Last night’s bar hopping, into the wee hours seemed like a good idea at the time but the difficult task of getting ready to hit the streets of Paris today was a rude awakening.
What I planned for today, was a gentle Paris Adèle stroll. Mindful that if I felt like rubbish there would be a strong possibility that Chicky Babe would too.
Each morning when I see her face glowing as she approaches our rendezvous, I can see how happy she is to be in Paris but today she must have left her sparkle in her apartment, along with her tiredness but the cool winter air on my face was refreshing and a walk would do us good.
A little wander around the Marais and Bastille was planned with not one but two surprises at the end in an attempt to give her back her sparkle.
Starting off in the centre of the Marais and the heart of the old Jewish quarter of Rue des Rosiers passing the quaint, much photographed bakery of Sasha Finkelsztajn. Selling kosher bread and pastries since 1946.
The gabled, ancient half timbered houses, with bulging stone, lower floors have graced Rue François Miron, since the 14th or 15th century, number 11 was known as the sign of the reaper and number 13 as the sign with the sheep.
In the middle ages, before house numbers came into play, to identify the address of the buildings, one had a painting of a reaper and one with a sheep!
Although there is controversy, it is said that one of these houses is the oldest in Paris.
Tucked away down a tiny little street, you can find a small shop with an appropriately green façade selling all things to do with Absinthe.
Lovely decanters, straining spoons and glasses but unfortunately it was closed, maybe that was a blessing a glass of absinthe could be lethal after last night’s effort!
Hector Guimard the famous or infamous French, Art Nouveau architect, depending on which side you stand, who is responsible for the gorgeous and elaborate green metro entrances, designed a small, very unassuming synagogue in 1913. Nothing like his elaborate Castel Béranger that shot him to fame in 1898.
His personality let him down and he became unpopular which sadly saw many of his creations demolished. The only elaborate glass covered metro entrances that remain can be found at Porte Dauhphine, Abbesses, which was once at Hotel de Ville and later moved and one of the entrances at Chatelet Metro Station.
Henri IV was responsible for this magnificent arcaded square in the Marais. Once named Place Royale but now Place des Vosges.
Taking seven years to completion in 1612, when Louis XIII and Anne of Austria’s wedding celebrations took place here in the middle of the square.
The view of the central park from Victor Hugo’s apartment, where he once lived here with his wife Adèle is spectacular, and is now a free museum.
It is not unusual to pass fur clad women, admiring the many galleries that line the square when the weather gets a bit nippier.
The first surprise was not only for my friend but for me too. A quaint and unusual street full of colourful houses.
Happening upon this street was not an accident, I had seen so many wonderful photos and was very curious and eager to discover it for myself and of course, to photograph it.
The moment we turned into Rue Crémieux my excitement was palpable. It was just as sweet as I had imagined, even the hotel located in the street is called sweet – Hotel Mignon!
Tucked away from the busy Rue de Lyon it is a pleasant surprise.
Yes! A surprise, my first surprise for today’s stroll.
Perhaps the images speak better than my words. Please click on the images to see the beauty of this street.
Hungover, cold and tired what we needed was a good feed, warmth and a pleasant place to sit down and enjoy lunch and this was my second and final surprise, lunch in a beautiful art nouveau bistro.
The elegant, beautifully decorated, relaxed and affordable bistro has graced a few names, À Jean-Pierre, Au vrai Saumur and Au Carrefour, before being known as Le Bistrot du Peintre, meaning the cafe of the painter.
Established in 1902, in the heart of the Bastille quarter, it is the oldest bistro in the neighbourhood.
Artisans and craftsmen have been known to set up shop around this area of Bastille, so I guess they thought it fitting when they renamed the bistro Le Bistrot du Peintre in 1993.
In the end we both decided on the same dish of polenta, sea scallops, chorizo and spinach.
Our cold and hungry bodies welcomed the warm and tasty meals all the while taking in the beautiful surrounds of art nouveau mirrors, decorative flooring and polished brass.
Some useful links and addresses:Sasha Finkelsztajn – 27 Rue des Rosiers Paris 75004 Half Timbered House – 3 François Miron Paris 75004 Absinthe Shop – 11 Rue d’Ormesson Paris 75004 Hector Guimard Synagogue – 10, rue Pavée Paris 75004 Hector Guimard – Castel Béranger Sweet Street – Rue Crémieux – off Rue de Lyon Bistrot du Peintre – 116 Avenue Ledru Rolin Paris 75011- official website in English MAP of walk
More Off the Beaten Path Places in Paris :
- Passage de l’AncreWho would know a delightful, tranquil little piece of paradise could be hidden away behind an unassuming crooked doorway in the heart of Paris.
- Rue CrémieuxA tiny paved street, that oozes charm, lined with pretty colourful houses that will take your breath away, still one of Paris' best kept secrets.
- Passage BoudinCreeping vines, colourful flower boxes and an unusual semi-circular building that would be more at home in the Mediterranean is just some things you will find.
- Rue de MouzaïaOff the beaten path, Rue de Mouzaia will make you feel blessed that you discovered this secret hideaway and it’s surrounds in the 19th arrondissement.