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La Butte aux Cailles is hidden Paris at its best. Not far from the hustle and bustle of Place d’Italie in the 13th arrondissement, this quiet off the beaten path neighbourhood is waiting to be explored.
“La butte” being the French word for hill is a little hint that this area is indeed not flat! Not as high as the Butte in Montmartre, la Butte aux Cailles is the second-highest spot on the right bank after le Mont Saint-Geneviève where the Pantheon sits.
Start your exploration along Rue de la Butte aux Cailles or Rue des Cinq Diamants. And then wander. Stroll down the adjacent narrow streets and passages with no definite endpoint in mind. Embrace the spirit of a Parisian flâneur/flâneuse. Follow the colourful trail of street art and discover yet another silent, cobbled street in Paris.
Getting To La Butte Aux Cailles
Start at the metro stop Corvisart. Walk along Boulevard Auguste Blanqui to Rue de Moulins des Prés and then turn onto Rue Gerard.
Or start at metro stop Place d’Italie. Take the Auguste Blanqui exit from the Place d’Italie metro. Walk up Rue Bobillot until you reach Rue Paulin-Méry.
8 Amazing Things To Do In La Butte Aux Cailles, Paris
1. Sip Water At Place Paul Verlaine
«Il pleure dans mon coeur
Comme il pleure sur la ville.»
“Tears are shed in my heart like the rain on the town.”One Hundred and One Poems by Paul Verlaine: A Bilingual Edition
Place Paul Verlaine bustles in the evening with multiple games of pétanques underway. During the day, locals from the area and other Parisians in the know arrive with empty water bottles to fill from this artesian well built in 1872. The spring water comes from a depth of 580m (1902 feet).
2. Go Swimming In An Art Nouveau Pool
Declared a historic monument, this art nouveau style municipal swimming pool in la Butte aux Cailles opened in 1924. Admire the building from a vantage point in Place Paul Verlaine or go for a swim in one of their three pools (two are outdoor). I asked if I could pop in to take a peek at the pool and the vaulted ceiling. No photos are allowed. Seeing all the bathing caps (mandatory) moving up and down the swim lanes got me thinking… should I be trying out a few of the Paris pools this year? Would you?
3. Find All The Street Art In La Butte Aux Cailles
The street art in La Butte aux Cailles is an added pleasure to exploring the area.
Turn right here. Left there…
and discover plenty of large colourful murals and smaller creative pieces.
Keep your eyes open for street art created by LadyBug, Miss.Tic. LOUYZ, SETH and Philippe Baudeloque.
Although you will discover plenty of street art while you are wandering, don’t miss Passage Sigaud and Rue Alphand.
4. Experience A Taste Of The Alsace Region In La Butte Aux Cailles
Wander down Rue Daviel to find the chalet-style houses built in the Alsace style. “Little Alsace” built in 1913 were originally workers’ homes. Try the gate and enter the courtyard to see the terraces and flowers in this tranquil oasis in la Butte aux Cailles, Paris.
5. Soak Up Villa Daviel In La Butte Aux Cailles
Right across from “Little Alsace” is Villa Daviel. Homes with small front gardens laden with greenery and flowers line the street. I am always amazed in an international city like Paris when I stumble upon quiet enclaves that transport me to the country. There are quite a few listed in my Paris streets article.
6. Feel Like You’re In Provence in Paris
When classic street lamps and pastel shades of shutters line the street, you know you have stepped away from Hausmann Paris and into a village that has existed for centuries. La Butte aux Cailles was annexed into Paris in 1860 but still feels like a village. Or maybe, just maybe you have been transported to Provence.
7. Stroll Rue Michal In La Butte Aux Cailles
Wander down the narrow cobbled street, Rue Michal for the best view of Saint-Anne’s church in La Butte aux Cailles.
8. Stop By The Cafés And Restaurants
The two main arteries of this neighbourhood are Rue des Cinq Diamants and Rue de la Butte aux Cailles. Where they meet is a perfect place to sit on a terrace and observe the locals greeting each other and sharing a coffee or apéro together.
Le Temps des Cerises S.C.O.P is a classic French restaurant at 18-20 Rue de la Butte aux Cailles. As stated on their site, the name of the restaurant is in homage to the Commune of 1871.
I had planned to eat at Chez Gladines at 30 Rue des Cinq Diamants but this location has not reopened since the deconfinement. If you are keen to try this Parisian favourite with its French South-West cuisine, try one of their other locations such as the one in Saint-Germain. It is on my list to do so!
Enjoy your stroll around La Butte aux Cailles in Paris. This village, off the beaten path in Paris, is sure to give you a taste of real-life in Paris.
More Travel Info…
Paris Travel Resources:
All my Paris resources are right here on this page.
If you love that village feel in Paris these areas might interest you:
Montmartre, much like Ile Saint- Louis, feels like a small village. This post on Montmartre leads you to the most popular sites as well as some lesser-known places on the hill.
What about visiting another village on a hill? This one is in the 19th arrondissement. Here are 5 Great Reasons to Visit Butte Bergeyre.
Canal Saint-Martin is another place full of small restaurants, boutiques and plenty of character. Stroll the bridges of the canal under the chestnut trees and feel like a true Parisian. All the details on this “bobo” district are in this article on Canal Saint-Martin.
Le Marais is one of the oldest areas of Paris. Once marshland, it is hopping with boutiques, cafés, gorgeous old mansions and museums. Read my full guide to le Marais and also insider Marais tips from a local.
Ile Saint-Louis is still one of my favourite spots in Paris. On Pont Saint-Louis, you’ll almost always find some street music.
And Montparnasse. Most people think of the tall black tower looming over the Paris skyline or the train station. This guide on Montparnasse uncovers some marvellous things to discover in the 14th arrondissement.
If you are looking for food suggestions, read about where to find the best croissants in Paris. There are also plenty of café suggestions for the Marais area in this post: Tips from a Local. And if you are exploring the area around Canal Saint-Martin, here are the best places to stop for a bite or to find the fixings for a picnic.
Travelling to Paris alone? This article on navigating Paris alone is full of tips and tricks for the solo traveller.
This page has all my articles on Paris that will help you plan out your trip, including day trips from Paris. I hope you subscribed to my newsletter to get my free download – An Amazing 2-day Itinerary in Paris.
If you are going further afield in France, make sure to check out my page on France.