Fountain in a small park with elegant houses around
Architecture,  History,  Lens-Artists,  Monday walks,  Paris,  Street photography

A stroll through more of the Marais

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 had some unfinished business in the Marais. Last year we had spent our last morning here. But the deadline of an afternoon train home meant that we only covered part of the area, one of my favourites in Paris. So this year we returned to fill in the gaps.

This should make a pleasant Monday Walk for Jo. And as Paris is my favourite city, a gentle stroll here is the perfect way to recharge my batteries, on our now-annual visit. So I’m also sharing this with Egidio, guest host for this week’s Lens Artists challenge.

We started our walk at the Chemin Vert Metro station and started to stroll towards the Place des Vosges.

In the Place des Vosges

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. A great spot to unwind!

We then spent a little while taking photos in the square.

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.

We then walked a short distance along the Rue Saint-Antoine before turning back into the side streets. We took a fancy to the quiet Place Catherine with several appealing cafés.

Saint-Paul et Saint-Louis

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.’

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!

Oil painting of Christ and an angel
Delacroix’s 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 into a large dome in a carved stone ceiling
Looking up at the dome

There are sculptures everywhere, including La Vierge douloureuse by Germain Pilon. The others below I haven’t been able to identify but rather liked.

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. And there were plenty of people-watching opportunities from our table under the trees.

Around the Rue de Rosiers

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.

Plaque with a list of names
Memorial to deported children, 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).

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!

Teddy bear at a window with watering can and flowers
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.

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.

Round stone building with horse statues by the entrance
The Cirque d’Hiver Bouglione

Anyway, it was anything but winter weather and we were pretty hot by now. So we caught the Metro ‘home’ from Filles du Calvaire to seek Berthillon ice cream at a bakery we’d discovered right by the apartment. So no cake again Jo, but I hope an interesting walk nevertheless.

I’m going to be travelling from tomorrow for a week so apologise in advance if I’m slow to respond to comments on this and if I neglect other people’s posts.

I visit Paris frequently; these photos are all from my September 2023 visit


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