Siège du Parti Communiste Français, Belleville (19e)

Almost floating above the Colonel Fabien traffic island is a rare chance to see the work of a titan of architecture outside his native Brazil; Oscar Niemeyer delivered his client a lyrical masterpiece while he was in exile after a military coup back home. The French Communist Party Headquarters was completed in 1971 at a time when the party and its ideology was still a force to be reckoned with in the country. A six-storey boomerang-shaped office block forms a glass curtain that opens up over the district.

2 Place du Colonel Fabien, 75019
+33 (0)1 4040 1212

Palais de Chaillot, Trocadéro (16e)

The sheer size and sumptuousness of this modernist structure – as well as its astonishing views of the Eiffel Tower – make it an art deco revelation. France’s most prestigious performance space was completed in 1937 for the Paris Universal Exhibition by architects Léon Azéma, Jacques Carlu and Louis-Hippolyte Boileau. The centrepiece is the Grand Foyer, lined with a series of triumphant torchères to make it a very grand affair. Huge murals painted by a host of artistic heavyweights including Paul Belmondo and Louis Billotey only add to the exuberance. 

1 Place du Trocadéro, 75016
+33 (0)1 5365 3000

Lavirotte building, Champ de Mars (7e)

This private residence manages to stand apart from the area’s ornamented set of art nouveau apartment buildings – Jules Lavirotte’s 1901 design won the prize for the best façade in the city that year. Seven storeys with four bays are arranged with typical art nouveau asymmetry; Lavirotte wanted to create an imbalance and a movement in the building in contrast to its rigidly Haussmannian neighbours. The theme – as reflected in a lizard-shaped door handle and bulls’ heads and turtles as balcony supports – is a dedication to the fertility of nature. The upside-down phallus on the front door sets the tone.

29 Avenue Rapp, 75007

Images: Patrick Berger, François Cavelier, Shutterstock

Go back: Paris


sign in to monocle

new to monocle?

Subscriptions start from £120.

Subscribe now






00:00 01:00

  • Meet the Writers