A little piece of the country in the center of Paris, practically void of tourists, like something out of a little picturesque village… dream or reality? It’s time to find out! Discover the Mouzaïa area of Paris, with its charming villas, and be surprised at how far from the bustling capital you feel!
As you wander through the Mouzaïa neighborhood and its little passageways known as villas, you might have the impression that you’ve left Paris had have arrived in the countryside. It’s a neighborhood that has yet to experience the inundation of tourists of the rest of Paris, an area that’s the perfect setting for a lazy walk on a Sunday afternoon. East of the Buttes-Chaumont park, take the rue de la Mouzaïa, from which the area gets its name (the street itself inherited the name from a battle). Soon enough, you’ll find yourself in front of the famous villas, those little cobbled passageways with pretty houses on either side. The flowered gardens overflow with lilacs and wisteria, for a beautiful springtime tableau.
Before being called Mouzaïa, this area of Paris was nicknamed “America neighborhood,” because the gypsum from underground was sold in the New World. In fact, if these houses are only one story tall, it’s because of this gypsum, whose removal made the foundations unstable and unable to support anything heavier. The houses were built starting in the 1890s for factory workers, but now they cost a pretty penny… much too much for today’s laborers! The villa that is most representative of the ensemble is perhaps the villa Bellevue, but the hameau du Danube, which was developed in the 1920s, is also worth a look.
This wonderful walk is ideal in springtime, when you can take advantage of the blooming gardens, or else in autumn, when the warm colors seem to set the neighborhood ablaze with fall foliage.
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