Do you think you’ve seen all that Paris has to offer? I’m sure there are many of you who have not yet visited the prettiest street in all of Paris.
Paris is full of majestic monuments, stately iron towers, soaring columns and elegant facades. But often its the small things which catch your eye – green ivy dangling over a wrought iron balustrade, an angel carved onto a lintel, a bike resting against a rustic blue door.
When you walk through Rue Cremieux, everything will catch your eye. This tiny street, only 144 metres long and surrounded by modern buildings, is incredibly popular with Instagrammers. There are a mere 35 houses, but most of them have been painted in gorgeous pastels, bright yellows and Mediterranean blues. Roses and palmiers and leafy trees in earthenware pots line the narrow street. A painted grape vine winds its way past a doorway. A cat’s attempt to leap across windows is immortalised.
Situated in the 12th arrondisement of Paris, the street joins rue de Lyon and rue de Bercy. It is close to the Gare de Lyon and only a few streets away from the Place Bastille with its grand July column.
In fact, the street lies now where an enormous arena once stood, the Arènes nationales. With an entrance from the Place Bastille, it was hugely popular in the mid-19th century. Built in 1851, it was demolished by 1855 and the land sold off for development. In 1865, Rue Millaud was created for workers’ housing, named after the property developer Moïse Polydore Millaud, but in 1897 it became rue Cremieux. Adolphe Crémieux was a lawyer and defender of the rights of Jews in the late 19th century.
But the street we know and love and put on Instagram today has not always been one of the prettiest streets in Paris. It was not until 1993 that the first resident decided to paint the facade of their house, and others soon followed. This fabulous video, created by Crop the Block, has an interview with a former resident of rue Cremieux.
But before you get too snap happy, remember this is a residential street and some of the people who live here are tired of being centre stage on Instagram. Understandably, they resent having a camera pointing in their face as they exit their own doorway or sit down to their breakfast. In fact, they have created their own Instagram account, titled clubcremieux, to capture the ridiculous lengths people will go to for their perfect photo in rue Cremieux. It’s good for a laugh!
With the number of visitors to this gorgeous street, if you’re looking for your own perfect photo with no one about, you’ll have to be there fairly early in the day. The road is completely pedestrianised, so you will be able to wander and take time to admire the colourful facades. Quietly and respectfully, of course.
So how do you get there? The closest Metro is Quai de la Râpée (line 5), or Gare de Lyon (line 1).
If you’ve already visited this colourful slice of Paris, tell me below!