19 November 2014

Peeking inside

I've always been really curious about what might lie behind all those huge carriageway doors, or portes cochères, that stand in the façades of so many Paris houses and buildings. Since they are normally shut and locked, it's a real treat to find one open, leaving the courtyard visible to passersby. Here's the Google Maps street view looking up the Rue des Lions-Saint-Paul toward the Rue Saint-Paul:

It looks like hundreds or thousands of other short, narrow streets in the city. But imagine walking down such a very narrow street lined four- or five-story buildings and parked cars, without a single street tree, and then seeing this through an open doorway:

Wouldn't it be paradise to live in a place like this in the middle of Paris? It's just steps from the Bastille, the Place des Vosges, the Rue des Rosiers, the Seine, and the Ile Saint-Louis. Notre-Dame, the Latin Quarter, and Les Halles are within easy walking distance. Here's a wider view from the sidewalk outside:

And when you step into the courtyard from the street, or emerge from the door of your apartment building, you find yourself in this green space, as if you were out in the country somewhere. There aren't many such private green spaces in Paris. I'd move in tomorrow... if I could afford to.


  1. Requiring a a very large amount of euro. Budapest apartment buildings are similar, all with central courtyards.

  2. The old town of Palma, Majorca, has these green oases too. What a haven. There are quite a number of LPO Refuges in Paris, where anything green and growing from a windowbox to a lovely courtyard like this is declared a nature reserve by the proprietors. Pauline

  3. You'd have to dig up too many bricks for your veggie patch ;)

    1. What you say is true, Judy... but Paris! As Andrew said, big bucks required. Oh well.

  4. Thanks for showing us this beautiful secret garden (er courtyard).

  5. Your photos reminds me Cracow..

  6. Ken, whilst it looks nice...
    the courtyard belongs to the apartments as a whole...
    and, therefore, I presume, would be subject to terms, conditions, rules, etc...
    not forgetting an extortionate rate of maintenance to be paid annually...
    and managed by outside contractors...
    which looks here to be missed out on by some/all residents...
    viz: the trip hazard in the paving... in front of the terracotta flowerpot [top picture]...
    so whilst it is a green oasis for a city dweller...
    it isn't theirs to do as they want...
    and never would be...
    not for me, even if I win the Euromillions!!

  7. Such glimpses are among my favourite photo opportunities in Paris. It is, of course, important to find out whether the bedrooms (at least) of a Paris apartment are "coté rue" or "coté cour": even if the estate agent's window claims the magic words "calme et clair". Fortunately, the apartment I've been lucky enough to swop with over the years is accessed through such a courtyard (rather more austerely maintained than the one in your photo, though), and the bedroom overlooks a second internal area which the ground-floor resident maintains as a proper private postage-stamp garden.


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