In the sixteenth district of Paris, out of the beaten paths, you can discover one of the most gorgeous Art Nouveau building of the capital, the Castel Béranger. The architect Guimard was only twenty seven in 1898 when a young widow ordered him to construct a condominium containing 36 modest but comfortable apartments. The ambitious young man let his imagination run wild, using a wide variety of materials and colors, something that, at the time was not only new: it was unthinkable.

What is fascinating, even today, when you look at the building is how Guimard rejected all that was flat and symmetrical, using stone of course but also pink brick, castings, freestone, ceramics, wood, cast iron, steel and glazed stoneware. Guimard also had a pronounced taste for the bizarre and out of the ordinary, that’s why when you look at the front of the house, you can notice sea horses, little monsters and scary masks on the balcony. When it was finished, this building caused a big scandal in this rather conventional neighborhood, and it was nicknamed by its detractors Casterl Dérangé (deranged) instead of Béranger.

It’s true that this area is a bit far away from the city center but this building is totally worth it, even though you can only admire it from the street and you can’t enter. You can extend your visit by seeing the Maison de Balzac nearby, other gorgeous Guimart buildings or the Le Corbusier Foundation.

 

 

 

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