Some historic towers

I owe a lot of what now will follow to Jean-Paul, author of PARIS-BISE-ART, who is extremely clever in finding all kinds of  “odd things” in Paris.

I have already posted about Le Temple (The Temple) and Saint-Martin-des-Champs (Saint-Martin-in-the-Fields) and I found, at least personally, what now follows interesting as additional information.
In the previous post about The Temple, I tried to give you the history of the place, how it has been the home of the Knights Templar, the Knights Hospitaller… about the “Grosse Tower”, where the Royal family members were prisoners after the Revolution… and that nothing is left, ... except a tower of the previous surrounding wall. This tower is part of an old apartment building (rue Charlot) and can normally not be visited, but the building is now under restoration and it is possible, at least for the moment, to enter the gate which remains more or less open during the works. So, I went there…
Google Earth allows you to see the 12th century tower from the top; I and my camera could only see it from below. I copied the below illustration from my previous post to hopefully make the “story” clearer.

Very close to the Temple is what used to be the Priory of Saint-Martin-des-Champs, founded in 1060, of which I also tried to give some historical background in my previous post. Here some of the old buildings remain, including the church buildings, a library…. Since the Revolution, this is the site for the National Conservatory for Arts and Crafts (Arts et Métiers) and since 1802 also a fabulous museum.

It was said that nothing remains of the surrounding walls, but Jean-Paul found contradictory information. Inside a do-it-yourself shop (rue Bailly), you can see the bottom of one of the angle towers which on this level is used as a storage room.
Jean-Paul even managed to get inside the tower, which on higher levels is used as stairs for an old apartment building. (I tried to get in also, but…)

Also here I copied an illustration from my previous post.
After this histry "lesson", I would like to prove to you that the spring has arrived here!

I wish you a nice weekend!


Vagabonde said...

This is so interesting, Peter, and you explain it so well. Paris is full of history that you can see and you show us hidden history too. My mother lived a few years in the Marais, rue des Archives. She had also a room in the cellar area as an extra storage area. She showed me that some people had hidden there during the revolution, they kept track of days, so there were a lot of dates from 1789 and on, like on a calendar, with the days crossed off. Thanks for all your research with great illustration.

joanna said...


How exciting this is -- with your curious mind and your investigate spirit you are uncovering Paris that even the Parisians do not know still exist --If those walls could talk I wonder what they would tell us about the Knights Templar? I love the thickness and the large block of stones how they were fastened together and made into a curved wall.
And thank you to Jean-Paul, author of PARIS-BISE-ART ...

Love the spring time flowers -- enjoy close up camera work -- it picks up details we sometimes fail to see with our eyes.


Virginia said...

Ahh, at this time of year, my Birmingham and your Paris look very much alike. May we both enjoy printemps! :)

Rakesh Vanamali said...

Wow! Another very interesting snippet!

And Spring, surely has arrived!

Wonderful pictures, as ever!

Do have a great weekend!

Owen said...

Hi Peter, I see you have not been on "chomage" since last Sunday... can't believe how busy you stay in fact... your passion for Paris comes shining out of your pages.

There is so much forgotten or little known history here, if only we could find it all again. What I would give to be able to go back in time and see these towers when they were first built.

One big dream I've had for a long time is to be able to get into the Paris catacombes some day for a visit, to see the parts not open to the public, the miles and miles and miles of abandoned stone quarries that are nearly everywhere underneath Paris...

When we lived for a year or so in the rue Quincampoix, near Beaubourg, the building we lived in had a cellar, and from our part of that cellar there were stairs going down to a much deeper cellar. From that deeper part there was a tunnel (the opening was walled off) that went down to the Seine, apparently, used for arriving or departing secretly by boat... although who or why, I don't know...

PS, funny, my WV is "tatin", as in , boy, I could sure go for some tarte tatin right about now...

hpy said...

Les fleurs donnent de la couleur à tes vieilles pierres.

Cergie said...

C'est bien la première fois que tu postes des fleurs de marronier. Les feuilles en sont encore belles, pas encore atteintes par la mineuse ou teigne minière du marronnier qui les fait roussir et tomber avant l'heure et est endémique à Paris.
L'arbre que l'on voit entre St Martin des champs et l'entrée du musée des arts et métiers est un faux noyer du Caucase (Pterocarya Fraxinifolia. Planté en 1891). J'ai pas de mérite : c'est marqué dessus comme le port-salut.
Salut salut et bon WE, Peter !

Olivier said...

beaux champs de fleurs en final, avec un magnifique patchwork de couleurs

claude said...

Très intéressant de découvrir les vestiges de Paris et ta mosaïque de fleurs est superbe.
République a été mon quartier et ma frangine allait au lycée Turbigo si j'ai bonne mémoire.

SusuPetal said...

Thanks for the colors of the flowers. Have a nice weekend, Peter.

Adam said...

How on earth did he manage to find a tower in a storeroom?

What I like is not the fact that these remains still exist, but that they are still used for something. They are simply old stones today, but practical in their thickness and form.

La Belette Rouge said...

A towering vase would be a lovely place to hold all those gorgeous flowers.
Bon weekend!

Nathalie H.D. said...

I'll second Adam on his remarks. Amazing!

And congratulations on your flower macro - this explosion of colour really tells of spring. Yeah !!!!

arabesque said...

hi peter, les fleurs on the last part was just pretty, like the pink one on the last! ^0^
i didn't know any history on the knights templar except for Da vinci code. haha.
thnks for the insight and its history.
paris has lots of nook and cranny indeed.

Starman said...

Your flower pictures are as magnificent as your historical pictures. Have a great weekend.

Jeanie said...

The song "April in Paris" comes to mind, seeing the wonderful flowers! Arts and Metiers is something I ran out of time for during my visit. I hope someday I can return to it!

Ruth said...

So this must be the Temple of rue du Temple. I stayed once near there, on Vagabonde's rue des Archives.

I wish all history professors would end their lessons with colorful, beautiful flowers!

Enjoy your weekend, my friend.

Unknown said...

Peter, I love your blog because Paris is a flower whose petals you expose to us one at a time. I am so fascinated by your explorations.
You have taught me so much in a short time span. Thank you and have a wonderful weekend :)

Alain said...

Le trésor des templiers est peut être encore dans la tour de la rue Charlot. Tu devrais profiter des travaux pour sonder les murs.

Shionge said...

Love the burst of colours there Peter...I could smell spring here :D

Anonymous said...

Hi Peter,

this is a fascinating look at the spring color in Paris and the old buildings are a nice sight too.

Have a good day Monday.

amatamari© said...

Spring photos are magnificent and
I'm very impressed from the old tower!!!
Is very beautiful and interesting
this your investigate ...

Cheryl said...

Hi Peter! Thank you so much for your advice the other day. But I fear I've already given her a year's worth of chances. One more communication, probably, to end things on a good note, or as good as can possibly be under the circumstances. I'm grieving right now, but also relieved. New friends will come to fill the void. :)

Simony said...

I am very jealous of your Spring!I just came back from Chicago and it was even colder over there. We even had some snow flurries. Enjoy your beautiful weather!

Marie-Noyale said...

Une Explosion de fleurs!!
Ma preferee, c'est la derniere!
une petite marguerite que je vois rarement ici et qui me rappelle mon enfance...

yoko said...

Hi, Peter
I come back to post your blog again in one year.
I love flowers and history of La temple. I know Marie Antoinette and Royal family were prisoners there before sending to the Chapel during the Terror. It is great you visited and took photo in Tower.
The great thank you to Peter !!!


Trotter said...

Lots to learn here!! And furthermore, spring... Great job!!

PeterParis said...

A cellar I would like to visit! :-)

Yes, great thanks to Jean-Paul! :-)

Yes, let's enjoy! :-)

PeterParis said...

V Rakesh:
Yes, spring is here; a few centigrades more would be nice! :-)

Another cellar which would be worth a new visit! :-)

Oui, je pensai qu'il fallait "équilibrer" un peu! :-)

PeterParis said...

Salut! :-)

Je pense que j'ai bien fait de mettre les fleurs! :-)

... mais tu connaissais pas les tours? :-)

PeterParis said...

I thought you needed some colours! :-)

I found them thanks to Jean-Paul! :-)

Belette Rouge:
Maybe, but it's also nice to have them left in our parks and squares! :-)

PeterParis said...

Thanks! :-)

The Knights Templar has fascinated many authors! :-)

Thanks! :-)

PeterParis said...

You should! It's a beautiful and fascinating place to visit! :-)

Rue du Temple is not far away! :-)

Thanks for these kind words! :-)

PeterParis said...

Ah... je n'avais pas pensé! J'y retourne! :-))

Not the same season as in Singapore! :-)

Thanks! :-)

PeterParis said...


Don't worry; there will be other friends! :-)

Just a little bit of patience, spring will arrive! :-)

PeterParis said...

Elle était là pour toi! :-)

Nice to see you around again! :-)

We learn all the time! :-)

Karin B (Looking for Ballast) said...

This is what you were explaining to me on the walk we took, isn't it? This is so cool!! :)

I was thinking this morning about how there is almost TOO much to see in Paris, eh? I love how you explore all of these hidden and historical things, bringing them to light.

The flowers are gorgeous, too. Thank you.

PeterParis said...

Yes, you remember the closed doors? :-)