Located in southwest Paris, the 15th is a residential and family-friendly arrondissement with many attractive features – an outstanding heritage, museums, theatres and show venues, big parks where you can get some fresh air and play sport, ever-greener avenues and streets to walk along, neighbourhood shops and a large shopping centre for your shopping needs.
The numerous cultural centres, museums and theatres in various parts of the 15th make it a culturally rich arrondissement.
The Musée Bourdelle tucked away between the Tour Montparnasse and the Hôpital Necker is devoted to the French sculptor Antoine Bourdelle, who worked with Rodin and taught Alberto Giacometti. A visit to the museum is an opportunity to see the artist’s studio, his work and the lovely sculpture garden. Near to the Gare Montparnasse, the Musée de la Poste, which was entirely renovated in 2019, has more than one million philatelic items and more than 37,000 works and objects illustrating the history and trades of the French postal service from the Middle Ages to the present day. The Caroline Aigle Garden on the edge of the Parc André Citroën houses Les Étincelles, an eco-friendly pop-up structure hosting the Palais de la Découverte’s activities off-site until 2024, during its renovation. Inside the colourful buildings, three areas are used for talks, demonstrations and workshops on subjects connected to the exhibits at the Palais (chemistry, physics, mathematics, geology on Mars, etc.). The structure even has a planetarium.
The artists’ centre La Ruche located in Passage Dantzig in the Saint-Lambert district is a historic venue in the 15th. Founded in the early 20th century to help up-and-coming artists, it housed artists and sculptors who went on to become famous such as Amedeo Modigliani, Chaïm Soutine, Constantin Brâncuşi, Fernand Léger, Marie Laurencin, Ossip Zadkine and Marc Chagall. The Ruche is still operational and today houses 60-odd studios.
A noteworthy event in the 15th is the Marché du Livre Ancien, the antique and second-hand book market held every weekend in the covered market halls adjoining the Parc Georges Brassens. It is a convivial event, involving more than 50 booksellers with different niches.
The arrondissement has many other cultural venues including the Japanese cultural centre Maison de la Culture du Japon à Paris and the Musée Pasteur in the eminent scientist Louis Pasteur’s apartment.
The 15th also has several theatres offering a broad range of events. The Monfort Théâtre in the south of the arrondissement is devoted to contemporary theatre and emerging theatre companies. A short walk from here, Espace Paris Plaine is an Italian-style theatre known for its events for young audiences. The Grand Point-Virgule located in a former cinema on Rue de l’Arrivée is a place to discover both big names in comedy and young talent. The smaller Théo Théâtre and Comédie Tour Eiffel also have top-notch programming with shows and workshops for adults and children. Circus arts are on display in the baroque big top of the Cirque Bormann, a short distance from the Pont du Garigliano.
With more than 40 parks, gardens and squares, the 15th is an arrondissement where it is very pleasant to go out for a walk.
Running partially alongside the Hôpital Georges Pompidou, the Parc André Citroën located on the site of the former car factory extends over 14 hectares all the way to the Seine. Known for its modern landscaping, this vast park has two greenhouses, one filled with tropical plants and the other with Mediterranean plants; a bamboo grove, an artificial island, large plant-filled expanses and a viaduct. The Ballon de Paris hot-air balloon tethered in the park is used to measure the air quality and is also an unusual attraction drawing people to admire the capital from on high.
Parc Georges Brassens, a tribute to the famous singer and songwriter who lived in the 15th, extends over nearly 9 hectares on the site of the old slaughterhouses of Vaugirard. The park’s animal statues, ping pong tables, puppet theatre and merry-go-rounds make it popular with families, while joggers use the uphill loop to perfect their technique. The park is home to the Clos des Morillons vineyard planted with pinot noir vines as a nod to the district’s wine-growing past and there is an educational beehive to learn about beekeeping.
Not far from the Parc des Expositions at Porte de Versailles is the Parc Suzanne Lenglen. It is a huge all-purpose park with many practice fields for athletes, slides and shady places to stop for a rest. The innovative park also has an educational urban farm with dwarf goats, Ouessant sheep, hens and rabbits.
The Petite Ceinture, a former railway line, is a green paradise filled with wild plants. Extending over 1.3 kilometres, this green walkway connects Rue Olivier de Serres to Balard, and the Parc Georges Brassens to Parc André Citroën.
In warm weather, the port de Javel end of the Berges de Seine (a pedestrianized stretch along the Seine) transforms into a riverside café-style gathering place where people can meet up, dance and buy a snack from the food trucks lined up there. Located between the Pont de Grenelle and the Pont de Bir-Hakeim, the nearly one-kilometre-long Ile aux Cygnes was artificially created in the 19th century in the middle of the river. Its southern tip has a 16-metre-high bronze replica of the Statue of Liberty. Filled with trees, it is a popular place for a leisurely stroll, though sporty types also come to use the equipment installed here: gymnastics apparatus, climbing walls and stationary bicycles.
There are a number of community gardens in various parts of the arrondissement where residents indulge their love of gardening in a spirit of conviviality and sharing.
More and more trees are being planted in the 15th to offer a central green route for walking which is being created and will, at 8.2 km, be the longest in the capital when completed. It will go from the Parc Georges Brassens to the Montparnasse station, via the former railway line the Petite Ceinture, the Parc André Citroën, the banks of the Seine and the boulevards running along the wall of the farmers-general.
The 15th arrondissement has a wealth of places where you can go shopping. From small, friendly shops to major brands and huge shopping centres, there is plenty of choice.
Located on the banks of the Seine, the Beaugrenelle Paris is a very Parisian shopping centre with no fewer than 120 shops and restaurants. There are some very edgy French and international brands on sale, but many popular, affordable brands can also be found here.
Some parts of the arrondissement like Rue de Convention, Rue de Vaugirard, Rue du Commerce and the Village Suisse antiques shops have a village feel, which makes them ideal places to stroll around to discover small neighbourhood shops, artisans and food markets.