Wednesday 18 July 2012

In the Marais: favourite Paris spaces

Red brick and stone, slate roofs, a square of perfect symmetry ... 

... it's Place des Vosges, home at various times to Cardinal Richelieu and Victor Hugo who had something like this view from no. 6 while he sat scribbling away at Les Misérables. Napoleon liked it so much he left it well alone while razing most of Paris …

... and so did these little Parisian poppets who came to splash in the fountain last week

(not much older, these girls already have French style down pat)

Much of the rest of the Marais is a glimpse of Paris pre-Haussmann – all narrow, curving cobbled lanes in contrast to wide boulevards and grand squares - and full of quirky, colourful shops and enticing places to eat.

(a little apartment here would be a dream) ...

It's Paris' Jewish quarter, and here in the Rue des Rosiers there are reminders everywhere of a painful history as well as a current thriving Jewish community ...

At night it heaves with life until the early hours ... 

Looking for a late dinner we found the Rue Vieille du Temple buzzing in overdrive with social networking of all kinds. We had un verre at La Belle Hortense below, at the suggestion of a waiter at Les Philosophes, just a little along from the equally jam-packed Au Petit Fer a Cheval (above) who promised to run across the road and let us know as soon as a table was freed up. He was as good as his word.

Lunch the next day was at an long-time favourite Marais restaurant, Le Grizzli, around the corner from the Beaubourg (for more of my ravings on this place see here) ...

A night at the tiny gem that is the Hotel Bourg Tibourg was a new experience and a treat this trip - all low-lighting, rich colours and exotic scents on a minute scale ...

But lest you believe Mr Cole Porter ... here's evidence that this summer in Paris is far from a sizzle ... 

... nor even a drizzle. This torrential downpour was worthy of the tropics.

For some it meant finding the nearest doorway to squeeze into, but a rabbi caught in the rain opted for a fallafel break, sensible man ...


  1. I LOVE your photo tour through one of my favorite Paris quarters. So good!! Thank you very much!

    1. Thanks Igor, though your travel tours are surely the best!

  2. It's great to be able to take a trip to France with you Karen - a country I have never visited unfortunately. If I could, I would!

    There is fashion, and there is style, the little girls look so naturally stylish.

    Though grateful that you did, you were brave to use your camera in such conditions - make you feel at home did it?!

  3. Karen, thank you so much for these fine photos of the Marais. It is a part of Paris that I do not know first hand, and would like to visit.

    You and our mutual blogging pal Carol are really encouraging my notion of seeing Paris next year.


    1. Fantastic, Frances - lets make our next coffee date in the Marais :)

  4. Now you make me want to go to Paris immediately........
    actually have not been there for 15 years so a visit is very overdue.
    Your pictures are so wonderfully evocative.
    I see Frances is similarly smitten....!

  5. See invitation above, Elizabeth. I'll insist that you bring Buster, though!

  6. Beautiful images. Looking forward to following your blog. Oh, the rain in France. That was tough for as a native Californian...never did get used to it. Nonetheless, stunning!

  7. We could use some of that rain! (Although such a downpour in Paris seems quite unusual to me.)
    Photos are marvelous. The second one in the Place des Vosges, low viewpoint of fountain now overhanging, simply knocked me out. Evocative is one word. Stunning (as commenter above) is certainly another.
    And the stylish jeunes filles en fleur!!!! They do start them off early ---

  8. Like a dream come true, wondrous sights, so beautifully captured!

  9. Lovely snapshots of Paris life; makes me homesick! And isn't it true about the girls acquiring style early? My French friend has a teenage daughter and she's been worried about her weight. When I saw her recently, she looked like a lovely, completely normal teenage girl - neither too fat or too thin. But the French have different expectations, it seems - sometimes carried to the extreme.

  10. S'Wonderful!
    Love your pictures taken a day or two before I arrived.
    That picturesque rain ceased and the sun came out to stay.
    I know I passed your Le Grizzli at some point...


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