Skip The Crowds And Visit One Of The Most Underrated Destinations In All Of France

Hidden within the streets of Paris is a quiet and sleepy locale that's all but a replica of The Secret Garden. The quaint, undisturbed 19th district of La Mouzaïa rests in a state forgotten by the rest of the city. It's a place where locals sip their morning coffee on a porch swing, and visitors are enchanted by all 250 of its ivy-covered homes. Perched on the hillside above the city near Buttes-Chaumont Park it's hard to believe this community is less than 15 minutes from the heart of Paris, France. 

It's said that La Mouzaïa was built on the site of an old quarry with the neighborhood's earliest community composed of working-class French laborers. La Mouzaïa has long since adopted the nickname Quartier d'Amérique (the American district) because of the large portions of quarried gypsum exported to the United States from this district. The name "La Mouzaïa" is derived from the Algerian pass during the French conquest in 1839.

Given the district's history, the ground can't support the elegant high-rises that now characterize the rest of the city. Instead, the homes in La Mouzaïa never exceed more than a few stories. In the mid and late 1900s, several parts of Quartier d'Amérique were renovated to reflect a more urban and modern lifestyle. Fortunately, La Mouzaïa's villas still retain their authentic and historical feel. Today, the district is home to a labyrinth of bucolic homes adorned with flower boxes and separated by idyllic cobblestone streets — the perfect spot to experience the city like a Parisian.

A piece of the city where details

Springtime is when this neighborhood shines brightest, with lush greenery overflowing from gardens and the scents of lavender and jasmine permeating the streets. The fresh countryside air and quiet nature make it one of the most relaxed parts of town, safely tucked away from the hustle and bustle of Parisian urban life. With several metro stops in the surrounding area, the Dunabe metro stop is the one you'll want to look for when visiting La Mouzaïa. Getting lost in the streets of Paris is a fair concern for visiting tourists, but a happy accident in this charming neighborhood. The alluring alleyways separating each home are called "villas", with particular sections allowing visitors to peek over the wrought-iron fencing and flowering crossvines.

Nearly every street moniker in La Mouzaïa reflects famous French celebrities and prized locations across the country. Villa d'Alsace and Villa de Lorraine are just half a mile away from Villa Sadi Carnot, Villa Félix Faure. While many of the homes feature a similar 18th-century architectural style, neighbors often take time to personalize their living space with colorful textiles and hand-painted signs. Larger family homes are rare in Paris, and the tree-lined streets and front garden areas allow residents to add a creative flair to this neighborhood, giving birth to a diverse and creative community.

Explore Paris's alluring 19th district

Residents in the La Mouzaïa district are blessed with ample walking distance to several delightful parks, gardens, and community centers that contribute to resident's healthy and well-rounded lifestyles. Even those too far to reach on foot are just a short drive away. Just five minutes walking distance from La Mouzaïa, Parc Buttes-Chaumont is a local gem and a lively center for entertainment and the arts. The emerald greenery beckons photographers as well as those looking to fit in some daily movement. Yoga and tai chi classes are frequently held in the park's green spaces, adding to the park's simplicity and tranquil ambiance.

Butte Bergeyre is another site you won't want to miss when flaneuring the streets of Paris's 19th district. A mini district in La Mouzaïa and a coveted Parisian village, it doesn't take long to see why there's a high percentage of artists, architects, and designers that live within this neighborhood. Nearly every home reflects an artistic and eclectic taste. Its elevated height also offers some of the best panoramic views of the city. This neighborhood is also home to its own mini vineyard, Clos des Chaufournier. This hidden vineyard supports over 150 vines, which produce several grape varieties, including Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Muscat, Pinot Noir, and Chasselas.

Just down the road, Parc de la Villette stands as an architectural masterpiece and a symbol of pride for the city of Paris. After 15 years of renovation, Parc de la Villette is home to a collection of promenades, covered bridges, and manicured gardens — a picturesque addition to La Mouzaïa.