January 03, 2008

Rue Saint Denis

Rue Saint Denis is normally not part of the immediate family tourist attractions in Paris. It always had, and still has, a reputation related to prostitution and linked activities. The last decades it has also been a street full of sex shops, but all this seems now to be declining and there are a lot of more “normal” activities.

It’s one of Paris’ oldest streets, already traced by the Romans. It used to be the main road in direction of Rouen and Normandy and on the way of course also to the Royal Abbey of St.Denis and its basilica where almost all French kings are buried, as from Clovis (511).

It started to take the form of a street with houses and churches during the 12th century. It used also to be the official road of entry to Paris of new kings (and road of exit of deceased kings) and also of royal visitors. An Arch of Triumph was added during the 17th century. Queen Victoria was the last royal visitor to make her official entry under this Arch (in 1855), which actually served as a model for the Arch of Triumph at Place de l’Etoile.

From the Google map, you can see where to find the street, which starts at Chatelet and ends at the Arch. It is surrounded by some remarkable places to visit like the Place des Innocents, which used to be a cemetary, and the Centre Beaubourg (Pompidou). I will revert with posts about these places soon.

To “prove” the long existence of the street I added a few old maps, the first one from 1525, the second one from 1705 and the third (in relief, the famous Turgot map) from 1734.The street has different shop arcade openings, more or less fashionable. If you look behind the facades you can, especially in the northern part, also see some quite old court yards today to a large extent occupied by clothing manufacturers and wholesalers.There are some old interesting buildings and some interesting facade decorations.The street is now to a large extent pedestrian, full of bars and restaurants, and the night life, especially in the southern part of the street, is very active.
There is a famous Monet painting from Rue St. Denis (1878).

You can find the large sized pictures on my photo blog.

31 comments:

Neva said...

As usual you have a wonderful set of pictures. You always have so much history to go with your pictures. I wish you the best in 2008 and look forward to many visits between us!

Drama Div@ said...

I truly feel like I am in your history class with lots of colourful pictures... :P

alice said...

La juxtaposition de l'Histoire et de la réalité d'aujourd'hui est assez...curieuse! Bonne journée!

Olivier said...

pour une reprise, c'est une reprise, bravo. La peinture de monet est magnifique.

hpy said...

Je viens de visiter ALice sur l'Ile aux Moines, et je voulais me rendre rue de Moines tout de suite après, mais tu me diriges vers la rue St Denis! Est-ce bien normal? Où faut-il cliquer pour aller à la bonne adresse? Ca ne marche pas! Je veux la rue des Moines!!! Blogger fonctionne mal! %%"¨¨£¤!!!?

Matritensis said...

Yes, I feel like Drama too.
Good class teach ;)

SusuPetal said...

Being a Finn and some kind of hermit, this street looks way too crowded for me!
Maybe a little stroll as a tourist, though:)

Peter said...

neva:
No problem. I will visit you regularly!

drama div@:
Hopefully a not too boring "teacher"?

alice:
Je crois que l'histoire et l'actualité de cette rue contient un peu les mêmes élements!

Peter said...

olivier:
Monet deçoit rarement!

hpy:
Cliquer "rue des Moines" sous "labels". ... et tu connais le vrai chemin!

matritensis:
Same comments as to to Drama Div@!

Peter said...

susupetal:
Some moments of crowds, some quite moments... A nice mixture is OK for me!

oldmanlincoln said...

The nicest part of this post, to me at least, is the decline of sex shops and all that goes with them. I think it is not only there but in lots of other places. I do, however, like sex, but not shops strewn all over a city.

On the other hand, at my age, my doctor said most people lie about their sexual activities when talking to friends and relatives, and I should not worry about it.

LOL

I did not know Queen Victoria visited the street and found that interesting.

I like the photos, Peter. I also liked the words that goes with them.

lyliane said...

Meilleurs voeux, je vois que tu as bien commencé l année, avec les petites femmes de Paris...Je suis encore en Allemagne,je fais les soldes, je rentre en fin de semaine.

Annie said...

Activity abounds here on the Rue St. Denis. Young people would surely find life here full of interest and excitement. I can almost imagine this as the setting for the movie, Irma La Douce. Do you remember that American movie about a French "working woman"?

April said...

Paris seems to be so rich of everything, shops, bars, ...

Delphinium said...

Bonjour peter! Je ne suis pas encore tout à fait rentrée pour faire la tournée des blogs mais je passe chez toi aussi pour te souhaiter la meilleure des années. L'année 2007 nous a permis de nous connaître un peu, je suis certaine que l'année 2008 va encore nous apporter plein de bons moments, sur les blogs et peut-être ailleurs, qui sait? J'ai regardé ta série de photos pour le message de la bonne année, elles sont magnifiques et montrent bien que l'humanité entière sait encore vivre des moments de liesse et oublier un peu tous les tracas du monde le temps des douze coups de minuit.
Je t'embrasse bien fort et te souhaite tout le meilleur possible pour toi et ta famille!
Ma véritable rentrée se fera lundi prochain et Monsieur X reviendra certainement la semaine prochaine également. :-)

Ruth said...

Wow, very busy place then and now. I didn't know about that arch de triomphe. I hope you're enjoying the start of 2008!

Marguerite said...

Salut Pete !
La nuit est tombée tu es rentré chez toi maintenant que les illuminations sont terminées (tu ne vas pas ds les lieux mal famés de nuit dis moi ?)
Deux photos me bottent plus que les autres: the one at the top et celle des déménageurs de cartons empilés. Elles disent la vie l'accumulation des vies...
Tu sais, un cousin a un studio place des innocents emplacemt des anciens ossuaires... et la tante de Pat y est décédée ds son sommeil. Je suis persuadée qu'il y a des miasmes et des restes d'âmes errantes là, à l'affut de personnes en état de faiblesse.
Sinon, ben ça va toi ? Pas fatigué des fêtes ? Pas trop affaibli ? Moi un peu. Heureusement il y a peut être une tombe gauloise sous la maison mais c'est pas si effrayant
Re-salut Pete !
(Brr, commence à faire nuit, je vais fermer les volets)

Peter said...

oldmanlincoln:
I think you have proven that you are still a young old man - in all respects!

lyliane:
Toujours les soldes en Allemagne! Tu ne fais pas une bonne pub pour la mode française! A bientôt!!!

annie:
Of course I remeber the Wilder film with Shirley MacLaine, Jack Lemmon... !

Peter said...

april:
Paris IS rich of (almost) everything!!

delphinium:
Très content de te voir - un peu - revenue! J'attends avec impatience les aventures de Mr X et Suzanne et tes commentaires... Je t'embrasse également très fort!

marguerite:
Cergie, Marguerite ou Lucie, pour moi le plaisir est le même!
Pour les déménageurs, je pense qu'il s'agit plutôt d'un commerce en vêtements. Pour les Innocents, je pense faire un post demain. ... et il ne faut pas avoir peur de cimetières ou de tombes!! Ma maison de campagne était en face d'un cimetière. J'aimais bp cet emplacement!

Maxime said...

C'est vrai qu'elle est vieille , la rue Saint Denis. C'est par là que je passais dans les années 70 pour entrer dans Paris lorsque j'habitais dans l'Oise !
Et il y avait toujours un camion de livraison qui bloquait la circulation !

Heather said...

Wonderful photographs and history lesson as always. Love the architecture of those lovely old buildings!

Mélisse said...

J'aime bien cet endroit, mais bizarrement je ne me souvenais pas de l'arc de Triomphe...je n'ai jamais du remonter la rue aussi loin ;-).

Noushy Syah said...

I definitely agree that Paris has lots to offer...but again,Paris is also always associated with romance!! So I wonder why the sex shops and sex activities are declining!

Peter said...

maxime:
Aujourd'hui la rue est en grande partie piétonne! Il faut utiliser les transports en commun et / ou marcher!

heather:
They actually look better than what you expect in this street, but some refreshing would be useful!

mélisse:
Tu as évité la partie la moins attrayante, à première vue.

noushy:
I don't know if romance and sex shops are really linked?

Ash said...

As always, lovely pictures and information.

Chuckeroon said...

I particularly like your headliner with the arch peeping out. After that (if one must chose from such treasures) the Monet flags.

Have a good weekend pETER AND TKS FOR THE RECENT comments.

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