Short description

Villa-des-Platanes and Cité-du-Midi : two spaces not to be missed on the way from Place Blanche to Place Pigalle, two green and original cul-de-sacs for the neighborhood that overlook Boulevard de Clichy:

at 58, La Villa-des-Platanes, an upscale 19th century building complex and green space
and 50 m further on, at 48, La Cité-du-Midi, a green corner with a country charm

These two totally different and opposed spaces meet in their originality in this otherwise famous tourist district of Pigalle.

Localisation
Access

Villa-des-Platanes
58 boulevard de Clichy
75018 Paris

Cité-du-Midi
48 boulevard de Clichy
75018 Paris

  • The distance between the Villa-des-Platanes and the Cité-du-Midi is only 30 m
  • Metro : Blanche station (line 2) and Pigalle station (lines 2 and 12)
  • Bus 40, 54, N02
Address

Villa-des-Platanes
58 boulevard de Clichy
75018 Paris

Cité-du-Midi
48 boulevard de Clichy
75018 Paris

Coordinates Latitude Longitude
Sexagesimal (°, ', ") 48° 53′ 01″ N 2° 20′ 09″ E
Degré décimal (GPS) 48.88393 2.33597
Full description

Villa-des-Platanes and Cité-du-Midi : two spaces not to be missed on the way from Place Blanche to Place Pigalle, two green and original cul-de-sacs for the neighborhood that overlook Boulevard de Clichy:

  • at 58, La Villa-des-Platanes, an upscale 19th century building complex and green space
  • and 50 m further on, at 48, La Cité-du-Midi, a green corner with a country charm

These two totally different and opposed spaces meet in their originality in this otherwise famous tourist district of Pigalle.

The Villa-des-Platanes

The Villa des Platanes is really hidden, behind a wrought iron gate, at n° 58 Boulevard de Clichy. It is a real estate complex from the end of the 19th century. You have to be a resident or a guest to have the chance to enter the first peaceful and rococo courtyard. And this is only the beginning, because it is an important and remarkable complex that includes several residential buildings and a pleasant green space that also leads to rue Robert Planquette, which in turn leads to rue Lepic. This realization is due to the architect Deloeuvre, in 1896.

An incongruity in the heart of the Montmartre of the party

In the heart of the "Montmartre of the wild parties" (2nd half of the 19th century) hides indeed a curiosity of the district. The astonishment is complete when you discover the quietness of the Villa des Platanes and its picturesque charm. In the middle of the sex shops, strip clubs and other places of sulphurous pleasures, of the Pigalle district, one does not really expect to find this secret and almost forgotten place.

What you can see from the Villa-des-Platanes from the Boulevard de Clichy

The double gate is magnificent. The contrast of red bricks, white moldings and black chiseled balustrades and its semi-circular bow windows make this facade unique.

What you can't see from Boulevard de Clichy

Those who are curious enough to peek through the two wrought iron gates will get a glimpse of this exceptional place. At the end of the first inner courtyard is a Renaissance-inspired building with a double horseshoe staircase topped by two torch-bearing statues.  But this is only the showcase of a large housing complex with a charm as pleasant as it is unique, bordered by a splendid green space.

Thus, between boulevard de Clichy and rue Robert Planquette (at the back), there is a succession of buildings built at the end of the 19th century, where nearly 400 lucky people still live today! Of course, it is easy to understand these inhabitants who are determined to preserve their paradise, and where rather strict rules must be respected. The Villa des Platanes is a private residence. However, some artists' studios open their doors once or twice a year ....

Origin of the Villa des Platanes

The parcel of land where all these buildings were built extends as far as rue Robert Planquette, formerly rue des Tilleuls. It was the "Lucas enclosure". Since 1830, it housed the Villa des Tilleuls, typical of the famous country houses or "follies" that the wealthy bourgeois of the time had built for themselves.

The Villa des Platanes was commissioned in 1896, under the supervision of acclaimed local architect Léon Deloeuvre. A blend of gothic, Art Nouveau and renaissance, the building is typical of the era, over-the-top and sumptuous. It turns out that the open air courtyard just beyond the stone archways comes complete with artists' ateliers and a 19th century folly.

During the romantic era (mid 19th century), the today Villa des Platanes was known as "California". It is said that Marie Duplessis, the mistress of writer Alexander Dumas fils between September 1844 and August 1845, lived there. It was she who inspired the character of the Lady of the Camellias by this iconic French writer author of some of the greatest works of literature to be produced in the Hexagon. In the book, the Lady of the Camellia dies at a very young age of tuberculosis. In real life, Marie Duplessis died of phthisis (tuberculosis) at the age of 23 in complete poverty. It was February 3, 1847 in Paris. Her husband, the Count of Perregaux she married in 1846, had exhumed her the following February 16 1847 to ensure her a decent funeral and moved her to the Cemetery of Montmartre. She still remains there in a small grave, always decorated with flowers, with the simple words "Here lies Alphonsine Plessis".

From his novel, Alexandre Dumas fils then made a play that was performed in 1852. The following year, the composer Verdi created the famous opera La Traviata, based on this play, in which he represented Marie under the name of "Violetta Valery".

Episode of the Paris Commune (1870)

The haven of peace is also the setting for several treasures related to the Paris Commune. Indeed, Montmartre having been one of the last resistant sectors of the period, the district was the scene of many deadly confrontations during the "bloody week". The Villa des Tilleul was a symbolic epicenter of the conflict. When the Villa des Platanes was built in 1896, an anonymous artist wanted to pay tribute to the resistance fighters by decorating the buildings with several bas-reliefs depicting the events of the period.

La Cité-du-Midi

The Cité-du-Midi is a street in the 18th arrondissement of Paris, in the Grandes Carrières district of Montmartre, which leads to 48 Boulevard de Clichy. It is a paved dead end of only 100 m long but original in this particular district that is Pigalle.

Origin and charm of the impasse Cité-du-Midi

It seems that the street was named like this by some of its original inhabitants, originally from the Midi (south Mediterranean) of France. This green impasse is certainly an old working-class city. It probably dates from the middle of the 19th century. Its pretty houses, charming pavilions, beautiful 19th century villas divided into small dwellings, heterogeneous architecture raises as many questions as there are constructions. The white walls, as if they had been whitewashed, are adorned with colored shutters and the elaborate doors are a distant reminder of art deco or Moorish.

Note the two circular spaces located at the entrance and at the end of the dead end that allowed horse-drawn carriages to turn around.

Guided tour of the most unusual buildings with their history

At n°3, the "Villa Amandine" was once a training gym for the artists of the Moulin-Rouge. In the 1990's, one could still admire a huge hanging canvas used as a set. The gym has been transformed into apartments.

At n°5, the small building on the street was a stable. From 1998 to 2008, it housed the "Research Institute on the History of Jazz in France". At the back, the small apartment building is preceded by a courtyard with trees where a superb fig tree used to grow. It had to be cut down because its roots were threatening the surrounding walls.

At n°6, this house hosted in turn a cabaret, a small model train museum, a photo studio, before becoming a contemporary art house. "The box in Paris" has the configuration of a loft and lends itself perfectly to exhibitions. It is also a guest room. Information on http://www.theboxinparis.com

At n°7 are several interesting buildings. First of all, an old carpenter's workshop, also transformed into apartments. It still has a nice brick and half-timbered façade. Further up, a former warehouse has kept its wooden facade repainted in black.

At number 10 lived Jean-Baptiste Clément, a Montmartre singer and communard whose most famous songs are Le Temps des Cerises - La semaine sanglante and the nursery rhyme Dansons la capucine. He lived at number 10 in 1871 and it was during the insurrection of the Paris Commune.

At number 12, the old "Bains Douches Pigalle".  Their picturesque facade of Art Nouveau tiles is still there. It was the time when the Parisians still came to wash themselves there. The building is now an artist's studio.

At n° 14, this charming little building was once a brothel, as there were many in the neighborhood. The young girls waited for their clients sitting outside in the small garden.

At n°16, the high surrounding wall hides in fact a contemporary loft on several floors. Preceded by a large garden, it has long been the property of a foreign photographer.

At n°15 the Cité-du-Midi ends with a semi-circular house topped by a large terrace. This low part communicates with the brick building located behind and forms a vast private dwelling. This circular shape allowed the horse-drawn carriages to return without "backing up"!

The Cité-du-Midi is a collection of memories of the past that have been preserved, reinvented and adapted to the present. It is one of those singular places off the beaten track that you should hasten to visit before they close to the public. Indeed, the residents have circulated a petition to install a gate at the entrance. If for the moment, nothing has been planned yet, I fear that one day soon the Parisian strollers, lovers of the city, will not be able to venture there anymore.

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