Different Worlds

There are many worlds in the 19e and 20e. Who lives in this building with the creative tile work?

Striped tile building Belleville

I imagine an artist lives there. The neighborhood is dotted with artist studios. They beautify and add interest to the area and also challenge its visual norms.


There is street art, too. Sometimes one piece of street art is provoked by another added later.  Here the first decried “social failure” and then a second came along and added a hand with a pencil writing “love runs the streets.”  I like the idea that, above the rest of Paris, love courses through the streets of Belleville.

Love runs the streets

There is some striking modernist architecture in the same corner of neighborhood. Looks similar to the Streamline Moderne style.

Streamline Moderne in Belleville

There are some massive modernist buildings as well. They really define a space.

I love the yellow porch accents on the first one and the green stars on the second.  The buildings are worn down, though.  Nothing is as soulless as a modernist building that hasn’t been kept up. The iconic simple shapes become vacuums.  I have a feeling artists don’t live in these buildings. Different worlds.


Not far from there is a crossroads I like, with a traditional bakery, a brightly colored cleaners, and two restaurants with red awnings, one a literary café and one an unassuming and open restaurant, café and bar where you can sit and have a coffee or a drink and talk or have dinner.  Simple, friendly, open, tasty and inexpensive, the menu changes every day.

The first time I had coffee at the friendly restaurant, some North African men right across the street were being questioned by the police for quite a long time and looked to be protesting it. No one in the café seemed to notice.  Different worlds.

On my way back to my apartment, Parc de Belleville was busy and beautiful. People were sitting on the grass and playing on the steps.

Others were in groups talking after a concert.

Just above them, at the belvedere, sixty or seventy people lined up for day-old bread, dairy items and other donated food. A large group stood in line to talk to a person who could translate official papers for them. I was cautioned not to photograph people so I just got some photos of food and volunteers. From their colorful clothing from Africa, the Middle East, and elsewhere, many in the different lines seemed to be recent immigrants.

I couldn’t help myself from photographing one woman, taking a rest after collecting her food, who showed that, in Paris, even hand-me-downs can be turned into an outfit with style.

Hand-me-down style belvedere

Some lounge in the grass or enjoy music in the park while others, just above them, come from worn out buildings to pick up leftover food for survival. So close but still—different worlds.

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