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Ménilmontant: wine-producing village turned Paris quartier

[caption id="attachment_902" align="aligncenter" width="512"] Mural by Jérôme Mesnager, rue Ménilmontant[/caption]

Originally belonging to the commune of Belleville outside Paris, the Ménilmontant neighborhood was first called Mesnilmautemps (“bad weather house”).  The end of the name evolved into “montant” (“rising”) because of the hill that it sits on overlooking the city.  Until the mid 17th century, it exhisted outside the mur des fermiers généraux (the green line in the map below), which separated Paris from its surrounding communes to regulate products coming into the city, largely for tax purposes.  Because of its location outside the wall, the wine produced and consumed there wasn’t subject to the taxes associated with crossing into Paris, attracting Parisians for afternoons of drinking and creating a rather vibrant guinguette culture. Continue reading

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