Paris is a bustling, crazy city.
Visitors often complain about the large crowds.
Nobody has gotten lost in la Jocondes smile (Mona Lisa) since the 1960s.
La Dame de Fer (the Eiffel Tower) will keep you waiting, and waiting.
Les Champs-Elysées look like a cosmopolitan ant world, day and night.
Notre-Dame only gets quiet if you climb her towers, looking for Quasimodo.

Paris is a city of villages.
Former villages, now neighborhoods,
Each with a distinct flavor.
Venture out of the beaten path, visitor!
You shall be rewarded.

Somewhere on the Left Bank, a special place hides.
It is known as la Butte aux Cailles (Quail Hill.) 

Once a working-class neighborhood, it sat by la Bièvre, a river.
Today, the river still meets la Seine, but it runs underground.
On the shores of la Bièvre,
there were tanneries, windmills, and limestone quarries.
The ground became so unstable it could not carry the weight of heavy construction.
That is why la Butte aux Cailles still looks like a village.
Private homes, tucked away from the street behind green metal gates.
Peaceful streets, sleeping in the summer sun.


A friendly local…

During la Commune, a violent civil insurrection in 1871,
People in La Butte aux Cailles fought long and hard.
Memories of the uprising linger on la Place de la Commune de Paris.

The only signs of rebellion today are tags and graffiti.
In la Butte aux Cailles, they call this street art. 

There is a small square, la place Paul Verlaine.
In the center, the fountain’s water supply comes from
an old artesian well, sourced by natural spring water.

Place Paul Verlaine, there is a swimming pool, inaugurated in the 1920s,
One of Paris’ three public swimming pools at the time.
Red brick façade. Art Nouveau style. Water pumped from the artesian well,
Kept at a comfortable 28 degrees Celsius (82 F) year round.
The old public baths are still there too.

The three pools (one indoors, two outdoors) were renovated and re-opened a few weeks ago
(Commons – Wikimedia) 

These days, nobody goes starving in la Butte aux Cailles.
This is Paris, after all.
Visitors can sit in a wine bar, eat une crêpe, or sample traditional cuisine.
At night, locals, artists and hipsters mingle.
The old neighborhood wakes up with the sound of animated conversations;
Tables and chairs crowd the sidewalks.

Loved my lunch at L’Oisive-Thé,
restaurant; knitting and crochet club. 
La Butte aux Piafs (Piaf = small bird) 

In Paris, you get the visit you deserve.
Mine always include a stroll in a favorite village.
And as villages go, la Butte aux Cailles is as good as any.

A bientôt.

To visit la Butte aux Cailles with me on YouTube, click here.


Metro Line 6 
Station: Corvisart
Walk up la rue des 5 DIamants (street of the five diamonds)
until it meets la rue de la Butte aux Cailles. 
You have arrived. Explore. Relax. 


Véronique - France with Véro
Véronique of France with Véro

Véronique of France with Véro

Vero shares her homeland weekly on social media with virtual tours, photo essays, live events and other publications at France with Vero. Learn more.

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  1. Sketchbook Wandering on August 17, 2014 at 11:44 am

    Thank you for the lovely tour of this part of Paris!! I hope to visit it in the next year! You must have enjoyed it so much, being back in your native country! I think You are an ambassador icon of France! I do love Ines’ Little Diary videos.

    • French Girl in Seattle on August 19, 2014 at 10:01 am

      I did enjoy being back in Paris, and in France, even more than usual, this summer. “Ambassador icon of France” — Methinks I love my new title!

  2. Elizabeth Eiffel on August 17, 2014 at 1:52 pm

    Thank you for a wonderful insight into this Parisian village. Our first few visits to Paris entailed seeing the usual tourist sights, now we just stay in one arrondissement and explore that area. However, we have tended to keep returning to the 4 arr and the 6 arr, but its definitely time to move on. The 13arr is a priority now! I agree whole-heartedly with Sketchbook Wandering – you are a wonderful ambassador for France. Merci.

    • French Girl in Seattle on August 19, 2014 at 10:03 am

      Nothing wrong with the 4th and the 6th arrondissements, Elizabeth, except larger crowds (sometimes.) The 13th arrondissement is less touristy, but there are fun things to discover there too: The Beautiful Parc Montsouris (built in the late 19th century,) the Chinese district, and of course, la Butte aux Cailles make it worth a visit.

  3. Heather{Our Life In a Click} on August 17, 2014 at 4:21 pm

    Yes please!!!

    • French Girl in Seattle on August 19, 2014 at 10:03 am


  4. Stuart on August 18, 2014 at 1:41 am

    I went on a walking tour of this neighborhood awhile back and was instantly charmed. It is indeed a wonderful and calm place.

    • French Girl in Seattle on August 19, 2014 at 10:04 am

      Thank you for stopping by Stuart. I hope life is good in Amboise!

  5. I Dream Of on August 18, 2014 at 8:53 am

    One of my favorite places in Paris to wander Veronique. And I think that is one of the things about the city that charms me so – that in spite of the bustle and crowds, it really is just a tapestry of villages all stitched together.

    Hope you have a lovely week! XO

    • French Girl in Seattle on August 19, 2014 at 10:05 am

      A very fitting description of Paris, Jeanne. Not all areas feel like villages, but that makes neighborhoods like La Butte aux Cailles all the more special. A bientôt!

  6. helen tilston on August 18, 2014 at 11:20 am

    Hello Veronique, I absolutely love when you escort us through the streets of your home town. Knowing an area, intimately, as you do, leads to surprising places known to the locals. The Ines de la Fressange video is fitting.
    Wishing you continued joy as we bask in summer’s sunshine.

    Helen xx

    • French Girl in Seattle on August 19, 2014 at 10:06 am

      Thank you so much, dear Helen. It has been my pleasure to take readers through my favorite places over the last three-something years. I never travel alone, and that is really wonderful!

  7. miss b on August 19, 2014 at 8:42 am

    This is such a charming area, full of character, which really does look like a village and it seems so compact too. It’s these hidden, lesser known parts of cities which offer so much to the visitor and I would be delighted to have lunch in L’Oisive-Thé too. I enjoyed taking a leisurely stroll with you and of course with Inès who epitomises the term ‘effortlessly chic.’ I believe there are several videos in her Little Diary series including Le Marais which I shall have to watch sometime.

    • French Girl in Seattle on August 19, 2014 at 10:07 am

      You are correct, miss b. Inès shot quite a few of these little videos for Roger Vivier a few years ago. There are all entertaining, but the best part – of course – is to watch Inès 😉 I hope you are having a fabulous summer!

  8. French Heart on August 20, 2014 at 3:56 pm

    FABULOUS post!! I esp love the Ines film…but all of it. Mille Merci, Veronique! Hugs to you….

    • French Girl in Seattle on August 24, 2014 at 4:10 pm

      Merci Suzanne. Bisous en retour.

  9. Liz Brown on October 27, 2014 at 9:23 am

    Love the blog, the FB page and now the new website. Congratulations! 🙂

  10. Deborah on October 27, 2014 at 3:10 pm

    As soon as I discovered you on Facebook ~ I have loved everything you post! Photos of Paris and interesting, out of the ordinary sites are my favorites. David Lebovitz’s original book has long had a special place on my shelf and I recently bought the new one, ready to try some fantastic recipes. Thank you so much for continuing to ignite my love for Paris and France <3

  11. Eric Mitchell on June 16, 2016 at 10:07 am

    Tres fascinant, merci!

  12. Marita Simpson on September 24, 2018 at 2:23 am

    Bonjour Veronique!
    We are here now in La Butte aux Cailles! !! We made it per your recommendation. We are enjoying our cappuccinos now. La vie est belle! !! Merci pour votre recommendation! !! Tres charmant!!!

    • French Girl in Seattle on September 24, 2018 at 2:57 am

      Bravo! Enjoy!

  13. Joyce Adams on January 17, 2019 at 6:27 am

    Merci Veronique! A wonderful place to explore this fall when I am in Paris!

  14. Village de Charonne, Paris, 20ème arr. - French Girl in Seattle on August 2, 2019 at 6:28 am

    […] this blog over the years. From Belleville to Montmartre, from Auteuil, to Passy, les Batignolles, la Butte aux Cailles, la Mouzaïa, or la Campagne à Paris, I enjoy exploring many of the former Paris villages (and […]

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