Behind the Town Hall

When you visit the Marais (the Marsh), you often concentrate on Place des Vosges (see previous post), rue des Francs-Bourgeois (see previous posts), Rue des Rosiers and a number of remarkable buildings …, north of Rue Saint-Antoine. I would recommend that you also take a look of what is between Rue Saint-Antoine and the Seine River. I already made a post about the Saint-Paul area. Today, I will concentrate on what is between the Town Hall (see previous posts) and Saint-Paul.
Just behind the Town Hall, you will find the Saint-Gervais - Saint-Protais Church. The church has origins from the 5th century, but the present one was built over a long period, from 1494 to 1621 when the facade was added – different in style from the interior gothic. The church got some serious damage in 1918, by the ”Grosse Bertha” (German heavy canon) when some 90 people were killed. Correction February 6: Contrary to what normally is “known”, the super-cannon “Grosse Bertha” (named after Mrs. Krupp) was not in use in the bombardment of Paris.
The church is since about 30 years the home of the Monastic Fraternity of Jerusalem – “offering a new form of monastic life in the heart of the city”. It’s a great pleasure to listen to them singing. The church is also known for its organ from 1601, of course modified a number of times since, but still there. The famous composer, harpsichorde and organist family, Couperin (Louis, Charles, François), were titular organists here during the 17th and 18th centuries and of course used this instrument. They lived in a house which is still there, immediate neighbour to the church. There is also a smaller beautiful organ used during normal masses. In front of the church there is the small Square Saint-Gervais where you can see an elm tree. This tree has replaced a centuries-old one under which the inhabitants since Middle Ages would meet to make good on their debts.

Other neighbours to the church is the home of a “compagnonnage” institution, fulfilling a tradition from the Middle Ages where young people travel and work at different places in order to learn a speciality by their masters.

In the area there is a number of remarkable 16th and 17th century buildings, some with origins from even earlier centuries.
This includes also Hôtel (private mansion) de Chalons de Luxembourg and its impressive entrance gate (top right) and Hôtel de Beauvais (top left), on the balcony of which (bottom left) the Queen Mother, Mazarin and others watched the newly married Louis XIV and Maria Theresa enter into Paris. Mozart (then 7 years old) and family stayed as guests in this building for five months during a first visit to Paris. There are still a number of original sculptures and inscriptions on the walls, a sun-dial... An association, called “Paris Historique” defending the historical Paris, and more particularly the Marais, occupies another 17th century building. I was allowed to the visit the 13th century cellar, under restoration. Of course you find some very nice shops and restaurants. There is much more to say, but I guess I have to stop.... We have reached the limit of the area of what I wanted to show today and have reached the Saint-Paul church – seen from a backyard (see again previous post) and the Hôtel de Sens (see previous post).
(I must start to do shorter posts!!!)


Cezar and Léia said...

Wonderful! Few things can be as beautiful as the music played on such an organ.Cezar and I share this passion!Great post! Léia :-)

Michelle said...

As usual you have out done yourself. Amazing pictures. I so want to go to Paris, but my husband tells me they frown on those who don't speak French. He does know some French he actually has a double major in Business and French. He love the language, but I never took it. I wouldn't even know where to begin.

Olivier said...

Le Marais reste le plus beau quartier de Paris, grâce a tes photos je reviens en arrière, quand je vivais à Paris, j'adorais faire des ballades dans ce quartier, il y avait toujours quelque chose a decouvrir.

Claudia said...

Next time I visit Paris I must bring your blog... ever thought about getting it published?

Jill said...

What a wonderful 'walk' you took us on again today Peter. Thank you.

claude said...

Et voilà ! Encore une superbe balade dans un quartier de Paris dont je n'ai pas souvenir de m'y être promenée. Je découvre, je découvre, avec beaucoup de nostalgie. Je crois que Paris m'a prise dans ses bras.

Cergie said...

Bien sûr des posts plus courts ! C'est gâché, toutes ces belles photos.
Tu es le king du détail (ba-na-nia), du paysage urbain (cf celui du dessus, ces deux personnes courbées), de la photo d'intérieur (le cellar en rénovation) du shoping (c'est quand qu'on se boit ce thé chez M.F ?), de l'émotion (quel bel organe !), y a rien qui cloche chez toi.
Fais gaffe tout de même à ton cou, Peter 1er, roi de Paris !

Olivier said...

sur Paris, tu as de la chance, tu peux voir des concerts tous les jours, surtout dans des endroits magnifiques et différents. A Quand un post sur un concert dans une église parisienne ?

Rakesh Vanamali said...

Some day when I visit Paris, your blog will be a great point of reference for the amazing contents that it carries........ And please don't shorten your posts!

alice said...

Ne t'inquiète pas de la longueur de tes posts, moi j'adore, je me promène au fil des rues grâce à toi!
J'ai même trouvé une autre façon de les rallonger encore un petit peu: le Marais regorge de boutiques toutes plus attirantes les unes que les autres!
Et c'est vrai qu'il existe beaucoup de similitudes entre les vieilles maisons de Rennes et de Paris, celles de Vannes étant moins hautes.

hpy said...

Plus court ce ne serait plus Peter.

Mona said...

Wow! peter, We learn so much from your blog!

I think you must compile all this and get a book published now!

Thérèse said...

Superbe Paris.
Un long post mais c'est du "Peter" quand tu ne seras plus inspiré, tu pourras recommnencer en brouillant un peu les photos et classant différement les sujets. Je reviendrai avec tout autant de plaisir.

Karen said...

What a wonderful post and definitely not too long.. Nice to see the Saint Gervais nuns singing again. Too bad we don't have the music to accompany it.

Now I wish I'd gone back during the day to explore the area further. It's on the very long list for my next visit.

How delightful that you were allowed to get a sneak peek at the renovation. Thank you for sharing it.

Jane Hards Photography said...

A breathetaking virtual tour. Every day would be an adventure for me and my camera. This are glorious.

Starman said...

"normal messes" Was that a typo, or is that really how it's spelled? Obviously, I'm not catholic. Actually, I'm not in any way religious, so most church 'stuff' is foreign to me.

Starman said...

How lucky you are to be able to get to see things that we mere mortals will probably never see except in your wonderful blog pictures. Thank you for sharing.

Anonymous said...

bon, mon pitchounet. C'est vrai qu'en faisant défiler ma souris sur ton post, je me disais que c'était long. Mais en même temps, je me dis que c'est peut-être moi qui n'arrive plus à prendre le temps de tout lire et d'admirer toutes tes photos. En plus, le texte en anglais me demande plus de temps que de lire en français. Alors là encore je dois perdre beaucoup aujourd'hui en n'ayant pas eu le temps de tout lire. J'ai quand même repéré que tu nous traitais de cloche, que tu faisais encore la tournée des restaurants, que tu allais te balader dans les églises pour jouer de l'orgue et que tu avais photographié de belles maisons du 16 et 17ème siècle. Il est trop fort ce Peter!

Maxime said...

Probablement le quartier de Paris que je connais le mieux... mais sûrement pas aussi bien que toi.

Marie-Noyale said...

Comment veux tu faire plus court il y a tant de choses a voir...et a nous faire decouvrir.
J'aime bien ce post today et au hit parade je choisis la photo du cellar comme la plus belle
Concert gratuit dans de belles eglises,visite non prevue dans des lieux en restauration...
TU as dela chance tout de meme!!!

Ming the Merciless said...

The last time I was in Paris, I didn't have time to explore the Marais. I spent most of it hanging out at St. Germain des Pres. I only managed to find the beautiful Place des Vosges and hoped to run into Hong Kong actress, Maggie Cheung who supposed lived near there. :-)

Next time I'm in Paris, I will definitely have to give Marais a better look.

Shionge said...

Hey Peter, you know we've always enjoyed your post what more at the comfort of home :)

Virginia said...

After my day spent in the Marais, you showed me so much more that remains to be seen. What a wonderful area it is, and so rich in history. I so enjoyed these photos and your text as well. The Saint- Paul church I did see. Can't wait to see your next photos and what else you found! Oh.... your posts aren't too long. We love 'em!

Rob said...

I now regret not seeing Marais and those historical buildings. A wonder to view this restoration.

PeterParis said...

If you are lucky, sometimes there is also a real organ concert, like the other day when I stepped into the St. Roch church!

Of course you should listen to your husband, but not always... and he should listen to you! :-) If you would only visit countries where you speak the language, it would be difficult to travel! :-)

Le plus beau quartier de Paris? Puet-être , mais ça se discute; il y a d'autres! Beaucoup!

PeterParis said...

Next time you come to Paris... don't forget to contact ME! About publishing? Maybe, one day, when I feel that it's complete, I could make a try. But basically this has not really been my intention. ... and there are so many books about Paris already...

Thank YOU, dear regular visitor!

Quand est-ce que tu reviennes?

PeterParis said...

Merci, je vais essayer de faire attention à mon cou et je suis prêt de boire un coup avec toi, quand tu veux ! :-)

Peut-être un jour! J'avais fait un, il y a longtemps (à St. Roch). Mais, ça me gène de faire des photos pendant les concerts. J'ai l'impression que je dérange et ... en général j'ai suis pris par l'ambiance du concert et oublie le caméra.

When you come, I trust you will contact me personally!

PeterParis said...

Alors, je te vois quand à Paris? Pour un balade - sans trop de shopping! :-)

Je sais, tu connais (presque) tous mes défauts! :-)

Not yet complete! Will it ever be? (Do you know someone who would publish this?) :-)

PeterParis said...

D'abord il faut finir... il reste beaucoup à voir et à montrer! :-)

The list gets long! :-) Prepare some good shoes! :-)

Nice to see you here! ... and it would be even nicer to really meet you - with your camera! :-)

Bettina said...

Noooo....don't do shorter posts.
And you can see everyone agrees on what I told you last week, you should get these published as a guide book, and all of us will have it by hand when we go around Paris ;-)

Michelle, I'm afraid your husbands not right. The Parisiens don't live up to their bad reputations. I go to Paris two or three times a year, and I don't speak French very well, and I've never been frowned at. Just start with the French you know and then politely ask if the speak English. GO to Paris, you'll never regret it ;o)

PeterParis said...

What a mess! I made a stupid typing error (it's "messe" in French)! I have corrected, thanks!

I read most of your very complete Paris experience on your blog! I have a feeling that you know Paris very well!

Je vois que tu as tout bien compris! Ca fait plaisir! Tu es forte!

On fait un tour ensemble pour voir? :-)

PeterParis said...

J'ai de la chance de vivre à Paris ... et toi de vivre tout près de New York, une autre ville formidable! (Tu connais une maison d'éditions?) :-)

Trust you will contact me next time you are in Paris! (I believe Maggie just got married - again - or is on the way to! Sorry!)

Thank you dear friend for these kind words!

PeterParis said...

A bit long for some... and long to prepare! OK, I'm happy if you are happy! :-)

Dusty Lens:
You need time to see it all! Not the last time in Paris? :-)

PeterParis said...

Thanks again and especially thanks for defending the Parisians! Yes, they are not all undfriendly, I would say even more and more friendly! See you next time in Paris, I hope! :-)

lyliane six said...

On se croirait à mille lieues de Paris!je ne connais pas bien le quartier, à part la place des Vosges et Boffinger bien sûr!

Anonymous said...

The Marais, one of my favourite parts of Paris. You could spend weeks photographing this district. Great information as always.

Azer Mantessa said...

simply awesome

the first picture is very inspiring ... the minute i saw it ... i was like ... wow ... this the place for my project ... good cinematic background.

i have no idea what project is going to be ... i have this feeling ... maybe i should do some comic or something and that picture
is going to be the background scenery.

i don't know. sometimes when i come here ... looking at those pictures ... i get this weird thing with my imagination.

i have saved the picture by the way. i have this feeling thing. the picture is very inspiring but i don't know what it is ... yet.

hpy said...

Mais non Peter, je ne connais pas tes défauts, tu n'en as pas! (A ma connaissance...)

hpy said...

Au moins, tu n'es pas aussi hypocrite que moi...

PeterParis said...

Pourtant tu es à Paris assez souvent! On ira ensemble la prochaine fois! :-)

Good choice, but there is of course a lot more - which I guess you know also!

Very curious to see what comes out of your imagination! :-)

PeterParis said...

Hypocrite! :-))

Unknown said...

As usual, I really like all your collages and the way you group the photos, but this 1st shot took me quite some time to look at! The amount of different architecture styles is awesome and I simply love the huge naked vine on the background building!

PeterParis said...

In winter, it's easier to photograph the buildings, but of course some leaves and flowers sometimes make them look nicer!

Ruth said...

I discovered the area in the top photo on my last visit in 2006, and I was excited! There were tables out from a cafe there too. It was a nice nook to hide out in.

sonia a. mascaro said...

Great post with wonderful photos! Yes, I agree with Claudia, when I visit Paris I must bring your blog with me, for sure!

Gina V said...

Salut Peter!
Thank you again for visiting my site recently and I appreciate very much that you have included my blog www.parisprimitifproject.blogspot.com on your blogroll. If I may, I would like to link to yours as well.
This post on the Marais is the neighbourhood where I stay when in Paris [on Rue Charles V, off Rue Saint-Paul]...we have a view of the dome of Saint-Paul-Saint-Louis and hear its bells toll from our apartment. I have attended vespers at Saint-Gervais-Saint-Protais and it is the most uplifting experience listening to the nuns' singing!
I am slowly reading my way through all your previous posts and relishing Paris again through your eyes and words!

PeterParis said...

Yes, it's a nice little space! ... particularly empty the cold January afternoon when I passed, much mor lively in a couple of weeks!

Of course you can bring your "guide", but I would prefer to be your personal guide! :-)

Very happy if we can have som exchange between our blogs! I firmly believe that different Paris blogs can complete (rather than compete) each other! I sincerely hope you get some visitors from my blog (and vice versa)!

Catherine said...

Pour le Marais, Peter, impossible de faire moins long. Je demanderais même du rab. La place des Vosges, les commerces cacher, ... j'en passe et j'en oublie. Ce quartier mérite un nouveau post.
Tes photos sont magnifiques et la visite du site en restauration est "priceless".

PeterParis said...

You are right! However, I already did two or three posts on the other parts of the Marais. (Links in the post.) There is certainly more to say!

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