The Temple

(No, the "temple" is not the small wooden thing with a pigeon on top you see on the photo.)

Of what used to be called the Temple, hardly anything remains. Today you can visit a small park, Square du Temple, but here you will find nothing which reminds you of what the Temple used to be. However, some very minor traces do exist. But, let’s first try to get an idea of what the Temple really was.
Originally the Temple was a medieval fortress, built for the Knights Templar (or the Order of the Temple) during the 13th century. As this Order was dissolved soon later (“tough” actions by the Avignon Pope Clement V, King Philip IV... ), the Knights Hospitaller (of Jerusalem, Rhodes, Malta...) took over and remained until the Revolution.

On the plans I show here, you can see what the Temple looked like in 1739 (from the Turgot plan), including church, chapel, hospital.... Some special attention is of course drawn to the Tour du Temple (the Temple Tower, the “Grosse Tour”, “Grosse Tower”, “Grande Tour”) which dates from 1306. It served immediately partly as prison, more and more with the time. It’s especially known for having been the prison of the Royal family after the Revolution. Louis XVI left directly from here to the guillotine (see previous posts); Marie-Antoinette was transferred to the Conciergerie (see previous post) for a short while, before it was her turn.... Compared to the 1739 plan, some modifications had already taken place when the Royal Family arrived in 1792. Obviously some of the walls were already demolished. The “Grosse Tour”, which had its place just behind the park corner you can see on the top picture (traces have been painted in the street just behind - in front of the local 3rd arrondissement Town Hall), was destroyed in 1808, and soon also most of the other buildings. The home of the “Grand Prior” which in the meantime had been used as home of members or “friends” of the Royal family (the young Mozart was invited to play here) remained until the middle of the 19th century and the Haussmann modifications.

What remains than today of the Temple?

Hardly anything. The doors of the “Grosse Tour” can be found at the Château de Vincennes (photo from Wikipedia) and a wall corner tower remains in the yard, between some apartment buildings which you cannot access (unless living there or being invited of course). (See plan above.)

The doors of the gate to a house close by (1 rue Saint-Claude) are said to come from the “Grand Prior” building. (It happens also to be the place where an impostor, Joseph Balsamo, “Count of Cagliostro”, lived in the 1780’s. He was heavily involved in an affair called the “Collier de la Reine” (Queen’s Necklace).

After the demolition, the park, Square du Temple, was created. Just north of it, a first covered market was built in 1811, replaced by a large cast iron version in 1863, but a few decades later in its turn partly replaced by apartment buildings. However, a small part of the “Marché du Temple” (specialised in clothes and textiles), the “Carreau du Temple”, remains - today under modification to become a local centre for cultural and sports activities.


Mo said...

You must spend hours doing all this research as well as the hours taking the pictures. Love the inside pics as I haven't been inside before.

David in Setouchi said...

I've recently moved in the neighborhood, and I'm still trying to figure out where the limits of the Temple were exactly.
This entry helps a lot.

krystyna said...

Nothing new, when I tell - Great Job! You are always do only great job, Peter!
Thank you!

I told you little bit about Kevin.

feasting-on-pixels (terrie) said...

Wonderful images of this hidden gem...your pictures always take me home to Paris.
Althought I know well the histoire of this place, it is good to hear it again.
Superbe work, my friend.

Jessica said...

I love that there are still bits of the Temple scattered about. It's great that the historical pieces have been repurposed rather than discarded.

Shionge said...

Seems quite quiet there Peter I think I like it already.

hpy said...

Je suis un peu déçue, j'aurais tellement voulu que la petite cabane bleue soit un temple pour les pigeons!

Olivier said...

je suis content (a la différence de miss hpy) que la cabane bleue ne soit pas un temple pour les pigeons, il faut détruire tous les pigeons...bon je dérape....encore un endroit presque secret de Paris, je ne connaissais pas, et je le trouve superbe. Paris est toujours aussi magique

claude said...

Tu es un vrai historien de Paris. Non seulement tu nous fait connaître un tas de coins de la ville la plus belle du monde (ça, c'est pour Olivier), mais tu nous en racontes l'histoire.
J'ai habité près de ce Square dans lequel nous allions passés quelques moments pour prendre l'air. C'était l'époque où j'étais petiote.

Adam said...

Ah, now you're close to my neighbourhood (I'm on the Faubourg du Temple - perhaps another trace of the original structure?)

I never knew that there was a little part of the Temple remaining in private ground - how fascinating! Do you know where it is exactly, and did you manage to get in?

The entire area is one of my favourite parts of the city - the park (with grass you can sit on!), the marché, the Rue de Bretagne and the marché des Enfants Rouges, the Marie du 3eme (the nicest in Paris!)...

Anonymous said...

Paris la plus ville du monde? euhhhh je ne sais pas.
Et puis je trouve que le monsieur olivier n'est pas gentil avec nous. Et qu'on ne fait rien pour les pigeons. Moi j'aimerais bien avoir une maison pour me reposer la nuit et pour reprendre des forces afin d'aller le lendemain cailler sur le platebandes de sir olivier.

Alain said...

Cela donne envie de relire le "Pendule de Foucault" (Umberto Eco).

OUPS ! je crois avoir fait le même commentaire quand Cergie a publié sur le musée des Arts et Métiers !

Nathalie H.D. said...

Du Temple au square du Temple puis au Carreau du Temple, la ville change et évolue... C'est la vie qui va. Tes recherches sont toujours aussi épatantes.

A propos des cratères sulphureux (!), la prochaine fois qu'on se voit on se fait un atelier "macro" et je te montre comment je fais, OK?

Nathalie H.D. said...

Et j'ai beaucoup aimé ton travail de mémoire sur le Paris combattant - que de traces de balles !
L'église St Roch, j'y suis allée la dernière fois que j'étais à Paris pour écouter ma maman chanter le Requiem de Verdi avec son choeur, le Paris Choir Society, c'était formidable.

Nathalie H.D. said...

Et Notre Dame de Travail, ça c'est impressionnant ! Intéressant d'avoir gardé les proportions et les lignes d'une église médiévale, mais traité en technique métallique. Une véritable curiosité !

Anonymous said...

Astonishing how time changes everything but if you look at all those places with open eyes you discover the remains that tell a story of times long ago.

alice said...

Comme quoi les noms traversent mieux le temps que les bâtiments, parfois. Une ambiance très particulière dans ce post, je trouve, un peu "chasse au trésor"!

Catherine said...

Tout le quartier s'est donc peu à peu "effrité". Pour une fois Haussmann n'est pas entièrement responsable du remaniement.
Intéressant retour dans le passé.
Véritable course aux indices aujourd'hui.

Bettina said...

As usual great photos and itineraries just to pick up - thank you !

Anonymous said...

Greetings to you and thank you for all those history and photos, what is left about it!
And plenty of energy to you for doing still these great posts in a future too!

Cergie said...

On retrouve les Templiers partout. La ferme de l'école de Patrick près de Nancy appartenait aux Templiers. J'avais trouvé cela aux archives départementales, à l'époque Google n'existait pas !
Ce square me fait penser à la ferme de Marie Antoinette : un semblant de nature à Paris. Il faut bien manger (le marché couvert), il faut bien sortir, il faut bien vivre lorsqu'on habite Paris...

Mona said...

At first I thought you were talking about a place of worship, like the kind we have spread out all over India! :D

The cultural heritage of France is indeed rich!

Thanks for telling us history with pictures!

Karen said...

Such interesting photos and a history lesson as well.. How do you do it? Thank you for always making your posts appealing and intersting. I learn so much and want to return to see all of these places..
You really should write a book or a column for a magazine or newspaper..

Marie-Noyale said...

C'est vrai que c'est un peu Chasse aux tresors.. Tu as du t'amuser a essayer de retrouver certains details, en flanant dans le quartier.

Merci en tous cas pour le petit cours d'Histoire Parisienne.

claude said...

C'est pas que j'ai bien dormi mais ça va mieux. Dis, comment se fait-il qu'on voit plus ta petite frimousse

Michelle said...

It's always like a history lesson. I love all the detail you give to your pictures. So interesting and very good pictures.

Virginia said...

Well another well done post with photos to match. I am still laughing at "... and Marie Antoinette before it was her turn..."! What a grea job you do of keeping us on our toes regarding the places and history we need to see when we visit. Merci! My, my, you have been vert busy lately!

Anonymous said...

et voilà encore un sommet d'érudition. C'est toujours aussi intéressant tes recherches. Ton blog on y vient en se disant "je jette juste un coup d'oeil" et on y reste un long moment à tout lire.Bravo Peter.

Thérèse said...

Y a t'il au moins une plaque quelque part pour marquer l'emplacement car, à part ce blog, qui parlera du Temple dans une génération ou deux dans les guides?

Anonymous said...

This is a most interesting post, Peter. I enjoyed it very much.

PeterParis said...

Some posts take hours, some don't. This one did. I was curious to know!

Happy if I could be of some help!

Thanks for the optimistic news about Kevin!

PeterParis said...

I should have asked you then instead of doing all my investigations! :-)

You are right, but there is so little left!

In the park it's quiet all right - especially this time of the year! :-)

PeterParis said...


Pourquoi cett haine? J'aime bien les pigeons!

Donc, tu devrais refaire un tour par ici, un peu nostalgique!

PeterParis said...

So you and David are neighbours!
If you look closely on my plan, you can see where the remaining little tower remains. Unfortunately the doors to these buildings seem to very much closed. Sometimes you are lucky to sneek in at some places, but here it seemed difficult!

Le pigeon:
Moi j'aime bien les pigeons! Si tu vois des petites maisons à Paris pour herberger les pigeons, il faut faire attention! La nourriture est n'est pas toujours "pigeon-friendly"!

En effet on n'est pas loin (de la copie)! Je crois que "l'original" est maintenant au Panthéon!

PeterParis said...

J'attends avec impatience!

Nathalie bis:
La prochaine fois que te mère chante tu me donnes un préavis?

Nathalie ter:
En effet! Moi aussi, je trouve ça très joli!

PeterParis said...

If you live in a place like Paris, I guess you just can't avoid getting interested in the past!

Tu as raison, ça a été un peu la chasse!

Haussmann n'a pas eu le temps de tout modifier!

PeterParis said...

You are welcome!

Thnaks! I will do my best to continue, at least for a while!

Tu te rappelles du temps avant Google ?

PeterParis said...

Not a place of worship, except perhaps for some nostalgic royalists! ?

Well, you will soon be back I believe!

Tu as raison, ça m'amuse ... et m'occupe! :-)

PeterParis said...

Ce n'est pas un blog sur moi, c'est un blog sur Paris! :-)

Happy of you find something of interest!

You are laughing at the destiny of Marie-Antoinette! Well, well...! :-)

PeterParis said...

Tu devrais savoir mieux! Il faut du temps quend tu viennes chez moi! :-)

Je n'ai pas vu de plaque ici! Pourtant on trouve des plaques assez souvent à Paris maintenant!

Good! I'm happy!

Maxime said...

Le Temple de Paris a disparu, mais la province est encore pleine de commanderies des templiers, ou de ce qu'il en reste - souvent une chapelle... L'ordre était puissant, et son histoire fait encore rêver.

Ming the Merciless said...

I think I may have visited the area when I stayed near Republic. It was definitely not a touristy place, which was great.

PeterParis said...

En effet, les souvenirs des Templiers sont un peu partout!

It's nice to find some less touristy places! (I have nothing against kind tourists! :-))

hpy said...

Je me demande si c'est à cause de toi que j'ai posté un pigeon ce matin - ou pour embêter Olivier?

Daniel Chérouvrier said...

Si je me souviens bien j'ai joué au volley ball dans ce bâtiment quand j'étais collégien.

PeterParis said...

Sans doute GRACE à moi! :-)

Content de te retrouver ici! Je vais faire un tour chez toi aussi!