An independent space, dedicated to art and festivities
The Bellevilloise was initially funded in 1877, in the wake of the Paris Commune, as the first Parisian cooperative with a mission to provide the more modest with access to political education and culture.
Simultaneously a hotbed of resistance, of the first “producer-to-consumer” direct trades – a pioneering fair trade method, and of entertainment, the Bellevilloise played a determining role between 1910 and 1949 in the economic and cultural life of East Paris.
Since 2005, the rousing trio formed by Renaud Barillet, Fabrice Martinez, and Philippe Jupin, and their backgrounds in performing arts, production, and media, has reopened this historic Parisian place to the people with a powerful project: reanimate the Bellevilloise spirit by creating an extensive, one-of-a-kind independent space, dedicated to artistic activities and public events open to a general audience, but also to companies and the media.
“The Bellevilloise aka: the cultural fortress”
January 1877: in the wake of the Paris Commune, the 19th and 20th districts of Paris are still bruised by the repression; a group of twenty labourers, including eighteen mechanics, decide to fund the third cooperative of Belleville, a small grocer’s shop open two nights a week, where they take turns selling goods after work hours.
On the eve of World War II, backed by 9,000 members, the cooperative was the first of its kind in Paris and in France, and rapidly became a model. At the time, under the roof of “The House of the Bellevilloise People,” Jean Jaurès held political gatherings on the first floor, while the first experimental visions of fair trade were hosted on the floor below, following Joseph Proudhon’s principles and a motto that would forever resonate in the history of trade: “From the producer to the consumer.”
Since its creation, the Bellevilloise’s mission has always been to give everyone access to political education and culture. The building itself reflects this project: most of the space is assigned to meeting and assembly rooms, since commercial activities are limited to the front shop and neighboring cafe.
With its stance and undeniable success, the Bellevilloise can rightfully claim the title of “cultural fortress”. At the time, the Bellevilloise helped create and fund numerous cultural and artistic projects, among which: “The Popular University of La Semaille,” a library (including 4,000 volumes), an avant-garde artist group called “La Muse Bellevilloise,” a symphony also known as “l’Harmonie Bellevilloise”, and one of the very first movie theaters in Paris, “Les étoiles,”…
The people flocked to its cafe to celebrate the elections. The place had reached its pinnacle. But in 1936, internal feuds eventually led to its collapse.
Repurchased in 1950 by Organic, a pension fund, the space is turned into an office building and put up for sale in 2000.
Renaud Barillet, Fabrice Martinez, and Philippe Jupin – a determined and energetic trio of culture, entertainment, and communication professionals, pried the historic Parisian space out of the hands of real estate agents, to reopen it to the public.
The Bellevilloise reopened on September 9th, 2006. It is today one of the main independent venues in Paris for a range of events, as well as artistic and festive activities.
The Bellevilloise guideline: freedom of expression, cross-culturalism, avant-garde.
Since its re-opening, the Bellevilloise, an independent and multidisciplinary Parisian venue, established in what used to be a community center, now dedicates its 2,000 m² to all forms of expression and experimentation: innovative artistic approaches, new cultural and social practices, presentations, but also to the festive display of ideas and creation,…
Concerts, performances, exhibitions, screenings, fashion shows, and even a club and cafe…
A platform for cross-culturalism, encounters and exchanges, the Bellevilloise is open to all.
It is also an architectural heritage just waiting to be discovered, a stage open to its surroundings and neighbors: the Loft & Forum spaces, Club, Cafe – Concert – Restaurant in the Halle aux Oliviers (an Olive Tree foyer) which features a panoramic terrace overlooking the capital.