25 November 2014

Chez le fleuriste

Most of the florist shops in Paris devote the majority of their display to chrysanthemums in late October. Mums are the flowers people set out in graveyards in France at this time of year, to honor the dead on the Toussaint (All Saints' Day) holiday. In fact, mums are not a flower you would give as a gift to anybody in France, because they are so closely associated with death and graveyards.

This fleuriste is on the Boulevard Henri IV at the corner of the Rue des Célestins, caddy-cornered from the Café Sully, in the Arsénal neighborhood of Paris. It's called Carrément Fleurs — "squarely" or definitely flowers. Florist's shops like this one dot the whole city.

Right around the corner is this over-the-top building façade, in the Spanish style, from what I've read. It's called the Hôtel Fieubet and dates back to the 1670s. Nowadays it's occupied by a private school (Ecole Massillon).

Finally, a view from farther downriver of the area shown in the photos above and in yesterday's post. This is the Pont Marie that links the Right Bank to the Ile Saint-Louis. It was built in the 1600s, at the time when the Ile Saint-Louis was being developed as a residential neighborhood, and is named for the architect who designed and built it, Christophe Marie.

24 November 2014

À boire et à manger

Paris, Right Bank, late October. The neighborhood: L'Arsenal. Along the river, toward the eastern end of the Ile Saint-Louis and along the Seine, a huge grange or warehouse was built in the 1500s and in it cannons were manufactured. And gunpowder too, of course. In 1563 the building exploded, and the sound was heard for many miles around.

The neighborhood is a lot quieter these days. If you're walking from the Marais over to the Gare d'Austerlitz, you can stop in at the Café Sully for refreshments. Now that I've looked at the web site and the menu, I wonder why I've never had lunch there. Next time, maybe. Right next door, there's an information center, Le Pavillon de l'Arsenal, with displays that show different aspects of the history and evolution of Paris architecture and urban planning. It's free, and it's very interesting. Go.

If you need a kilo of potatoes or oranges, or whatever, stop in chez Ben l'Epicier ("Ben the Grocer's place") on your way to the train station. Ben Maamar Abderrazak's shop is at 12, boulevard Morland, métro Quai de la Rapée, not far from the Pont d'Austerlitz and the station.

23 November 2014

A Saint-Séverin Sunday

The Eglise Saint-Séverin is in the Latin Quarter of Paris, not far from the Sorbonne and Notre-Dame. The current church building dates back to the first half of the 13th century, but an earlier church on the site was already "in business" in the late 11th. It's a church in the Gothic style but with, as usual, subsequent modifications.

The building in the foreground, along the sidewalk, is the old charnel house. It dates from the Middle Ages, when the custom was, when the cemetery ran out of space, to remove the the bones from the graves and store them in this structure. It's the only charnel house that still exists in Paris, according to the Michelin guide.

When I took these pictures of the back end of the church, I was walking down the Rue Saint-Jacques toward the Seine and Notre-Dame. La rue Saint-Jacques is one of the oldest streets in Paris. It was the Roman road leading south from Lutèce (Roman Paris) and may well pre-date the Roman conquest of Gaul.