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Paris 19
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Paris 19

This arrondissement was born in 1860, like all the outlying arrondissements of Paris, from the annexation of two villages or parts of villages: the northern part of Belleville and La Villette, where cabarets and guinguettes were still selling "wines from the hillsides of Belleville", despite being transformed from 1830 into working-class districts.


Two very old villages are themselves at the origin of Belleville

- Village of Savies: we find the first trace of it in 862, when Charles Le Chauve gave the abbey of St Denis a mesnil (large house) located in Savies, located on the southern part of the future Belleville. In the 13th century, other donations were made, which attests to the development of Savies.

- Village of Poitronville: appeared a little later at the top of the slopes of Belleville in the 12th century around a point of capture of sources by the monks of St Lazare who brought water by an aqueduct to their establishment in the Faubourg St Denis. This hamlet, so named because the lord is the sieur Poitron, was located between the large farm of Savies (94, rue de Belleville today) and the hill of Beauregard (rue des Lilas and Bellevue) This village develops quite quickly, but was devastated during the Hundred Years' War (particularly in 1436); it was reborn from its ashes under the name of Belleville in 1451. It only received a chapel in 1543 (at 139, rue de Belleville) replaced by a church in 1635.
The village is divided into many seigniory, mainly ecclesiastical (about twenty in the 16th century), and justice belongs to the lord of Maulny in his castle of Bruyères.
The municipality appears with the Edict of Louis XIV which prescribes the formation of communal assemblies alongside the parish factory councils; it was formed in 1702 with a syndicate at its head. 

La Villette

Located north of the previous one, this hamlet is attested from the 11th century under the name of Roveium (Rouvray), then under the name of Villeneuve St Lazare de Paris (1198), because the leprosarium of St Lazare had many lands there. In 1374, we find “La Villette St Ladre lès Paris”. We finally find “Longheville” in 1407 because the village stretches along the roads of Flanders and Germany. In the 13th century, the church of St Jacques and St Christophe was built (at 132 rue de Flandre), rebuilt in 1712. Only three lords share the territory of the parish.

In 1646, the community of Ste Périne moved to La Villette, in the current rue de Flandre, replaced in 1757 by the Holy Family of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.

These two villages are mainly agricultural (wheat and cereals) and fruit trees (rue du Pré St Gervais was called rue des Cerisiers…) and there is also a lot of livestock farming. In 1805, these arable lands represented 227 of the 305 hectares of La Villette.

But there are also many vines, attested from the beginning of the 13th century, and still existing in the 18th century almost everywhere between inhabited places. The ban des vendanges determines the date of these and the wine is tasted on the spot in the cabarets and guinguettes which are numerous, even if the vines disappear at the beginning of the 19th century.

But it is in this context that develops what we would today call a spirit of protest; From the reign of Louis XV, the decline of piety was flagrant there, and the construction of the Wall of the Farmers General in 1787 stirred up protest (“Le mur murant Paris rend Paris murmurant”). Fraud and smuggling flourish at night (ladders, tunnels, etc.) and clashes with Farm clerks are frequent and extremely violent. The aggressiveness of the peasants of Belleville is well known in Paris.

During the Revolution, it was much more Belleville than La Villette who stood out for his zeal; the Popular Society has 250 members there, or half of the population. However, being able to supply only wine but no wheat to the Paris Commune, Belleville became suspect and the mayor and the local head of the national guard were guillotined in June 1794.

In 1814 then 1815, the villages were the site of clashes between the Allies and General Marmont, whose role was to defend the east of Paris. On April 1, 1814 the Emperor of Russia and the King of Prussia, then on April 12 the Count of Artois (future Charles 10) entered Paris through the Barrière de la Villette.

In her tradition as an agitator, the cabarets of Belleville became the refuge of opponents of the Restoration and there were even Republicans, who were extremely few in number at that time. These protesters meet in singing societies called "goguettes", where the songs of Béranger, in particular, are very popular.

Then, from 1830, the demographic and urban explosion transformed the two villages: La Villette went from 2,628 inhabitants in 1829 to 12,180 in 1847 and Belleville from 8,000 to 30,000 at the same time. All this explains the gradual disappearance of agriculture and, on the social level, the development of misery in this population of poor workers, small craftsmen, very small workshops, working children from the age of 8 years …..and therefore the active participation in the revolution of 1848 and the days of June and, of course, in the Commune of 1871.

In 1860, the creation of the 19th arrondissement included La Villette (which violently protested this passage "on the wrong side of the granting") and the northern half of Belleville, including the main street, rue de Paris (now rue de Belleville) serves as a limit with the 20th. The former town hall of La Villette becomes the town hall of the new arrondissement.

Major works were then undertaken: a large water reservoir, food markets (including the huge La Villette market in 1862), a sewer network and the 25-hectare Buttes-Chaumont park.

Main lanes

Rue de Belleville: formerly rue de Paris until 1868, it crossed La Courtille, a locality located before the village of Belleville (to the south-east). The guinguettes that were there gave rise to the "descent of the Courtille" on Ash Wednesday, consisting of the descent of hundreds of floats of all kinds overloaded with all the revelers in Paris. At its height, under the Restoration, this farandole was led by Charles de la Battut, nicknamed “Mylord l’Arsouille”. The last descent took place in 1838.

N°8: Taverne Dénoyez, later replaced by the Théâtre des Folies Belleville, which became a cinema.

N°13: Bal Favié, at the same time.

N°46: The Belleville theater under the Restoration.

N°94: the Ferme de Savy, which was more of a mansion than a farm, disappeared in 1767.

N°139: a chapel was built in 1543 in the heart of the village, replaced by a church in 1635, then by the current one in 1859. The Belleville funicular had its terminus in front of the church.

N°141: location of the town hall from 1847 to 1875.

N°160 to 174: convent of the monks of Picpus de Belleville. The old seigniorial house was occupied in 1638 by monks from Picpus until the Revolution when the buildings were destroyed.

N°213: one of the old manholes of the aqueduct that crossed Belleville: the Lantern manhole, from the 14th century; class.

Rue Clavel: “Path stretching from the mountain of Belleville to the mills of Butte-Chaumont” at the beginning of the 18th century, then rue des Moulins

Place Colonel Fabien: occupies a former vacant lot where, from 1778, animal fights, in particular bulls and dogs, were held. It was the “place du Combat”; these disappeared in 1850

Rue Curial: very old road which led to the village of Aubervilliers and which had a Notre-Dame des Vertus chapel, hence the name it took in 1730.

Rue de l'Encheval: it was the Encheval path that led to the eponymous place.

Rue des Fêtes: this street linked Belleville to Prés-St-Gervais from the end of the 17th century.
There is a hotel from this period at No. 11.

Rue de Flandre: Old Roman road from Lutèce to Senlis. Called chemin de Senlis then chemin de Louvres,….it was therefore the main street of the village of La Villette. It saw the flight from Varennes, the entry of the allies in 1814, then the Comte d'Artois, or the entry of Charles 10 after his coronation.

From N°61 to 65 was the Convent of Ste Périne, from 1648 to 1742.

N°110 and 112: former Erard piano factory.

N°132: first church of La Villette from the 15th century which remained until 1835

Rue de la Grenade: 18th century street which owes its name to a guinguette.

Rue Haxo: this is an alley in the former park of the Château de Ménilmontant, which became a street in 1834 under the name of rue de Vincennes. In a former café-concert, the city of Vincennes, (N°85) in May 1871, 52 innocent hostages were brought in and executed; it is one of the many gratuitous crimes of the Commune. A chapel was built on this site in 1936.

Rue Janssen: old Bois-de-l’Orme trail indicated in 1730, now Rue des Lilas.

Avenue Jean-Jaurès: this is the old road to Germany which received different names: grand chemin de Meaux (1768), route de Pantin (1790),….. The cattle market was held from 1855 at No. 211. :

Rue de Meaux: old path from Paris to Meaux replaced by the new path from Meaux in 1768 (avenue J.Jaurès).

N°46: second Montfaucon gallows from 1761 after the demolition of the first (rue de la Grange-aux-Belles); this second gibbet disappeared in 1792. In 1772, the great road of Montfaucon was installed next to receive the rubbish of Paris and this, until 1837. The place was cleaned up in 1849.

Rue de Nantes: second main street of the village of La Villette, it was called rue de l'Eglise de La Villette in the 17th century, then Saint-Jacques. It took its current name in 1833.

Rue Rebeval: former Chemin St Laurent which linked Belleville to the Parisian district of St Laurent

Rue de Romainville: indicated in the 17th century, it extended the rue de Belleville by bypassing the park of the Château de Ménilmontant. She was driving to Romainville.

Rue des Solitaires: indicated under this name from 1730.

Rue de Thionville: from the 18th century; it was then the “Chemin des Moines”.