The circular Place de Catalogne
Place de Catalogne is located a stone’s throw from Montparnasse train station and Montparnasse Cemetery.
It is also the point of junction of five streets.
The architect Ricardo Bofill designed the Place de Catalogne in the 1980s during the redevelopment of the area.
He named it after the region of Spain where he was born.
Many developments have now replaced the bohemian Montparnasse from yesteryear.
As a result, many old Parisians witnessed with sadness their district being demolished and drastically transformed through the years.
The Place de Catalogne is one of these new developments.
The facades of the four sets of buildings that frame it are concave in order to fit with the circular shape of the square.
Ricardo Bofill designed the Echelles du Baroque, the two buildings overlooking the southeast section of the square.
Fontaine du Creuset-du-Temps on Place de Catalogne
A gigantic fountain shaped like a sloping disc marks the center of the square.
This disc has a diameter of 30m and seems to sink into the ground.
The Polish artist Shamaï Haber designed the Fontaine du Creuset-du-Temps in 1988.
This unusual fountain is made of 300,000 polished cobblestones in granite from Brittany.
Their alignment creates a series of mini-waterfalls in order to allow water to drain out silently and evenly on their surface.
The colour of the disc evolves throughout the day as the light changes.
Water overflows the fountain’s surrounding wall and ends in a small concrete ditch where it is recycled.
The lighting system is located underneath the fountain and therefore creates the illusion that the disc floats on the water.
The effect is quite aesthetic and relaxing.
That said, you don’t need to rush to see Place de Catalogne if you visit Paris for the first time.
However, the square and its surrounding are a perfect illustration of the Parisian architectural style of the late 20th century.
It is worth a detour and you can take the opportunity to take a look at the Echelles du Baroque and Square de Seoul and visit the unusual Notre-Dame-du-Travail Church located just south of the square.
Directions: 14th district
Metro: Gaîté or Pernéty on Line 13
Coordinates: Lat 48.837033 – Long 2.318657