Paris is well know for its Haussmann style buildings, that can be found pretty much everywhere in Paris. However, if you explore the city carefully, you might discover some hidden gems that are very different for the others buildings.
We have selected for you some stunning houses among our favorite in Paris. Most of these places are hidden one and not easy to find: we hope you will enjoy exploring Paris to find these original buildings! Do not hesitate to contact us if you need more information, or if you think we should add some amazing houses you’ve discovered in Paris. Let’s go!
You’ve probably heard about Nicolas Flamel, and appears in a lot of books and movies (like Harry Potter). Nicolas Flamel did actually exist: he was a Parisian scribe that lived during the 14th century. It is said that he was an Alchemist, and became incredibly rich by discover the secret of the Philosopher’s Stone. If the stone fact is a legend, one part remains true and that is Flamel became very rich. He used his money to create houses to accommodate and feed the homeless. The “house of Nicolas Flamel” is the only remaining of these houses (so Nicolas Flamel never lived there). This house is considered the oldest in Paris, and is nicely decorated with sculptures and inscriptions.
Address : 51 rue de Montmorency, 75003 Paris
Transportation : Metro line 4 Etienne Marcel, line 3 or 11 Arts et Métiers
Rue Crémieux is not a hidden spot anymore, and has become recently a hot spot for tourists. In the 1990’s, the street became carfree and the inhabitants decided all together to paint their houses in different colors and create a unique environment. Thanks to this initiative, it has become a beautiful and harmonious street. The walls are bright and colorful and each house has its unique charm. After some models and bloggers started taking photos there two years ago, the number of visitors has increased a lot. However recently more and more inhabitants are complaining about the fact that so many people come to take photos in front of their houses. So if you visit there, please be respectful and do not disturb the inhabitants.
Address : Rue Cremieux, 75012 Paris
Transportation : Metro line 1 or 14 Gare de Lyon, line 5 Quai de la Rapée
Some Haussmannian buildings have unique facades, which is the case of the “House of Dragon”. Two beautiful dragons sit on top of the Main gate. On the façade there are also other very surprising statues such as a Buddha head and the representation of the mythic bird “Garuda”. These exotic decorative elements are the results of the fact that this building was created in 1927 for a bank with leading projects in Asia. It is also said that Daenerys Targaryen used to stay there when she came to Paris to shop, but we are not sure about that fact.
Address : 53 rue des Mathurins, 75008 Paris
Transportation : Metro line 9 Saint Augustin
Less than 10 minutes walk from Eiffel Tower, the Lavirotte building is one of the most beautiful in Paris and the most representative of the Architectural movement “Art Nouveau”. Art Nouveau was developed in the late 19th century and the early 20th century. Art Nouveau is well known in arts thanks to the masterpieces of Alphonse Mucha, but Art Nouveau architecture is less famous. Art Nouveau is characterized by undulating asymmetrical lines, and the profusion of decorative elements and ornaments (compare for example to the relatively austere Haussmannian facades): flowers, animals, columns… the Art Nouveau design is elegant, graceful and romantic.
Built in 1900 by the architect Lavirotte, this building is the perfect example of Art nouveau in architecture,with a very creative and antiacademic façade. The decoration elements includes an head of a woman, vegetal designs, lizards and other decorations with glazed and colored ceramic tiles. If you look carefully at the wooden gate, you will realize that there is an hidden “symbol” in it… Do you see it?
Address : 29 Avenur Rapp, 75007 Paris
Transportation : Metro line 8 Ecole Militaire, RER C Pont de l’Alma
If you’re waking around the 8th arrondissement, you might encounter this very surprising building, with a totally different style compare to the surrounding ones. Yes, it’s a Chinese Pagoda in the heart of Paris! With a bit of imagination, you could feel like you have transported to the forbidden city of Beijing…
This house was designed for a rich Chinese merchant established in Paris in the Early 20th century, Ching Tsai Loo. This Asian art dealer was missing his country terribly, and also wanted to give a chance for Parisians to discover Chinese culture: so he decided to built this house and turn it into a private museum. The place is not open to visit but you can still enjoy the beauty of the architecture.
Address : 48 rue de Courcelles, 75008 Paris
Transportation : Metro line 2 Courcelles
This building is one of the most surprising in Paris thanks to this huge Angel statue with an enigmatic face. Influenced by Greco-Roman art (it is similar to the Greek Caryatid, sculpted female figures serving as pillars), the statue was created by Auguste Emile Delange in 1858. We know very few things about its meaning but it is said that it represents charity, as the angel is carrying a purse in their hand.
Address : 57 rue de Turbigo, 75003 Paris
Transportation : Metro line 3 or 11 Arts et Métiers
There are plenty of hidden gems in the Montmartre Area. Actually, most of the visitors arrive from Anvers station and go up directly to the Basilica of Sacré Coeur. But a better way to explore Montmartre is to get out at Lamarck-Caulaincourt station, and discover all the beautiful streets on the way up to the Basilica. Among them, there is a very interesting dead end called “Villa Leandre”. It’s a very peaceful and bucolic street which has a countryside atmosphere (no cars, huge trees, countryside style houses). The houses of Villa Leandre were built in 1926 for wealthy Parisians that wanted to have unique houses: all of the houses are different, but they are mostly inspired by Normandy and Great Britain architectural styles (bow windows, bricks, roofs covered in slates…) . You will feel like you are in the suburbs of London!
This street is now one of the most expensive in Paris, along with Avenue Junot (Price can go up to 20 000 euros per square meter).
Address : A dead end perpendicular to Avenue Junot (18th arrondissement)
Transportation : Metro line 12 Lamarck-Caulaincourt
This red brick building of the 1920’s is mixing so many different influences, so it’s almost impossible to define it. The building was supported by a rich Marchioness Arconati-Visconti, that launched an architect competition to create a new building to host the Archeology Library of Sorbonne University. Architect Paul Bigot that won the competition: the architect was inspired by Italian and North African style architectures to design the structure.
There is a beautiful bas-relief frieze in terracotta decorating the building and represents scenes inspired by Greek and Middle Eastern Antiquity.
Address : 3 rue Michelet, 75006 Paris
Transportation : RER B Luxembourg
Last but not least, la Cité du Figuier is most probably the hardest to find in all the places listed here.
To find it, you need to pass through a covered passage at the number 104 of rue Oberkampf. The paved, car free alley is a haven of Peace, completely different from the hectic rue Oberkampf. Palm trees, small tables, garden, pastel color houses, turquoise color house decorated with Elephants… The atmosphere here is very Mediterranean.
Address : 104 rue Oberkampf, 75011 Paris
Transportation : Metro line 3 Parmentier, line 2 Ménilmontant
We hope that you enjoyed this overview, but don’t forget that travelling is about exploring and not following general paths. Many more incredible buildings are waiting for you in Paris so just wander down narrow streets, follow your instinct and we are sure that you will end up discovering even more amazing hidden places!
Words and Photographs by Vincent Sacau