If you’re looking for a new and real local experience in Paris then you definitely need to check out Les Grands Voisins. A few years ago the Public Hospital of Paris moved leaving the grounds of Hospital Saint Vincent de Paul vacant. Today the space has been repurposed to become a place of sharing and creation. It involves a mix of emergency housing, art studios, cafes, local businesses, and charity organizations. While inside Les Grands Voisins you can find large sunny terraces, vegetable gardens, games such as a life size Connect Four, a thrift store, amazing art installations, unique housing options, and much more. It is a space where community living and sharing highly encouraged.
There are many aspects of Les Grands Voisins that makes it a truly interesting place. When you enter the grounds of the once hospital you feel like you are transported into a new place no longer in Paris. There is art everywhere you turn and everything had me saying “omg this is soo cool!” One thing I found compelling were all the unique accommodations available to rent. They have options such as a tiki cabin, a hammock shed, tents, and hexagon shaped rooms made out of shipping palettes.
My day there consisted of walking around for a couple of hours and admiring all Les Grands Voisins had to offer. I went from powering a washing machine by riding a bike, to swinging on a swing made out of a plastic trash can lid, to running inside a restaurant to avoid getting soaking wet in the random 5 minute downpour. I would say it was great day! While there I learned that they also host several workshops (i.e yoga and massage), concerts and performances. If you’re interested you can find the program on the website.
We can all give thanks to three organizations who helped bring Les Grands Voisins to life. The first on the scene was Aurore Association, an organization that specializes in social and emergency housing. They have been able to provide housing to over 500 people in need at Les Grands Voisins. After was Plateau Urbain, who revive vacant buildings to take advantage of undeveloped urban spaces. Rounding off the coordination team is Yes We Camp, a company that specializes in building and providing innovative temporary spaces.
The incredible thing about Les Grands Voisins is that it community that is forever changing. I went for the first time a year ago and already there were so many changes. I even just checked the website and had the thought “where was that, I don’t remember seeing it” several times. It is truly a unique place hidden in the heart of Paris. It is a temporary space so be sure to check it out as soon as possible.
Les Grands Voisins: 82 Avenue Denfert-Rochereau, 75014 Paris
Metro Stop: Denfert Rocherau or Port-Royal