Mad About Paris, Much more than a guide
In Paris, there’s so many hidden beauties off the beaten track that a life is not long enough to visit or describe them all. Here’s just one random example for this observation, you’ll stumble upon many more wherever you visit: it’s the area around metro station “La Muette” in the 16th arrondissement.
It is true, around here there’s no Eiffel tower (although you can see it from afar), no grand museum, no real landmark – yet you’ll be overwhelmed by the surrounding architectural splendour you once you’ve got out of the subway.
Given the 2000-year history of Paris this is quite a young neighbourhood. For a long time it wasn’t even considered to be part of Paris. The “Chateau de la Muette” which gave it’s name to today’s metro station lay well outside the city borders in the countryside. Construction work didn’t start until the 1850s and ´60s when Paris was heavily rebuilt and restructured.
When you look around out here, you’ll see the Paris of that time in a nutshell. Ambitious architects erected these grand buildings, they designed palaces for bourgeois citizens, the appartments often as big as 300 square meters (more then 3200 square feet). They were looking to the future back then, Paris really was the center of the world, and in many constructions you can already feel the “Belle Epoque” showing up, long “avant la lettre”.
Take a look at the pictures, taken on boulevard Emile Augier, in Rue de Passy and Rue de la Pompe – and tell me you’re not impressed by the grandeur of these houses like I am. Street life feels much cosier here than in other Parisian neighbourhoods which supposedly has to do with the wealth of the people who live here. At lunch time the restaurants and bistros are full of elderly people dressed in cashmere who enjoy traditional three-course-meals and treat themselves to a good bottle of wine, spending, who knows, some black money parked on very secret Swiss bank accounts. You wouldn’t be surprised if Lilliane Bettencourt, the grand old lady of L’Oréal, sat at the table next to you, really. And I wouldn’t be surprised either, if you fell in love with this area around La Muette that has never made it into the travel guides.