Northern Marais

It seems a bit unclear which exact areas are included in what you call the Marais (The Marsh... or referring to Market-gardens). Some indications are according to the red line on this plan, but I believe that the borders are a bit vague. Basically we talk about the major parts of the 3rd and 4th arrondissements, which were hardly touched by the 19th century Haussmannian restructuring of Paris and which were definitely saved by laws and decrees in the 1960’s; since then this area is slowly being rehabilitated. I have taken some freedom with the more or less official borders during a walk through the northern parts of the area (partly in heavy rain – sorry for the raindrops, also on the lens!), including what is within the orange dotted line.

I have already made posts about the central parts of the Marais including Place des Vosges, of the St.Paul area and more recently about what you find just behind the Paris Town Hall. There are also things to see north of the Picasso Museum, which is housed in an old 17th century “hôtel particulier” since 1985 and which at the moment has a Daniel Buren (famous for his Columns at Palais Royal) exposition including an enormous mirror, doubling – or cutting ? – the surface of the courtyard.

There are a lot of landmarks if you really start to look closely, but first I would rather talk about a general feeling. This northern part of the Marais is much less visited and somehow gives a more authentic atmosphere. As you can see, there are a lot of old narrow streets, cobble stones, backyards (you have to push the door gates), cafés... and also a real barber shop, not mentioning a small message to celebrate February 14th.

 Some special words about a few places (I will be back with more one day):

The Saint-Nicolas-des-Champs Church was originally part of the Abbey of Saint-Martin-des-Champs (to which I will soon revert). With 12th century origins, the present church dates from 1420 with modifications during the 16th and 17th century. As most other churches, it suffered from the Revolution and lost a great deal of its decoration, but quite a bit was saved. Especially the retable from 1629 is remarkable and there are a number of paintings by artists like Claude Vignon, Georges Lallement.... The problem, like in many churches, is that they are in the dark and not easy to see, nor to photograph.
The Saint-Denys-du-Saint-Sacrement Church is more recent, from 1835. It replaced a Benedictine chapel. It may especially be worth a visit for a mural painting by Delacroix from the 1840’s, the “Deposition of the Cross”, also referred to as the Pieta.

Le Marché des Enfants Rouges has an odd name which can be translated as the Market of the Red Children. It dates from 1615 and is actually the oldest still existing covered market in Paris. The name has its origins in a nearby orphanage, created in 1534 and which remained until the 18th century. The children wore red uniforms. It’s a modest market, space wise, and the entrances are hardly visible. It was threatened to be demolished a few years ago, but is now obviously saved. You cannot only buy food here, but there are also a number of small bars and bistrots. It’s worth a visit for its atmosphere (39, rue de Bretagne).

A building on rue Volta has sometimes been claimed to be the oldest still remaining in Paris. This seems now not to be true, but I believe it’s still under discussion whether it dates from the 13th, 14th ... or the 17th century. Most sources claim that the oldest one is the Nicolas Flamel buiding (see previous post). Just round the corner is Rue au Maire, which obviously was the first little China Town in Paris, since then followed by several others, more important.

I wish you a nice weekend!

As the 15th this month is on Sunday I will make an exception to my normal "rules" and then - although it's the weekend - post under the mid-month theme "subways", where now also London will participate.


Karen said...

Another wonderful post, Peter. Connie and I wandered into that market when we were there... you taught me to check out every alley and doorway and I did.. It was late and they were starting to pack up..
The worst part of staying in a hotel is that you can't purchase the seafood and produce at these markets.. next time I will find someplace with a kitchen..

David in Setouchi said...

Just like Karen: another wonderful post, Peter.

I'm not sure there are official borders of the Marais, but if I had to draw them, I'd roughly do the same as you (would I include Beaubourg and the Temple area? I kinda want to, but maybe not).

As for translating "Marais", I'm all for the "Swamp" for obvious reasons : that's where Gators live! (my gay and Jewish (sometimes both) friends from Florida agree)

Anyways, thanks for these posts about my neighborhood, I did learn a few things again (to my defense, I'm new in the neighborhood). :-)

Virginia said...

You know how I love this area. I hope we can explore together and take many more photographs. Le Museé Picasso is one I might have to revisit! You found many other sights here I haven't seen, I can hardly wait!!

Azer Mantessa said...

a cozy feeling looking at those pictures ... very nice.

alice said...

Tu es allé chez le barbier?

Olivier said...

les deux portes (la rouge and la bleue) sont magnifiques, on aimerait bien les ouvrir et jeter un coup d'oeil. Et puis le tag "amour" superbe et bien trouvé

EMNM said...

Marais! i love this place, nice memories come to my mind.
Have a nice weekend Peter

hpy said...

Je n'ai pas énormément trainé dans ce quartier, assez pour aller au musée Picasso pourtant, et pour manger dans un des restaurants qu'on y trouvait déjà dans les années 80, mais malgré ce que montrent tes photos, je pense que le quartier a du pas mal changer en vingt à trente ans de temps.

Adam said...

Great photos Peter. I think I said it in the previous post, but this is definitely the part of the city I would choose to live in if I could.

One further point - you say that the Rue au Maire has now become an additional small china town, but in fact this is the original china town! This is where the first concentrated group of chinese immigrants chose to live, I think at the beginning of the 20th century.

PeterParis said...

Thanks, I will correct my text!

Nathalie H.D. said...

You could count on Adam's knowledge of Paris, he's a real goldmine. I strongly recommend your visitors go discover his Invisible Paris.

I love your wet streets shots Peter.
Have a good weekend and a happy Valentine day!

Cergie said...

Extraordianire ton montage "amour", une véritable oeuvre d'art. Quant à ta photo d'accroche, si minérale, elel me transporte à l'époque des voies romaines.
Je repasserai en toute discrétion relire à fond ce message ; je suis à la bourre comme d'hab le vendredi : le devoir conjugal (te fais pas d'idées = préparer le repas de ce midi après avoir été faire les courses ce matin) m'attend !

Anonymous said...

Paris sous la pluie, Paris avec du soleil, Paris avec son chat, Paris avec son chien. C'est un florilège pour les yeux. Tu as des vacances toi aussi? je regarde les nouvelles sur la France et on parle des vacances de février.
Ah non, j'oubliais, tu es tout le temps en vacances. :-) Bon WE

Anonymous said...

Great shots. No I have not forgotten the 15th.

Mona said...

Those are very interesting places. I love the paintings. I have always wondered how they did those masterpieces on the ceilings.It must have been a horribly difficult task!

Catherine said...

Avec le Marais, Peter, tu as à portée d'objectif un sujet où tu excelle : Faire ressentir l'atmosphère des lieux.
Toutes ses petites photos montées en mosaique sont autant de touches de peintures qui dépeignent ce quartier préservé et mysterieux.
Après cela, on a juste envie de monter dans le métro, descendre à Saint Paul et recommencer la visite en suivant tes pas.

Tanya Breese said...

The architecture is just amazing and I adore those little alley ways. I think next week I'll do a series on St. Augustine, the alleys are very similar.

I always enjoy your photos and stories to go along with them :)
Have a great weekend and Happy Valentines Day!

Thérèse said...

Quels beaux montages, pour les détails il me faudra revenir.
Bon week-end!

Jessica said...

How wonderful that the Delacroix painting is in the church where it makes sense instead of a museum somewhere. Marais looks like a pleasant area.

SusuPetal said...

I like the first photo best, there's just something in it.

I've been to Picasso Museum, in the beginning of 90's.

Det snöar I Hfors. Men snart är det mars! Ha en trevlig veckoslut, Peter!

Unknown said...

What a collection, Peter! The perspective of the 1st shot is my favourite though. Wonderful old street!

Anonymous said...

It seems like you have captured the entire essence of the city in this collection of pictures. Nice work Peter.

Anonymous said...

I wish you a pleasant weekend!

Bettina said...

Once again, thank you Peter for some wonderful photos.
I love the Marais area and I always wondered about the "Enfants Rouges" name, now I know.

Starman said...

Once in the Marais I came across this plan de ville which outlines the "official" area of the Marais:

David in Setouchi said...

Starman, this is the 3rd Arrondissement, not the Marais.
There is no "official" outline of the area (South is the Seine, East is boulevard Beaumarchais, but West and North are up to debate)

Gina V said...

This is the part of Paris I love most [I stay just south of here]...and it is not overrun by mass tourists! If anyone is interested, usually towards the end of November, there is a huge neighbourhood brocante around the Square du Temple and vendors come from all over France [instead of the usual ones at other brocantes]...it goes on all weekend with a great crowd. There is even a children's brocante within the Mairie's garden!

Lowell said...

I think I'm going to have to stop looking at your photos. Either that or figure out how to get plane fare to Paris!

Intriguing. I didn't see that area when we were there 2 years ago.

Bon weekend? Is that a legitimate French phrase?

I like it!

claude said...

Encore un quartier de Paris très connu. J'y suis peut être allée me promener, ma Mémé nous emmenait partout. Intéressant de nous faire découvrir toutes ces églises de quartier. Je me rappelle de celle où j'allais à la messe chaque dimanche à Paris. ma soeur aônée y a fait sa Première Communion.
C'est l'église St-Joseph.

Alain said...

Un joli coin, un peu surexploité commercialement maintenant, mais il y a encore des trouvailles à faire.
Le marché des enfants rouges, avec ses petites "gargottes" est un endroit encore bien préservé (même s'il a failli disparaitre, il n'y a pas longtemps)

PeterParis said...

Nice to hear that you listened to my advice! :-) So, next time, a flat!

Yes, I have also a doubt, but around the Temple and Beaubourg quite a lot has been transformed.
Yes, I would agree that for someone with the background you describe, to live in the "Swamp" would be perfect! :-)

Your list keeps getting longer and longer! How many months will you stay? :-)

PeterParis said...

Yes, cosy, but a bit wet most of the time I walked around here!

Faut d'abord que je laisse pousser un peu ma barbe! :-)

J'essaei souvent de pousser les portes, mais ces deux portes étaient bien fermées! :-(

PeterParis said...

Good! Nice memories are nice!

Tour (presque) change, mais je trouve quand' même une certaine authenticité dans ce quartier!

Sincere thanks for this remark. I tried to change my text slightly - and accordingly!

PeterParis said...

I agree of course copmletely with what you say about Adam. There is a direct link to "Invisible Paris" in the sidebar! Go there!
Happy Valentine to you as well!

Merci pour ce "extraordinaire"! Les "devoirs conjugaux" sont importants! Bon week-end en amoureux!

Oui, toujours en vacances! Donc, un peu jalouse la débordée! Il ne faut pas que t'oublies de te reposer pendant le week-end! :-)

PeterParis said...

Good! "See" you the 15th!

To be an artist has never been simple and easy! :-)

Tes mots me font beaucoup plaisir! Belle promenade (sans pluie)!

PeterParis said...

Looking forward to see your alleys! Happy Valentine to you as well!

Tu reviens quand tu veux ou peux! Bon week-end!

I agree completely, but the problem for the churches is often that the paintings are not well exposed, often in the dark and perhaps not in total security. For this Delcroix painting, it's mural ands not easy to deplace! (But, you have to search to find it in a dark corner.)

PeterParis said...

Snar är vàren här! :-) ... och sedan kommer sommaren!

Good! So I made the right choice then, to put this one on top!

I appreciate a lot these words!

PeterParis said...

The same to you Leena!

Yes, a funny name which somehow requires an explanation! :-)

PeterParis said...

Starman and David:
I appreciate your interest and comments here! This seems to also confirm my idea that the limits are a bit uncertain!

Thanks for the hint about the market! So you live just south of this, really in the Marais! Not bad! :-)

So nice to see you around! No, please, don't stop looking ... so you must come back here!
Bon weekend! :-)

PeterParis said...

Que de souvenirs...! St.Joseph, une autre église à visiter! Il doit me rester deux ou trois cents! :-)

Je ne trouve pas si sur-exploité que ça, comparé avec certains autres coins de Paris. Content de te retrouver "parmi nous"! :-)

Ruth said...

The Saint Denys church is remarkable! Wow, a Delacroix!

Virginia said...

Well, who knows. I might have to return again and again to get my fill, which I"m not sure I will ever do.

PeterParis said...

Many of the better paintings have left the churches for museums, but there are a few left - especially this one of course, which mural!

Better find a Paris flat for good?

Anonymous said...

More information than you can shake a stick at, as usual! However I am particularly taken by the atmospheric and nicely composed opening shot - not your normal style

PeterParis said...

I keep learning!