From Georges Brassens Park to Montsouris Park
Starting point: M° Porte-de-Vanves (3.1 miles, 15th & 14th districts)
From boulevard Lefebvre, take rue Brançion and enter Georges Brassens Park where, until the late 1970s, the Vaugirard slaughterhouses could be found. In front of the main gate, you will see a pair of monumental bulls which used to be in the Trocadéro gardens.
Leave the park and turn right onto rue des Morillons. Cross rue Brançion, where the gate to the former horse-market can still be seen. Turn left onto rue Santos-Dumont, named after the aviation pioneer and first world-record holder (October 1906: 240 yards in 21"). Many artists have lived on this quiet little street. The best known of them all was Georges Brassens, a hugely popular singer and song-writer, who resided at no. 42.
Take rue Franquet, on the right. At the end, turn left onto rue Labrouste and then right onto rue Charles-Weiss where, in the shade of a large tree, artists' studios have been built. At the corner with rue Castagnary, a Breton flag flutters on top of a light-house, on which the words "Gloire aux marins pêcheurs" (glory to sailors and fishermen) can be read. The light-house overlooks a large fish-market.
You will soon reach rue de Vouillé, which marks the boundary between the 14th and 15th districts. Past the tracks of Montparnasse Railway Station and the imposing buildings on rue Vercingétorix, you will come to a garden at no. 119. Leave the garden and take rue du Moulin-de-la-Vierge. It is very hard to imagine the long gone mill which gives the street its name... It was not the only one, as rue du Moulin-Vert attests.
Cross rue de l'Ouest and turn left onto rue Raymond-Losserand. Follow it until you get to rue des Thermopyles, on the right. It is a charming spot, where a few artisans can still be found... for now. There is a very poetic sign at no. 35: "Tout achever, sauf le désir" (achieve everything, except desire).
At no. 19, cité Bauer, you will find something which is totally unexpected there: a dacha! It was built by a Hungarian artist, though.
Cross rue Didot and go into the small square du Chanoine-Viollet, at the corner with rue du Moulin-Vert.
Past rue des Plantes, walk on to avenue du Maine. Cross it and reach passage Rimbaut. Turn left onto avenue du Général-Leclerc, cross it and take rue Rémy-Dumoncel on the right. Turn right onto rue Montbrun (at no. 4, artists' studios built with bricks, iron and glass), until you get to rue d'Alésia. At no. 20bis stands a fine early 1900s building. Turn right onto rue de la Tombe-Issoire. At no. 101, you will find the enchanting villa (private street) Seurat. Nos. 1, 3, 3bis, 4, 5, 8, 9 and 11 have been designed by the same architect, André Lurçat. Lurçat himself lived here, as did Soutine, Miller, Dalí, among many other artists, tinyurl.com/664q6om (in French).
Cross rue Saint-Yves and continue on rue de la Tombe-Issoire. The Montsouris reservoir is hidden under small, grass-covered hills. For obvious security reasons, it is not open to the public.
On place Jules-Hénaffe turn left onto avenue Reille. At no. 53 go into square de Montsouris. At the corner you will find the first Parisian creation of Le Corbusier, the painter Ozenfant's studio. Square de Montsouris is in my view one of the loveliest private streets in Paris. At no. 2 there is a building designed by Auguste Perret.
Cross rue Nansouty and reach the entrance to Montsouris Park, my favourite park in Paris, and a great place to rest, relax, read... or do some jogging, if you are really tireless!
One more thing: opposite the park lies a cosmopolitan microcosm of diverse architectural styles, the Cité internationale universitaire de Paris (International university campus of Paris). Two of its buildings, the Swiss and Brazilian pavilions, were designed by Le Corbusier, www.ciup.fr, www.fondationsuisse.fr, www.maisondubresil.org, tinyurl.com/lpxp49
To go back: RER Cité-Universitaire (or a bus)