Last Updated on September 13, 2023 by April | Dreaming in French
La Butte aux Cailles is a hidden gem in the 13th arrondissement Paris France. A charming neighborhood with picturesque streets to historic architecture. Its village-like feel makes it popular among both Parisians and tourists. You’ll find plenty of delicious restaurants, cozy bars, and charming cafes to explore.
If only to spend an afternoon or two away from the bustle of the rest of the city, these smaller neighborhoods, known locally as “micro-arrondissements,” have been assimilated into the fabric of Paris but have maintained their own small-town feel.
There is a ton of Art Nouveau buildings, plenty of cobblestone paths, and an enormous street art on Butte des Cailles, also known as “Quails Hill,” many of which are by the local artist Miss. Tic.
Pierre Caille, who bought a vineyard in the vicinity around the year 1543, is honored by having the little hill in the 13e district bear his name. There aren’t many vineyards in the city nowadays, and none can be found in the 13e arrondissement.
A few decades after Pierre Caille, the River Bievre, whose remnants may be seen in the nearby Château de la Reine Blanche, served as the region’s primary industrial hub, creating numerous jobs in the tanneries and tapestry factories that lined the old waterway’s both banks. The Bievre was underground-rerouted in 1910, by which time it was extremely filthy.
If you are in a hurry, here’s a summary of Butte aux Cailles guide:
Butte aux Cailles Map
Main streets to Visit in Butte aux Cailles
From the bustling Rue de la Butte aux Cailles to the charming Rue des Cinq Diamants, these streets are the perfect places to experience the unique character of Butte aux Cailles.
- Rue de la Butte aux Cailles: This is the heart of the neighborhood and is lined with a great selection of shops, cafes, and restaurants. It’s the perfect place to grab a bite to eat or do some shopping.
- Rue Daviel: This street is known for its historic architecture and is a popular spot for taking photographs. Be sure to have your camera ready!
- Avenue des Gobelins: This street runs along the neighborhood’s southern edge and is home to the famous Gobelins Tapestry Factory. It’s a great place to learn about the history of tapestry making.
- Rue Michal: The church’s dome can be seen in exquisite detail from this calm street, which is also a great location to relax in peace and quiet away from the bustle of the city.
- Rue des Cinq Diamants: The avenue, which is known in English as “the Road of Five Diamonds,” is lined with several homes from the 19th century. Rue des Cinq Diamants is a charming street where you can see several of Miss Tic’s artworks.
How to Get to La Butte aux Cailles
Getting to the charming neighborhood of Butte aux Cailles is easy and convenient, whether you prefer public transportation or biking.
Here are a few options:
- By metro: The neighborhood is well-connected by metro lines 5, 6, and 7, with several stations nearby, such as Place d’Italie, Corvisart, and Glacières. This is a quick and easy way to get to the area.
- By bus: There are several bus lines (57, 62, 67) that stop in the area, so you can hop on one of those and take it to the neighborhood from different points of the city.
- By bike: If you’re feeling active, rent a bike through the Vélib bike-sharing system and cycle to the neighborhood. It’s a fun way to explore and get some exercise.
No matter how you choose to get there, the Butte aux Cailles neighborhood is definitely worth the trip.
History of La Butte aux Cailles
Butte aux Cailles has a storied past and a vibrant present. Once a rural area known for its quarries and windmills that supplied the stone for Notre Dame, and the location for the first successful landing of a hot air balloon in 1783. The neighborhood then transformed in the late 19th century as Paris expanded. It quickly became a diverse, working-class area with a mix of immigrants from Eastern Europe and North Africa.
Fast forward to today, and Butte aux Cailles is back and better than ever! The neighborhood has a unique blend of history and modernity and a multicultural and bohemian vibe that is hard to resist. It’s like traveling back in time but with all the modern conveniences.
Top Things to do in La Butte aux Cailles
Whether you’re a history buff, a nature lover, or a foodie, you’ll find plenty of places to visit and things to do. Here are a few highlights:
Visit Little Alsace
On rue Daviel, this charming street in Paris offers a unique opportunity to experience the taste and cuisine of the Alsace region without leaving the city. The restaurants in the neighbourhood also offer a wide selection of Alsatian wines, including Riesling, Gewürztraminer, and Pinot Noir, sure to delight wine lovers.
Pro tip: From Rue Daviel, explore the adjoining Villa Daviel and nearby streets for quaint examples of art-nouveau architecture.
Visit Place Paul Verlaine and Sip Water
This charming square, named after the famous French poet, is the perfect spot to relax and soak up the neighborhood’s lively atmosphere.
In the evening, Place Paul Verlaine is busy with several pétanques matches. Locals and other savvy Parisians visit during the day with empty water bottles to fill from an artesian well constructed in 1872. A depth of 580 meters (1902 feet) is where the spring water is found.
Visitors can also sit at one of the outdoor terraces, enjoy a coffee or a glass of wine, and watch the world go by. In summer, the square comes alive with live music and street performances, making it a great spot to experience the true artist lifestyle.
Butte aux Cailles Street Art
Did you know that some of the most captivating street art in Europe, if not the entire world, can be found in Paris?
Butte aux Cailles is one of my favorite neighborhoods in Paris for street art, both in terms of number and quality. Butte aux Cailles, which has historically been a “grey neighborhood,” is currently undergoing constant change. Thanks to street artists from all over the world, its previously distinctive unattractive skyscrapers or streets lacking of beauty are now highlighted.
Visitors can discover various street art styles, from graffiti to murals and paste-ups, that delight art enthusiast. From political messages to whimsical characters and abstract designs, there’s something for every art lover.
Swim in the Art Nouveau Swimming Pool
The pool is located at 5 Place Paul Verlaine and is also referred to as the “Piscine de la Butte aux Cailles.” or the Butte aux Cailles swimming pool. The swimming facility, which was first made available to the public in 1924, is stunning to look at thanks to its red-bricked walls, high-vaulted ceilings, and towering concrete arches.
It is one of only two pools in the city that is recognized as a historic monument and is decorated in the art deco nouveau style. The swimming pool was first stocked with naturally hot spring water. For as low as €3, you may swim by yourself in the historic pool today.
La Butte aux Cailles Restaurants
The neighborhood offers a diverse and exciting food scene with options for all tastes and budgets. From traditional French bistros to trendy cafes, from Chinese food to vegetarian options, there’s something for everyone.
Le Temps des Cerises S.C.O.P
Le Temps des Cerises S.C.O.P is a unique and charming establishment. As a workers cooperative, all employees share ownership and decision-making.
The restaurant is known for its delicious food, friendly atmosphere, and commitment to fair trade and organic products. The menu features a variety of traditional French dishes made with fresh and seasonal ingredients and a good selection of vegetarian and vegan options.
Chez Gladines Butte aux Cailles (30 Rue des Cinq Diamants), one of the reputedly greatest restaurants in the neighborhood, is open every day for lunch and dinner and specializes in Basque cuisine. Canal Saint Martin, Batignolles, and Saint-Germain all have their own Chez Gladines restaurant; a network of these restaurants can be found all throughout the city in various hip locales.
Les Tanneurs de la Butte
Les Tanneurs de la Butte is one of the best restaurants I have eaten at in Paris. Such great tapas, salads, and steak dishes. Awesome desserts, like the mousse, pistache framboise dessert. Did not have anything bad. Great place with great service and a lovely atmosphere!
Butte aux Cailles Nightlife
The nightlife in this neighborhood is nice and authentic, though a little on the quiet side. Here are a few addresses I suggest:
- La Folie en Tete: La Folie en Tête is a bar, pleasantly located on a small square on the heights of the Butte aux Cailles.
- Le Mêlécasse: A charming pub and restaurant in one of the beautiful streets of la Butte aux Cailles. Warm welcome, good menu, good drinks.
- Sputnik: Happy hours & music, plus pizza & charcuterie plates, in a lively, Soviet-themed bar with a terrace.