Rue de Ménilmontant
MÉNILMONTANT HAS EXISTED since the thirteenth-century. Then it was a hamlet with just a few houses on a hill with vines and fruit trees. Today, it’s part of the thriving alternative Paris.
It was annexed first by Belleville before the French Revolution and then, in 1860, by the city of Paris.
I find streets like the Rue de Ménilmontant fascinating, they are usually off the tourist trail and full of local colour.
On the surface, the street has rather a shabby and rundown look to it far removed from Baron Haussmann’s central Paris but this belies the real character of the place. Despite its appearance, the Rue de Ménilmontant and the surrounding area is a thriving centre of alternative Paris as artists and young professionals have moved in.
Although this street really comes to life at night, it’s not devoid of colour and activity in the daytime. On the day I went, I found and enjoyed a fascinating street market.
Sounds from the Rue de Ménilmontant:
I spend a lot of time walking the streets of Paris listening to and capturing everyday sounds not only from the glamorous but also from the ordinary streets; the sounds we often ignore but sounds which provide the sonic tapestry to our lives. I think it’s really important that these sounds are captured and preserved.
It’s amazing that you have been exploring and presenting sounds from Paris for so long now and you still manage to find new areas to explore/record. It’s comforting to know that there is an still an element of fluidity in the movement of people in these suburbs, a new artist area developing anywhere is always good news. It’s a good reminder that nothing is fixed or static (just like sound itself).
Paris is a really forgiving city. Every time I think I’ve run out of ideas for this blog something else seems to turn up … another place to explore and more sounds to capture. Paris is full of hidden treasures and I never tire of my seemingly endless walks through this city hunting for sights and sounds of interest.
Your point about the fluidity of movement here and developing artistic areas is a good one. France may be known for it’s suffocating bureaucracy but the city of Paris is very accommodating for artists – both struggling and successful. That’s why so many ex-pat artists choose to settle here.