☆ Place des Abbesses ☆
There are lifts for passengers at the deepest underground station in Paris – it is thirty metres below ground – but hale and hearty walkers are encouraged to climb the fresco-painted steps before emerging exhausted into the little square to catch their breath on one of the benches..
In a glance, one takes in the Art Nouveau metro entrance by Hector Guimard, the merry-go-round, the cast-iron street lights and the Wallace fountain..
In the adjoining Square Jéhan-Rictus, kids play at the foot of a wall in enamelled lava where “I love you” is declared in 311 languages..
Opposite the church Saint-Jean-l’Évangéliste, nicknamed Notre-Dame-des-Briques (Our-Lady-of-Bricks) since 1904, mixes Byzantine and Art Nouveau influences..
On both sides of rue des Abbesses, rue Durantin, and rue de la Vieuville, and rue Yvonne-le-Tac trendy local boutiques rub shoulders with café terraces, where one is content to do nothing more than watch the world go by..