George Orwell's Apartment
6, rue du Pot-de-Fer, tucked betwee rue Mouffetard & rue Tournefort.
This is where the famous English author of 1984 and Animal Farm lived during his Down & Out in Paris & London days where he chronicled his homelessness & deprivation in Paris and in London. What? You haven't read it? Well, you MUST!
I looked for his home my third trip, April 2003. Just as I found it & was gazing up in awe at the building, a grandmotherly French lady decked out in a crisp navy blue trenchcoat stopped to see if I was lost. I told her about Orwell's apartment. She quizzed, "Orwell?" and I thought she didn't know who he was so I wrote out his name and some titles of his books "Animal Farm" and "1984" and she nodded that "oui, oui" she knew who he was. In French, she indicated she'd lived in the area all her life and never knew the great English novelist ever lived there, right around the corner from where she lived. She was very pleased to know!
Photos: November 2007
1) Rue du Pot-de-Fer from rue Mouffetard
2) Rue du Pot de Fer - Just to the right of the bright green awning is George Orwell's apartment.
3) 58-62, Rue Mouffetard - entrance to rue de pot-de-fer.
In the 5th Arrondissement there is a charming little street called Rue Mouffetard. It's lined with cute little shops, bakeries and restaurants. I bought my first French Macroon on this street and wish I had bought a bunch more! It's one of the oldest streets in Paris not redone by Haussmann the architect and is an old remnant of a road to Rome via Lyon.
I had heard that little remained of L’Arène de Lutèce, the last Roman ruins in Paris, so I expected to see maybe part of a wall and a couple of steps. I was amazed to discover that it’s an entire arena! It's now located in a calm and quiet neighborhood. Hard to imagine gladiators fighting one another to the death, blood pooling in the sand.
Métro: Place de Monge or Jussieu. Follow the signs.
I was surprised when our freind Lionel took us to see a Roman arena right in the heart of the Contrescarpe but there it was. As you can see, it is a great place for a Sunday soccer match. I suspect you could find boules being played here during the week. It is just off rue Monge as it runs south from Blvd St. Germain. So much of Paris was redone by the Revolution and by Haussmann that you don't find many reminders that this city has been here for 2000 years.
Sometimes you are just lucky. That's the way we felt when we discovered Rue Mouffetard.
The first bit of good luck was our decision to take the Number 7 Metro to the Place Monge stop rather than the Censier-Daubenton stop. Once again, we were on one of our many quests for the best neighborhood market. We were aware that the market ran between the two Metro stops but little else. As it turns out, Rue Mouffetard is a very steep street which happily runs downhill :-) from Place Monge.
The second bit of good luck was the neighborhood itself. This is the kind of place we always seek. The narrow street lined with charming but not ostentatious buildings was teaming with local shoppers who stopped as often to socialize as to purchase the marvelous array of of local offerings. This is more a neighborhood to live in than to visit...still, we truly loved our brief visit.
Intro Photo: From the bottom of the "hill" the charm of Rue Mouffetard reveals itself most clearly. This is a truly vibrant and diverse neighborhood.
Photo 2: On the way down we passes several wonderful bakeries including this place which could have been created for a movie set but was totally authentic.
Photo 3: This building at 134 Rue Mouffetard houses the well known Androquet cheese shop and an Italian deli. The real attraction, however, is the facade which depicts wild boar, deer and many wild birds on the upper floors. The first floor (above the ground floor) depicts pastoral scenes from probably the 18th century.
Photo 4: Details of four of the panels from the facade at 134 Rue Mouffetard.
Photo 5: At the bottom of Rue Mouffetard in the Square Saint Medard is the main fresh market. Immediately behind the produce stands is the 9th Century church St-Médard.
The Arennes de Lutèce is the only Roman ruin left standing in Paris. It's very, very easy to miss; right off Rue Monge, the entrance is through a park up a flight of steep, stone stairs. Once inside, you can watch locals play boule. Not too bad for a local neighborhood "playground."
Few people know that, close to the "Jardin des Plantes" (a beautiful garden where you can find a geology and biology museum, as well as a zoo, a micro-zoo (to watch the bacteria around !!!) and a huge greenhouse...), the most famous Mosque welcomes every tourist around, ready to visit its inner temple, to have a tea accompanied with some delicious oriental cakes in its gardens or just to contemplate its architecture from outside...
The place is not far from the Metro stations "Censier Daubenton" and "Jussieu".
I think these signs are relatively new as I have not seen them before but they are all around the city marking historic spots. This one is at the lower end of rue Mouffetard next to the St. Medard Church. As I don't read French, I asked my friend (VTer GUYON), and he explained that there was a contoversy surrounding a group of Protestants, the jansenistes, and claims of visions and miracles in the church graveyard. I think the graveyard was closed and someone posted a sign: By order of the King, God is forbidden to perform miracles here. Talk about self-confidence! At any rate watch for these black and red signs and I hope you can read them better than I.
Arene de Lutece is Paris' genuine Roman arena left over from the Roman occupation of these parts in the 1st century CE. At this time was called Lutetia. The only other Roman remains are the public baths at the Cluny.
A unique spectacle : the accordion player of the Marche Mouffetard during the Sunday morning (and ferial day) from 11AM to 2PM.
He is not a simple accordion player and a street singer, he is also a magician who is able to make the croud singing and dancing on old French songs. People distribute the words of the songs in order you can sing with the others. If you wish to see a typical French market with a free performance ...
Have a look at the travelogue 'Rue Mouffetard' to see why he is not a street singer like the others and at the travelogue 'Street Singers' to see his colleagues.
The children take advantage of the large sandy arena of the amphitheater of Lutèce to play football! Yes, it is a historical place but it has still a social fonction today!!
I loved the fact that history and current way of life can meet so well! The gladiators are gone, but the footballer are there! What a great playground !
This building was one of Francois Mitterrand's 'Grand Projects'. It was built in 1987-88 and is considered one of Mitterrand's successes. It pulled together a number of organizations and services for the Moslem community in Paris as well as for visitors interested in Islamic culture. The is a Hamman, a tearoom, a books hop, a film theatre as well as frequent major exhibitions.
It is located at 1, rue des Fossés Saint-Bernard next to University of Paris VI along the Seine. You can find out more about its architecture on this site: http://www.imarabe.org/perm/ima/batiment_main.html
When you are tired of the yummy menus of the French chefs, of Italian restaurants, and Asian food, try this exotic place hidden outside the Paris Mosque: the cafe/restaurant has a pleasant garden in the heart of Paris and offers mint tea and couscous at moderate prices. You will also find a a hammam located in this lavish oriental ambiance. 39 rue Geoffroy Saint Hilaire 75005 PARIS.
The GREAT MOSQUE of PARIS : place du Puits de l'Hermite (Métro : Monge or Jussieu). It is paid by Saoudit Arabia
9:00AM to 12:00 & 2:00PM to 6:00PM
A very pretty building
Guided visit. When we visited the guide told us the women do not have to go outdoor because that brings troubles... The femal attendance seemed a bit nervous.
A great and exotic place to visit !
Start from Gare d'Austerlitz:
- Jardin des plantes, Zoo
- Musee d'histoire naturelle ***
- Stop at La grande mosquee (for a lunch or tea room) ***
- les Arenes de lutece
- Mouffetard (pretty streets and nice market) ***
- Chinatown (good food and stores)
- Chinatown (13th district) **