Travel notes from the real France. Carnet de Voyage is a weekly personal travel story in France sent in by readers. If you’d like to write a story for Carnet de Voyage, head here for details on how to submit.
Whenever I’m in Paris, I always discover something new, even though I’ve been there so many times. One of these discoveries is a special building in the 7th arrondissement, near rue Saint-Dominique. Besides being a remarkable building, it houses a real hidden gem, but more about that later.
I was walking along Avenue de la Bourdonnais when I looked down a side street (rue du Général Camou) and saw this beautiful Art Nouveau entrance.
The man who designed this building, was Jules Lavirotte (1864-1929). He obtained his architectural degree in 1894 after studying at the Beaux Arts in Lyon and then at the Beaux Arts in Paris as a student of the architect Paul Blondel. He designed five buildings in the 7th arrondissement of Paris, namely:
- 151 rue de Grenelle, 1889, in a neo-French Rococo style
- 12 rue Sédillot, 1899, designed for Countess Monttessuy
- 3 square Rapp, 1900, also designed for Countess Monttessuy, but also for himself and his wife
- 29 avenue Rapp, 1901
- 134 rue de Grenelle, 1903
I walked to the building and looked at the irregular shapes, observng all the details. For some, this architecture known for its intricate and ornate decorative elements is hysterical, but I can appreciate it. It is not without reason that Lavirotte is called the Parisian Gaudi.
While the building’s facade and beautiful Art Nouveau interior would be enough to make most people dream of living here, the Lavirotte Building also has a particular location about two blocks from the Eiffel Tower. But it gets even better! This building has an unparalleled view of the Eiffel Tower. So if you are ever lucky enough to become the owner of an apartment there, you can enjoy the Eiffel Tower from your art-nouveau balcony with a café or another nice drink :).
But there’s still more! If you walk towards rue Saint-Dominique, you will see a hidden square on the closed side: Square Rapp. From here you have a beautiful view of the Eiffel Tower too and can enjoy the architecture even more. Unfortunately, the square is not accessible if you don’t live there, but you can still experience the special atmosphere. A lovely escape from the hustle and bustle of the other tourist hotspots in the city.
Read our other Carnet de Voyage entries here.
Darina Nykl lives in the Netherlands where she works in a hospital. On her blog, she shares stories about the always inspiring Paris, about la vie Parisienne, and all the beautiful things there are to discover. She loves the slow living and joie de vivre lifestyle with a French touch. Besides blogging, she is also working on her feelgood novel.
By Darina Nykl
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