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Flag of FranceBelleville Chinatown

franceParis’s second Chinatown or “Quartier Chinois” emerged during the 1980s in Belleville, the 20th arrondissement. Spatially, Belleville Chinatown has buildings typically of a French neighborhood and the first signs of this Chinatown are shops specializing in Chinese foodstuff and restaurants. In some of the side streets, you can also find interesting Chinese restaurants with traditional architectural designs.

Many Chinese residents in Belleville Chinatown came from Wen Zhou but there are also students from other parts of Northern China. This sometimes gives the impression of Paris 13 arrondissement Chinatown as an Indo Chinese Chinatown and Belleville being a Chinatown for mainland Chinese. This perception is incorrect as evidenced by the presence of the Indochinese Clan Association, Association D’union Des Indochinois En France (旅法印支华人会馆) complete with shrine dedicated to Guan Gong.

But regardless where they migrated from, the Chinese share the same cultural traditions and celebrate the same festivals thus offering them an opportunity for communal celebrations.

The most important and famous celebration is the Chinese New Year; a period with a lot of Lion dance, Dragon dance performances and fire crackers. See Chinese New Year celebration in Bellevilla Chinatown.

The local community even has a major Chinese New Year parade that rivals the one in Paris Chinatown 13 arrondissement. There is also another Chinese New Year parade in the Paris City Center.

But as the parades are held on different days during the Chinese New Year, they complement each other and residents in Paris and tourists have 2 opportunities to indulge in the atmosphere of the Chinese New Year.

One of the local resident’s main concerns is security as reflected in a series of violent robberies and attacks. In June 2010, about 20 000 residents participated in a demonstration under the slogan “No Violence but Security” to raise awareness for the need for better security.

Belleville is the melting pot of Paris with Greeks, Jewish, Armenians, North Africans, Sub-Saharan Africans and Chinese migrants establishing themselves there. While building their own community, they also contributed to the diversity of the area.  The emergence of a Belleville Chinatown has therefore, enhanced the area’s reputation for diversity.

 

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