Category Archives: Paris Places

Posts on the history and character of special places in Paris

Fontaine des Innocents

The Place Joachim du Bellay, a stone’s throw from Les Halles, is a popular crossroads for people to just hang out. But unbeknownst to many of its current users, this little square has an extraordinarily deep and textured history. It is a premiere example of how Paris today is the sum of many layers of remarkable and at times unexpected history.

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News from Place de la République

Last Thursday, June 21st, was a big day for the Place de la République as construction for the new lay-out of the square entered phase 2 (see background in my post Place de la République).

With this, an important symbol of the current city administration’s move away from the car-centric urban planning is beginning to be visible.

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Exploring Grand Paris: Malakoff

The ring of towns adjacent to Paris known as the Petite Couronne is currently the most interesting part of the metropolis.

As separate entities from Paris proper, each municipality has developed its own identity and unique history. Now, however, with the gentrification of Paris pushing more and more middle-class people outside the city limits, they are changing. These are territories full of projects and ideas, often with young populations and key protagonists who tend to be more on the margin of the Parisian establishment.

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Parc des Buttes-Chaumont

“The transformation of the Chaumont hill into a grandiose park, with viewpoints as varied as they are picturesque, is one of the most surprising changes brought about by the Paris administration since it undertook the renewal of the old neighborhoods of Paris,” wrote the Almanach du Magasin Pittoresque in its review of the major events of 1867.

The Parc des Buttes-Chaumont is certainly the most spectacular of Paris’s Second Empire parks. Due to its location, however, it is not very much visited by tourists. If one is interested in what Second Empire urbanism really meant for Paris – and is at the same time curious about the dynamic neighboring area of Belleville and what it has to offer – one should absolutely leave the beaten path and head to the north-east of the city.

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Parc Clichy-Batignolles – Martin Luther King

The new Batignolles neighborhood is going up in the north-west of Paris. Well before the rest of the area is ready, the City of Paris has opened up a public park, the Parc Martin Luther King. Although it is in the middle of a construction site and vacant lots, with the buildings that would presumably provide its patrons not even built yet, this park is already vibrant and lively, completely appropriated by the residents of the area.

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Place de la République

Construction begins this week on the new Place de la République, a project 150 years in the making.

At 300 yards by 130 yards, the Place de la République is one of the largest squares in Europe. But its lay-out has been a problem that has bedeviled urban designers since Gabriel Davioud was first entrusted with its design in the 1860s.

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Passy Cemetery

A stone’s throw from the constant flow of tourists from the Place du Trocadéro and the Palais de Chaillot down to the Seine and the Eiffel Tower, there is a wonderful little space of seclusion and peace: the Passy Cemetery. Although it is small, this cemetery is a well-tended oasis in the city, full of interesting personalities from the city’s history.

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