By the train tracks of the Montparnasse station that serves Brittany once stood a Breton lighthouse. The curious structure was well-known by people like me looking for odd things in Paris. Well I’m afraid to tell you that the lighthouse vanished a few days ago. This to the dismay of local residents who had been accustomed to seeing it for more than 25 years. Adieu le phare breton de Paris !
The late Breton Lighthouse in Paris
At number 69 rue de Castagnary in the 15th arrondissement of Paris stood the 23 m tall Breton lighthouse. On the rear façade (only visible from the railways and to train passengers on their way to the West of France) were inscribed the words: « Gloire aux marins-pêcheurs », a tribute to the fishermen. At the base was added a representation of a grounded trawler.
The lighthouse was a genuine replica of the famous Croisic lighthouse in southern Brittany. It was built as a kind of advertisement for fish market « La Criée du Phare » which later became « Les Samouraïs des Mers ». The shop was a very popular place, arguably Paris’ largest fish and seafood market. The shop closed in 2012.
A social house will be built by the municipality on the site which will include some 251 studios.
With the dismantlement of the lighthouse, it’s a bit of Brittany that has left Paris… Fortunately Breton culture is alive and well in the French capital thanks to the delicious crêpes made in authentic Breton crêperies in the district of Montparnasse.
Closest métro stations: Porte de Vanves (line 13 + tram T3a) or Plaisance (line 13). Click here to spot the site of the former lighthouse on Google Map.
Other sights in the neighbourhood
If you are in the area, don’t miss strolling along the following streets: villa des Charmilles, rue and villa Santos Dumont. Change of scenery guaranteed!
The Georges Brassens Park is just around the corner. It occupies the former site of a fish market, a horse market and a slaughterhouse.
Paris’ unique lighthouse
Did you know? There is only one operational lighthouse in Paris: the Eiffel Tower itself! From the very top of the tower, a beacon sends out a beam of two white lights pointed in opposite directions during the same hours at night.
Do you know of other offbeat places in the 15th arrondissement of Paris? Share them with us by commenting below!