The 15th Arrondissement or the Quinzieme (15eme) is a quiet, family orientated neighbourhood. Some might even call it boring. Over the past decade I have been a regular visitor to Paris, but never ventured to this part of town. Living in Paris with children, in the 15eme, I can see why so many families choose to live here.
What has the 15eme got going for it?
- Brigitte Bardot was born here. Louis Pasteur is buried here, within the grounds of the Pasteur Institute, which has a museum celebrating his achievements.
- A former pupil of Rodin lived in the 15eme: Antoine Bourdelle. The sculptor’s life’s works are celebrated in the Bourdelle Museum. I love this deceptively large space. Just come and sit in the courtyard garden and admire his awe inspiring sculptures.
- Parc George Brassens is 7.7 hectares of green space, with a decent playground, lawns, groves and a vineyard. There is a bank of rocks, which my kids love to climb and jump on and a little area to walk the dog.
- The Marche Brassens du Livre Ancien next to Parc George Brassens is a real delight. This regular weekend book market is where you can browse through used and antiquarian French language books from graphic novels to fiction to art books. Opposite the park are a number of nice cafes and restaurants to have a coffee and leaf through your finds.
- Tucked into the edge of the 15eme, is Parc Andre Citron. Twice the size of Parc Gerorge Brassen, this park stands on the site of a former Citron factory. It’s one of Paris’ newer parks with a decidedly modern design. It’s child friendly with a games area, fountains that kids can play in, there’s even a hot air balloon and two green houses with exotic and Mediterranean plants.
- Ballon Generali is the biggest hot air balloon in the world and it’s here in Paris, in the 15eme, in Parc Andre Citron! Depending on the weather, you can get a flight for a unique view of Paris. Flights start at 6euros.
- Bilingual schools: Ecole Jeannine Manuel, Bilingual International School of Paris, Ecole Koening, First Steps, the Little English Montesorri, The Victor Hugo – Ecole Internationale Bilingue are all based in the 15eme.
- WICE is an Anglophone adult education organisation. It’s a real little gem. It has a wide variety of courses including, art, creative writing, cookery, languages, wine tasting, history. It runs a series of cultural events such as walks, evening talks and it even hosts free conversation sessions for its members.
- A branch of one of my favourite restaurants is in the 15eme: Cantine du Troquet. There are four across Paris, the service is friendly, the food is great. Cantine serves up Basque dishes alongside French classics, and the wine is delicious.
- Chat Mallow, is almost too hipster for the 15eme. Enjoy a coffee and among feline friends. Ideal for cat lovers of Paris. Open Wednesday to Sunday, booking essential.
- Le Drapeu de la Fidelite, is an unpretentious restaurant, run by a Vietnamese, ex-philosophy professor. It’s pretty eccentric, and prices have stood still for around 30 years, and the food is pretty good too!
- Sandwiched between a pharmacy and a corner bar, is a branch of Pierre Herme. This macron master is famous for his flavour combinations, the violet and liquorish tastes like nothing else I have ever tasted, simply sublime.
- Aquaboulavard is a water park in Paris, with over 7000 square metres of swimming pools (indoor and out), slides, sauna park with sauna, hammam, jacuzzi and chill out zone, a gym, squash and tennis courts. Prices start at 19euos.
- OK it isn’t the Marais, but it does have the Beaugrenelle shopping centre, which has Marks and Spencer, which is head to when I run out of extra strong tea bags. There’s also Zadig & Volataire, Michael Kors, H&M, Zara and other top brand names for fashion and home.
- Petit Ceinture, is Paris’ abandoned railway, almost 20 miles long and the centre of much controversy about its future development. Wild, overgrown, this section of the railway line is situated behind the Parc George Brassens. Three stretches of the line are open to the public in the 12, 15 and 16emes. Remember, it is a deserted line, be careful and cautious when exploring.