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Known as a boring neighborhood for wealthy bourgeois, the 16th district is actually one of the most interesting quarters of Paris for architecture lovers.

Here is the map (the Bois de Boulogne, partly represented on the left, is larger than the urban part of the district)


                           17th
#################/ PtM__
## Bois ######          ``-------AdT
###############/                  |   ChE
### de #######/      AvF          \       
#############/PtD                  |  8th
# Boulogne #/              _.------Al---
###########/              / ____________
###########/           Tr/ /
##########/             / /                                           
#########/ JR          / / EiT                                      
########/             /e/          7th                                
########/            /n/                                               
########/        RF /i/                                                   
#######/           /e/                     .------------------.         
######/   LF      /S/                      | ### : woods      |           
######/          / /                       |                  |
#####'R-G       / /                        | |---------|      |       
####|PtA       PtM                         | 0         1km    |            
####|         / /                          |                  |
###'          / /                          |     N            |
  |          / /                           |     |            |      
  | PdP     / /         15th               | W --+-- E        |        
  |         / /                            |     |            |     
  |        / /                             |     S            |    
   \ PtSC / /                              |__________________|         
    -----/ /---
Boul    / /

Everything in italics is outside the district. It's the 6th most populated district with 161,773 inhabitants in 1990. It's also the second largest (7.85 km2, not including the Bois de Boulogne).

A good way to enter the 16th district is to walk across the Seine on Pont Bir-Hakeim. On the middle of the bridge, you may remember Marlon Brando and Maria Schneider in "Last Tango in Paris": several sequences were shot here, under the elevated metro.

Another way is to cross the Seine on the same bridge, but on the elevated metro. Then you can notice two kinds of behaviours among the passengers: the tourists nudge their neighbours saying "Look, the Eiffel Tower!", while the Parisians keep reading their newspaper or watching their feet.

Indeed, the major landmark in the area is the Eiffel Tower. Although it belongs to the 7th district on the left bank, it is visible from a large part of the 16th district. The best point of view on the Eiffel Tower is from Trocadéro, a hillock with a garden and a palace on the top. The palace hosts several museums.

The northern part of the district is made of well-designed avenues that converge to Place de l'Etoile, the biggest crossroads in Paris . Avenue Foch is the largest street in Paris, and the most expensive place to live.

The rest of the district consists in two former villages, Passy and Auteuil, now pleasant quarters.

Auteuil, in the southern part of the district, is very interesting for its architecture. Unfortunately, it is impossible to enter large residential areas known as villas, : Villa Montmorency, Villa de la Réunion, Hameau Boileau, and you can only peek from the outside.

But the streets offer many surprises. My favorites are the buildings by Hector Guimard, the most prominent French Art Nouveau architect. Stone is sculpted in free forms, and balcony wrought iron is both light and extremely elegant. See the extravagant Castel Béranger at 14, rue la Fontaine, and many other buildings in the neighborhood (1)

While Paris contains relatively few parks, it contains two woods. While Bois de Vincennes belongs to the 12th district, Bois de Boulogne occupies the western half of the 16th district. It's a nice place to walk on Sundays. It contains two racecourses: Auteuil and Longchamp. Jardins de Bagatelle will be of interest for flower lovers. Jardin Shakespeare reproduces landscapes from the Bard's plays. Grande Cascade, near the Longchamp racecourse, is an artificial waterfall.


(1) my private list of Guimard houses:

  • Metro Michel-Ange Auteuil : 14, 19-21 and 60, rue la Fontaine; 9, rue du Père-Brottin; 11, rue F.Millet.
  • Metro Chardon-Lagache: entrance of Villa de la Réunion (41, rue Chardon-Lagache) and 42, avenue de Versailles (angle of rue Lancret)
  • Metro Ranelagh or Jasmin : 18, rue Heine; 122 and 125, avenue Mozart

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