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15th Arrondissement of Paris
French municipal arrondissement in Île-de-France, France
As in all the Parisian arrondissements, the fifteenth is made up of four administrative quarters (quartiers).
The four administrative quarters of the 15th arrondissement.
To the south, quartier Saint-Lambert occupies the former site of the village of Vaugirard, built along an ancient Roman road. The geography of the area was particularly suited to wine-making, as well as quarrying. In fact, many Parisian monuments, such as the École Militaire, were built from Vaugirard stone. The village, not yet being part of Paris, was considered by Parisians to be an agreeable suburb, pleasant for country walks or its cabarets and puppet shows. In 1860 Vaugirard was annexed to Paris, along with adjoining villages. Today, notable attractions in this area include the Parc des Expositions (an exhibition center which hosts the Foire de Paris, agricultural expositions, and car shows), and Parc Georges-Brassens, a park built on the former site of a slaughterhouse where every year wine by the name of Clos des Morillons is produced and auctioned at the civic center.
To the east, quartier Necker was originally an uninhabited space between Paris and Vaugirard. The most well-known landmarks in the area are the Gare Montparnasse train station and the looming Tour Montparnasse office tower. The area around the train station has been renovated and now contains a number of office and apartment blocks, a park (the Jardin Atlantique, built directly over the train tracks), and a shopping center. Finally, the quartier contains a number of public buildings: the Lycée Buffon, the Necker Children's Hospital, as well as the private foundation Pasteur Institute.
To the north, quartier Grenelle was originally a village of the same name. Grenelle plain extended from the current Hôtel des Invalides to the suburb of Issy-les-Moulineaux on the other side of the Seine, but remained mostly uninhabited in centuries past due to difficulties farming the land. At the beginning of the 19th century, an entrepreneur by the name of Violet divided off a section of the plain: this became the village of Beaugrenelle, known for its series of straight streets and blocks, which remain today. The whole area broke off from the commune of Vaugirard in 1830, becoming the commune of Grenelle, which was in turn annexed to Paris in 1860. A century later, a number of apartment and office towers were built along the Seine, the Front de Seine along with the Beaugrenelle shopping mall.
To the west, quartier Javel lies to the south of Grenelle plain. In years past, it was the industrial area of the arrondissement: first with chemical companies (the famous Eau de Javel [bleach] was invented and produced there), then electrical companies (Thomson), and finally car manufacturers (Citroën), whose factories occupied a large part of the quartier up until the early 1970s. The industrial areas have since been rehabilitated, and the neighbourhood now contains Parc André Citroën, Georges Pompidou European Hospital, and a number of large office buildings and television studios (Sagem, Snecma, the Direction Générale de l'Aviation Civile, Canal Plus, France Télévisions, etc.). In addition, to the south of the circular highway (boulevard périphérique), an extension of the 15th, formerly an aerodrome at the beginning of the 20th century, is now a heliport, a gym and a recreation center.
The early airfield here has been encroached upon by urban development and a sports centre, but the residual area, mainly laid to grass, continues to serve Paris as a heliport. The Sécurité Civile has a detachment there close to maintenance facilities. Customs facilities are available and especially busy during the Salon d'Aeronautique airshows held at Le Bourget on the other side of the city.
The 15th arrondissement is located in the south-western part of Paris, on the left bank of the Seine. It includes one of the three islands in Paris, the Île aux Cygnes.
At 8.5 km2 (3.28 sq. miles, or 2,100 acres), it is the third largest arrondissement in Paris, and would be the largest if the large parks Bois de Boulogne and Bois de Vincennes were not counted as part of the 16th and 12th arrondissements.
The peak of population of Paris's 15th arrondissement occurred in 1962, when it had 250,551 inhabitants. Since then it has lost approximately one-tenth of its population, but it remains the most populous arrondissement of Paris, with 225,362 inhabitants at the last census in 1999. With 144,667 jobs at the same census, the 15th is also very dense in business activities. This arrondissement is home to many families and is known in Paris as one of the quietest sections in Paris. The majority of the arrondissement is relatively unfrequented by tourists, a rarity for one of the world's most visited cities.
1 This group is made up largely of former French settlers, such as pieds-noirs in Northwest Africa, followed by former colonial citizens who had French citizenship at birth (such as was often the case for the native elite in French colonies), and to a lesser extent foreign-born children of French expatriates. Note that a foreign country is understood as a country not part of France in 1999, so a person born for example in 1950 in Algeria, when Algeria was an integral part of France, is nonetheless listed as a person born in a foreign country in French statistics.
2 An immigrant is a person born in a foreign country not having French citizenship at birth. Note that an immigrant may have acquired French citizenship since moving to France, but is still considered an immigrant in French statistics. On the other hand, persons born in France with foreign citizenship (the children of immigrants) are not listed as immigrants.