Le Marais, Paris
This is a “hôtel” in the old sense of the word, meaning mansion. It was built from 1475 to 1507 for the archbishops of Sens.
From my favorite guidebook, the Michelin Guide Vert, I have learned that from 1689 to 1743 the Hôtel de Sens served as the arrival and departure point for the service of stage coaches (diligences) between Paris and Lyon. “The journey was dangerous. Before leaving, the travelers went to the trouble of making their testaments.”
In the early nineteenth century, travel by stage coach became faster (three leagues per hour!), more comfortable and less dangerous. One of the leading stage coach companies in the 1820s and 30s was Lafitte et Caillard, which had its arrival and departure point on rue Jean-Jacques Rousseau, just opposite the entrance to the Galerie Véro-Dodat.
Second photo: Entrance to the Hôtel de Sens.
Third photo: The Hôtel de Sens now houses a library, the Bibliothèque Forney, which was founded in the nineteenth century thanks to a legacy by a merchant named Aimé Samuel Forney (1819-1879).
Fourth photo: A bicycle tour group at the Hôtel de Sens.
Fifth photo: Le guide vert (The Green Guide).
Location and photo of Hôtel de Sens on monumentum.fr.
1 rue du Figuier, 75004 Paris
Vélib' 4011 or 4009
GPS 48°51'12.47" North; 2°21'33.18" East
Next review from September 2011: Bus 38
This house in the fourth arrondissment is where I lived for three months in the autumn of 1962, and again for three months in 1965. They have fixed the windows since then, and installed a number-coded lock on the front door, but otherwise it looks much the same now as it did four decades ago.
But the street has been fixed up, and they have planted some trees.
This is in the Marais district, one of the oldest districts in Paris, between the Beaubourg museum and the Opera Bastille, neither of which existed at the time I lived here.
When I lived at 7 rue des Rosiers, and for many years before and afterwards, there was a famous Jewish restaurant called Goldenberg in the ground floor of the building. Now (2011) the restaurant no longer exists and has been replaced by a designer jeans shop, but the name Goldenberg is still on one of the awnings (fourth photo).
On the outer wall of the building there is now a plaque (fifth photo) recalling an anti-Semitic terrorist attack on August 9, 1982, in which six people were killed and twenty-two injured by gunfire and a grenade explosion in the Goldenberg restaurant.
Second photo: Entrance to 7, Rue des Rosiers.
Third photo: The house as seen from Rue Ferdinand Duval.
Fourth photo: The house in 2011.
Fifth photo: Plaque at 7, rue des Rosiers recalling the terrorist attack in August 1982.
Vélib' 3013, 4012 or 4010
GPS 48°51'24.60" North; 2°21'35.40" East.
Location of Rue des Rosiers on linternaute.com
FREE? There is still such a thing?
Guide books often direct people to the Marais district but while there, most tourists often walk past two very good museums... and both are free (both closed on Mondays). To my knowledge, the PERMANENT exhibits of all museums operated by the City of Paris itself (Musées de la Ville de Paris) still offer free entrance.
The Musée Carnavalet at 23 rue de Sévigné (North of rue de Rivoli / rue St Antoine, Métro St. Paul) is dedicated to the history of the city itself -- including a section on famous historical figures of the revolution itself. (You may wish to find a guide book of museum as all of the information is in French only. Even if you're not interested in history, pop in to look at its fine sculpted gardens.)
The Musée Cognacq-Jay (practically just around the corner ... 300m away at 8 rue Elzévir) host excellent porcelain figurines and other trinkets.
Here are some other Musées de la Ville de Paris:
• Musée Zadkine (scuptures & drawings) @ 100 bis rue d'Assas (M° Vavin)
• Musée d'art moderne @ 11 av Président-Wilson (M° Alma Marceau)
• Balzac's House @ 47 rue Raynouart (M° Passy)
• Musée Bourdelle @ 18 rue Antoine Bourdelle (M° Montparnasse)
• Musée de la vie romantique @ 16 rue Chaptal (M° St Georges)
• Musée Cernuschi (Asian Arts) @ 7 av Velasquez (M° Villiers)
This is the continuation of our Marais Wall Tour following the course of the Philippe-Auguste Enceinte.
1) Rue du Prevot was part of our journey to the wall.
2) Rue des Hospitalieres St Gervais shows a very tall portion of the wall on the outer edge of the building (center of photo) where you can still see the edges of the wall.
3) Wall inside Credit Municipal - 55 rue des Francs Bourgeois
See the 2 brick lines leading into the wall? It shows where the Philippe-Auguste wall once ran through here.
4) Wall & tower outside Credit Municipal shows the continuation of the wall.
5) Here's a bit of a closer look at that portion of the wall.
The following are 2 locations that we didn't stop into as I believe they were closed that Sunday; just thought I'd mention them in case you'd want to take a gander for yourself.
10, rue des Rosiers – Les 7 Lezards
Hôtel de Saint-Aignan – 71 & 73, rue du Temple
Photos: February 2006
This hotel was fisrt built around 1630 by Olivier de Clisson, some parts of the original house (picture 3) remain at the back, rue des Archives.
The Guise family bought the place in the middle of the 16th century , altering it somewhat.
In 1700, François de Rohan-Soubise acquired the hotel and had it completely modified : it's his chosen style you can see from rue des Francs Bourgeois, especially the large courtyard.
During the revolution, the Centre historique des archives nationales' was installed in the building. A large part of the national archives still remain here nowadays.
Some 10 years ago, a museum, the 'Musee de l'histoire de France' was added, where you can look at a large collection of historical archives.
60 rue des Francs Bourgeois in the 3rd.
Métro Line 1 : Hôtel de Ville or Line 11 : Rambuteau
Open: 1:45 pm - 5:45 pm everyday except tuesday
Saint Paul et Saint Louis presents a striking aspect. Not only because of its dark and blackened outside (it really needs some cleaning) but the style - stocky and massive - is unusual for Paris.
This style comes from the model used : the "Gesu" : the church was built in the XVII th century by the Jesuits. Their influence made the chuch - called only Saint Louis - famous for their preaches and had very famous parishers like Madame de Sevigne (a neighbour) and the royal family.
At the begining of the XIX th century, the church became a 'standard parish' and "Saint Paul" (the area's name) was added to its denomination.
Now it is the only active catholic church in this very jewish part of Paris.
99 rue Saint-Antoine, 75004 Paris
Open monday-friday 8h to 20h, saturday 8h to 19h30, sunday 9h to 20h
Guided visit the at 15h the 2nd sunday of the month or on apointment
The lycee, I believe, constitutes the last two years of secondary school, focusing on preparation for university studies. The Lycee' Charlemagne was a Jesuit church in the 1600's. In 1804, Napoleon founded the lycee there. Balzac is among many famous graduates. I thought this building was a good find on a small street, definitely worth a look. The architecture is impressive and I believe the dome is one of the oldest in Paris. There is a 13th century wall across the street and the well-hidden Village St Paul flea market [see my tip] is nearby. Altogether a quiet, very interesting few blocks. Take Metro line 1 [St Paul] or line 7 [Pont Marie].
The Hotel is a most imposing Mansion, actually a palace, finished by 1710. The interiors are elaborately designed and many of the leading artists of the 18C provided work for it. It is the Musee de l'Histoire de France but also contains the National Archives (Fee). We went inside but did not stay long.
This area was a swamp until the 12th century. But monks dried the land and made it fit for building. The Jewish community followed. Beautiful palaces were build when the aristocracy settled down in the 17th century. And one of the most beautiful squares in Paris: the Place des Vosges, an idea of Henri IV who built also his hotel des Tournelles. When the supporters of the French revolution chased the stubborn remainders of the elite with a hard fist (and guillotine), the mansions, palaces and hotels de maitre turned into ruins and wasteland. It stayed that way until the 60s. Then and now art galleries, fashion boutiques, cafes and restaurants replaced ateliers and manufactures in the small alleys. This is now a chic area with cute boutiques and restaurants.
One of the first 'Hotels Particuliers' built out of stone in Paris - in 1624 - when the fashion was still to use brick (like what exists on the adjacent Place des Vosges).
The Hotel de Sully hosts, on the right side of the courtyard (in the former horse stalls and carriage storages), the Centre des monuments historiques (where you can find a library, a large choice of touristic leaflets and brochures and buy different museum passes).
On the left side (formerly the kitchens and common parts) is the second half of the Musee du Jeu de Paume (the 1st half beeing in the Jardin des Tuileries) where photography exhibitions are organized.
The central building in the garden/courtyard used to be the main house - a door on the right leads to Place des Vosges.
Hotel de Sully
62 rue Saint Antoine - 4th
Tuesday: 12:00 - 21:00
Wednesday - Friday: 12:00 - 19:00
Saturday and Sunday: 10:00 - 19:00
This baroque church sits 99 rue St-Antoine in the Marais using grounds formerly part of the 13th-century Philippe-Auguste wall, remnants of which can still be seen on rues Charlemagne & Jardin St-Paul. Constructed between 1627 and 1641 from the order of Louis XIII by two Jesuit architect, Martellange & Derand, its interior was patterned after the cruciform plan of the large Jesuit Gesu church in Rome. Cardinal Richelieu conducted the church's first mass in May 1641. Originally called the St-Louis church, its name was extended to St-Louis-St-Paul to honor its sister church that was destroyed during the Revolution. And like many other churches in Paris, during the Revolution this place became a place of worship of Reason.
This was also the parish church of Victor Hugo who baptized his daughters here. Delacroix's Christ's Agony in the Garden of Olives is one of the magnificent paintings honored here.
This massive church I fell in love with my 3rd trip to Paris, one of the reasons being I used it to guide me home to my hotel at night, the Hotel Jeanne d'Arc. Access to the Place du Marche Ste-Catherine, which is just around the corner from the hotel, was gained via rue Caron which was just one street down from the entrance to this church.
Photos: February 2006
Although not entirely off the beaten path since it is on the rue St-Antoine which continues from the rue de Rivoli, this church is certainly not anything I've ever read about in guidebooks. In fact, I'd never even noticed it before this trip!
This old Renaissance edifice (which lies in the midst of the Marais at the corner of rue St-Antoine & rue Castex) was the old Marais parish church known as the Ste-Marie temple. It is well-noted for being built by Mansart between 1632-34 under the initiative of Francois de Sales and Jeanne de Chantal. After the Revolution, it was thankfully spared and reformed into a Protestant church on December 3, 1802 and has been a place of worship since May 1, 1803. It is classified as an historic monument with tours occurring one Sunday out of the month.
Address: 17 rue St-Antoine, Marais, 4th arrondissement
Worship services every Sunday at 10:30am.
Photo: February 2006
Just off Place des Vosges, Hotel de Sully provides a nice passage back into the Marais. The edifice was constructed in 1625 by Jean Androuet Du Cerceau. It got its name from the next owner, who has been a minister to Henry IV.
On the left we have what is claimed to be the "authentique" cat of Edith Piaf. I'm clueless on the hair-roller. **UPDATE: Apparently it is no longer there :(**
The other is a metal cat from the window of a gallery at Place des Vosges.
A window full of fanciful shoes caught my eye in the Marais. They LOOKED wearable -- but can you imagine strolling down the street in these?
The windows in Paris are often full of interesting surprises.