We love spending time in this charming southwestern arrondissement — it truly is a hidden gem of Paris. Just south of the Eiffel Tower, starting at the Champ de Mars, the 15th Arrondissement is living, breathing proof that there's a lot of Paris to see beyond the iconic monuments. There's a true neighborhood feeling; streets lined with shops, restaurants, salons, markets, and boulangeries. But there are also world-class museums and parks. Let's take a stroll around the quartier to discover reasons for you to explore!
1. Seine River Romantic Dinner Cruise… With live music & champagne
2. Cheese and Wine Tasting in a Private Paris Cheese Cellar… Learn from a Master Affineur
3. Louvre Masterpieces Tour… Skip the lines for the best experience
4. Dinner Cruise with Maxim's of Paris… An Art Nouveau experience from 1900
In the category of hidden Paris gems is this amazing museum seen by few travelers. We'd like to change that. A student of Rodin, sculptor Antoine Bourdelle (1861-1929) created stunning bronze and marble sculptures. You can visit the pleasant gardens and studio where he lived and worked. The garden is full of oversized statues and his unfinished pieces are still in his workshop. Admission is free (you heard that right) plus the line ups are nonexistent. You can thank us later.
Housed in a classic early-20th-century building with high ceilings, Le Marquis Eiffel is completely fitted with modern hotel conveniences and oozing the type of boutique hotel feel that we adore. Located between Champ de Mars and Metro Line 6, you'll find Le Marquis Eiffel only a twelve-minute walk to the Tower. We recommend the Executive Double rooms — they give you more space plus a little table. You always need a place to set your wine glass!
Joggers on Île aux Cygnes, photo by Mark Craft
This "isle of swans" is best known for the replica of the Statue of Liberty that's located downriver of the Eiffel Tower. The man-made île is also famous for its long, straight running path. Created in the 19th century at the same time the Pont de Grenelle was built, it was intended to protect the bridge from the large barges then plying the Seine. At only 11 metres wide and 850 metres long Île aux Cygnes clocks in as the third largest island in Paris, behind Île de la Cité and Île Saint-Louis (also a man-made island).
VIP Dinner Cruise with Bateaux Parisiens
Dinner Cruise by Maxim's of Paris
Only a 4-minute walk away, the Pullman Paris is the closest hotel to the Eiffel Tower. But that's not the only reason to consider staying here. The Pullman Hotel is a modern building with all all of the amenities you expect plus the added benefit of having larger rooms than most small hotels in Paris. And c'mon — the views of the Eiffel Tower can't be beat!
This 56-story skyscraper is often overlooked (a too-tall Paris planning blunder from the past) but the views of Paris from the observation deck are superb. First, you take Europe's fastest elevator (38 seconds) 640 feet above Paris where, on a clear day, you can see for more than 25 miles and spot all the landmarks of Paris, including the Eiffel Tower.
Versailles with Priority Access + Gardens
Half-Day, Skip-the-Line Tour of Versailles
Bustling Rue du Commerce, photo by Mark Craft
This is a lovely, one-way shopping street that runs in the 15th from Boulevard de Grenelle right up to the church of St Jean Baptiste de Grenelle. It's busy all day with local shoppers and there's a lot to do and see. While a number of Parisian chain stores have taken up residence here (like boulangerie Paul), there are still local businesses to be found, as well as good food shopping.
Grenelle Market on a winter's day, photo by Diane Shaskin
Along Boulevard de Grenelle at Rue Commerce is where you'll find this lively and popular food market. It runs every Wednesday and Sunday, rain or shine. Rain doesn't really bother shoppers, since the market is set up under the overhead tracks of Metro Line 6. If it's winter, bundle and join local Parisians for one of the better markets in the city.
Postal Museum boring? NOT! This captivating museum details the history of communication — semaphore, telegraph, and telephones, including work by Alexander Graham Bell.
The Louvre's Greatest Masterpieces
Jardin Atlantique, high above Gare Montparnasse, photo Wikimedia by Besopha
High up on the roof of Gare Montparnasse is a garden built to commemorate the trains that ran (and still run) from the gare out to Brittany and the Atlantic Ocean. Having a garden here is quite an undertaking when you consider that it is built 55 feet above the train tracks and that the giant concrete tubs that hold soil, plants, and hundreds of trees each weigh…well, we don't know what they weigh, but it's a lot!
Typical of Parisian garden design, there are a number of thematic gardens located in the overall plan (like "aquatic plants" and "grasses moving in the wind") as well as pine trees that are meant to remind us of the coast of Brittany. Visit Jardin Atlantique the next time you're at the gare to meet a train. Located in the 14th & 15th Arrondissements — the boundary line goes right through the center of the jardin
Line 6 of the Paris Metro starts in the east at Place de la Nation in the 12th Arrondissement, crosses the river, and then in the shape of an arc passes through the southern Left Bank arrondissements — the 13th 14th, and 15th. (Line 6 is mirrored on the Right Bank by Line 2, which arcs from Place de la Nation to Charles-de-Gaulle-Étoile in the west, where it meets up again with Line 6.)
It's in the 15th Arrondissement that Line 6 gets interesting, for that's where it rises above the ground to run on elevated tracks, giving the rider a good overview of this part of this southern quartier. The train ascends from the depths just past station Pasteur and continues in open air all the way to the river, passing over, among other things, the site of the Grenelle Market.
If you stay on board past station Bir Hakeim you cross the Seine, still above ground on a bridge. If you sit on the north side of your Metro car, you'll be able to catch one of the best views of the Eiffel Tower as you speed over the river. (Photograph above from March 2012.)
Spend a Day in the Champagne Region
Visit the Historic D-Day Beaches
At the outer extremity of the 15th, running along the Seine, is the modernistic Parc André Citroën. The area is called Javel and it's where bleach used to be made in the 19th century (and the reason "Javel" is a name for bleach). In the 20th century, though (starting in 1915), it was the site of André Citroën's massive automobile manufacturing plant. By 1932 it was the fourth largest car manufacturer in the world.
The plant was closed in the 1970s and the land lay vacant. Then, in the early 1990s, this modernistic park was designed and built on the site. There's tons of open space, modernistic buildings and structures, and a real feeling of a new century. It's unlike any other park in Paris. It's sort of far out (both from central Paris and, you know, "far out"), but a great place for kids to run around. Reach it by riding to Metro Place Balard, at the end of Line 8.
Parc Georges Brassens, photo Wikimedia by relf.treinen
Georges Brassens was a very popular poet/songwriter/singer who played guitar while singing verses from his poems, as well as other poems by well-known French writers (like Victor Hugo). His dark humor and anarchist tendencies didn't stop the city of Paris from naming a park after him in 1984, just a few years after Brassens died.
The site was formerly home to a slaughterhouse and horse market (think horse meat). Residents of the 15th breathed a sigh of relief when these less-than-salubrious neighbors were closed for good in 1979. It wasn't out of civic pride that the land was turned into a park. It turned out that the presence of abandoned limestone quarries made the site unsuitable for the sports complex city planners favored, so a park was built instead.
It ended up being a serendipitously wonderful decision that created a great space for residents of this part of the city. There's a large central pond, lots of trees, a rose garden, and even a medicinal plants garden. Two sculpture bulls flank the main entrance gate as a nod to the site's previous use.
VIP Dinner Cruise with Bateaux Parisiens
Along the Promenade de la Petite Ceinture, photo by Simon Gale
La Petite Ceinture ("little belt") is a railway line built between 1852 and 1869 that circled around Paris in the outer arrondissements. The last passengers rode the train in 1934, although parts of the system were in use for freight transportation up to the 1970s. In the 15th La Petite Ceinture served the Citroën factory (now the location of Parc André Citroën and the slaughterhouses of Vaugirard (now Parc Georges-Brassens).
After being abandoned for decades, parts of La Petite Ceinture railway line are slowly being turned to other uses. In the 15th Arrondissement the line of the tracks has been turned into a green pedestrian-only walking path running from Rue Balard to Rue Olivier de Serres. The tracks have largely been left in place, but now there are walkways running alongside the tracks or, in a few places, on top of the tracks.
The pathway is less than two kilometres long and there are only a few access points. Perhaps that's why the path is rarely busy – that and the fact that it doesn't really go anywhere yet. There is talk, though, of opening up the tunnel at one end or the other and of directly connecting to the two parks mentioned above.
Perhaps the best walk is to start by spending time at Parc Georges-Brassens then cross Boulevard des Maréchaux to find the promenade access point next to 108 Rue Olivier de Serres. (There are both stairs and an elevator to get you down to track level.) After a pleasant perambulation you reach the end of the line (so to speak) and find yourself on Rue Leblanc (stairs and elevator again) where you're only 2 minutes away from the southeast entrance to Parc André Citroën.
The modernistic new location of Le Cordon Bleu
The most well-known cooking institute in Paris, Le Cordon Bleu, has been around since 1895. It's French Cooking Training Central for both professional chefs and interested amateurs. Even though there are now Cordon Bleu locations around the globe, many foreign students still prefer to attend the Paris campus since the city remains the center of things culinary. (There was an American named Julia who attended Cordon Bleu in the 1940s. We hear that she went on to do a few food related things.)
Over the years, Le Cordon Bleu has moved around in Paris. It once was located on Rue du Champ de Mars, near the Eiffel Tower (where Julia Child attended classes), then in 1988 moved to Rue Léon Delhomme, in the 15th (where we once attended classes). In 2016 the cooking school moved again to a sparkling modern building on the banks of the Seine, also in the 15th. There are over 40,000 square feet of classrooms, training kitchens, wine cellars, and display areas. We think Julia would be pleasantly surprised.
Next time you're here why not book a free school tour?
Dinner & Cabaret at the Moulin Rouge
VIP Dinner Cruise with Bateaux Parisiens
Dinner & Cabaret at the Moulin Rouge
Check the complete list of Paris hotels to find current sale prices on rooms in every arrondissement. Save 10%, 20%… or even more!
Save on hotels in every arrondissement of Paris – the Latin Quarter, Saint Germain, the Right Bank, the Marais, near the Eiffel Tower. Save 10%, 20%… or even more!
Outdoor dining in the 15th, photo by Mark Craft
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