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.