Category Archives: Marais

#PostfromParis – Day 9 The Marais

Our last full day in Paris. I had originally planned on booking us into a hotel out by the airport for our last night but I am really glad I didn’t.

Unlike other mornings, we decided to skip breakfast at the hotel and get straight on to our last day of sightseeing in this beautiful city.

We thought we would try the catacombs again this morning, and even Gerald at the hotel said he felt this would be our lucky day after hearing about the 3/4 of the way around the block queue to get in the previous day.

Taking umbrella #1 with us, we struck out. Umbrella #2 from the previous day was in the trash in our room. Unfortunately, when we emerged from the Denfert-Rochereau metro station, the line appeared to be as long as the previous day. We crossed the street and followed the queue around the block. This time instead of being 3/4 of the way around, it stretched ALL the way around!

So we went back to the metro stop but not before taking a few photos in the area.

Le lion de Belfort
Le lion de Belfort

We took the train to Nation (via line 6), then changed to line 1 and rode it to the stop at Bastille. One of the first sights we saw when we emerged from the underground was the July Column in Place de la Bastille.

The July Column in Place de la Bastille
The July Column in Place de la Bastille

Once the site of the notorious Bastille prison which was stormed during the French Revolution, the column is now surrounded by a busy roundabout.

Umbrella #1 continued to give us grief (as it did the first time we had it with us) and at the slightest bit of wind, turned inside out.

We went into the park and took advantage of the canopy provided by the trees and enjoyed some drier moments. I had been here in 2003 with my husband’s niece when we did one of the Paris Walk’s Marais walking tour and managed to lose the lens cap to my camera here in this park that day.

one of the fountains in the park at place des vosges
One of the fountains in the park at Place des Vosges
statue of louis xiii in place de vosges
Statue of Louis XIII

When we left the park, we walked in the direction of this building at Place des Vosges and through the archways onto Rue de Béarn.

Buildings around Place des Vosges
Buildings around Place des Vosges

When I saw the cluster of sirens on the roof of the building, I immediately thought air raid sirens but dismissed that idea. After all, back in my hometown, the ones that used to be on the top of the hydro poles or rooftops had long since been removed.

gendarmerie and air raid sirens on rue de bearn
The gendarmerie and air raid sirens on Rue de Béarn
Rue Saint-Gilles from Rue de Béarn
Rue Saint-Gilles from Rue de Béarn

While we wandered the streets of The Marais district, we passed a number of shops selling umbrellas. While our little one was a pain in the bottom, the ones on sale for €10.00 in one of the men’s clothing shops, would never have fit in our suitcases – not even if it were put in diagonally. And there were no guarantees that even a more expensive brolley would have been more stout and held up against the gusts that turned ours inside out.

One thing I hadn’t done yet during our stay in Paris, was show my husband where I stayed with his niece in 2003. Back to the metro we went and hopped the train to the stop at the huge Châtelet station to catch line 11 to the stop at Jourdain. It took me a few moments to get my bearings as it had been a long time since I’d been here but I found the location of the flat.

My plan was to replicate part of the walk we did back in 2003 on the day I arrived. I remembered walking to Parc de Belleville and being able to look out over the city and see the Eiffel Tower from our vantage point. But time being what it was, things didn’t work out quite as planned. Still we had a lovely walk despite the rain.

We walked down Rue Levert to Place Henri-Krasucki where we stopped at a small boulangerie and picked up a couple of hotdogs that we could eat as we walked. Now a hotdog isn’t like back home. This hotdog was in a small baguette – two weiners starting from opposite ends, then smothered in cheese. You could have it warm or cold. We chose warm. Eating as we walked made us feel almost 100% Parisian since we had met many people happily eating various breads on their travels.

Passage Piat at Rue des Couronnes in the 20th arrondissement
Passage Piat at Rue des Couronnes in the 20th arrondissement

We did walk through some of Parc de Belleville after using the public toilets near the entrance (nasty it was but when needs must…) but for the most part, I felt uncomfortable there. I can’t put my finger on the reason for my uneasiness but it quickly passed once we were back out on the street.

The plan was to do some shopping before leaving Paris, so when we got to the Couronnes metro stop, we took line 2 back to the stop at Nation, then rode line 1 back to the stop at Hôtel de Ville.

The Couronnes metro stop on Bd de Belleville
The Couronnes metro stop on Bd de Belleville

We exited the Hôtel de Ville station on Rue de Lobau. We were back in familiar territory having been here earlier in the week. After we walked around to the front of the city hall building, we crossed Pont d’Arcole and stopped at a souvenir shop on Ile de la Cité where we picked up some goodies to take home.

It was still early and the boat tour guide had mentioned the beautiful stained glass window in Notre Dame Cathedral so we thought we would take a wander over and view it from the inside. Big mistake. Like everywhere else we’d been, there was a great long queue to get in.

Instead, we walked to the square in front of Palais du Justice before returning to the metro and taking line 1 to the Saint Paul stop – just a short walking distance from ‘our local’ The Auld Alliance.

Palais du Justice
Palais du Justice

We had an enjoyable afternoon in The Auld Alliance with Stephanie and Lauren (the barmaids) and before we left, got all of our shopping into one of our nylon bags and disposed of the over-sized plastic one we were given where we had bought the things to take home. Umbrella #1 also stayed behind in the trash at the pub.

After saying our goodbyes, we walked a bit further down the street past the Saint Paul metro stop, impeding the progress of a bus because we were actually walking on the road surface and not the sidewalk (oops). Oh well, no harm was done to us or the bus. We passed a small boucherie that had rotisserie chickens on display out front. A Small one of them would be our supper, but first, I wanted to show my husband the church just a few doors further down the street.

L'Eglise Saint Paul-Saint Louis on Rue Saint Antoine near the Auld Alliance
L’Eglise Saint Paul-Saint Louis on Rue Saint Antoine near the Auld Alliance

When I was in Paris in 2003, after the Marais walking tour, we went inside the church. Not this time. In front of two of the doorways, there were people who were sleeping rough.

Instead, we went back to the boucherie, picked out our €10.00 chicken and went back to the hotel. It smelled so good all the way home, I’m sure it made other people close by on the metro hungry. I know it did us. We ate the chicken with our fingers, pulling the meat off of the bone. It tasted every bit as delicious as it smelled and the meat was lovely and moist. In no time, we had the carcass picked clean.

Because we had to leave early the following morning to catch our shuttle to the airport, we wanted to pack our suitcases (as much as possible) so that we could weigh them and if need be, shuffle things from one to the other to keep under the weight restrictions.

It was hard to believe our time in Paris was almost up.