Last Updated on 10th February 2020 by Sophie Nadeau
Square Rapp and Avenue can be found in the heart of all the action. Overlooking the Eiffel Tower and all Haussmannian architecture in style, this hidden gem of the 7th arrondissement is a pretty escape from the hustle and bustle of other tourist hotspots in the area.
Square Rapp: The best view of the Eiffel Tower in the 7th arrondissement
Steps away from Avenue Rapp, Square Rapp sits in a world of its own. And with a private fountain, secluded impasse, and impressive iron grill grates, it would be hard to forget that you’re in the very heart of the French capital. If you’re able to ignore the Eiffel Tower view in the midst of it all, that is!
Located somewhere between 33 and 35 Avenue Rapp, this oasis of calm is dominated by just four Haussmannian style buildings. Named for 18th-century born general, Jean Rapp, the square gets its name thanks to a nearby street of the same moniker.
Prior to 1997, the impasse was known as Villa de Monttessuy. Today, few roads are still known as ‘villas,’ though one notable exception is the 1920s impossibly beautiful Villa Léandre in the 18th arrondissement of the city. While number 4 is the building for the Société théosophique, No. 3 was where eccentric architect Jules Lavirotte once resided in an apartment on the 5th floor.
A brief history of Avenue Rapp
Nowadays, a stroll around the 7th arrondissement wouldn’t be complete without a walk along the prestigious Avenue Rapp. With magnificent views of the Eiffel tower, iconic cafés, and wide boulevards, it’s a must see if you’re ever in the area.
First designated as ‘Avenue Rapp’ in August of 1858, in prior times the road was known as Avenue du Champ-de-Mars. Cose to the Pont d’Alma RER station, there are several buildings of note along this street. For example, No. 1 was a former mansion house and now serves as the embassy for Bulgaria.
Nearby, No. 23 is the embassy of Luxembourg, while the building at 23 is meant to be the place where a pharmacy operated during the early 20th-century. Today, the construction is of such historical value that it’s now designated as a historic monument.
29 Avenue Rapp, the Lavirotte Building
Truth be told, of all the unusual hidden gems of Paris, the quirkiest of them all may be the door of Avenue Rapp. All Art Nouveau in design, the artwork of carved façades and the controversial doorway was created by Lyon born artist, Jules Lavirotte, who resided in nearby no. 3 Square Rapp when he lived in Paris.
However, if you think you’ve seen art nouveau before, then think again. After all, the suggestive doorway alone is sure to shock and surprise you in equal measure. The building in its entirety was constructed in 1901 under the jurisdiction of Jules Lavirotte and at the time, won the façade award of Paris.
Many of the forms across No. 29 are meant to invoke a reimagining of Adam and Eve through Lavirotte’s eyes… For example, in the very centre of the entranceway, you’ll soon spy a depiction of Lavirotte’s wife, with an animal draped across her shoulder.
As you might imagine, the doorway was rather controversial when it was first installed, not least because the doorway is alleged by many to resemble an inverted phallic symbol. Today, eight Lavirotte buildings can be found within the French capital, with the largest number being found in the 7th arrondissement of the city.