4th Arrondissement: Le Marais

Le Marais. WOW!

In the old days of King Louis & Sons it was the gem of the city. All the bluebloods lived here. Beautiful mega mansions, lush lawns and lots of Mercedes running around. You know the type. The fancy bars and restaurants followed, and then the partying. The drinking got out of hand, there’s a shootin’ or two and the whole place goes to the dogs. Sound familiar, fellow Atlantans?

Years later a developer got his hands on the area. Henry IV, I think was his name, then flipped this piece of property into the first planned community. Some marketing genius came up with the name Place Royale (now called Place des Vosges) and people quickly deemed it “THE place in town.” Yep, with a central park area like they’re doing around Atlanta these days. There was a fully-staffed 24/7 security gate plus a pool and tennis on the grounds, too. Amazing how little has changed.

Well, it went through several transitions and in recent history, all the artsy types and gays moved in. The cool shops followed, the best restaurants opened up, and the property values went sky high. The place is full of activity, young people walking the streets, shopping, drinking wine in outdoor cafes, lovers sunning in the parks. Oh! and the flower markets! There is so much energy in this ‘hood.


Yesterday I walked almost every main artery of Le Marais and hardly covered half of the arrondissement. Just too much to do and see. Today, I did the other half.


SUNDAY, September 2nd:

As we walked outside our building we heard lots of cars honking, coming closer and closer down our street. All of the sudden, around the corner came a big old – OLD – baby yellow Rolls Royce with a bride in it! It screeched to a stop right in front of us at the Jewish Temple and out popped the bride. Come to find out, the custom is that the guys (maybe the groomsmen) go out and pick up the bride. Then they rush through town, constantly honking their horns. Folks pull to the side knowing they are rushing to a wedding. Such a cool tradition.

We stuck by after the arrival and watched the whole affair…guests stuffing the father’s basket with gifts of cash, nervous mothers maneuvering the guests, the traditional Jewish chants. Women dressed to a T. My sister got great photos of the event. See more.

Then we went to THE most incredible outdoor market (a block from the Bastille monument). Three or four city blocks full of tents, selling everything from eggs and sausages to sewing machines and leather purses. I bought a red leather, personally hand-tooled (or he claimed!) journal, hand-made French soaps, marinated artichoke hearts, and a scarf (I paid full price and heard him laughing as I left his booth).

Went from there to Notre Dame. I had a special candle to light for friend of mine. We were hoping to stay for a service, but there were none scheduled this late in the day.

Then to the Centre Pompidou. I had to coerce my friend into accompanying me. “Modern art is not my thing,” she said. But she acquiesced, even saw a few pieces she liked. I was in hog heaven.

Oh, I’m having the hardest time focusing on writing my blog. All I want to do is be outside, walking, taking in all the wonders of this incredible city. Everywhere you look there is beauty. And history. As I sat in the Notre Dame today, I noticed the mix of people here – the young and the old, the Chinese and the English, the artists and the fisherman. It’s beyond me how God made us all, all so different.


For more frequent posts of my trip, hit “LIKE” on Facebook page or on my blog, enter your email on the right hand column. I’ll do my best to post daily, but guys, there is SO much to see . . . I’m not promising!

  • Debbie
    Posted at 15:59h, 02 September

    I love living vicariously through you!! Have enjoyed your stories so far…..but the Passport one….Oh MY!!

  • llhartley
    Posted at 20:32h, 02 September

    It all sounds like such a grand adventure! Live large for me and have fun, fun, fun! I look forward to your posts!

  • Terri
    Posted at 20:41h, 02 September

    I would love to see the pictures of the Jewish Wedding….did not know there was a Bridal tradtion in France… I am loving your trip….

  • Shannon
    Posted at 02:31h, 03 September

    I have taken lots of photos of friends in front of the flying butresses (Sp?) of Notre Dame…your photo in front of that great piece of Modern Art at the La Centre Pompidou beats all of them! Keep up your original tour of Paris, the city of love, lights, choclate croissants, beer at McDonalds, and your great blog! Thanks for making a ordinary day in the states, more exciting with your travel log blog…

  • Barbara
    Posted at 11:48h, 03 September

    Love this photo and I’m loving your blog and photo blogs as well! You look exactly like you looked in the 1970’s!!! Amazing!

  • lisaweldon
    Posted at 12:24h, 03 September

    Now, Barbara, you need glasses. I was NEVER this fat! But I do appreciate the compliment. You, Georganne and I need to have dinner again as soon as I get back.

  • Barbara
    Posted at 20:05h, 05 September

    I had to reread this one! Love your writing. You really know how to tell a story that makes me feel like you have taken me with you. And Michelle’s photos are so wonderful! You both have an ‘eye’ for beauty and all things ‘artsy.’. But, you my friend also have a ‘voice!’

  • lisaweldon
    Posted at 02:28h, 06 September

    Oh, Barbara, I wish you were here. There is so much I’d love to be reporting, just not enough hours in the day.

  • Janis Miller
    Posted at 09:54h, 14 September

    I agree with just wanting to be outside. One time we were there and the government was on strike the whole time. We couldn’t visit the Louvre, Versailles, any other museums, etc. We thought total tragedy, right? Noooo. We stayed busy morning until night just walking the streets and enjoying the outside of Paris. I highly recommend it!