Once I read a study that concluded that Paris was one of the most homogeneous cities in the world when it comes to its landscape. Compared to other cities of international interest, Paris has succeeded best in uniforming its look. If you think of it: the metro entrances, the street signs and lamps and the white chalk building with their gray roofs… They are all very distinct, and all so very clearly Parisian.
Although this is beautiful in itself, it can be very refreshing to see some architecture that breaks a bit with the regular style. Paris’ 14th district hides quite a lot of Art Nouveau and Art Deco architecture. During those periods, the area was known for its artistic scene and although this is not really the case anymore, you can still find quite a lot of buildings with large glass windows that once served as art studios.
The quiet and tiny rue Cassini, located not far from the Luxembourg gardens, seems to be a little early twentieth century architect free zone, where they experimented with funny windows, original ornaments and foreign influences. A landmark is the monumental art deco building by architect Charles Abella.
Like many streets in the neighborhood, rue Cassini has been the home for many artists, of which the most famous is writer Honoré de Balzac, who resided in the building at number 1 after his printing company went gone bankrupt. There is also the old observatory building, unfortunately inaccessible to visitors.