"Nice guys finish last."*
*Leo Durocher, American Baseball Player/Manager
"Le vingtième" is the last of the officially designated
twenty arrondissements on the Paris map, but
that doesn't mean you should head the other way.
Likely you've already visited the famed Père Lachaise Cemetery,
home to the likes of Edith Piaf, Oscar Wilde and Jim Morrison.
Or perhaps you've branched out a bit further than most and popped in on
a local art installation or two in Belleville or annointed a new culinary king
on one of the lively streets somewhere in the 'hood.
But the sad truth is, though guide books refer to the 20th as "bohemian"
and "très authentique", they shortchange us, keeping our Paris watch
limited to the more central and conventional locales.
Why miss out on such a fun and diverse neighborhood
when it's just a short metro ride away?
"Towering genius disdains a beaten path.
It seeks regions hitherto unexplored."
that's weird and wonderful and off the beaten path."
Joanna Going, American actress
A green space is always a happy way to begin a journey of discovery.
Jardin Samuel-de-Champlain ticks off every box for nature-loving lazybones like me.
Picturesque and peaceful, it's a relatively undiscovered soothing sanctuary
that's perfect for a picnic or an escape from city pressures.
A quiet stroll through the park is perfect by itself but then there's THIS!
Just when you reach that perfect zen feeling you were hoping for,
a twilight-zone-like mirage bursts out of the stone.
The Monument to the Victims of the Revolution is a creepy-crawley
ghostlike apparition sculpted into the walls at one end of the park.
Created in 1909 by Paul Moreau-Vautier, the supernatural sculpture
will make you gasp out loud.
Close encounters of the third kind …. just one more example of
a surprising and imaginative Paris we've come to expect.
the Atlantic to discover and map Quebec and Nouvelle-France (New France).
A pat on the back to the French explorer is appropriate.
Imagination and curiosity go hand in hand as we uncover the real Paris
that goes well beyond the map of the typical tourist trail,
chasing down far-flung treasures all over the city.
"Satisfaction of one's curiosity is one of the greatest sources of happiness in life."
Linus Pauling, American chemist & human rights activist
one of my favorite pastimes in the French capital.
Admittedly, snooping around other people's front doors is a little off the wall
but don't we all have some form of peeping-tom curiosity in our psyche?
As we've grown our addiction thanks to shows on HGTV and the like,
we've discovered looking into the lives of others helps us
branch out of our own (sometimes) drab little world.
The 20th Arrondissement offers a theatrical peek into
a slice of Paris so unique, it has its own nickname.
"La Campagne à Paris" means The Countryside in Paris.
Begun in 1907, this working class housing development, once considered
to be on the "modest side of the tracks", has matured into
one of the coolest neighborhoods in the city.
You realize you've found a gem when you see more locals than tourists,
taking their sweet time, charmed by the novelty of its village-like feel in the city.
are linked together or just a quick promenade away.
Look for rue Irenée Blanc and Jules Siegfried for starters,
two darling little streets in La Campagne à Paris.
Quiet and purely residential, you'll want to burrow
into one of these garden bungalows for life.
A bottle of wine, some Camembert and a cuddle with
the one you love --- you have uncovered the perfect nest.
What once was considered a working class neighborhood
is now trendy and gentrified.
It's all in the details -- whimsical gardens, dollhouse sized garages and walls
cloaked in ivy call to mind Goldilocks &The Three Bears -- It's Just Right.
French film "Le Petit Nicholas" was filmed in one of the homes on
rue Irenée Blanc, clearly chosen to set the tone for its 1950s bucolic storyline.
Romanticized and unspoiled, this idealistic version of Paris will fulfill your
stardust fantasies so if you're looking for a way to take a day off
from big city noise and the push & shove of the crowds, head this way.
these gems, know that you'll need to walk UP some pretty challenging steps.
Rue du Pere Prosper Enfantin and rue Mondonville are streets that
literally are stairsteps to the community.
But if you know what's waiting, I predict you'll dance your way up.
this as well as a good reminder that Paris is not a museum city.
Beautiful, diverse, with a riveting history that smacks you in the
face each time you turn a corner, the 20th arrondissement's little village
within the city will make you ache to be a part of the community.
another feather in the cap of Paris' 20th district.
This is your chance to escape the chaos of tourist Paris just
when the wandering hordes start getting on your nerves.
A visit here is short and sweet, one you can pair well with
our other off-the-tourist-trail sights in the 20th.
your blood pressure and reduce inflammation/anxiety in an instant.
Colorful houses and pretty flowers & vines reveal a different side of Paris
with a nod to rural France as well as an array of the unexpected.
Colorful street art keeps it from being too precious, both eyepopping and off the wall.
One of the more unexpected villas looks more Greek or Tunisian than French,
its whitewashed exterior and exquisite blue details standing out in the city that Baron Haussmann made famous with a uniform style in the 19th century.
The passageway isn't named after the artist Eugene Boudin as I first assumed.
Though its arty influence is clear, its origins evolved
from a family farm, not from a famous artist's hand.
In 1839, a gentleman named Boudin wheeled and dealed his way into a fortune, parceling out his grandpa's rural land into separate subdivisions.
He sold the family farm off piece by piece -- et voila, a new neighborhood was born.
Just like your favorite pizza, you first notice the gooey cheese and decadent pepperoni -- but it's those crispy edges that reel you in at the end.
They make all the other bits so worthwhile.
Do yourself a favor and don't miss this last slice of Paris.
Nice guys really do finish last -- in a good way.
Paris tastes like nothing else out there -- always good to the last bite.