I've been scoping out new neighborhoods in Paris - new for me, at least - beyond the well-trod historic and museum-filled center - where I'm told the "vrai parisien" lives. Because a novel I'm currently reading is set in Belleville (a neighborhood in the northeastern part of Paris) in the post-World War II years, I decided it was time to check out the Parc de Belleville, which is situated on one side of a hill, facing towards Paris' center and, as could be expected, has wonderful views of the city.
It's not a very big park and not much of place for a run (unless you're into hill work, which I'm definitely not); it's rather more for a slow stroll, and preferably downhill rather than up. It's also lovely, of course, for a picnic or reading a book or taking in the rare Paris sun.
The best way to start, then, is to take the métro to the Pyrénées station. Coming out of the métro, head in the downhill direction and turn left on rue Piat. It's just a bit further down that street, also downhill.
The walk itself through the park is lovely and leisurely because the path winds and turns down the hill with views so spectacular that you can't help stopping to gaze into the distance to try to pinpoint landmarks.
As for the neighborhood itself, it is much like it was in those post-war years - a melting pot of newcomers to France. At the same time, though, it has become very popular with younger Parisians who are seeking affordable apartments and so are turning it into one of the more trendy parts of town, as has been occurring through much of the northeastern quadrant of Paris in recent years.