Close this search box.
A photo of a path of graves and tombs in the Pere Lachaise cemetery in the 20e arrondissement of Paris.

20e Arrondissement of Paris – Ménilmontant

We have finally made it to the last stop of our tour of the arrondissements! This tour first kicked off in January with a look at the 1er arrondissement of Paris. Since then, we have journeyed around the city three times, crossed the Seine four times, and have finally made it to the end: the 20e arrondissement. And I have several friends who live in this district who would say that I saved the best for last. This is because the 20e is home to beautiful parks, iconic French singers, and the most visited cemetery in the world. So for the final time on this tour, let’s dive in!

A Walk Through a Cemetery

The 20e arrondissement is a rarely visited district with one big exception. The Père-Lachaise Cemetery. This cemetery was built in 1804, and it is the largest cemetery in Paris. It is also the city’s first garden cemetery, designed to encourage people to visit and take a stroll through its cobblestoned lanes and pathways. Unfortunately, no one seemed particularly interested in being buried in Père-Lachaise when it was first opened, as it was considered to be too far from the centre of town. It wasn’t until the remains of Jean de La Fontaine, Molière, and Heloise and Abelard were transferred to Père-Lachaise in 1817 that its popularity took off. Suddenly, everyone in Paris wanted to be buried among celebrities. Today, Père-Lachaise is the most visited cemetery in the world, with visitors coming to pay their respects to Oscar Wilde, Jim Morrison, Colette, Gertrude Stein, and Marcel Proust, among many others.

Beautiful Parks and Hidden Gardens

The Père-Lachaise Cemetery is not the only place to go for a walk in the 20e arrondissement. This district is full of beautiful public parks, including the magnificent Parc de Belleville, which offers stunning views of the city. There is also Square des Grès, a beautiful green space in the heart of the neighbourhood of Charonne, and Square Sarah Bernhardt, named after the legendary actress. But my personal favourite is the Jardin Naturel Pierre-Emmanuel. This hidden garden can be found on the east side of the Père-Lachaise cemetery, and it is a completely natural garden. This means there is no landscaping or formal planting in this garden. It has simply been allowed to grow, making it a wonderful natural oasis in the middle of Paris.

The Birthplace of Edith Piaf

Edith Piaf‘s birth certificate says that she was born in the Tenon Hospital in the 20e arrondissement. However, urban legend says that she was born on the street at 72 Rue de Belleville. The story goes that her mother was on her way to hail a taxi to the hospital, but baby Edith couldn’t wait. Therefore, assisted by two policemen, her mother gave birth in the doorway of this inconspicuous address in the 20e. Today, a plaque marks this occasion above the doorway, and residents of the 20e arrondissement remain fiercely proud of the fact that one of France’s greatest entertainers was one of their own. Edith Piaf remains in the 20e, as she is buried in the Père-Lachaise cemetery. There is also Place Edith Piaf, which pays tribute to the legendary singer.

Hidden Gems

La Campagne à Paris – Translates to the countryside in Paris, and it is a very apt description. This tiny neighbourhood is made up of cobblestoned streets lined with brick and stone houses, and it absolutely makes you feel like you have left the city and are walking through the French countryside.

Rue Denoyez – A narrow street in Belleville that is covered in ever-changing street art. There is also the Cafe Aux Folies at the west end of this street, which is a true locals haunt and a great place to grab a drink.

Moncoeur Belleville – A restaurant located at the top of Parc de Belleville with a terrace that offers sweeping views of the city.

Want to read more about the arrondissements of Paris? Click HERE.

Laura Moore is a professional storyteller who loves history and the many stories that make Paris one of the most fascinating cities in the world. Join one of her signature tours to learn the story of a city.


A close up photo of a plate of food. It is a full fish with lots of garnishes.

I Was Wrong About Food Tours

Controversial opinion: I don’t like food. Wait, WAIT!! Before everyone grabs their pitchforks, let me explain. If good food is placed in front of me,