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  • Eye Prefer Paris is an ex-New Yorker's insider's guide to Paris. Richard Nahem writes his blog from his fabulous 18th century apartment in the fashionable Marais district of Paris

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January 11, 2010



Amazing what lies behind those beautiful blue doors, huh? The courtyard must make its own little micro-climate to keep things this green and lush into Dec. My guess is that statue is a sphinx.


Walk out of hotel lutecia make a left onto rue de cherche midi and on the left side of the street a couple of stores in you wIll find the BEST handmade chocolates shop in all of Paris.



Dumb question: Are all those doors normally closed? So if you see a courtyard or get in it's because someone has left the door ajar?

Are they private spaces for one person, or common areas for apartments?


yes, most of these doors are normally closed and yes, i go in if a door is ajar or there is workman going in. sometimes they have businesses in them in the courtyards, like ateliers, so then they are open or you can buzz yourself in without a code during the day. I have sometimes used un-orthodox ways of getting in them, but that's the fun part. they are usually common spaces for apt. buildings.

Mary Duncan

15 rue du Cherche Midi is discussed in my book, Henry Miller is Under My Bed:
People and Places on the Way to Paris (Starhaven 2008). My late friend Dan Dixon owned the RdC, the two blue doors in photo #4.
Andy Warhol owned the apartment upstairs, the owner of Club Med owned the penthouse and a countess owned the apt on the right as you enter the gates. I had use of the large studio for several years. The courtyard has really been improved. I'm told that originally it was built in 1680? or so. The ground floor apts were for the horses

Diana Kostyrko

I am fairly certain that sphinx, although much abraded, is a relic from the courtyard of the hotel des freres Duveen, 20 place Vendome. It is one half of a pair, and has been said to be by Rene Sergent, who had designed the Duveen's 'petit Trianon' at that address. It is more likely that it is a relic from the eighteenth century and probably represents Madame du Barry. The other half of the pair would have represented Madame de Pompadour (both mistresses of Louis XV) - wonder where it is? I see there are versions at Earlshall Castle, and a terracotta version of your discovery in an antique shop in Madrid. Nice find!

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