At the highest point in Paris’ 20th neighbourhood is Square des Saint Simoniens – Menilmontant. Its proportions makes it more like a small park than a civic square. The ample space, which runs SE to NW, catches an early morning sunrise and also sunset.
Historically the Saint Simoniens are known for being progressive, having influenced emergent French industrial society. Their shared doctrine being one of socioeconomic-political equality and is a precursor to an early socialism.
When I went along on a sunny early morning I caught sight of people spending time alongside one another – harmoniously, someone practiced yoga, gardeners tended to shrub plantations and a couple chatted, seated on one of the numerous twenty-two benches.
The colours of the shrubs are reds, whites and violets, and mimic the colours of the clothes worn by the workers who once called this popular neighbourhood home. Approach the square from any of the four gated access points and you’ll be surrounded by an array of socially-minded architecture.
This square is a place which bookends the day nicely with intense daylight from sunrise to sunset. And it’s during these magical times that you can experience light bouncing off a fountain sculpture by artist Marnix Raedecker. Raedecker, a well-documented artist, uses sunlight as an integral, yet ephemeral, agent to allow his work to create sublime and sensations feelings.
Approaching the end of summer will guarantee the reds, golds, limes and shocking pinks of the shrubs and flowers will once again find their way into bloom.