The lobbies you’re about to see are in private Paris residences. Under no circumstances should you expect to get beyond the front door. And anyway, everything is visible through the glass doors, so seeing the mosaics is easily accomplished. But if you’re going to linger, please don’t say I sent you.
The 16th arrondissement of Paris is full of architectural treats. You can hunt for Art Nouveau buildings designed by the famed Hector Guimard, stroll the Haussmannian streets admiring the beautiful boulevards, and peek into the entryways of countless charming residential buildings. And if you’re really lucky, you will catch a glimpse of some gorgeous mosaics.
After extensive exploration of the district, I’ve come to the conclusion that there are no better examples of incredible mosaic lobbies than those on Rue Jasmin. I am not going to list the street numbers, as discovering them is part of the fun.
But can you imagine my delight when I got invited inside the main one? I was out shooting with The Earful Tower’s photographer Augusta Sagnelli (we were taking pics of Art Nouveau architecture, you can check them out here), when we came to a beautifully ornate iron door, the entry to a majestic building. And peeking through the glass, we saw a breathtaking lobby.
Always hesitant to linger too long, we pressed our faces against the door to soak up the sheer magnificence of the grand entryway, when out of nowhere, there was an automatic click and the front door was unlocked. A resident was leaving.
The resident saw us admiring the building, chuckled, and invited us in to take some photos. A chance like this doesn’t come around often, and I was so excited I thought I’d pass out. I had to sit down.
Inside, the mosaic tiles stretched across the floor and lower part of the walls. Depicted are three hunting dogs on the floor, and a series of angels and cherubs on the walls, surrounded by green vines on golden backgrounds. Steps led up to a grand wooden door, which was the entrance to the apartment block.
A second lobby down the road
Not wanting to overstay our welcome, we left the building and headed further down rue Jasmin, where we found yet another lobby, in a similar style to the first one. A resident invited us in too, but I sensed this was only for a quick look. He didn’t leave us alone as the other resident had.
This lobby was much bigger, enormous really. It depicted a tiger holding a deer in its jaws. The intricacies of the tile work are exceptional, and also continued up to the walls.
Other mosaics in Paris
Now, if you want to find mosaics in Paris, the 16th is a great place to start. Quite a few lobbies have perhaps less impressive versions of the pictures you’ve seen above. Just peek through the glass doors, or try to catch a glimpse when the doors open of natural causes 🙂 When you’re really lucky, the doors are propped open for a removalist, a cleaner, or a delivery.
You can also find quite a few street signs in the area that are made with mosaic tiles. You can see an example in the YouTube video below. Otherwise, there are plenty of mosaics in hotels and restaurants in central Paris, but they’re not as fun as discovering them yourself in unexpected places. There are also exceptional examples in the Opera house and the Galerie Vivienne passageway.
Lastly, if you like unique lobbies in Paris, I’d recommend you check out this one here. I once thought this was the pretties in Paris, but now I’d only say it’s the best in Montmartre.
The Earful Tower podcast episode
If you enjoyed this article, you’ll probably love our podcast episode about the 16th arrondissement of Paris. In the episode my wife Lina and I share our experience spending 24 hours in the 16th, stick around till the end when we give our final ranking on the district out of 100.
Tour the 16th arrondissement in our YouTube video
Here is our visit in video format, from our YouTube channel, so you can feel like you’re there too! We’ll be making one of these every week, so be sure to subscribe (you can do it in one click via this link).
And that’s it! A big thanks to Charlotte Pleasants for the additional reporting, Augusta Sagnelli for the photos, and to the Patreon members who make all this possible. Join them here.
Oh yes, and you can also support our work by buying one of our children’s books, or our PDF guide, below. Merci!