On a fairly sharp bend in the road, behind an ivy-clad house lies a tantalizing secret… a road which looks like it’s come straight out of the pages of some early 20th-century novel. Finding hidden locations is easily one of my favourite things about Paris. Because the thing is, you never know quite what you’ll stumble upon next! And each time you do, it feels like you’re the first person Paris has revealed its secrets to. Square de Montsouris is no exception. It’s one of those places in Paris which has been frozen in time, hopefully for a while to come…
Situated in the 14th arrondissement of the city, not far from Parc Montsouris (the same park from which it takes its name), the ‘square’ is actually a 200-meter long road. Fully cobbled and packed with art deco and art nouveau architecture, the greenery of the place creates an atmosphere which feels quite like the road is an extension of the park itself.
Square de Montsouris
Built during the 1920s and 1930s, it would appear that not much has changed in the years since. Built in the interwar period, during a time of peace for France, there are 60 numbers in total. Of course, there are plenty of beautiful locations throughout the city.
But Square de Montsouris has one of those rare qualities that it can be hard to find nowadays, even in Paris. It truly is a gem preserved, untouched by technological and architectural advances. Save for the occasional car, the tranquil place was the perfect spot for a short stroll, and a great way of avoiding the summer crowds.
Furthermore, the square sits in a part of the city which has a long and documented history. Part of the Petite Ceinture lies nearby, as does a long-forgotten entrance to the Parisian catacombs. The name ‘Montsouris’ literally means ‘mountain of mice’. The name apparently originated from a windmill by the name of Moulin de Moque-Souris. This meant ‘windmill that mocks the mice’ and was meant to be a (half) joking warning against the mice who dared steal grain from the mill. Over time, the name was shortened to ‘Montsouris’.
Stained glass windows, lush vegetation, and quirky architecture come together to make this one of the prettiest squares of the city, and a must see for those who wish to visit a little off the beaten track…