Paris Off The Beaten Path Tips by pfsmalo
Paris Off The Beaten Path: 1,838 reviews and 3,535 photos
Fontaine de la Croix du Trahoir.
On the small place at the crossroads of rue de l'Arbre-Sec and rue St. Antoine, there is a fountain dating from 1606 replacing an earlier one from 1527 that was itself rebuilt by Soufflot in 1775. The name "Croix du Trahoir" comes from the fact that on this place was a cross that allowed prisoners to kneel for their last prayers, as this was also a place where executions took place until 1690. Other tortures were also practiced, notably indelicate servants had their ears cut off and there was also a torture wheel where one was stretched and dismembered. The cross, being a symbol of the church was broken and removed in 1789. Strange then that the revolutionaries left the fountain with Louis XVI's name and the "fleur de lys".
A little further down rue de l'Arbre-Sec, on the corner of rue Bailleul, you'll find another example of a "missed fleur de lys". Engraved on the wall are another couple of fleur de lys, either side of the S.G.
The SG meaning "St Germain l'Auxerrois" and that there had been a census conducted. Funny that on the other side of the street the fleur de lys have been cemented over by the revolutionaries.
Louvre-Rivoli is the nearest metro.
A tiny street giving onto rue de Rivoli opposite the Jardin des Tuileries has a couple of things to look at. At no 2 there is a beautiful piece of stonework on the keystone. Even more interesting is on the other side of the street at no. 5, where you can still see traces of bullet holes in the stonework dating from the street combats for the Liberation of Paris in August 1944.
Nearest metro is Concorde.
A year ago I passed by here, unfortunately without camera. I decided to return this time and.... a new digicode, impossible to enter. So the pretty villa can only be seen through the grilled gates. The villa used to be full of artists studios and workshops, but like most places in Paris that have kept their charm and country flavour have been turned over to the ultra-rich, the only ones that can afford these apartments.
Nearest metro is La Fourche
Entrance at no. 87.
Not to be confused with the Hotel de Rohan-Guémené, which is the house of Victor Hugo on the place des Vosges, this Hotel is part of the National Archives along with the Hotel de Soubise. Built in 1705, the house was lived in first by Arman-Gaston-Maximilien de Rohan and upon his death a further threee archbishops, including one that was implicated in the fraud "of the queen's necklace".
After the revolution the buildings were acquired by Napoleon in 1808 and turned into the National Printing works a year later. It stayed that way for 120 years but expanding to the point where it was no longer possible. It was at this point, in 1927 , that the buildings were almost demolished and except for the tenacity of C-V Langlois, the director of the Archives, this would have happened. The buildings are now part of the National Historic Monuments, so the future is assured. The gardens of both Hotel Soubise and Rohan can be visited during the day, entering from rue des Quatre-Fils. Try also to get a look at the bas-relief of Le Lorrain, "les Chevaux du Soleil" sculpted in 1737. In the courtyard turn right through the arch into the stables courtyard, and its on the right.
Closest metro is St. Paul or Rambuteau.
During many years this building was thought to be the oldest in Paris, theory upheld by the well-known Parisian historian Jacques Hillairet. Unfortunately for him (and others) the National Archive has papers that date the house at being between 1644 and 1654, dates where a certain Dally bought the garden where the building now is and date when he sold the house after his wife died. So it is confirmed that the house of Nicholas Flamel at 51 rue de Montmorency only a couple of streets away, and built in 1407 is still the oldest. That said, this one with its half-timbers is still a fine example. It is now a Vietnamese soup kitchen.
Arts et Metiers is the closest metro.
Behind the rather austere facade of the Maison de l'Europe at 35/37 rue des Francs-Bourgeois is a garden open to the public that cannot be seen from the street, so you've got to know it is there. The garden holds a small treasure, that once again if you don't know it is there..... Still visible are parts of Philippe-Auguste's wall dating from around 1190 to 1210, with other buildings being constructed either using the wall or sitting directly on top of it. Over the top of one wall can be seen the chimney of next doors "Societé des Cendres", a factory that used to wash and treat the waste scrapings of jewellers to recuperate the gold and silver that was left. The jewellers used to bring their bags of waste here to be treated, burnt and melted down to be used again. Very soon this garden may not be as quiet as now. Being land owned by the city, there are plans to run a path through to the rue des Rosiers, making a complete thoroughfare of it. The house and gardens date from around 1600 and Mme de Sevigné lived here for a while before her marriage. The city aquired the buildings in 1972 and after much renovation were turned over to the Maison de l'Europe de Paris in 1978.
Please NOTE : Until the path through is finished, the garden is only open in the afternoon.
St Paul is the nearest metro.
Stuck on the side of the Ministere de la Marine on rue Royale, between Concorde and the Madeleine, you'll find this strange black slate marked "Loix et Actes de l'Autorité Publique".- "Laws and acts of the public authority". This has been on the building since the Revolution of1789 and was used as a marker where they would paste up new laws and also give the news about who was beheaded yesterday etc etc. A sort of open air newspaper on the wall.
Nearest metro is Concorde.
There are another three of these (as far as I have found) but are almost illegible now. They are at :
St Philippe-du-Roule church
St Roch church
St Genevieve du Mont church
I have found another of these "newspapers" on the Reformed Protestant church at no 15 rue St Antoine, close to the place des Vosges. See pics 2&3.
The photographer's 'bike.
Just a short walk from the metro down rue Oberkampf, one of the new "in" streets in Paris is this beautiful courtyard, some 150 metres long, full of artisans, kids playing and a joyful general bric-a-brac. Since 2008 the cité is under siege from promotors with menaces issued and some (for the moment) banter from obvious strong-arm men. The people who live and work here, one lady over 80 yo has lived here all her life, own their apartments but unfortunately not the ground they are built on. Talking to people in the passage I got the impression that the battle seemed won, as a judge had ruled on the abuse and strong-arm tactics, and nothing had moved since 18 months. Hopefully they can preserve their little corner of Paris and the social mixity of its inhabitants, be they painters, graphists, metalworker and even a photgraphers studio right down at the end.
Menilmontant is the closest metro.
Very difficult to see as sometimes the tables of the restaurant here block the view, but with a smile and a "thank you or Merci" people will move. Here on the corner is engraved into the stonework details of the the Seine's flooding in 1711. Much has worn away with the passing years so the City Hall had a plastic see-through plate pur over it for preservation.
Nearest metro is Maubert-Mutualité.
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