Discovering a Different Side of Paris

When we first got told that we were going to Belleville (an area where a lot of immigrants in Paris live) I have to admit I wasn't too keen about the idea. I don't even go to Barrio Logan, the immigrant neighborhood where many Mexicans reside in San Diego and I'm Mexican! So my thought was why would I want to go to the immigrant neighborhood in Paris? But you know what I was very glad we were shown that side of Paris. Belleville is a neighborhood in Paris which parts of it lies in four different arrondissements. It is also the home to the second Chinese quarter in Paris and a lot of eclectic street art.

Our tour guide's name was Angénic, a very intelligent Jewish black woman who made me open my mind about visiting different areas of Paris that tourists often never see because they close their minds just like I had done. As we walked around Belleville I observed the Asian owned markets and restaurants, the street art, and most of all the people. What I saw in Belleville was people with big hearts, people that would welcome you into their shop to tell you about what they do and why they love it which was such a beautiful thing to see. We were first invited to see a street artist's studio, then into an artist compound where there were artists working on pieces for an art exhibit, a woman's spices and cheese shop, and finally a flower shop where we sampled Gelée de rose (rose jelly) and also jasmine jelly. After today the stereotype that the French are rude seems completely unnecessary because the people we encountered today have such a great heart. Every one of them had passion for what they do, whether its teaching people about their city, informing people about the different kinds of spices, graffiti, or owning a  flower shop- you could tell that they loved doing what they do.

After eating some delicious Phở in Belleville, Beatriz and I decided to visit Parc de la Villette- specifically the Cité des Sciences et de l'Industrie because we always see the ads every time we take the metro. Parc de la Villette is huge! And there's so much to see like gardens, museums, follies (which we didn't see), and so much more. I swear it was love at first sight! We went into the Cité des Sciences et de l'Industrie and decided to pay the 3€ to check out the exhibit. Yes, just its only 3€ to get to see the largest science museum in Europe! Well for students... have I mentioned how much I love student discounts? This is by far one of the best museums I've ever been to and the funnest. There are so many cool exhibits and interactive things, I felt like a kid for the 3 hours that we were there. Once the museum closed we decided to walk around the park and we saw so many families with their kids- once again I saw the Parisians heart. It was beautiful to see families out on the park with their children- I mean how often do people go to the park in San Diego with their kids? I don't see that many, at least not as many as I saw today.

I recorded some footage from Belleville as well as in the Cité des Sciences et de l'Industrie so I hope you enjoy it.

And here's also a couple pictures I took- to check out the rest of the pictures go to my Flickr.
Delicious Phở in Belleville
Cité des Sciences et de l'Industrie

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