Strolling on rue des Thermopyles
When I discovered, or rather stumbled upon, rue des Thermopyles, I was surprised to find myself escaping from the bustle and noise of streets leading from Gare Montparnasse. What a pleasant discovery as I was only on my way to the local Monoprix store for yogurt! Only about 280 m long, rue des Thermopyles is a quaint Paris street that takes you out of the city and into the country. This quiet little street begins at 87 rueRaymond- Losserand in the 14th arrondissement. As the buildings towered above me on this narrow cobblestoned street, I began to understand why a street in Paris pays homage to a battle between the Persians and the Greeks!
Rue des Thermopyles – the history behind the name
The Battle of Thermopylae took place between the Persians and Greeks, 480-479 BC. The small Spartan army cleverly outwitted the larger Persian forces by taking a stance in the narrow pass of Thermopylae. This pass is bounded by the mountains of central Greece and the sea. The narrow space gave a momentary advantage to the smaller army. However in the end, this narrow strait also led to their demise . The Persians trapped the Greeks in the gap. You can read the full story at the British Museum’s site.
Wandering rue des Thermopyles
Wisteria and ivy vines wrap around the buildings and crawl across this bucolic street via electrical lines. I can just imagine the powerful smell of the wisteria flowers in the spring and summer! Still on this dismal fall day, there was a quiet beauty to be found here.
Be careful where you step! These cobblestones are more uneven than they appear at first glance. Never-the-less they serve to enhance the country-side ambiance.
Rue des Thermopyles is less than a 15 minute walk from Gare Montparnasse. If you have time to spare, this street is a nice little sight-seeing break. Sometimes, I would take metro line 13 on beyond Montparnasse to the Pernity stop just to be able to walk rue des Thermopyles before returning to the AirBnb. I thought that staying in a BnB so close to the train station might have more disadvantages than advantages. However, four metro lines converge at Gare Montparnasse. The metro journey back in the evenings was always easy and it was pleasant to be able to meander down rue des Thermopyles whenever I wanted. I also discovered one of my favorite tea shops, near the corner of rue de Texel and rue Raymond-Losserand: Palais de Thé.
Rue des Thermopyles: Municipal Garden and Square
This garden at the end of the street is a shared municipal garden. It is open to the public, but not daily! I was not fortunate enough to be there on one of the open days. To garden here, you must be a member of the association. Unlike a potager, where each person has an individual plot of land for gardening, this is a collective and no one has an individual plot.
Just beyond the shared municipal garden is lovely little Square Andrew Giacometti. It is a wonderful place to take a book and just enjoy the day.