I think I’ve just found the most beautiful lobby in Paris. Stunning ceramic murals depicting birds, children, and charming Montmartre scenes. Here are all my pics from inside, plus some background info.
Where is it?
The lobby is at 43 bis rue Damrémont in the 18th arrondissement. It’s behind an unlocked door that leads to a doctor’s office. You can just walk right in. And that’s exactly what I did the other day, rather by chance.
But prepare to be stunned. On the walls are tiled paintings by none other than Poulbot.
Who was Poulbot?
Francisque Poulbot was an illustrator, particularly well known for his drawings of Montmartre street children (among many other things). In fact, French people use the word poulbot to refer to street children (think Gavroche in Les Miserables).
Poulbot himself lived in Montmartre, died in 1946, and was buried in the fantastic Montmartre cemetery.
What do the paintings show?
As you enter the building, you’ll see 12 huge murals showing the four seasons in Montmartre. Each scene shows plenty of little street children (or should I say poulbots…) with some fairly noticeable background details (like the Sacre Coeur and the Galette des Moulins windmill).
These scenes are separated by magnificent marble pillars.
If you walk further along the hallway, a huge skylight naturally illuminates a second wonderful scene. But there aren’t any children, rather exotic landscapes with flamingos, swallows, bluebirds, sparrows and more.
Why are these paintings here?
The paintings were commissioned in 1910 by the owner of the building, which was a public bathing house. Nowadays the baths are long gone and there’s a doctor surgery at the end of the hall (which is why you can get in quite easily during the week). Upstairs appears to be residential apartments.
Below are all the 12 Montmartre scenes in the order you’ll see them (that is, if you were to start on the left hand side). Click to enlarge, you’ll feel like you’ve lived a whole Paris year.
And here’s a closer look at the wildlife scenes a little further in.
The funny thing is, if you walked past this door, you’d never imagine what was inside. Even if you peered through the windows. Here’s a look at the unassuming door, and then what you’d see through the window.
The moral to these murals, of course, is to always inspect things closely in Paris, as you never know what you’ll discover.
Now, I’ve also got some videos from inside this lobby, but I filmed them vertically for Instagram, so go follow along to see more 🙂
And if you liked this story, you’re probably the kind of person who’d like my podcast. Have a listen to some of the episodes below.
Happy exploring 🙂
Oh yes, and you can also support our work by buying one of our children’s books, or our PDF guide, below. Merci!
Roger the Liger in Paris25.00€
Kylie the Crocodile25.00€
The Earful Tower 2023 Guide to Paris [PDF]19.99€
9 thoughts on “Could this be the prettiest lobby in Paris?”
What gorgeous photos, Oliver! So happy you discovered these murals snd shared them.
Curious if these murals are available as prints to buy anywhere?
I doubt it!
Amazingly beautiful!! I just keep looking at them and think how wonderful it would be to view in person. Someday! Thank you Oliver for always finding hidden nuggets and sharing with us. By the way today I received my two books. They are fabulous!! My daughter is the principle of an elementary school and I am going to give her a copy for Christmas to go in the children’s library at her school. She will be ecstatic!
How wonderful to hear – thank you!!!
This reminds me of something I saw about former bordels (maisons closes) where amazing tile decoration was hidden under mid-century renovation. See this: https://www.challenges.fr/lifestyle/hotellerie-ces-maisons-closes-reconverties-qui-rouvrent-leurs-portes-a-paris_517284
What a treat and a treasure. Thank you. I notice Rue Duphont below. On my first trip to Paris I stayed at the Burgundy on Rue Duphont. That was 6 trips ago and about 20 years ago.
These are beyond gorgeous! You always find the most unusual treasures. Literally cannot wait to get back to Paris.
Thanks for sharing such delightful hidden secrets of the city we love. These photos are beautiful and I will look them up when I can one day travel again to Paris ❤️