The 20eme arrondissement is not always on the to-do list of most visitors coming to Paris, unless it is to visit the Père Lachaise museum. There are not many large museums or attractions here, although there are plenty of hidden gems.
On the east end of the city, it is a large sprawling arrondissement on the edge of the Périphérique highway.
This district in Paris is more of a family neighborhood, but there are some unexpectedly hip places around the 20th, such as the Bellevilloise bar and the Mama Shelter restaurant and hotel.
This is where the locals hang out, so if you are looking to immerse yourself in the Parisian way of life, this may be where you want to base yourself. So let’s see what there is to do in the 20th arrondissement, shall we? Allons-y!
What to see: Top Attractions
Père Lachaise cemetery
The most famous site in the 20th arrondissement is likely the Père Lachaise cemetery which is located here at 16 Rue du Repos (meaning “Street of rest). It is the largest cemetery in Paris, and holds the remains of some of the most famous people in France, after the Pantheon.
Notable figures include Frédéric Chopin, singer Édith Piaf, writer Marcel Proust, artist Camille Pissarro, and even American Jim Morrison. The cemetery dates back to 1804 during the reign of Napoleon Bonaparte, who decreed that everyone had the right to a burial, regardless of race, wealth, or religion.
Much of the initial popularity of the cemetery is due to the reburial here of two famous French philosophers Peter Abelard and Héloïse d’Argenteuil who lived in the 12th century. Their tragic love story and writings were so famous, that when they were buried together at Père Lachaise in 1817, it immediately boosted the cemetery’s profile into the French consciousness. By tradition, lovers or lovelorn singletons leave letters at the crypt even today, in tribute or in hope of finding true love.
Today you can take a guided tour around the cemetery and hear more stories about the place and its famous residents.
La Petite Ceinture
Built in the 1850s, the Petit Ceinture is an old circular railway built as a means to supply the city’s fortification walls with machinery, ammunition and provisions along the wall, as well as move troops around.
It has not been in use since 1934, and the old railway lines have become a nature reserve famous for its unusual biodiversity, with more than 200 different plant species and 70+ animal species right on the edge of Paris.
You can access la Petite Ceinture at in the 20th arrondissement at 11 rue de la Mare (for reduced mobility) or 79 rue de Ménilmontant.
Edith Piaf in Belleville
Belleville in the 20th arrondissement remains synonymous with one of its most famous former residents, Edith Piaf. One of the most popular French musicians in her day, her melancholic tunes and love ballads have remained among the top French songs of all time.
And it is in the 20th arrondissement that you will Tenon Hospital where she was born, 72 Rue de Belleville where she lived as a child, and Aux Folies café nightclub where she would find fame. From La vie en rose to Je ne regrette rien, her influence on French culture remains.
Other famous addresses in the area are Place Édith Piaf where a bar is located in her name and Le Vieux Belleville café where the public is invited to sing along to her most well-known tunes.
Parc de Belleville
If you are looking to watch the fireworks on Bastille day (14 July) and don’t particularly want to deal with the crowd at the Eiffel Tower, the Parc de Belleville in the 20th arrondissement is a great place to be. It is a small sloping on a hill offering offers great vantage points across the city.
There is also has a small vineyard in the area with plantings of pinot meunier and chardonnay grapes at the top of Parc de Belleville.
In terms of shopping, there are not really any large commercial malls in the 20th arrondissement, but there are quite a few local farmers’ markets sprinkled around the area that are set up on Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday mornings.
The biggest ones are Marché Télégraphe on Rue du Télégraphe (Metro Telegraph) and Marché Belgrand at Place Edith Piaf (Metro Gambetta). Both markets are open on Wednesday and Saturday mornings.
Other outdoor markets include the Marché aux puces de Montreuil at Avenue du Professeur André Lemierre (Métro Porte de Montreuil) and Vide-grenier de la place des Grandes Rigoles at Place des Grandes Rigoles (Métro Pyrénées). These markets sell antiques, knickknacks, and other 2nd hand items and are quite popular with les antiquers.
What to eat: Restaurants, Brasseries, and Bistros
The 20th arrondissement has no shortage of restaurants, with quite a variety. Some local favorites are:
- Mama Shelter – popular bar and restaurant in a hotel at 109 Rue de Bagnolet, 75020 Paris
- Dilia – creative Italian at 1 Rue d’Eupatoria, 75020 Paris
- Les Mondes Bohèmes – laidback French at 31 Rue des Vignoles, 75020 Paris
- Restaurant Là-haut – neighborhood bistro at 10 Rue Pixérécourt, 75020 Paris
You can find more ideas and ways of spending an evening in Paris here.
Bars and Nightlife
There are a lot of small bars and pubs in this area, catering to locals rather than many tourists. Some popular favorites are:
- Bellevilloise bar – large famous bar and cultural space at 19 Rue Boyer, 75020 Paris
- Les Pères Populaires – casual and cozy bar at 46 Rue de Buzenval, 75020 Paris
- Le Bouillon Belge – French pub at 6 Rue Planchat, 75020 Paris
- Mino – cocktail bar at 42 Rue de Ménilmontant, 75020 Paris
You can find more bars and nightlife options around Paris here.
Where to stay: Hotels and other accommodation
While the 20th arrondissement is not the most central, there are several metro stations around the area that make it very convenient to get around. Prices of hotels in the 20eme arrondissement are also slightly cheaper compared to the central arrondissements. Some recommended hotels are:
You can find more accommodation options for the 20th arrondissement here.