DC’s Hidden Places: French Street

by Lark Turner

In Hidden Places, UrbanTurf takes a look at some of the charming but lesser-known one- and two-block streets in the District. This week, we’re featuring French Street NW in Shaw.

DC's Hidden Places: French Street: Figure 1
French Street

French Street is a centrally-located one-block street between 9th and 10th Streets NW with S and R Streets NW to the north and south (map). It’s one of the few two-way streets we’ve featured. Visitors coming in from the west will first notice French Street Park, a small gathering space where a few locals were reading on a recent spring morning. It was recently renovated, in part to attract monarch butterflies.

DC's Hidden Places: French Street: Figure 2

The street is lined with late-19th century Victorian rowhouses on both sides, most of which are three- or four-bedroom homes with English basements. Most, but not all, have been restored. On the southern side of the street, the houses have charming projecting bay windows, and unlike some of the more narrow streets we’ve featured, this street is dotted with trees. Like all real estate in the area, the restored historic homes have seen their values rise in recent years. In 2013, a couple homes on the street sold in the $800,000 range.

DC's Hidden Places: French Street: Figure 3

The neighbors on this street are friendly with one another, and are known to set up a Christmas tree outside in the winter.

DC's Hidden Places: French Street: Figure 4

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This article originally published at https://dc.urbanturf.com/articles/blog/dcs_hidden_places_french_street/8456


  1. Nick the Greek said at 9:11 pm on Wednesday May 7, 2014:
    I am so happy that UT found our little street. I have lived here for over 25 years and have treasured every day. We are downtown, but far enough away that we are not in the middle of all the hub-bub. We are very near the new 14th St and U Sts NW corridors and very near the rapidly developing 9th and 7th Sts Corridors. We are in the heart of the city.
  1. Bernard Demczuk, Ph.D. said at 12:22 am on Thursday May 8, 2014:
    Thanks for "discovering" our little street, but frankly, we would rather you not. Your words were kind and accurate, except we do not put up a "Christmas Tree." We erect a Peace Tree every first Saturday in December for one-month standing and have been dong so since 1993. It is the longest running community tree lighting ceremony in the city. The tree is adorned with holiday lights reflecting the coming winter solstice and our aspirations that the days will begin to get longer with more warmth and sun to follow - the original reason that earlier peoples decorated winter trees with lights (candles). Our "peace tree" is specific: Non-denominational, no religion or all-religions depending how you want to look at it and especially reflective of peace in our 'hood, city and the world. Thank you for recognizing our little street or as we say, "The Pearl of Shaw." Bernard Demczuk, 918 French.
  1. Bobby Smith said at 6:35 am on Thursday May 8, 2014:
    I was born on French St, 83 years ago. My sister and nephew still live there. Lots of good memories.

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