social movements during the latter part of the 19th and earlier parts of the 20th centuries.
Last Saturday I was invited to a varnishing (obviously wrong word: vernissage in French means - also - e.g. the opening of an exhibition) at the “Bellevilloise” (rue Boyer) by an artist friend (KEJ – see previous posts). The “Bellevilloise” was created as the first cooperate association in Paris in 1877. It counted 9000 members in the beginning of the 20th century and offered shops, restaurants, libraries, a chance for the members to meet and to get educated... After a few decades of decline, today the place is living again as a very active cultural centre.
Another example of early social initiatives in this area is the group of “buildings for workers” (rue d’Annam - see also top picture) which you can find close to the “Bellevilloise”. This complex was ready in 1906 and, as you can see on the inscription under the entrance arch, with the intention to offer “cheap accommodations with all kind of hygienic guarantees”. This is just an example of several similar complexes which were built in what were those days the outskirts of Paris.
On the way home, I made a stop at Parc de Belleville which offers one of the best views of Paris, a place from where you can capture the Pantheon, the Notre Dame and the Tour Montparnasse or the Eiffel Tower and the Grand Palais on the same photo.