Les Marais, part 3: Jardin Saint-Gilles-Grand-Veneur-Pauline-Roland

Le Mairie de Paris is full of fascinating things!  I’ve already posted twice about Les Marais and there is still more to discuss.

One the 9 Rue du Grand Veneur is located another small, lovely garden: the Jardin Saint-Gilles-Grand-Veneur-Pauline-Roland. The name is a homage, in part, “ à Pauline Roland (1805-1852), une féministe socialiste française.”


Tucked away within a maze of narrow streets, far from the hustle and bustle of modern Paris, is this little known, rarely visited, but utterly charming haven of peace – the Jardin Saint-Gilles-Grand-Veneur, with its magnificent view of the façade of the Hôtel du Grand Veneur townhouse. Visitors come here is for some peace and quiet, or to settle down on the stone benches in the lovely rose arbor for some calm.

The mansion surrounding the small garden is the Hôtel du Grand Veneur,  a prestigious 17th-century mansion in Le Marais. Listed in the Register of Historic Monuments since 1925, the building consists of three buildings forming a U around a large paved courtyard, in which is located the garden.

In 1733, Vincent Hennequin who was the captain who organized the king’s hunts, purchased the mansion. He had many hunt-related images carved and applied to the decorations of the Hôtel.





The hotel was confiscated during the French Revolution; it was then purchased in 1823 by the Franciscan ladies of St. Elisabeth who occupied it until 1901.

apmh00004609 Late 19th century photo of exterior


As impressive as this mansion is, it was the garden that drew me in.



And, here it is!  Remember it was a cold December morning I paid my visit, but the garden had its charms even then.





I wasn’t the only person drawn to this fine garden that day.  I saw a fashion photography shoot happening in the courtyard.









Les Marais, deuxième partie (2); Jewish quarter and the Jardin des Rosiers – Joseph-Migneret

As I mentioned in my last post on Le Marais, this area is also the most famous Jewish quarter in Paris and, in fact, in much of Europe, still maintaining strong traditions.



There have been Jews living in Paris on and off since the region was conquered by Rome in the first century BC.

rosiers 1

The Rue Rosiers is a key street in the historical Jewish center of Paris; it is a charming pedestrian road and is known as the Pretzl or “little place” in Yiddish. The rue des Rosiers name refers to the “street of the rosebushes.”

Jews have a long history in France (full of prosperity as well as expulsions and persecution), but in Le Marais in particular. This area became the center of Jewish life in Paris in the 19th and early 20th centuries as Sephardic Jews came over from Eastern Europe.

And, while Paris has been a place of Jewish prosperity, scholarship, and greatness, it has also seen a lot of sorrow. For centuries, the Jewish community lived within France only at the sufferance of the king. Expulsions were common, and it was not until the French Revolution and then Napoleon Bonaparte that Jews finally had some measure of civil and religious freedom.

In Paris, in Le Marais, you will find kosher and Jewish style restaurants cheek by jowl with Jewish bookshops, small synagogues, prayer rooms, and kosher boulangeries and charcuteries. You will also see trendy shops, a sign of the increasingly gentrified nature of the neighborhood.

There’s an interesting pinkish building with “Hammam Saint Paul” written on it.  Today the building houses a fashionable boutique, not a Turkish bathhouse.


The building dates to 1856 on the Rue des Rosiers and this bathhouse survived for 130 years, give or take. The hammam closed its doors in 1990. You can still see the painted name of the building in yellow on a blue background, dating from 1928, work by architects Boucheron and Jouhaud.

On the second floor are two sculptures on the piers, decorated with lion heads and stating the words Sauna and Pool.  These date from 1901.



In an earlier post, I talked about 2 falafel restaurants; both are located on Rue des Rosiers: https://laurettadimmick.com/2018/12/29/a-little-friendly-competition/

Jardin des Rosiers – Joseph-Migneret

And then we come to a lovely small park, known as the Jardin des Rosiers – Joseph-Migneret.

During World War II, Joseph Migneret was the principal of the elementary school of Hospitaliers St. Gervais, located nearby at 10 rue des Hospitalières-Saint-Gervais.

During the round-ups of 1942, 165 Jewish children from this school were deported, mostly of them to Auschwitz, and not a single one survived. The school now bears a plaque that reads “165 enfants juifs de cette école déportés en Allemagne durant la Seconde Guerre mondiale furent exterminés dans les camps nazis. N’oubliez pas!”  (In English: 165 Jewish children of this school deported to Germany during WWII were exterminated in the Nazi camps. Do not forget!”)

After the loss of so many of his students–only 4 students returned to school on October 1, 1942–Joseph Migneret dedicated himself to the Resistance and to helping the Jewish families escape further round-ups and persecution. He hid many of them in his own home. He died shortly after the end of the war; it is said he died of sadness on account of everything his students endured.

Jardin des Rosiers



And, an equally heinous history is what happened to Jewish infants in the same city.  There is a plaque imprinted with the names of 101 infants of the fourth arrondissement in Paris, who were arrested by French police of the Vichy Regime and handed over to the Nazis for extermination.


They were all too young to attend school. (If they had been old enough, their names would already have been placed on plaques at the schools they attended at the time of their arrest.)

The youngest was 27 days old.

The five lines at the top of the plaque set out their common fate:

“Arrested by the police of the Vichy government, accomplice of the Nazi occupation forces, more than 11,000 children were deported from France and murdered in Auschwitz because they were born Jewish. More than 500 of these children used to live in the fourth arrondissement. Among them, 101 were so young that they didn’t have a chance to go to school.

“These lines are followed by a message to passersby, who will pause to glimpse into the ugly past:

“Passerby, read their names. Your memory is their only tombstone. We must never forget them.”




Next up: Jardin Saint Gilles Grand-Veneur

The Grand-Veneur hotel was built in the 17th century for Hennequin d’Ecquevilly, captain general of the King’s Vénerie: he was in charge of organizing the court hunts of the king. This square occupies the garden of this mansion.

The garden, built in 1988, pays tribute since 2010 to Pauline Roland (1805-1852), close to Georges Sand, former teacher, initiated to Saint-Simonian ideas in his youth, feminist and socialist activist.










Along the rue de Rosiers, you’ll find the best Falafel in town and a few remaining orthodox eateries. The best falafel is apparently at L’as du Falafel. That said, I assure you, they’re all good.



Jardin des Tuileries

The Jardin des Tuileries, aka, the Tuileries Garden is a great civic garden located between the Louvre and the Place de la Concorde in the 1st arrondissement of Paris. Created by Catherine de’ Medici as the garden of the Tuileries Palace in 1564, it was eventually opened to the public in 1667 and became a public park after the French Revolution. From the 19th century moving forward, the Tuileries is a place where Parisians celebrate, meet, stroll and relax.  I spent the afternoon there recently.


















La belle Paris!

It’s been a few years since I’ve been in this elegant beautiful capital and I’ve missed her! Just arrived last night and spent a fun day revisiting old haunts.  More to come!

Green is the color of the best shots of the day:









So, what’s new in gay Paree?

Well, the I.M. Pei Louvre Pyramid has a gold throne floating inside:


It’s the Throne by Kohei Nawa, exhibited from July 2018 – January 14, 2019.

A monumental floating throne by the sculptor Kohei Nawa. As part of “Japonismes 2018: Souls in Resonance,” the pyramid of the Louvre will house a monumental sculpture by Kohei Nawa, beginning in the month of July 2018 and running through 14 January 2019.  The work, inspired by the shapes and origins of the chariots used in the Orient during religious festivals, is a combination of the art of gold leaf gilding, which dates back to Ancient Egypt, and the latest 3D modeling techniques.


This 10.4 meter-high monumental sculpture will float in the middle of the Louvre Pyramid for six months, in order to question the notions of power and authority that have been perpetuated in the past, and to question the future that awaits us.

Place de l’Hôtel-de-Ville; no other city hall ever looked so good! I am still a sucker for great Neoclassical sculpture:





Strolling through the city I saw this fashion photo in a vitrine; the best way to ride a horse is in your pink silk taffeta ballgown!  I wish I had known that growing up on the back of my horse!



Not far from city hall I wandered by Place Louis Aragon.


I was intrigued by the inscribed lines speaking of a tranquil island.

Connaissez-vous l’île
Au cœur de la ville
Où tout est tranquille


In English:

Do you know the island

In the heart of the city

Where everything is quiet


I looked Louis Aragon up when I got back to my hotel:  Louis Aragon (1897 – 1982) was a French poet and one of the leading voices of the surrealist movement in France. Place Louis Aragon is located at the tip of Ile Saint-Louis, near Quai de Bourbon, with amazing views of the cathedral of Notre Dame and the Seine This small but extraordinarily located square is close to the apartment of Aurelian, where in Aragon’s novel of the same name the hero lived.



The apse end of Notre Dame begins to beckon:



I spy the famed flying buttresses!







Once a garden designer, always a garden designer.  I was interested to see that the gardeners here had tied up the ornamental grass plants.  That must mean that the grasses don’t winter kill in Paris (they do in Colorado where my garden is), so they want to maintain the foliage.  Who knew?!



Walking along the Seine and rounding Notre Dame from the back to the front, I saw other gardens with roughly-cut and crudely crafted structures for plants to climb. These came as a surprise in Paris, where everything is so formal and structured.



I’m going to post the next few pix of Notre Dame in silence.  This beautiful, iconic building needs nothing from me: