Le Marais, mon amour

Here are just a few words about the place where I am spending most of my time while in Paris. This is Le Marais, which translates as "The Marsh". Le Marais is known today as a hip and cool area renowned for its cafes, galleries, night clubs and restaurants. It spreads across parts of the 3rd and 4th districts (arrondissements).

Rue du Templefaucheur mouton150x201

Have you ever strolled along the rue du Temple wondering where its name came from? There was a Temple there once. To be more precise the Temple stood at the square du Temple. In 1119 the Order of the Temple was founded to protect pilgrims around Jerusalem. Later on the Order developed into one of the most influential corporations in the medieval world. The Templars existence was tied closely to the Crusades. In 1240 the Templars built a church outside the walls of Paris in the northern part of le Marais. After the fall of the Templars in 1307 the Temple eventually was given to another religious Order known as the Hospitaliers, and eventually was destroyed after the French Revolution.

Rue Francois Miron

A street in Le MaraisOften referred to as "old Paris" le Marais greets you with cobblestone streets. Come to la rue Francois Miron in the 4th arrondissement. Here at numbers 11 and 13 stand side by side two of the oldest building in Paris, dating from the 14th century: La Maison du Faucheur (The House of the Reaper) and La Maison du Mouton (The House of the Sheep). Both buildings were apparently named after old signs that most likely belonged to inns in the vicinity.

I constantly marvel at the way the old and the new live so close together in Le Marais. That is what makes this area so attractive, charming and a bit enigmatic.