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The Parisian Neighbourhood with African Flair

Belleville has long been a gathering place for immigrants. Armenian, Greek and Polish communities came and settled prior to the second world war. Sephardic Jews from Tunisia and Algeria soon followed. In the 1970s, Chinese and Vietnamese migrants arrived, and now cohabit with diverse communities from north and west Africa. Longstanding institution Chez René et Gabin attracts a loyal following, particularly on Fridays, when a brisk takeaway trade takes place in preparation for Shabbat. The menu features familiar Sephardic staples such as shakshouka (spiced eggs and peppers poached in tomato sauce), sitting alongside lesser-known daily specials like mloukhia, a vivid green herbaceous casserole of braised beef, and akoud, a slow-simmered and subtly spiced tripe stew. Although the signature casse croûte, a traditional Tunisian sandwich, is a bestseller for good reason, an arguably better version can be found on the other side of the street.