Little villages of Paris: the quaint Square Montsouris
Invisible Paris. Or hidden Paris. As you walk along these little alleyways you can easily question which town you are in. They have kept the soul of colourful little villages. Come summer or winter they ooze off-beat charm. Charm that takes you a large number of kilometres away from your usual Paris. We start this photo story of our “little villages of Paris series” with the quaint Square Montsouris. A secret place that Google map doesn’t show.
Some arrondissements in Paris yield many of these quaint private streets. Locally they are known as villas. These streets are tucked in unusual places. Unexpected places. Unlike ancient communities like Montmartre or Batignolles that are undoubtedly more touristy. It is therefore this particular point that yields the village atmosphere.
This is my neighbourhood. Square Montsouris is a cobblestone alleyway leading of from Rue Nansoury and Parc Monsouris on one hand and Avenue Reille on the other hand. It is a quiet and residential place. In other words a private place. This southern part of the 14th arrondissement was once part of the town of Montrouge. Additionally it was a poor neighbourhood. Today though, houses lining this street are a far cry from that era. Dating back from 1920’s, the “ruelle” takes its name from the romantic Parc Monsouris nearby. It mixes bright colourful individual houses and just as equally bright small apartment blocks.
The quaint Square Montsouris: A rather atypical one ruelle village
The name Montsouris finds its origins in a former nearby windmill called “Moulin de Moque-souris”. In other words the windmill that “takes the mickey” out of mices. Once a joke the name did evolve to what is today Montsouris. Although most of the architecture is Art deco and Art nouveau, each house has its own individuality. It’s own style. The bright orange house on the left will brighten your day. The wonderfully ivy clad one will awaken your intense desire for lushness. That funky one will leave you scratching your bewildered head. And the blue one will take you the sunnier French riviera. It is in essence a narrow winding alleyway with a huge community feel. Most importantly it is this community feel that gives this little area a quaint and provincial atmosphere. It is this disorganisation in layout that gives it its authenticity.
The quaint Square Montsouris is one alleyway microcosm of a village. It is not disturbed much neither by people nor by cars. In warmer days, flowering trees and shrubs lining front porches compete for attention. Ivy-covered walls takes you to lush wonderland. My favourite sight is the large wisteria spreading its large arms across the front of the house located towards the middle of the ruelle. Quite frankly the second biggest wisteria i have seen on this side of Paris by far. The biggest one being Au Vieux Paris d’Arcole near Saint Michel Notre Dame. You can read the second part of this series here, the secretive rue des Thermopyls.
xoxo M. Let’s share our travel inspiration