Yesterday, Monday, I returned from a weekend away. On Friday we caught the TGV to Paris. We had a few hours to kill before a flight to Bristol which was the destination for the weekend and at the suggestion of Mr London Street we took the Metro from Gare de l’Est to Place de la Bastille. The famous prison is no longer there having been demolished after the revolution. A short walk took us to the Place des Vosges a quite stunning square that the French seem to do so well with an equestrian statue of Louis XIII in the middle. Around the square were homes built intentionally for bourgeois people that, being designed and built at the same time, had a wonderful unity and coherence. In one corner was the house lived in by Victor Hugo and in another corner was the residence of Cardinal Richelieu before he moved to the Palais-Royal. We left the park and walked down the main street of the Marais area, Rue des Franc Bourgeois, whose medieval name refers to the Almshouses built in the 14th century for the non tax-paying citizens or francs bourgeois. The street is lined with 17th century mansions, most of which have been renovated and seem to be in the ownership of the Mayor of Paris, and interesting but largely expensive boutiques and restaurants. Unfortunately the restaurant I’d been guided to was full so we ate in a restaurant in the Place des Vosges that served really nice food but was a bit expensive. After lunch we passed some time in a cafe watching the people going by, in the Marais the beautiful, expensively turned out people before heading to the Gare du Nord to get the RER to Aeroport-Charles de Gaulle.
UPDATE: WHilst looking through my photos and writing about our second visit to Paris I cam across this picture I took whilst we were in the Marais, which I liked when I saw it – even before taking it, and I could not understand why I had not included it here to give more idea and colour for the area so here it is.