In a continued dull - but warmer - weather, here are some late afternoon photos from an area of Paris we have already visited, but of which I wished to show some more details.
This will be a walk along part of the “Grands Boulevards”, along the Boulevard Saint Martin and the Boulevard Saint Denis and their immediate neighbourhood. I made posts about the total of the “Grands Boulevards” - stretching from Place de la Bastille (see previous post) to Place de la Madeleine (see previous post) - already on my previous blog, indicating that we are here on ground where one of the walls (the Louis XIII wall) surrounding a smaller Paris stood, however only for a short period, 1633-70. We still find here two arches of triumph, the Saint Denis one from 1672 and the more modest Saint Martin one from 1674.
In France there is an expression of the “boulevard theatre”, which basically refers to a repertoire which may be less classical than in the more official theatres. Here are photos of two of the more important ones along Boulevard Saint Martin: “Théatre de la Porte Saint Martin” and the “Théatre de la Renaissance”. Both of them were built just after 1871; previous theatres at the same sites had been destroyed during the “Paris Commune” movements. During the following decades these theatres were linked to names like Jacques Offenbach, Johann Strauss Jr (who even got a small close-by square named after him with a statue), Sarah Bernhardt... and a lot of others maybe only locally known.
Just round the corner, in the crossing streets, there are a number of other theatres, e.g. “Théatre Antoine” (from 1866), where J-P Sartre’s plays were often played. Another one, “Comédia” is more recent (from 1932) and replaces a previous music hall (“Eldorado”) where e.g. Maurice Chevalier appeared. He also performed at the smaller “Splendid” (built in 1896, then called “Casino Saint Martin”) at the age of 19. This theatre is especially known as the home of a team of then young actors – around 1980, known as “La Bande (the troop) de Splendid”, all today extremely successful comedians. A curiosity is a small cinema theatre, “Le Brady”, belonging to a film director, J-P Mocky, perhaps unknown to most of my foreign blog visitors, but extremely well-known locally.
Just behind the Boulevard Saint Martin is a narrow street, Rue René Boulanger. Here, on the backside of the “Théatre Saint Martin”, you will find some fire escape stairs which may remind us of NYC and other American cities. This is something that you hardly ever see in Paris. Why? Some of the older buildings have only one central staircase, often wooden (like the one where I live). In this street Daguerre produced his first “daguerreotypes” in 1839, the painter Georges Seurat was born in 1859...
I have already made some posts about this area, its Indian restaurants, Indian and African hairdressers, the Brasserie Flo, other small side streets and courts... which you can find here, here, here and here.
I wish you a nice weekend!