Marché d'Aligre

Best known as Marché d’Aligre, the name of the place where you can find it, the covered market building is however actually called Marché Beauvau, named after an abbess of the Saint-Antoine Abbey, once the owner of the ground. The building dates from 1843 and replaced a previous one from 1779. It’s probably the oldest Paris covered market building still in use for its original purpose.
 This is not a snobbish market place; it has rather the reputation of a place for decent prices and to offer a real old market feeling. It’s situated in an area which used to be very “popular”. The different revolutions often had their strongest support from these Saint-Antoine quarters, which integrated Paris only in 1860.

Today, markets are held all days of the week, except Mondays. Maybe the nice spring weathercontributed, but I had the impression that the market was much livelier outdoors on the large Place d’Aligre, in front of the covered market, and also in the adjacent streets, where you can find not only things to eat and drink, but all kinds of stuff, new or old. It’s like a flea market and with a great mix of cultures.

There are bells, one inside and one outside, originally there to open and close the market.
Addendum April 1:
“Anne” made a comment on this post: “And when the market was finished, the bell (la cloche in French) was rung and the poor, hungry people were allowed to take the left-overs so their name was "clochard" (tramp).” This sounds very plausible. I once read that the origin of the word "clochard" should rather be that beggars would be invited to assist in ringing the heavy church bells and got some compensation for this. Maybe both explanations are good?  

Marche d'Aligre


Sunday dinner

Behind the facades at this little place (with blooming magnolias) in the 14th arrondissement…

…. you will find some artist ateliers. In one of them lives an American born publisher, author, editor, theatre producer, university lecturer… Jim Haynes, now 78. He has been busy basically in Edinburgh (the festival), London (during the swinging sixties) and Paris, has participated in festivals at many places….

The last 30 years Jim has invited whoever wishes to come to a Sunday evening dinner at his home / atelier. Friends prepare and the menu differs from one week to the other. (You are welcome to participate with some euros.)
I went there last night. I guess we were some 75 of all nationalities, ages… and the host and the atmosphere make you talk with everyone. It’s definitely something special and should be tried.

If you are in Paris and wish to go, you have to first contact Jim via his website.


The tomb of Louis XVII?

You can read "L XVII 1785-1795, Attendite et videte si est dolor sicut dolor meus" (Pay attention and see if there will be any sorrow like my sorrow). Is this the tomb of Louis XVII?
In a recent post I talked about the guillotined Louis XVI and Marie-Antoinette. They had a son, who for the royalists, on the death of Louis XVI in January 1793, became Louis XVII, at the age of 8, not actually of any real value during these Revolutionary years. The family was then imprisoned in the Temple (see previous posts). A few months after his father’s death the son was separated from his mother, who was going to be guillotined a few months later. A couple of cobblers took care of him for a while, but he was then for some time really imprisoned, alone in a dark room, before being somehow better treated,  basically with the aim to convert him to the Revolutionary ideas. He was even forced to make depositions against his mother. He died two years later of scrofulous infection, at the age of 10.
He was buried in a mass grave at the Sainte Marguerite Cemetery. This seems now to be the true story, but there have been many rumours, e.g. that he could have escaped. Some hundred people pretended later to be him; some were taken quite seriously. What one knows is that the young man under the little gravestone is not Louis XVII, but the stone was added later and it seems to be clear that he was just one of the hundreds in the mass grave, whereof some 300 from the nearby guillotines at Bastille and Nation (see previous posts about guillotines). On his death his heart was saved. It changed owners many times, but was recovered a few years ago when it could be DNA tested and proved as his. Since 2004, you can find it in the Saint Denis Basilica (see previous post), where most French royalties were buried.

The Sainte Marguerite Cemetery was closed in 1805 and is now covered with buildings, except for some limited area. The Sainte Marguerite Church is still there. It dates from the first half of the 17th century, with some later additions.

On one of the stained glass windows you can read the Pope Paul VII held a masse here in 1805, a few weeks after he had crowned Napoleon as Emperor (see previous post).

One of the chapels, “La Chapelle des Ames du Purgatoire”, is being restored at present. You can see what it should look like from the picture I found in a little brochure. The architect was the same as the one for the Théatre Français, la Comédie Française – Nicolas Victor-Louis (1731-1802). 


Rue de Charonne

(My “commenting problems” seem to have been solved, thanks to a friend.)
Rue de Charonne exists since the 17th century. It starts close to the Bastille (see previous posts), Rue du Faubourg Saint Antoine (see previous posts), and ends up close to the Père Lachaise Cemetery (see previous posts).

Walking along the street, I believe that one is especially attracted by the backyards, the alleys... This was a very industrial area with a lot of small industries and you can still find some.
This is also how you can find some green areas and some spring signs.

I deviated a little to the Saint Catherine Church, but I will revert on that in another post. In front of the church is the Square Raoul Nordling. I wanted to see it, as last week I saw an excellent (and successful) play at the Madeleine Theatre telling the story about the Swedish diplomat Raoul Nordling, who in August 1944 managed to persuade General von Choltitz not to destroy Paris before leaving it, despite Hitler’s orders. Orson Wells played Raoul Nordling in “Is Paris Burning?”.
A few words about some buildings along the street: There were several convents. Here you can see what remains of two, the Benedictines de Bon-Secours convent and just opposite, the smaller convent of Madeleine de Traisnel, which has figured in literature – Alexandre Dumas and also Patrick Süskind; the hero of “Perfume” spent his childhood as neighbour to the convent.
A private mansion, Hôtel de Mortagne, from 1661, is still there (although a bit hidden). Louis XVI bought it in 1783 and made it to a museum for Arts and Crafts. In 1802 the bigger museum for Arts and Crafts (Arts et Métiers) was opened at what previously was the Priory of Saint-Martin-des-Champs (see previous post). A big building in art nouveau style from 1910 belongs since 1926 to the Salvation Army. There are some hundreds of small apartments for women. Its’ referred to as the “Palais de la Femme”.
A special event took place in 1962 at the Charonne metro station. The Left organized a demonstration in favour of the Algerian Independence, repressed by the police. Nine people were killed when trying to take refuge in the station. 

The “Musiciens du Métro” has an address here. They organize a lot of music activities including the rehearsals to allow musicians to play in the metro. I wrote more about this in a previous post.

Finally, and what of course is important, is that you can find a number of nice bars and restaurants along the street, e.g. “L’Armagnac” and the “Bistrot du Peintre” which has kept its original 1902 art nouveau style.  




Referring to the below post and awaiting some kind of assistance, advice, from the Blogger Help Forum (nothing so far), I prefer to delay my next post, hopefully only for a short period. I prefer to resume only when I know that everything is running normally. In the meantime, I’m very disappointed about the lack of assistance from Blogger / Google; the main issue seems to (not to) be able to reach someone who can really help, explain.  


Blog "deleted"

As some of you have noticed, this blog disappeared – was announced as deleted - for some yet unexplained reason for about 24 hours, more or less March 19. The “event” was quite closely followed by many of you on Facebook. I thank you for all the sympathy expressed there and for your efforts to explain how to possibly get the blog back again.

However, the whole thing remains to me quite worrying and finally unexplained. My questions on the Google / Blogger forums remained so far without answer. I would very much appreciate if someone finally could explain and will try to find out. I regret what I consider as absence or impossibility to reach someone directly responsible, a real helpdesk; at least I haven’t found it.
With the millions of blogs Google is hosting, I think they must offer something more adequate.  
This gives me also a wish to learn how you in the best possible manner can make a backup, as I imagine that neither you nor I would like to see your blog and its contents getting lost, especially in a more definite way.   
Addendum March 20, 16:20:
On advice by some of you, I have now made a backup under Settings / Export. You get an - obviously complete? - xml version of your blog which you can store in your own files. The next step would be to import this file to a new blog and see what happens. This I have not yet tried. Someone has?

Addendum March 21, 00:40:

There is now another problem: I cannot comment on blogspot-blogs. It seems to work on my own blog and on non-blogspot-blogs. Can anyone explain, help?


Film studios

Wednesday this week I was invited by “Société Historique et Archéologique du Vieux Montmartre” to watch a film, somehow related to Montmartre. This gave me the opportunity to visit what for some decades were cinematographic studios. In 1926, what previously was a “bazaar” for building equipment, was transformed to film studios. Ownership changed over the years, but they were basically known as “Pathé Cinema”. There were other studios in and around Paris, but this was one of them, located on the northern slopes of Montmartre (Rue Francoeur). By the end of the 1990’s the place was taken over by “Femis”, the French state film school – “Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Métiers de l’Image et du Son”). This is where you learn about film directing, screenwriting, filming, sound engineering, editing… Few students are accepted after tough filtering - the level of acceptance is something like 3%. Today the old studios are of course completely modernized, transformed, but you can still feel some touch of what it used to be.

Here is a sample of films that were made here, involving directors like Jean Renoir, Marcel Carné… and actors and actresses like Jean Gabin, Arletty, Louis Jouvet, Bourvil, Catherine Deneuve…

We were invited to the Femis' larger “Renoir” cinema theatre to listen to the authors and watch a documentary…

...  about the lost head of Henri IV! This is a long story, which I will not tell in detail, but … Henri IV was assassinated in 1610 and buried in the Saint Denis Basilica (see previous post) together with almost all French Royalties. During the Revolution the Royal graves were ransacked. Some relics were saved and one of them was obviously the embalmed head of Henri IV, which since has passed between private collectors. One of the owners was a Montmartre junk shop owner who fought for years to get the identity confirmed. The authors of the film managed to find the head again and managed after long research to get it scientifically proven (to 99.9%) that it really is the head of Henri IV. This is what the documentary is about. Henri IV’s head will now be reinterred in the Saint Denis Basilica. If you are interested, you can read more about it e.g. here.
On the way out, I noticed this old punch clock. I guess it was rather meant for the workers at the original building equipment bazaar than for the film stars. It’s still working. I left at 10 p.m.


Suddenly, this afternoon...

This is just a little extra post. I just had to show you some shots from a walk in Paris this Tuesday afternoon. The trees became green and the temperature was about 20°C (70°F)! … awaiting the official spring in a couple of days.


Passage de l'Ancre

Virginia – “Paris Through My Lens” - reminded me about a very specific shop, specializing in repairs and sales of umbrellas. It’s called PEP’s and you can find it in the “Passage d’Ancre”, which probably is the oldest remaining passage in Paris. (On the top photo you can see “Mr. Pep” taking a short break.)

“Ancre” means anchor and the passage obviously got its name from a tavern with an anchor as an emblem. The two modest openings are situated Rue de Turbigo and Rue Saint Martin.
The passage used to be longer, but was cut by the 19th century Haussmannian avenue creations. Previously you could directly reach the “Passage Bourg l’Abbéé” and from there continue to “Passage du Grand Cerf” (see previous post).
“Passage de l’Ancre” was refreshed some ten years ago and has a very nice and colourful atmosphere and, as you can see, quite “green" even in March. It has no roof, few shops, but a number of workshops.
In front of the opening to Rue Saint Martin, you could in the 1640’s find what was the first “taxi station” in Paris. Those days’ carriages, coaches were referred rather to as “fiacres”. A man called Nicolas Sauvage took the initiative to start a cab service and the “home” of his “fiacres” was here. The name “fiacre”- which remained in common use for Paris taxis for long - came from a hotel, called “Hôtel de Saint Fiacre” which you those days could find on the corner of Rue Saint Martin and the “Passage de l’Ancre”. Fiacre was actually an Irish Saint, who this way became the saint of taxi drivers … and of gardeners.



Together with some other Paris bloggers I had the honour to be invited to the famous Ritz Paris Hotel by Travel Onion, a web site selecting what they consider to be the best (you understand why I feel honoured) blogs covering history, events… in different cities worldwide.
Extremely well received by the Travel Onion representatives as well as by some eminent members of the hotel staff who accompanied us during the whole event, we were fist welcomed in what may be the most elegant suite at the hotel for some drinks - champagne of course. (The top picture shows one of the suite’s bedrooms.)
We then made a tour of the different facilities…
… and ended up in the kitchen, or rather the cooking class, Ecole Ritz Escoffier, named after the hotel founder César Ritz and Auguste Escoffier, referred to as the king of chefs and the chef of kings. Together we prepared a tomato tart and then veal medallions, accompanied by a potato and celery gratin … and especially a fantastic sauce. Of course, if the result ended up being perfect, it was basically thanks to the chef, Didier Steudier, who also prepared the dessert - without our intervention.
The meal was accompanied by champagne and some good wines. Although tempted, we decided that a visit to the Hemingway Bar (with the world’s best bartender), was not necessary. Another time… and I have been there before (see previous post).

Sincere thanks to Travel Onion the Ritz Hotel for letting us enjoy this remarkable event!

Here you can find the other blogs represented during this evening: