Whether it’s for having a break on a bench, have a drink with friends, or sheltering from this heat under the trees or feeling the local atmosphere, Paris squares are the perfect place. Well, we’re not talking about the capital’s huge and historic squares, largely available to cars, but Paris small and hidden ones. Here’s a short list of the places you’ll enjoy roaming around.
On the Île de la Cité, not far from the Conciergerie and the Sainte Chapelle, the Place Dauphine welcomes Parisians and tourists tired of the surrounding hustle and bustle. For the record, it’s in tribute to the birth of the dauphin in 1601, the future Louis XIII, that it’s been named Place Dauphine. Trees and benches on this triangular square (a shape that will inspire surrealist writer André Breton the surname of “Paris sex”) make it the perfect place to relax in the center of Paris or to play a game of bocce with the locals!
Place des Vosges
Inaugurated in 1615 along with Louis XIII and Anne of Austria’s wedding, the Place des Vosges has always been a place inspiring calm and elegance. It housed Madam de Sévigné, Richelieu, Théophile Gautier, Alphonse Daudet and of course Victor Hugo whose house became a museum open to the public. We gladly enjoy roaming around the square trees, its beautiful pitches and its arches, in the art galleries and tea shops.
Place du Marché Sainte Catherine
If you feel like sipping a drink on a terrace in the Marais but you don’t know where to go, meet at Place du Marché Sainte Catherine! Its numerous restaurants, café and terraces are the perfect place. This pedestrian square is named after the market set in lieu of a former priory devoted to Sainte-Catherine du Val des Escoliers.
Place de la Contrescarpe
The Place de la Contrescarpe knows how to offer us joyful moments. With its many cafés and their large terraces, it’s a very lively place in the Mouffetard area. Rabelais, Ronsard, Du Bellay, Descartes as well as Molière, La Fontaine and Racine used to live there.
Place de la Sorbonne
The Place de la Sorbonne is the den of the Sorbonne students who come to talk or read on a terrace enjoying a coffee. We also find the statue of Auguste Comte next to a lovely fountain. This small square is also the perfect place to wait until your cinema session starts at Champo, Reflet Medicis or Filmothèque set just a few steps from there in rue Champollion.
In the summer, the lovely Place Monge is shaded by the large trees filling it. A fountain is also there to cool us down. Unless you’d rather for good and juicy fruits bought at the market of the square? If so, meet on Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays in the morning.
Place Gustave Toudouze
Feel like having a break after visiting the neighborhood? Think about the Place Gustave Toudouze! With its numerous trendy terraces, its Wallace fountain, its trees and benches, the Place Gustave Toudouze is an island of happiness.
Place Edouard VII
This gorgeous place is named after the King of England, son of Queen Victoria. What’s the connection with the history of France? Well, he’s the one who will pacify the tensions between France and England thanks to the Entente Cordiale. On this square, amateurs can attend a play at Théâtre Edouard VII while other will stroll under the square beautiful arches.
The Place Saint-Georges is a must-seen in Paris 9th arrondissement. It’s surrounded by hotel particuliers and buildings giving it a splendid charm, like this hotel Louis XVI at number 27 that is now housing a library; or this surprising neo-Renaissance house very richly decorated at number 28!
It’s one of our favorite squares in Paris. The Place Sainte-Marthe is known by the locals and regulars only. We find super great bars such as La Sardine gathering the crowds in the weekends and on the Sunday afternoons in summer, when it feels good to relax under the trees. It’s simple, we feel like on a small village square! One beer, please!
The Place d’Aligre, set a stone’s throw from the Hôpital Saint-Antoine is mainly known for its covered market. In these beautiful marketplace, open 6 days a week, we find spices, oils, fruits and vegetables. It’s a bit like the den of the local bohos. On the square, the open-air market goes over rue d’Aligre and is the favorite spot of many second-hand goods dealers and antique dealers.
Place Paul Verlaine
In the quiet neighborhood of the Butte-aux-Cailles, a very lovely square expects you with open arms. The Place Paul Verlaine pays tribute to the famous French poet who was involved alongside the Communards. The Butte-aux-Cailles used to be the place of a fight during the Commune. A lovely local square where we can find one of the three spring water fountains in Paris.
Place de l’Abbé Georges Hénocque
Not far from the Place Paul Verlaine, another lovely square: the Place de l’Abbé Georges Hénocque. A small village square among the houses where a square is raised. For those who want to quench their thirst, small cafés surround the location.
Place Edgard Quinet
If you expect to go to Montparnasse with metro line 6, get off at Edgar Quinet station, because that’s a good idea. Indeed, it will enable you to avoid the monstrous flux enlivening Montparnasse-Bienvenue station. And it will be the occasion to discover the lovely Place Edgard Quinet. An always lively square thanks to the many bars and restaurants framing it. Moreover, if you feel peckish, Breton creperies are not far!
Place du Docteur Félix Lobligeois
Place du Docteur Félix Lobligeois regulars are the people from Les Batignolles neighborhood, families and their children and young people. If you want to have a good time, many restaurants, stores and antique dealers will delight you.
Place Charles Dullin
Set in the lively neighborhood of Clignancourt, the Place Charles Dullin offers a little bit of rest to the Pigalle and Barbès hustle and bustle. Shaded with many trees, it houses Théâtre de l’Atelier since 1922. A small island of greenery that feels very good.
Place des Abbesses
The Place des Abbesses is the heart of the village of Montmartre. Lively, loud, it mixes a diverse and varied population. Its big plane trees and benches are the shelter of tired people, so are the many surrounding terraces. Stop by the Church of Saint-Jean-de-Montmartre just next door, and the wall of “I love you”, to declare your love to your beloved one in 250 languages!
Place Emile Goudeau
Sheltered by the chestnut trees on the Place Emile Goudeau, we take time. This lovely square made it into history thanks to Parisian artists. It’s here that Picasso and Braque invented cubism. It’s also here that Apollinaire and Max Jacob revolutionize poetry. It’s also here that everyone met at the legendary Bateau-Lavoir now housing artists’ studios to perpetuate the tradition.
Place du Tertre
As you’ve read it above, the 18th arrondissement is full of small village squares. But what a stroll in the 18th arrondissement would be without having a look at the Place du Tertre? Gathering place of portraitists and cartoonists, the square is quickly filled with tourists from all over the world and lost its charm along the years. Yet, it remains a square known worldwide. To enjoy it, come early in the morning or late in the evening!
Dalida fans, here’s a leg of your Parisian tour: the Place Dalida; a sacred place for fans from all over the planet. A lovely bronze bust depicting the singer who lived not far, in rue d’Orchampt, takes center stage. In the distance, you can admire the Sacré-Coeur.
Place Maurice Chevalier
A few steps from the Place de Ménilmontant and its uncountable bars, the Place Maurice Chevalier is a quieter alternative for tourists and local people. With its Wallace fountain and its beautiful Church of Notre-Dame-de-la-Croix de Ménilmontant, it’s the perfect spot for a pre-dinner drink with friends!
So, which one of this charming, discreet and small squares tempts you the most?
From 26 July 2018 to 31 December 2018