Scattered around, mostly at the edges, of Paris are several quaint neighborhoods that make you feel – at least for a few moments - like you are no longer in Paris. I recently visited two of these neighborhoods, the Quartier d’Amerique, better known as Mouzaïa and the Cité des Fleurs.
The Mouzaïa neighborhood is in the 19th arrondissement just to the east of the Parc des Buttes Chaumont. The houses were originally built at the end of the 19th century for the workers of eastern Paris.
Coming from central Paris you can take Metro line 11 to Place des Fetes. Other nearby Metro stops are Botzaris and Danube, on Metro line 7 bis – this would require a transfer from lines 2, 5 or 7.
I started my walk from Botzaris by walking up Rue de Mouzaïa, then just wandering around in no set direction.
I appreciated the street names of Rue Egalité, Rue Liberté and Rue Fraternité.
From Rue Mouzaïa, I made a left turn on Rue Egalité and continued onto Rue de la Liberté. From here I started wandering up and down the little pedestrian streets that branched off of Rue Mouzaïa.
I really wanted to take photos of more houses and their cute patios. But I felt like I was intruding on their personal space a little too much, since most were partially hidden behind fences.
I was disappointed when I ran into a tour group on Villa des Lilas, but otherwise I only saw a handful of other wanderers.
Thankfully they moved on after a few minutes and I could continue with my wander. I especially liked this house on Rue Mouzaïa, with the palm tree and tromp l'oeil window.
While I didn't even think to check my watch, I probably spent just under an hour on my walk. It was an enjoyable way to spend some time on lovely Sunday afternoon in Paris.
Cité des Fleurs
The Cité des Fleurs is a private street located in the 17th arrondissement, near the intersection of Rue Guy Moquet and Avenue Clichy. It's partially hidden behind a gate and it would be easy to walk past if you didn't know it was there.
The gate is open from 7:00 a.m to 7:00 p.m from Monday through Saturday and from 7:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. on Sundays.
My initial impression was that it was not as impressive as Mouzaïa, but my opinion quickly changed as I walked further down the street and then chatted with a woman who was also taking photos.
She told me that she grew up in the area after WWII and mentioned something about her mother's involvement in the communist party and told me about the plaque commemorating members of the resistance who were executed by the Gestapo. I probably should have invited her for coffee to learn more about this story.
I think that the street is worth a visit if you are nearby and are looking for something different to see.
And just like my visit to Mouzaïa, there were few other tourists, until a tour group appeared.