Le Marais, Paris
This house in the fourth arrondissment is where I lived for two months in October/November 1962, and again in October/November 1966. 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 Now (2011) the restaurant no longer exists and has been replaced by a designer jeans shop, but the name Goldenberg is still on one of the awnings (fourth photo).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.
Update 2015: Half a century ago the Rue des Rosiers was so cheap that even I could afford to live there, but now? According to the French magazine Challenges, which publishes an annual ranking of real estate prices, Rue des Rosiers is now the 95th most expensive street in Paris with a median price of € 11237 per square meter. Thus “the street makes its entrance into the top 100”.
Vélib' 3013, 4012 or 4010
GPS 48°51'24.60" North; 2°21'35.40" East.
Location of Rue des Rosiers on linternaute.com
For those who have just tuned in, let me point out that the Hôtel d'Ecquevilly is not a hotel in the modern sense of the word, but rather a private mansion that was built in 1636 in what was then a new and upcoming aristocratic district of Paris, Le Marais.
The mansion changed hands several times before becoming the property of the Marquis of Ecquevilly in 1733. He was the “Captain General of the Hunts”, also known as le grand veneur de France, a military officer in charge of organizing hunting expeditions for the king. Since then, this mansion has also been known as l'hôtel du Grand Veneur.
Second photo: If you walk around the block to the back, you come upon this gate, which is private property but open to the public during the daylight hours. This leads to a public garden, created in 1988, called “Jardin Saint-Gilles-Grand-Veneur-Pauline-Roland”. This is admittedly not a very catchy name (can you imagine someone saying “OK, I’ll meet you at the Jardin Saint-Gilles-Grand-Veneur-Pauline-Roland”?) but what it refers to is Saint Gilles (a nearby street), Grand Veneur (the name of the mansion) and Pauline Roland (a militant feminist and socialist who lived from 1805 to 1852).
Third photo: This is the garden with the long name, with the Hôtel d'Ecquevilly aka Hôtel du Grand Veneur in the background.
Fourth photo: The little street by the garden was named Rue de Hesse in 1987, presumably after the German state of Hessen, where Frankfurt am Main is located, or after the writer Hermann Hesse (1877-1962), or both. (Does anyone know which?)
Fifth photo: Information sign at the entrance to the garden with the long name.
Address: 60, rue de Turenne, 75003 Paris
Directions: Location on the Vélib’ map. The nearest Vélib’ station is 3002 with twenty docking points.
Location, aerial view and photo on monumentum.fr
Next Paris review from June 2015: Gibert Joseph and Gibert Jeune bookshops
For nearly four decades in the 17th and 18th centuries, this inconspicuous building was the home of a remarkable lady called Ninon de Lenclos, a courtesan who in her younger years had had numerous affairs with some of the most prominent men of the French aristocracy. Most of these affairs lasted only a few days or weeks, but her special talent was that most of her ex-lovers remained friends and supporters for the rest of their lives. Some later even sent their sons to her, for instruction on how to behave in intimate situations.
She divided her male admirers into three categories: the “payers”, the “martyrs” (those who pursued her but never had a chance) and the “caprices” (those she really liked at a particular time).
Starting in 1667, when she was 47 (or 44, depending on which of her birth dates you accept), she began hosting a daily salon in this building, her “five-to-nines” which attracted the crème of French literary and intellectual life. The composer Jean-Baptiste Lully was one of her guests, as were the dramatists Molière and Racine. Even Voltaire, at a very young age, was introduced here, and she was so impressed with his precocious intellect that she gave him money to buy books.
One of her lifelong friends was a younger woman, Françoise d’Aubigné, who had earlier hosted a salon in the same neighborhood with her husband, the poet Paul Scarron.
The friendship between Ninon de Lenclos and Françoise d’Aubigné must have seemed strange, since they had opposite public reputations. Ninon was perceived as a free-loving, free-living atheist and Françoise as a moralistic Catholic, but actually they had similar personalities:
• Both were intelligent, witty and well-read.
• Both hosted prestigious literary salons in the Marais district (in different decades).
• It even seems plausible that both had long, passionate love affairs with the same man, the Marquis of Villarceaux (also in different decades).
The two women remained friends even after Françoise d’Aubigné had become the Marquise of Maintenon and the second wife of King Louis XIV.
Second photo: The shop on the ground floor of 34 Rue des Tournelles is now a boutique and showroom for water-pipes from a company called Airdiem. They have posted a sort of unofficial historical sign reading:
Ninon de Lenclos
(1620 – 1705)
Woman of letters.
Woman of power.
Symbol of the emancipated woman
of the 17th century, Ninon de Lenclos
held at this address the most prestigious
literary salon of her epoch.
In this Hôtel de Sagonne
conversed and wrote:
Lully, La Fontaine, Racine, Molière.
This is not quite correct because the Hôtel de Sagonne is actually a different building further down the street, at number 28.
Third photo: Through the open window on the second floor we can see wooden beams on the ceiling of the second floor. This would seem to indicate that the house is quite old, but I’m still not really sure if it is the original house where Ninon de Lenclos lived in the 17th and 18th centuries.
Fourth photo: The house and the surrounding buildings.
Fifth photo: Here are two books about Ninon de Lenclos that I bought second-hand at the big Gibert Joseph book store on Boulevard Saint Michel.
Address: 34, Rue des Tournelles, 75004 Paris
Directions: Location on the Vélib’ map.
Next Paris review from June 2015: L'hôtel d'Ecquevilly
On February 27, 1654, the poet, novelist and playwright Paul Scarron signed a rental contract for this house at the corner of Rue des Douze-Portes (now Rue de Turenne) and Rue Neuve-Saint-Louis (now Rue Villehardouin). This is where he lived for the last six years of his life with his gorgeous young wife Françoise d’Aubigné, and this is where they held their literary salon that attracted the leading intellectuals, authors and aristocrats of the day.
Scarron at this time of his life was crippled and chronically ill, perhaps from polio (though there were other rumors), and was more or less bankrupt because of unwise investments in a colonial trading company. He called their new home L'hôtel de l'Impécuniosité (The House of Impoverishment). To keep the literary salon running, many of the regular guests brought food or drink with them. Nonetheless, the salon was one of the most popular in Paris, not only because of Scarron’s wit but also because of the exotic beauty of his young wife, who excited the imagination of the male guests due to the presumed impotence of her husband.
At the end of each meeting of the salon, after the guests had left, she typically found four or five passionate love letters. At first she simply crumpled them up and threw them in the bin, but later, when she felt more secure, she wrote charming and witty (but negative) answers. Some of the men pursued her for years, but her biographer Jean-Paul Desprat believes that she only ever yielded to one of them, the Marquis of Villarceaux, and then only after her husband had died.
She could easily have become a courtesan like her friend Ninon de Lenclos (who had a son by Villarceaux), but instead she started to cultivate an image of piety and virtue. For more on her amazing career, have a look at my Maintenon page.
Second photo: On the house there is a small plaque which reads as follows:
Paul Scarron, burlesque poet
and novelist, 1610-1660.
The Scarron Circle MCMLIX
The Roman numeral MCMLIX means 1959, and the plaque was in fact mounted and inaugurated on February 15, 1959, in the presence of Miss Marguerite Scarron, presumably some sort of indirect descendent of the poet.
Third photo: Their house as it looked in 2015, with bicycles in front. The shop on the ground floor was empty and being renovated at the time. Jean-Paul Desprat says this is the original 17th century house, which had just been built in 1654 when the Scarrons moved in.
Fourth photo: Rue de Turenne, with the Hôtel de Montrésor aka Hôtel de Gourgues on the right at number 52/54, the Scarrons’ house in the middle at number 56 and the Hôtel d'Ecquevilly in the next block at number 60.
The Hôtel de Montrésor is now used as an elementary school, as you can see from the fence along the curb, which is intended to keep children from running out onto the street.
Fifth photo: Books about Françoise d’Aubigné, the widow of Paul Scarron and the future Marquise of Maintenon:
• Jean-Paul Desprat, Madame de Maintenon (biography), Paris 2015
• Françoise Chandernagor, L’allée du Roi (novel with extensive notes), Paris 2006
Address: 56 Rue de Turenne, 75003 Paris
Directions: Location on the Vélib’ map. The nearest Vélib’ station is 3002 with twenty docking points.
Location, aerial view and photo of the Hôtel de Montrésor aka Hôtel de Gourgues on monumentum.fr.
Next Paris review from June 2015: Ninon de Lenclos
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
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
Phone: (33) 01-40-27-64-19
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
Phone: 01 42 72 30 32
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
Phone: 01 44 61 20 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
Phone: 01 42 74 40 82