When you visit Paris and want to see it at its hidden best, it’s worth seeking out the charming inner city village of Butte Bergeyre in the 19th Arrondissement. Not many people know of it, not even Parisians. It is a hidden enclave in the city, where you’ll discover beautiful houses in streets perched high up surrounded by what were once limestone workings. The village was built in the 1930’s on the site of the once famous Bergeyre rugby stadium, named after a player who died in 1914.
Take the metro to Bolivar (line 7b), not far from the Bassin de Villette, and then proceed on foot. Locate one of two sets of steps from either Rue Manin, Avenue Simon-Bolivar . Take a deep breath and set off skywards to ascend the three hundred feet to the top. Your efforts will be well rewarded.
What to see in Butte Bergeyre, the secret village in Paris
There are five paved village streets in Butte Bergeyre. They all have pretty gardens, especially pretty in the spring and summer.
This little village is quaint and tranquil, you’ll find there are more pets in the streets than cars. It is rather exclusive and the residents seem to have little desire to advertise their existence to the rest of Paris or the world. There are no shops so few people venture here.
Take a stroll along the Rue Georges-Lardennois and find the Villa Zilveli. It is an unusual house built on stilts, constructed in 1933 by Austrian architect Jean Welz. Close by is a well maintained communal garden with six bee hives. The residents take great care of this communal area.
There is also a rare Parisian vineyard called the Clos des Chaufourniers. Around a hundred bottles of wine are produced each year generally fermented from Chardonnay and Pinot Noir grapes.
You’ll get a quite magnificent view of the cathedral Sacré-Coeur in Monmartre from here. It really is a quite extraordinary panorama with a well-placed park bench for visitors to drink in the sight. I found it to be one of the most spectacular views in Paris. A perfect place at sunset with its window over the roof tops of Paris.
Butte Bergeyre is elegant, rather elite and a secret perch of Paris that’s well worth discovering…
Bob Lyons is an ex pilot turned travel writer and a total Francophile
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