As a Parisian, once the summer holidays are over, you crave miniature escapes within the city; a bit of peace and quiet, a git of greenery.
If you fancy an afternoon stroll that reminds you of the countryside, rue des Thermopyles and its neighbourhood is just one of my car-free sanctuaries in Paris. This passage takes its name from the Battle of Thermopylae, fought on a narrow stretch of land of the same name in the 5th century BC. The Spartan, King Leonidas has a street named after him just a few blocks away.
Formerly a private residential street, since 1959, the worn cobblestones have been welcoming the public to a stretch of low terraced houses, each with their own character, shaped by the colourful doors and window shutters and a myriad of climbing plants clambering up the walls and tight-roping across the electric wires. Depending on the time of year, there are beautiful roses and passionflowers in bloom, but for me, the cascading wisteria in the late spring is the most striking in this setting.
Keep on walking to the end of the street and across to Cité Bauer to admire an ornate, painted gate to a private residence with a wired heart-shaped peephole.
Work up an appetite and head across to the Bistrot des Plantes for a casual yet beautifully presented meal.