In the 13th arrondissement in Paris lies a unique little place picturesque in appearance and boasting a rustic French charm. With its small cobbled streets, artist studios and colorful houses with flowers, the Butte Aux Cailles district is truly a contrast to the hustle and bustle of the city. Thus, between the street art and quirky bistros, LocalNomad would like to take you on a tour of this quaint little neighborhood unlike any other you will see in the French capital.
Butte Aux Cailles District History
The Butte Aux Cailles district sits on a small hill, rising around 60 meters, in the South of Paris. The neighborhood was named after Pierre Caille, former landowner in 1543. At the time, Butte aux Cailles only consisted in uninhabited terrain and a few windmills bordering the rivière de la Bièvre (River Bièvre). The 17th century saw the development of numerous industrial activities around the river which led to Butte aux Cailles becoming the center for tanning. Unfortunately, the dye factories turned the River Bièvre into an open-air sewer so they decided to bury it under the French capital. In truth, it wasn´t until the 20th century that the Butte Aux Cailles district began to look even remotely similar to the one we know today.
Butte Aux Cailles Architecture
Architecture wise, Butte Aux Cailles is a mix of several different styles. One can find incredible pavilions like those on rue Buot or in Passage Boiton. On rue Daviel you will find the “Petite Alsace” (Little Alsace) comprising a group of approximately 40 timbered houses with pointed roofs reminiscent of the Alsatian style. Just across you´ll find Villa Daviel, a street lined with superb top-of-the-line green houses. Buttes aux Cailles is truly a piece of the countryside in the heart of Paris.
Art Deco Style can also be found here, notably thanks to the “Piscine de la Butte Aux Cailles” (Butte Aux Cailles Pool). Designed by architect Louis Bonnier, it was first opened in 1924 on Place Paul Verlaine. It comprises one of the oldest public swimming pools in Paris and has even been designated a French National Heritage Site (Monument Historique).
Finally, just nearby visitors will find the Butte Aux Cailles artesian wells, which were later turned into public fountains in the year 2000. The water, drawn from more than 600 meters underground, is so pure and clean that it´s not uncommon to see locals come and fill up empty bottles for free.
Butte Aux Cailles Artists
The Butte aux Cailles district inspired and attracted a great deal of artists. For starters, the Parisian street art enthusiasts have turned this district into a giant outdoor canvas. It´s impossible not to come across some kind of wall covered with stencil paintings by Miss Tic, a local icon. This street artist is known for covering the walls of the Butte aux Cailles streets with her sexy silhouettes and poetic phrases, just like the one on rue des Cinq-Diamants.
It is also impossible to miss the pink hippopotamus in Passage Boiton, a piece by Mosko & Associés…
And the list doesn´t stop there! Jef Aérosol, Jana and Js, Nemo and Speedy Graphito are just a few of the many other street artists that have left their mark in the Butte Aux Cailles district in Paris.
At first glance Butte Aux Cailles seems like a peaceful quiet place during the day, but at night Butte aux Cailles comes to life when the Parisians head out for a drink in the neighborhood bistros. So if you want to stroll down the streets of the Butte Aux Cailles district and soak up the quaint atmosphere then remember to rent one of our luxury vacation rentals at feelparis.com. Enjoy!