February 27, 2008

Cour du Commerce Saint André


Most tourists and other visitors of the Quartier Latin, would walk up (or down) Rue Saint André des Arts, not all will deviate to see also the narrow passageway Cour Commerce Saint André. Even fewer (hardly anybody) would visit Cour Rohan. I will talk about Cour Rohan tomorrow, today just a few words about Cour du Commerce Saint André.

One entrance to this partly covered narrow street is from Rue Saint André des Arts, the other one is from Boulevard Saint Germain. The oldest known Paris wall, the Philippe-Auguste wall (built 1190-1213, see my post Jan 8, 2008), used to pass here and there are still some traces, however inside an existing building (the Catalogne tourism office).

Anyhow, the street has some kind of 18th century atmosphere, is covered by centuries- old cobble-stones, has a lot of charm and a number of historical references.
The first experiments with the guillotine (on sheep) took place in this building (no. 9).

The oldest still existing Paris café*, Le Procope – opened in 1686 - , has its (today backdoor) entry here. Among its regular visitors you can mention Racine, Molière, Voltaire, Diderot, Balzac, Napoleon and his marshals, George Sand, Victor Hugo, Oscar Wilde, Thomas Jefferson … Benjamin Franklin (who is said to have “fine-tuned” the American constitution here)… a lot of ancient times’ actors (the old Comédie Française was just across the street) .. and the Revolutionary Robespierre, Marat, Danton….and Guillotin.

Marat also printed the Revolutionary newspaper “L”Ami du Peulple” in this street (no. 8) and Danton had his home at no. 20 which corresponds to a part of the street which disappeared with the construction of Boulevard Saint Germain. Danton’s statue now stands where his house used to be.

*/ As a small extra note – I referred to Le Procope as a “café”: Did you know that the word “restaurant” comes from the French word “restaurer” (to restore)? It was used for an eating establishment for the first time around 1765 by a Parisian soup-seller. The first restaurant in the form we know it today (sitting down, ordering from a menu…) was founded in Paris in 1782. Previously eating places were basically for travelling people who paid a flat rate for what the inn owner wanted to serve.

A few of these pictures can be found on my photo blog.

29 comments:

noushy syah said...

This is so informative! I learnt something new about 'restaurant'..

A cuppa for me Peter? tehehhhe..

Annie said...

However do you know all this? I'm always surprised by the detail you provide. It would be a joy to walk down that narrow street with you, hearing and seeing firsthand.

hpy said...

Ce qui est bien avec ton blog (entre autres choses) c'est que ça me rappelle de bons souvenirs.

Chuckeroon said...

Peter, I am waiting for the Rohan...............

claude said...

Encore une belle visite de Paris avec des explications qui me font encore mieux connaître ce paris que j'aime. Je me répète peut-être mais en même temps cela me fait du bien de le dire du fond de ma sarthe d'adoption.

Deslilas said...

Après les réunions plus ou moins intéressantes auxquelles je participai au siège de la RATP quai des Grands Augustins je ne manquai pas de me ressourcer dans ce passage magnifique.

Catherine said...

moi aussi j'adorais passer par ce passage, justement, j'avais l'impression de voyager dans le temps....c'est un endroit vraiment magique.
Joli reportage.Il faudra que tu inclues des videos un jour sur ce blog..plus facile à dire qu'à faire cependant...
amitiés.

oldmanlincoln said...

Some restaurants are like that over here. People go in and pay for the soup of the day or the sandwich or whatever is on the menu that day. These are usually filled with hungry people at Noon.

LeenaM said...

It was nice to get know all those things and imagine all those owner of
the familiar ( ! ) names, what you mentioned, walking and sitting there.

Can you imagine, it`s still snowing here :))

Sonia said...

Great post, Peter! I have been learning so much with such amazing photos and information. Beautiful those narrow streets with 18th century atmosphere. Thank you for sharing!

Cergie said...

Et aussi le tonton Rémy de Patrick comme habitué du Procope...

Tu es incroyable, Peter, tu devrait t'assurer que les gens ont bien leur carte des différents arrondissements de Paris à l'échelle suffisante pour bien situer cette cour, car sur celle que je trimballe partout avec moi elle ne figure pas nettement

SusuPetal said...

It would be nice, if there was to be found some cognag from Le Procope's opening -I'd enjoy a glass!

Mona said...

There seems to be no end to the wonders of France...

Thanks for telling us about the word Restaurant. I have often wondered about the origin of that word. That was a very good information!

Mathilde said...

Bonsoir Peter,

Mais que dis-tu Lucie, tu emmènes un plan de Paris sur toi? Moi, désormais, j'emmène mon ordi, pointé via le site PHO, je jette tous mes plans, je vais à Paris, je m'assois sur le trottoir, borne WIFI à proximité bien sûr... Je pointe le doigt au hasard sur un post... et à l'aventure....

Et je suis allée à Paris aujourd'hui, vu que je commençais à tricoter à l'envers des idées grisouilles... Peter m'a dit qu'il y avait du soleil.. ET ben, IL Y AVAIT DES NUAGES À PARIS... Mais ça ne fait rien, j'ai trouvé des livres supers à la FNAC...

Bonne soirée Peter

Kate said...

It's too bad that you weren't blogging years ago when I was visiting Paris a few times. My experience would have been even greater with all this information you provide on your blog!

Peter said...

noushy:
Good! When the French have inventd soemthing, I'm happy to tall about it!

annie:
It would be with pleasure (but please tell in advance when you plan to come, so I can repeat)!

hpy:
Les bons souvenirs, il faut s'en souvenir!

Peter said...

chuckeroon:
Welcome back tomorrow!

claude:
Tu peux bien te répèter pour dire des choses aussi agrables!

deslilas:
Bien, tu connais donc bien!

Peter said...

catherine:
J'ai pensé aux vidéos, mais...

oldmanlincoln:
Eating habits are still a it better in France (if I may say so)!

leenam:
In a certain way, I guess you are happy with the snow - with grandkids around!

Peter said...

sonia:
It's a pleasure to share... like you do on your blog!

cergie:
Je n'étais pas sur que Rémy souhaitait être mentionné!

susuptal:
17th cedntury cognac! You have some very exclusive and expensive tastes!

Peter said...

mona:
I thought you knew almost everything!

mathilde:
Le soleil état là le matin! Désolé pour cette fausse informtion! J'étais aussi à la FNAC (St. Lazare)!

kate:
Sorry! But I guess you can come back?

lyliane said...

J'ai tellement pris l'air de Paris aujourd'hui que je suis bien fatiguée aussi je vais essayer d'aller dormir et je reviendrai demain pour profiter bien mieux de tes explications.Je t'embrasse.

Ming the Merciless said...

I will make sure to stop and visit Cour Rohan the next time I'm in Paris.

Peter said...

lyliane:
Quand on habite la campagne, l'air de Paris fatigue!

ming:
Good idea! (Closed doors Sundays and evenings, but Cour du Commerce St. André remains open.)

lyliane said...

"Comme c'est la semaine de l'amitié, je t'offre ceci:

Si les bisous étaient de l’eau, je te donnerais les océans

Si les câlins étaient des feuilles, je te donnerais la forêt

Si la vie était une planète je te donnerais des milliers de galaxie

Si l'amitié était la vie, je te donnerais les miennes,(car j'en ai eu peut être d'autres dans le passé et en aurais encore dans l'avenir)

C'est la semaine de la famille et des"meilleurs et plus anciens(es) ami(es".

Envoie ce message à ceux que tu considères comme des ami(es), à moi si j'en fais partie.

S'il te revient plus de 3 fois tu es quelqu'un d'adorable."
Aussi je vais te l'envoyer 4 fois en ayant changé la fin des phrases pour toi.

Nathalie said...

Ah je suis passée ici à Noel dernier, je reconnais !

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