Monday, 20 May 2013

The Marais

Jane and Chris are coming for a (Chris's) family wedding this summer and they plan to stop in Paris for a bit.  They've been all over Europe before, but I understand why she'd like to see it again without small children along.  I'm in awe of people who manage to travel with children.  I find it challenging enough just travelling with Bill.  

Jane mentioned having found some walks they were going to do, so Bill and I borrowed the idea and did one of Le Marais.  This was only supposed to be about 3 km - less than 2 miles, but along with Pere LeChaise and Bill's Kerry Greenwood expedition on the south bank, we walked for 7 hours.  My bruised, swollen feet told me 'comfortable' shoes weren't sufficient for this sort of thing.

Le Marais is an historic district on the right bank of the Seine.  Our tour began at the Hotel de Ville, which is too big to photograph properly, so I'll let Google show it to you

Some of the old timber houses go back to the 17th and 18th centuries.   

Their age seemed to show at the top of the ground level floor, protruding at a rickety angle.  

They reminded me of skinny women, standing on a street corner, their hip bones sticking out.  

There were many grand hotels, including the Hotel de  Sens with it's manicured garden.

We passed this once without realizing what it was.

Parisians have loads of nice places for a picnic lunch.

The Hotel de Sully was also impressive.

Hotel de Sully, built 1625-30.

I must admit after a while the hotels all looked the same to me.  

I can only take in so much at once.

As recommended, we took a break at a park known as the Place des Vosges, the oldest planned square in Paris.  

Arcade at Place des Vosges

It is surrounded by arcades on all sides and the present structure was built by Henri IV in the early 1600s.  I later read that this was formerly the site of a palace and a tournament in which Henri II was killed while jousting in 1559.  Trust Bill to remember that he got stabbed in the eye.

It was lovely in the sun.  That man across from Bill was falling
asleep.  I kept waiting for him to fall off the bench.

I knew that Victor Hugo once lived in one of the apartments, but it was also the birthplace of Madame de Sevign√©.  As we left I saw a sign that suggested there was free Wifi there, or perhaps in Paris as a whole.  What a modern concept!  Why doesn't every city do that?

The Rue de Rosiers (rosebushes) was described as being in the Old Jewish quarter and this area had a bit more personality.   

Bill loved the signs in French and Yiddish.  

I liked the bespoke tailor's window.

We left that quarter on the Rue Pavee, the first street in Paris to be paved.  This took us past a beautiful Art Nouveau synagogue.

I'm conscious that there is nothing new I can show you.  Paris has been discovered and re-discovered for centuries.  Every inch of it has been crawled and photographed.  If you never have been, it might be interesting to see photos, and it might not.

I did grab a couple of pictures of shops that were intriguing but I didn't enter.  One was Sensitive et Fils.  Another was Isobel Marant.  The IM video shows some interesting clothes, but the soundtrack is dire:  someone has the hiccups or something.  If I were to go back to do some shopping, I would focus on the Rue de Sevigne and the Rue Debelleyme.  

We passed an art display consisting of hand written signs in English.  Some of the signs were funny.  I wonder if they are from t-shirts or something?

The best things in life aren't things

I've no idea why I'm out of bed

I wish Morgan Freeman narrated my life

Am I fired yet?

I'm not myself today...maybe I'm you

Bill's Kerry Greenwood expedition took us to the Rue de Chat qui Peche (the cat that fishes), which is really an alley leading to some other interesting streets.  Also to Rue Jacob.  Some very interesting-looking people (rich and something else; edgy, somehow)  came out of L'Echelle de Jacob (Jacob's Ladder), a private bar/club, just after we passed.  I snapped a photo just too soon, because I liked the lettering on their sign.  Whatever happened took place at the back of number 27, but of course we couldn't go back there to see it.  I'll have to read the book to find out what all happened.

If you'd really like to see LeMarais, you could print out the Fodor's tour, read Wikipedia about each of the places and look at photographs on Google images.  It would be much easier on your poor feet, believe me.


Terri said...

DH and I are planning a walking trip across Missouri in September. As I read this post, I tried to imagine such a walk in ANY American city. We are so geared for automobiles.

vintagefrenchchic said...

Great post! We kind of got lost/turned around in the Marais--it was at night. But still loved it. And we did tour Victor Hugo's apartment at Place des Vosges. Such a great city!

Carolyn said...

Seven hours, sound like hiking boots might have been the ticket! I visited the Isabel Marant store in Paris too, and surreptitiously took pictures of the window display. ;)

Shelley said...

Terri - We walked quite a bit on guided tours in Chicago (dodging the cars). I expect New York City would be similar. But you are right about much of the mid-west being entirely car-oriented. We liked to got killed trying to run one mile in OKC to the jogging track. It seemed ironic to me somehow.

Heather - I would love to have been in Paris in the evening, though we have done that before. I suspect we did a lot more than the 3km tour for just that reason, getting a bit lost.

Carolyn - I loved the clothes in the window, but know I wouldn't consider paying the price, not to mention I've nowhere to wear such things. We splashed out in Agnes B instead, because we had good memories of our last shopping trip there.