Les Echelles du Baroque – Contemporay architecture
Les Echelles du Baroque frame the Place de Catalogne at the southern end of Montparnasse train station.
These buildings are a perfect illustration of the architecture of the late 20th century.
The Spanish architect Ricardo Bofill built this group of 274 seven-storey luxury apartments in the 1980s.
The buildings are concave in order to follow the layout of the square.
The northern facade, which overlooks the square, is easily recognisable for its gigantic Doric columns and high-end shops and restaurants.
Highly inspired by Italian Baroque style, Bofill created a series of Italian plazas in order to break the coldness of the architecture.
Les Echelles du Baroque consists of two sets of buildings separated from one another by the Rue Vercingetorix.
The street begins under a monumental portico that connects the buildings on Place de Catalogne.
It runs between them for about 50m, bypasses the Place Slimane Azem then follows the railway tracks.
Each set of buildings is laid out around an interior plaza.
Place de l’Amphithéâtre
Place de l’Amphithéâtre is located in the centre of the northwest building.
It is not accessible to the public.
The garden is indeed part of a private property, however, you can have a peek through the gates.
The first section of the garden is rectangular.
It then becomes convex in order to adjust to the shape of the building, hence its name of amphitheater.
The interior facade of the building is similar to the facade that overlooks the Place de Catalogne.
Place de Seoul
The 75m long by 50m wide Place de Seoul is situated in the centre of the southeast building.
It serves as a public passageway and garden.
The facade that overlooks it is known as Les Colonnes.
It indeed consists of large bays interspersed with glass columns.
The area encompassing Les Echelles du Baroque is essentially pedestrian.
The Italian style plazas are a fair attempt at recreating a traditional district atmosphere.
They are all landscaped with green spaces where you’ll find benches.
My advice is the same as for the Place de Catalogne:
Don’t go out your way to visit Les Echelles du Baroque or Place of Seoul on a first visit to Paris.
The district is not an historical area, but rather an illustration of the architecture of the late 20th century.
That being said, both the Place de Catalogne and Les Echelles du Baroque are worth the detour if you happen to be in the area.
Directions: 14th district
Metro: Pernéty or Gaîté on Line 13
Coordinates: Lat 48.836432 – Long 2.317509