Walking tours

A short history of a Belleville café

Did you enjoy this video? Do you love exploring authentic, little-known neighborhoods? Me too! That’s why I love introducing travelers to lively eastern Paris.

Sometimes when I’m exploring new areas of a familiar city, I feel like an outsider. If you want to penetrate the heart, soul, and history of eastern Paris, off the tourist-beaten path, let me show you!

From Edith Piaf’s birthplace and thought-provoking street art to hidden cobblestoned streets, you’ll learn locals-only anecdotes and French history alike. Legendary rivalries and fin-de-siècle gangs, personal stories about local artists, and how Belleville fits in to the larger Parisian context: all will be revealed!

Living in and exploring eastern Paris and learning about its history have all been my passions for 20 years. I would be thrilled and honored to show you my little-known insider’s Paris.

Walking tours last from 2½ to three hours, depending on questions and our walking pace. If you’d like to see what other visitors have to say about my tours, click here or see my Trip Advisor profile here.

Paris of the people!

Experience eastern Paris like a local! This area is known as populaire: literally, of the people, or working-class. My dynamic walking tour shows you how events in French history transformed vine-covered hills into the quickly-gentrifying enclaves Parisians know and love today.

You’ll discover the area’s wine-growing and wine-consuming past, and Belleville and Ménilmontant’s musical legacies, including Edith Piaf.

Contemplate ever-changing street art, discover the Apache gangs of the 1900s, and learn about the neighborhood’s importance as the water source of Paris. You’ll also learn about the fascinating immigrant history of the area, its local artists, and get an eyeful of Paris with gorgeous views over the city.

Tours go out every Saturday from 10 a.m. to about 12:30 p.m. If you’d like to book for several people, or if you’re coming to Paris and would like to book a private tour on another day, please contact me with your schedule or availability.

49€ per person for a 2-1/2 hour tour

Life and Death in Eastern Paris

For: Curious travelers who want to explore Paris off the beaten path. This is a custom tour for 1-8 travelers.

When: Typically 10/10:30am to 5/5:30pm but timing can be adapted to your interests and needs. If you’re interested in culinary highlights, we can start by sampling the area’s award-winning éclairs while soaking up eastern Paris’ local café atmosphere! Or finish your day with a bite to eat at a local market, a glass of wine, or even a dessert-making class.

Why: Because beyond the great museums and monuments of Paris there lies the history of the people, the neighborhoods, the living and the dead.

Price: Depends on the number of participants. Contact me for details, and please include your preferred date and the number of people in your group.

The program:
10:00/10:30a.m. Life: Allison Zinder, the chef and tour guide behind Paris on the Edge, will lead the group on a 2-hour exploration of Belleville and Ménilmontant, where you’ll learn how the area was transformed from fruit-filled hills to the working-class neighborhoods that gave birth to the likes of Edith Piaf and Maurice Chevalier. Also featured are the history of Belleville’s raucous nightlife, Roman-era water sources, and the diversity of immigration to the area, along with curious street art. We’ll finish the walk next to the Belleville Park, with its breathtaking views over the most famous monuments of Paris. A fun and fascinating discovery of Paris’ most eccentric area.

1:00p.m. Lunch: A variety of lunch possibilities from wine bar/tapas restaurant to a foodie hang-out to an Aveyronnais bistro to an exquisite picnic.

2:30p.m. Death: “Every trip of a lifetime is enhanced by a brush with death. And there’s no better place to have a near-death experience than in Paris’ Père Lachaise Cemetery.” So writes, Gary Lee Kraut, award-winning travel writer and creator of the web magazine France Revisited, who will lead the second half of the tour. For the past 200 years, Père Lachaise Cemetery has been THE place to be buried in Paris. More than just grave sites, the tombs form a magnificent sculpture garden of sorts and a veritable who’s-who of political, artistic and aristocratic life in Paris and other weird and wonderful characters: Chopin, Delacroix, Sarah Bernhardt, Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas, Heloise and Abelard, Jim Morrison, Oscar Wilde, and Edith Piaf (again), to name but a few. Insightful, entertaining, and a touch of morbidity.

5p.m. Rebirth: With time, thirst and interest, Gary will lead you to a local wine or beer bar for us to drink a toast to life in Paris (and to meet some wine or beer folk). Or Allison can lead your group through a typical Parisian market, or even teach you to make delicious desserts!

How to reserve your space(s):
Contact Allison directly at allisonzinder@parisontheedge.com, or Gary at gary@francerevisited.com.

Learn about us here and at www.francerevisited.com.

From meat-packing to fruit-picking, through quarries and hills

Along with its lovely urban-scapes and food-related anecdotes, this walking tour features a history of the Villette meat district and the area’s charcuterie legacy. We’ll explore the quartier des Amériques and the “countryside” in Paris with its exciting working class history and charming houses. Then we’ll head over to the majestic Buttes Chaumont Park.

If you know your travel dates and would like to book ahead, please contact me with your schedule or availability and I will work with you to find a date.

59€ per person for a 3-hour tour

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