Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Sunday, January 16, 2011--Marias II

Sunday we decided to take a second Marais walk, this time in our neighborhood.

On our street, only a couple doors down, are some wonderful old, colorful tiled buildings and near those the most famous fallafel store in Paris, L'As du Fallafel.  Close by are a number of competitors, but our guide said only tourists (not so) frequent these places.  

best fallafels in Paris

At the end of our street and up one block is another of the grand hotels particulaires (urban private houses), this one Hotel Amelaux (sp?), once owned by the entrepreneur who started Air France.  It is currently unoccupied and up for sale.  Anyone with a few hundred million euros lying around can have this in a heart beat.  

on each of the two doors is the figure of Medusa to scare intruders away

Up another street is the Credit de Municipale, a public institution created in 1643 by Louis XIII to serve as public pawnshops for the poor or those fallen on hard times.  It still operates today and is enormous; there are other such institutions throughout France.  George W. Bush, when presented with a similar idea, said the poor could go eat cake and instead the banks should be bailed out.  

Further down the street is the Hotel Subize, now the National Archive.  Great courtyard, and further still is the Carnavale, another former hotel that is now home to a museum of all things Parisian.  In the courtyard is an actual bronze statute of Louis XIV, few such statues exit since they were melted down into cannon balls and weapons during the Revolution.

Hotel Subize courtyard

side door to Hotel Carnavale

statue of Louis XIV, dressed as Roman warrior, intact (notice, however, the grand wig--indeed, very Roman)

We passed some other interesting buildings, but the most fascinating are the old store fronts, often bakeries, that have been converted into other businesses.  Under laws of architectural preservation, the new business is not allowed to tear down the old sign nor the decorative art around the windows.

building with mini tower

mural ala Picasso (not too far from Picasso Museum)

preserved store front
Finally we would up again in Place des Vosges, our favorite park.

queen's chambers

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