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Hidden Paris: Villa Santos-Dumont

What does one do on a sunny Saturday afternoon? Well, F and I went out for a walk of rediscovery. Early last year, we have came across streets neatly tucked away from the public eyes – quaint, lush, calm – the little pieces of paradise anyone would wish to have in a bustling city like Paris. We certainly would love to live on one of these hidden-yet-within-Paris streets with a village charm. Today, let me introduce you to villa Santos-Dumont (formerly villa Chauvelot), named after a Franco-Brazilian aviator.

Villa Santos-Dumont

Villa Santos-Dumont

Villa Santos-Dumont is a serene and picturesque cobblestoned impasse that branched out from rue Santos-Dumont in the 15th arrondissement, a short walk away from Parc Georges Brassens. Brassens himself famously lived on 42 rue Santos-Dumont, after a 22-year stay on 9 impasse Florimont, another few minutes walk away from here.

However, that is not to say that villa Santos-Dumont hadn’t attracted other personalities in its own right. Afterall, its story began with sculptor Louis-Raphaël Paynot who purchased this plot of land consisted of vineyards and wheat fields, of which his son would ended up building most of the 20-odd dwellings of the villa. Among its creative-inclined former residents: Ossip Zadkine (No 3), Fernand Léger (No 4), and Malvina Hoffman (No 25), all of whom were – not surprisingly perhaps – sculptors, as well as painter Victor Brauner (No 10 bis) and writer Jeanne Champion (No 17).

Villa Santos-Dumont

Villa Santos-Dumont

Villa Santos-Dumont

Villa Santos-Dumont

Villa Santos-Dumont

Villa Santos-Dumont

Villa Santos-Dumont

Villa Santos-Dumont

Villa Santos-Dumont

Villa Santos-Dumont

From the exterior, many of the houses along villa Santos-Dumont can be immediately identified as an artist loft/workshop with steel frames and large windows, while others more conventional old-school houses with climbing vines and secret gardens. And on this sunny day, neighbours gathered together to have a late lunch al fresco while their children played and ran freely on this quiet street. A very idyllic life in Paris, indeed.

Rue Santos-Dumont

Rue Santos-Dumont

And here are just a couple more bonus photos, of the main rue Santos-Dumont. Among these houses with delicate overhead glass panels above the doors, the middle was the former home of Brassens. Last but not least, on a wonderful spring afternoon, how could I resist including a shot of glorious cherry blossoms to this post? Afterall, this is also roughly the spot right opposite the street branching into villa Santos-Dumont. It makes a most lovely and welcoming sight on exiting the villa.



Category: Paris

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8 scribbles & notes

  1. medca says:

    Good mix of the ‘new’ and the ‘old’….looks like a nice quaint neighbourhood ;)

    • Lil says:

      Such a nice neighbourhood, although there are others even cooler ones!

      Ps: you’re quick to spot new blog entry! I have a few more that I’ve started working on the photo processing, so hopefully it won’t take me quite as long to fill those back-dated posts up ;)

  2. med says:

    Take ur time lil….no hurry alright and this is not a competition hehehe ;)

    • Lil says:

      Of course not ;) but it is good to put things in place. I really should have considered the ramification of imposing a no-English month – poor blog got so neglected!

  3. Selena says:

    Nice! Must show us when we next visit :)

  4. Mme Dominique Debney née Ziller says:

    I lived at number 8 until I was 21. I sold the house in 2002 or 2003 after my father died and my mother moved away.

    As a child I posed a few times for an Italian artist called Luigi Corbellini. He lived at number 6 or 6 bis. He used to wear a pair of socks around his neck and liked whisky which was a bit of a novelty in France at that time!

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