I often claimed that nicest places to live, work… in Paris are to be found behind the street facades. Here are some examples from Rue du Faubourg Saint Denis, in the area between Gare du Nord and Gare de l’Est.
At no. 148 you can find what is referred to as Passage Delanos, the name referring to the original owner. The building is from the middle of the 19th century and once you enter you will find three courtyards in a row. The buildings were originally occupied by apartments for “workers”, by workshops … and especially for production and sales of milk. Until around 1900 milk had to be produced locally, it did not withstand transport. There were hundreds of “vacheries” (cow-houses) in Paris. The relation to milk can be seen with the cow head at the entrance.
Here are some views from the different courtyards (see also top picture).
At no. 144 there is another 19th century building (from 1871) with a quite sophisticated architecture. It was originally created for the “Compagnie des Chemins de fer de l’Est” (Eastern Railways Co.) – this was before the different private railway companies were nationalised (1938) under the name of SNCF. The buildings have recently been refurbished and are today occupied with a mixture of apartments and offices, mainly by SNCF.
Part of the modernisation work includes that a blind wall has been transformed into a giant vegetal wall (created by the same artist who covered the walls at the Quai Branly Museum, see previous post).
I also passed the beautiful entrance at no. 132 and discovered this lady in the courtyard. A plate on the building indicates that here stood previously a building where Victor Schoelcher (1804-93) was born. He’s especially known as an abolitionist and considered as the main spokesman in France for the abolition of slavery, achieved (a last time) in 1848 (a first time in 1794, but restored in 1802).