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In our Countryside in Paris series, the impasse de la Santé is an interesting one. Found in the 13th arrondissement, not far from the Val de Grâce, this is Paris’ last dirt track, a surprising little dead-end street.


Paris’ last dirt track

Impasse de la Santé Paris
Impasse de la Santé, Paris © French Moments

The impasse de la Santé is a dead-end street situated in the 13th arrondissement which is accessible from number 19, rue de la Santé. It is 112 metres long and 3 metres wide, which makes it one of Paris’ narrowest streets.

In the 14th century, the area of the street belonged to the Hôtel Dieu, the oldest hospital in the city of Paris. It was a terrain maraîcher (market garden) known as Pré de l’Avocat (Lawyer’s Meadow). The impasse de la Santé was then bordering the north part of the wall of the field. It still borders the wall of the garden of the St. Augustine Seminary of Paris.

Impasse de la Santé Paris
Impasse de la Santé, Paris © French Moments

Today, the impasse de la Santé is Paris’ last dirt track. The carriage way has never been paved nor tarmacked. Invaded by the vegetation, it looks more like a countryside track than a Parisian street.

Impasse de la Santé Paris' last dirt track
Impasse de la Santé, Paris © French Moments

Check out the impasse de la Santé on google map. No métro station there apart from Saint-Jacques or Glacière (line 6) and Les Gobelins (line 7). Closest RER station: Port Royal (RER B). Buses 91 and 83 (bus stop: Port Royal-Saint Jacques).


Other sights in the neighbourhood

Val de Grâce Paris
The dome of the Val de Grâce seen from rue de la Santé © French Moments

You won’t spend hours strolling there… if you are in the neighbourhood, check out Paris’ last vespasienne on boulevard Arago, the Val de Grâce, the Observatory of Paris and the Lion of Belfort on Place Denfert-Rochereau.

Opposite the impasse de la Santé is the former Port-Royal Abbey. Built in 1626, it is famous for its 17th century cloister. This estate is now part of the Cochin hospital.

Do you know of other offbeat places in Paris? Share them with us by commenting below!

About the author

Pierre is a French/Australian who is passionate about France and its culture. He grew up in France and Germany and has also lived in Australia and England. He has a background teaching French, Economics and Current Affairs, and holds a Master of Translating and Interpreting English-French with the degree of Master of International Relations, and a degree of Economics and Management. Pierre is the author of the Discovery Course on the Secrets of the Eiffel Tower and the Christmas book "Voyage au Pays de Noël".

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