You don't think of individual houses when you think of Paris. Unlike London or Berlin, the city limits are extremely compact, so the basic image of the city consists of the traditional Haussmannian type buildings which are generally from 6 to 8 floors high, or the quaint pre-Haussmannian style of smaller buildings, such as one sees in a lot of Montmartre. I live in one of those.
Believe it or not, there are more than 12,000 individual houses in Paris, and La Mouzaïa in the 19th arrondissement has perhaps the largest collection of them. The name comes from the principal street, rue de Mouzaïa. Mouzaïa is a city in Algeria, in case you are wondering.
Branching off from the street are numerous 'villas' -- pedestrian alleys lined with houses with gardens.
I was fascinated by the names of some of the alleys.
Three of those names are former presidents of France. (We have not had a President Amalia yet.) I think it's kind of cool to have a lovely alley named after you rather than a boring big boulevard or avenue.
The vegetation is magnificent at this time of year, even though lilac season has already ended.
Some of the houses had signs indicating the sort of wildlife that one might encounter.
I encountered a few of them myself. They seemed quite ferocious.
Meanwhile, a dog guarded his domicile very professionally.
What was behind the doors of these tranquil houses?
oh my god....must you torment me! These are wonderful photos and I never 'quite found' La Mouzaia in my last trip to Paris. I am still immersed in looking at the Paris Inconnu photos of your other thread,
I have been nearby but alas never explored La Mouzaïa, which looks heavenly. The 19th arrondissement guide explains why there are so many small houses in the little neighbourhood:
"Dans le quartier même de la Mouzaïa se succèdent des maisons d’allure modeste de la fin du XIXe siècle sagement rangées de part et d’autre de rues en pente suivant la topographie particulière des terrains. A cet emplacement, se trouvait en effet l’une des plus importantes et anciennes carrières de gypse de Paris en activité jusque dans les années 1870. En raison de l’instabilité du sous-sol percé de galeries, les constructions furent limitées à un étage sur rez-de-chaussée, conférant ainsi à l’ensemble une heureuse impression d’homogénéité. Cette cohérence est aussi l’œuvre du principal promoteur du lotissement, l’architecte Paul Fouquiau, qui s’efforce de produire un modèle d’habitation économique de “maisons ouvrières” qui seront investies en fait par une clientèle allant jusqu’à la petite bourgeoisie. Malgré l’unité d’ensemble, on relève des variations autour de ce modèle, suivant que les maisons accueillent un, deux, voire trois locataires, suivant aussi l’aspect conservé des façades où domine la brique rouge souvent revêtue d’un enduit".
In short: there was a quarry underneath so the ground was like Swiss cheese; hence it was not possible to build higher than a ground floor and 1st floor above, but this also was promoted as model "workers' houses" (or cottages). These would no doubt have been a kind of social ascension: skilled workers and small craftsmen and small independent businesses.
Well, this finally proves the much-vaunted innate Parisian elegance! Oh my goodness these are beautiful photos of a beautiful area! It's obvious some of the tiny courtyards and front entries have to share space with mundane brooms, motorbikes, and the like, but the sense of personality, verve, and pride shows in each one. The delight the residents must take in their neighborhood is shown by the deliberate stretching of flowering vines from one house to another and the general order -- order that never veers on sterility.
Sometimes, it is clear that the plants are at war with the works of human beings.
One of the articles that I read said that quite a bit of the architecture was improvized, without the intervention of an architect.
Maybe this one, even though it shows a number of sophisticated ideas...?
Some of the mysteries and wonders of the neighborhood are out of reach. Damn!
Security can be an issue in such a desirable location.
I was reading that most of these places never change hand on the open market through real estate agents. People use word of mouth, and if you want to sell your house here, you will have a list of interested buyers within 48 hours.
A 'standard' house is supposedly about 100m² with a double living room and kitchen downstairs, two bedrooms and bath upstairs, and an extra bedroom or office in the attic. Besides the little garden in front, there is another tiny garden in back. You can expect to pay 400,000-600,000 euros for one of these places.
The central town square for most of this area is Place Rhin-et-Danube, with the Danube metro station.
There is even a hotel there. The area is not a secret to everyone, because it had a "complet" sign on it.
This way out.
(I have a report on a REALLY secret area coming up soon. After all of my years living in Paris, I just discovered it last weekend.)
One of the webpages I saw about the area says that Hôtel Rhin et Danube has furnished kitchenettes in each room, which is a great feature. It doesn't seem very expensive (2-star). I haven't found any reliable reviews, but I didn't have much time to look.
I was looking at the price list at the hotel, which went from something like 45 to 80 euros, but it was based on the number of people in the room -- like 1 person 45, 2 persons 58, 3 persons 65, 4 persons 80. That is very rare in France. Usually one person has to pay for a 2-person room.
It's interesting that even in areas that are not considered particularly attractive to live in (the 19th for example), there are still these highly desirable little neighbourhoods. I think though that any area in Paris that has individual houses rather than apartment buildings has become highly desirable.
I'd heard of that hotel before when I was looking for a place near La Villette for the European Social Forum. Unfortunately it and most other low-priced hotels in northeastern Paris were booked and we wound up staying in one of the Ibis places, but that was fine as we were just sleeping there and I wouldn't have had time to go shopping at markets and prepare food, and I didn't have to pay for my (very good) food onsite.
I believe the four-person rate applies to larger rooms, for family groups. It is an unusual arrangement. I don't know much about markets and shops nearby - the large market at Place des Fêtes doesn't seem far. That area is very close to the edge of Paris.
I love the flora and fauna. Like the little houses (that might seem more English?) the flora and fauna remind me much more of Italy - though not the same climate - Parisian urbanism seems to impose far more order and discipline. There aren't many places housecats can be as happy and safe in Paris!
Deyana's comment that it is similar to places she has seen in England is the obvious thing to note about these streets -- there is nothing "Parisian" about them, in terms of how people imagine Paris to be. And they do look very "English" to me as well. I have hardly ever been out of London when I go to England, but I have seen English series enough and Miss Marple to recognize all of this as being more British looking than French.
In terms of British urbanism they remind me most of mews, which were originally stables built along a central lane, later converted to housing, and housing purpose-built in this style. You needn't stray from London to find mews.
That is odd as I think of lola as being in a much warmer climate zone than kerouac. Perhaps because temperature variation is less in Western Europe? (it rarely gets very cold, and until recent global warming not often extremely warm).
Good bump! Fabulous photos. I doubt many tourists make it out to the XIXe. These little villas are so much more to human scale than the rather coldly formal Hausmannian parts most tourists see on the Right Bank
Sadly I doubt anyone remotely working class can afford to live in those houses any longer.
Post by frenchmystiquetour on May 31, 2010 22:52:44 GMT
I found this place on my bike during the winter. It does remind one more of English row-housing than anything Parisian. It's still nice here in winter but so much nicer with all the greenery and flowers. I've got several minutes worth of video from holding my camera in one hand while biking around so you can really get the feeling of going up and down the little alleys. I doubt it's possible to post video here but if so let me know and I'll post some video.
Jazz, I am so pleased to see this thread revived, because whenever I look at it myself, I am continually entralled, but I can't justify bringing it up again just for that reason. I have been wanting to return to see if there is any reason to make yet another report about it, but since I have already made two, I figure that it is enough -- if I have not convinced people to go and see it yet, then there is no reason to persist.