One of Paris’ Secrets – in the 13th

{ click to see detail on building }

Wandered through the 13th arrondissement yesterday. Overall it feels like a good, working class neighborhood that holds Paris’ newspaper building (Le Monde), their ultra-modern Bibliothèque Nationale (national library), and Chinatown, which I’ll return to see next week. The streets widen, becoming avenues divided by the Metro rail tracks. When you come this far out from central Paris, the old historic district, the 1960s high-rise buildings tend to start popping through the skyline. (According to Wikipeadia, in Paris a building’s height is limited according to the width of the streets it borders, making it difficult to get an approval to build a taller.)

This somewhat stark neighborhood is not particularly interesting except for a small area called La Butte aux Cailles. This cozy little village-style oasis, with its narrow cobblestone streets, has a row of quirky restaurants, cafes and shops. As you’d expect, La Butte aux Cailles has become a draw for artists and hipsters.

the Bee StoreOne shop worth mentioning, Les Abeilles, Miels & Cires (“The Bees – Honey & Wax”), carries everything you can imagine relating to bees. As you walk by you need to be careful as the place is crawling with real honey bees, inside the store as well as outside. Further down the street is a charming tea salon where women gather to knit and chat over cups of tea.

Another feature of this little hamlet is a short pedestrian-only street named Villa Daviel which is home to a row of quaint single-family cottages. These are juxtaposed against the rudeness of the somewhat bad, ultra-modern buildings they butt up against.

But the lure of this neighborhood for me were the rumored yearly-commissioned wall murals that abound in this little village. See below:

I hope you’ll visit this area if you’re in Paris. Of course, all these images may be long-gone and replaced by others.

I’ll be back to this area next week. There’s a lot more to see.


  • anne dukes
    Posted at 13:55h, 08 September

    Fascinating reporting, Lisa—truck on!

  • lisaweldon
    Posted at 17:25h, 08 September

    oh, Anne. How Miss Julia doing?

  • Shannon Colee
    Posted at 17:57h, 08 September

    I am proud of you, and grateful for the wonderful reports! Tooth problem again, I will be headed to your atlanta neighborhood…will miss you there, but will be keeping up here on line! You know you are starting something with your bold experiences…keep it up BABES!

  • Dustin
    Posted at 18:18h, 08 September

    Loving reading your travel adventures. Thanks, Lisa.

  • Terri Cohen
    Posted at 18:27h, 08 September

    Great picture… Have enjoyed your journey !!!

    • lisaweldon
      Posted at 18:43h, 08 September

      Thank you so much! I’ve enjoyed it, too, although I’m getting pangs of homesickness!

  • lisaweldon
    Posted at 18:42h, 08 September

    Dustin, where in the world are you? Are you going back for the screening of our NOLA documentary?

  • Leah The Money Diva
    Posted at 00:25h, 14 September

    Would love to see your take on the Bibliothèque Nationale. I love libraries but since I don’t know much French maybe I didn’t “get” it?

  • Janis Miller
    Posted at 09:26h, 14 September

    Love these photos! Especially the one with you in it. If you are too lonesome, try calling my friend Al to see if he’s there yet. He’s got a great southern accent that’ll give you a little shot of home. And remember, you can see all your homies as soon as you get back for a long time to come. Miss you!