Wandering around “Nouvelle Athènes” in Paris

I found myself many times wandering the neighborhood of “Nouvelle Athènes.” While living in Paris and wanting to clear my head, I would leave my Parisian apartment and wander the streets around this charming precinct. After many walks, I discovered its name and it all made sense as to why I was so drawn to it. I left Athens in Greece to find a new one in Paris, France. A “Nouvelle Athènes” at the 9th arrondissement.

It received its name from the ancient-Greek taste of the architects that designed the stunning buildings of the district. The Godfather of this subdivision was Adolphe Dureau de la Malle and in 1823 gave its name because of the “antiquity” architecture of its hotels and the development of “philhellenism” within the community of prestigious artists who found shelter here. Among the most illustrious were Dumas, Georges Sand, Delacroix, Chopin, Hugo, Talma, Horace Vernet, the Marquise de Paiva, Adolphe Thiers, Gustave Moreau and many others. Thus the name of New Athens comes both from the style of architecture, but also from the work of these artists inspired by Antiquity.

“La Nouvelle Athènes” has also witnessed the emergence of the ”Parisian Romantic Movement“ of the period 1830-1850, symbolised by the romantic Dutch born painter Ary Scheffer and his home, which now houses the “Musée de la Vie Romantique“, the Museum of Romantic Life.

At Nouvelle Athènes you can find magnificent mansions in neo-classical style, the only thing for sure is that there you walk, keeping your eyes wide open and your head up. There are some must visit roads that I propose below, even if I am the kind of person that likes to get lost in the streets of Paris without a specific destination.

⦁ You can begin your walk from the neo-classic parish Notre Dame de Lorette, a masterpiece of the 18th century, built by the architect  Hippolyte Lebas.

⦁ At the number 80 of rue Taitbout you will see a private residence, registered historical site since 1977. Here have lived, Georges Sand and Frédéric Chopin, the celebrity couple of that time. They had a decade long, passionate relationship, which became more and more platonic near the end of Chopin’s life. They broke up two years before Chopin’s death of tuberculosis.

⦁ At the quiet rue d’ Aumale you will find an exquisite example of typical architecture of Nouvelle-Athènes buildings.

⦁ At the numbers 26 and 28 of Place Saint-Georges there are two wonderful private mansions. On the middle of the Place you will notice the statue of Paul Gavarni, famous illustrator and cartoonist of the 19th century.

⦁ At the number 14 of rue Clauzel, you will find the former shop of the “Père Tanguy”, color merchant of impressionist artists as Pissaro, Monet, Renoir, Van Gogh, who got paid with paintings in exchange for goods. Eventually Père Tanguy became one of the first impressionist dealer of Paris. At the other side of the street, at number 7 is another beautiful town house of the 19th century.

⦁ At the number 9 of rue de Navarin, you will see an amazing building that was a brothel.

⦁ Rue Victor Massé signals the district of Paris dedicated to music and particularly guitar.

⦁ At 14 rue de La Rochefoucauld visit an artist’s home that turned into a museum, the Musée Gustave Moreau.

⦁ At the end of the rue Chaptal is a flowered passage leading to the Musée de la Vie Romantique. Don’t miss it.

*All images by Polina Paraskevopoulou (Copyright) 


Polina Paraskevopoulou


Polina Paraskevopoulou is a Greek journalist who shares her time between her two beloved cities of Paris and Athens. With a love of writing, blogging, fashion and travel, she has now joined the GCT team as one of our main European contributors.