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A return to the Marais

Paris 2023 day two

Outside Saint-Germain-des-Prés

Neither of us slept especially well as the apartment remained rather hot until the small hours. We took our time getting ready to go out and when we did settled on the Bar du Marché, almost opposite our front door, for breakfast. A good choice, with shady seats, lots of activity to watch on the street and lovely croissants.

We walked to the Metro at Saint Germain des Pres and detoured into the church which was being refurbished on our past visit but is now complete and looking rather splendid!




We took the Metro to Chemin Vert in the Marais area to explore some of the parts we'd missed last year, from where we started to stroll towards the Place des Vosges, taking photos as we went, of course.

On the Rue Saint-Gilles

On the Rue de Béarn

The Place des Vosges must be one of the most beautiful corners of this beautiful city. Like the Place Dauphine it owes its existence to the city planning ambitions of Henri IV. It was laid out as an elegant residential square where the upper echelons of Parisian society could live and socialise. Much has changed since then, not least due to the Revolution, but it remains as elegant as ever.

We sat for some time over a cold drink in one of the square’s cafés. You pay a small premium here I suspect but it was worth it for the cool shade of the arcade and lovely views of the trees and street activity. We then spent a little while taking photos in the square.





In and around the Place des Vosges

Eventually we left, taking the Rue de Birague from the south side. This had a mix of shops (some lovely, some rather touristy) and an upmarket hotel with some pretty flowers outside.

On the Rue de Birague

We then walked a short distance along the Rue Saint-Antoine before turning back into the side streets.

The Hotel de Sully, Rue Saint-Antoine

We took a fancy to the quiet Place Catherine with several appealing cafés. But it was a little early for lunch, so we visited the nearby church of Saint-Paul et Saint-Louis meanwhile. We’d never been inside this church but found it well worth exploring. Wikipedia later told me that this was ‘the first church in Paris to break away entirely from the Gothic style and to use the new Baroque style of the Jesuits.’

Saint-Paul et Saint-Louis

The same source also comments that Delacroix’s Christ in agony on the Mount of Olives, painted specifically for the church, is no longer displayed there. That isn’t the case however; it most definitely is!

Christ in agony on the Mount of Olives

The church also has an impressive dome, 55 metres high, which apparently (Wikipedia again!) served as a model for Les Invalides.

Looking up at the dome

There are sculptures everywhere, including La Vierge douloureuse by Germain Pilon and others I haven’t been able to identify but rather liked, and some rather more modern Stations of the Cross paintings.

La Vierge douloureuse, and one of the Stations of the Cross


Sculpture details

We returned to the Place Catherine to eat. Our lunch choice proved excellent with a so-called Caesar salad that was rather different and very delicious.

Caesar salad with avocado

In the Place Sainte-Catherine

After lunch we followed the Rue de Rosiers, with another detour into the Jardin des Rosiers Joseph Migneret. This peaceful garden includes an area for locals to grow vegetables as well as plenty of seating for those who come to take time away from the busy Parisian streets. It is named for the director of the boys’ school, the École élémentaire des Hospitalières-Saint-Gervais. During WWII, he provided false papers to fleeing Jews and sheltered many of his former students, saving them from deportation and death. Near the entrance to the garden a plaque commemorates 500 from this 4th arrondissement who were not so fortunate. It lists the names of the one hundred among them who were too young when they died to have had the chance to go to school.

In the Jardin des Rosiers Joseph Migneret

Indeed throughout this area there are reminders of that dark period in French history when, as the garden’s plaque had reminded us, the Vichy government collaborated with the Nazis in the deportation of more than 11,400 Jewish children (and of course very many adults too).

École élémentaire publique des Hospitalières-Saint-Gervais, and sign in the Rue des Rosiers

Sign in the Rue des Rosiers

We were starting to overlap with last year’s walk in this area, but I couldn’t resist walking past Le Voltigeur to see the giant teddies again! I found that since that visit one bear had been given a watering can and some flowers to water!

Le Voltigeur

To avoid retracing the same ground as previously we decided to explore the Rue du Vieux Temple. This delivered some fun street art, a street artist at work, some elegant buildings and upmarket shops.




On the Rue Vieille-du-Temple

At the top of the street we discovered the Cirque d'Hiver Bouglione. Built in 1852, this one of the oldest constructed circuses in Europe and is still hosting performances every winter. I found the building interesting but wouldn’t want to go to a show as they appear to still involve some animals in them.


The Cirque d'Hiver Bouglione

Pavlova at Au Chai de l'Abaye

Anyway, it was anything but winter weather and we were pretty hot by now. So we caught the Metro ‘home’ from Filles du Calvaire. Of course we had to have an ice cream break when we got back, especially when we discovered that a nearby self-styled bakery sells my favourite Berthillon ice cream and in my favourite salted caramel flavour.

In the evening we had a drink in the bar near Mabillon Metro and dinner in Au Chai de l'Abaye, with great smoked salmon, nice light salads and indulgent desserts (I loved my pavlova!)

Posted by ToonSarah 15:05 Archived in France Tagged architecture paris square street_art

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So jealous of your dessert!

The Delacroix "Christ in agony on the Mount of Olives" has been loaned out fairly often to museums. It was in the Louvre for a while and they loaned it to the Met in NYC. It's a very popular loaner and I suspect the church makes a bit of money from loaning it. The sign you saw was probably left over from the last loan period. There are two magnificent Delacroix paintings in Saint Sulpice that are free to visit. If it's a dark day, you need to turn on the lights but that is allowed.

Place Sainte Catherine is a treasure. When we're walking around the Marais, we always find it to take a break. Great people watching.

I'm enjoying your visit to Paris.

by Beausoleil

Sounds like another great day in Paris.

by Nemorino

The church in Saint-Germain-des-Prés looks wonderful. I'd love to visit.

by irenevt

Thank you all :) Sally, the info about the painting being on loan was in Wikipedia, not actually in the church! I'm sure they must make money from it and why not, but I'm glad it was there on our visit :) Yes, I've seen the ones in Saint Sulpice - we were there a couple of years ago when we stayed in the Hotel Clement nearby.

I'm trying to clear the Paris backlog before starting on Chicago!

by ToonSarah

As always your pictures make for people want to travel to that same destination and may I add that your pavlova looks more than yummylicious!

by Ils1976

If that's the impact I'm having Ils, then I'm happy - and yes, the pavlova was yummy!

by ToonSarah

you sure do, quite an inspiration to be honest! :)

by Ils1976

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