The village of Charonne was annexed to the city of Paris in 1860, and it’s now part of the 20th arrondissement, near Père Lachaise Cemetery. If you’re visiting Paris, and you decide to visit Père Lachaise cemetery, you should definitely take some time to visit this lovely part of Paris. What’s so amazing about it? You can still have a village-feel inside Paris!
You should start at the church of Saint-Germain de Charonne in Rue de Bagnolet not too far from it’s intersection with Rue des Pyrénées. This church was built in the 12th century, burned during the Hundred Years War, and rebuilt in the 15th century.
The base of the tower, with its four large pillars, is the oldest part of the building. Its bell, called Germaine, is from 1606. Throughout the 18th and 19th century, the church experienced significant work. Thus, in 1847, lowering the rue de Bagnolet required the construction of retaining walls that we can still see today. Also, take a stroll around it and discover a small cemetery near the church. Then walk through the rue St Blaise (facing the church) and discover ateliers, restaurants, and cafés.
Its charm was preserved perhaps by the fact that it wasn’t touched by Haussmann’s work in the 19th century and it still resist urban planners today. However, it is far from being a sleepy place because in the same area, you can find some really trendy places such as “La Flèche d’Or” situated in the old Charonne train station on the now unused Petite Ceinture line (you can still see the old railways just by crossing the street in front of “La Flèche d’Or”). It’s a concert venue for up-and-coming bands and if you’re visiting the area at night, it could be a good place to have a drink and enjoy some alternative music.
So during the day or at night, It’s a wonderful place to take some unused snapshots and discover a different side of Paris that most tourists don’t know about!