Historically, Belleville (Paris) was a working-class neighborhood. People living in the independent village of Belleville played a large part in establishing the Second French Republic through their actions during the Revolution of 1848. In 1871, residents of the incorporated neighborhood of Belleville were some of the strongest supporters of the Paris Commune. When the Versailles Army came to reconquer Paris in May of that year, it faced some of the toughest resistance in Belleville and in neighboring Ménilmontant. During the first half of the 20th century, many immigrants settled there. During the 1980s Parisian artists and musicians, attracted by the cheaper rents, the numerous vacant large spaces, as well as the old Paris charm of its smaller streets, started moving there. Belleville has undergone much gentrification over the years, similar to that of certain neighborhoods in New York etc.

Paris 2009