Eastern neighbourhoods have long been being the most ”popular” areas, in the sense that they have been occupied by lower classes, as opposed to the ”quartiers chics”, located in Western Paris. This sociological dispersion goes back to the end of 17th century, when aristocrats left the Marais to Western districts to get closer to the new royal residence in Versailles, and was reinforced by different factors, including prevailing winds blowing from West to East.
For these reasons, while Western neighbourhoods are quite homogeneous in architecture and urbanism, Eastern ones are more heterogeneous, with huge concrete buildings built to host working classes, but also ‘provincial’ areas, like Village de Charonne, Villas de la Mouzaïa, or Butte Bergeyre.
Another good example is ”La Campagne à Paris” (the country in Paris), built on a small hill North-West of Porte de Bagnolet (since December 2012, it is also accessible by the tram 3b). From flowered Rue Paul Strauss or from one of the numerous stairs surrounding the hill, you can access this beautiful and picturesque residential block, built on old gypsum quarries, today a paradise for urban cats, lovers looking for discretion to kiss or flirt, and spring or summer picnickers.