[As the 14e is quite large, this post will be updated as I explore more. I made an artist friend today, on my first visit, and he said he’ll take me around to all the good spots.]
When I think of Paris, the 14e is not what comes to mind at all. A little gritty and industrial, it lacks the polished, posh aesthetic of the neighbourhoods where you find the “classic” Paris monuments like the Eiffel Tower, Arc de Triomphe, and Notre Dame. However, if you want to see Paris “off the beaten path,” a wander through the 14e will yield some delightful surprises.
Jardin des Colonnes
Begin at the métro Pernety on line 13. We are going to the Jardin des Colonnes. It’s English-style, a little wild, with flowers spilling into the walkways. At the same time, the space is ominous and futuristic, enclosed by reflective glass. Surprisingly empty for a fair-weathered afternoon. The entrance is gated, and although it looks closed, just pull it right open! A reminder that sometimes you just have to go and knock.
Notre Dame du Travail
In the same park, across the dusty lane, is Notre Dame du Travail. Our Lady of Work. From the outside, there isn’t much to talk about; it looks like a frumpy old church that missed out on some Gothic splendour. This is where the curious are rewarded: Walk inside!
An interesting take on the vaulted ceilings with an ironwork frame (some of the paint peeled and I think it’s stone, but still interesting). Not so much majestic as avant-garde. The lattice look very much peculiar and a nice variation from weighty stone.
Rue des Thermopyles
Rue Crémieux might be the most talked-about colourful street in the city, but this little street (like the former, so inconspicuous you could miss it if you weren’t looking) has its share of colour and surprises. A spring or summer visit will give you the blooms, but even the doors have a statement to make in the winter!
La Petite Ceinture
A portion of old railroad track is now overrun with foliage. I couldn’t quite figure out how to get down to the tracks, but from above it looked like a jungle, almost. I’ll be back to explore, with a friend, hopefully!
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