Saturday, November 10, 2012

Passage du Chantier | Paris Travel

The Hôtel de Ville.

Our Silver Paris

Welcome to my Paris travel journal,
where I share our experiences of our special journey to Paris.
Please use these posts as a guide for your own travels
to this amazing and wonderful city!
Or simply read, and dream...

Today's post starts out with a bonus image; I had seen this church a few times before, and never stopped long enough to take a picture.  This morning, we passed this way just so I could get one.  (I love my husband.)

Église St. Paul, on rue Saint Antoine in le Marais.

From the church above, we walked around place de la Bastille and into the 12th Arrondissement.  Once on rue du Faubourg Saint Antoine, our walking-tour book instructed us to turn right into passage du Chantier, but we walked for a while, re-checked our book and our map, and realized we had passed it.  We were walking on the left side of the street, but did not see the street on the right.  We decided to cross and retrace our steps on the correct side of the street, et voilà!  There was a "cut-out" in the shape of a square right in the solid row of buildings along the avenue!  We walked through the opening, and were transported to a different world.

Le passage du Chantier.

This little cobblestone street is home to local artisans who make furniture and other items to sell.  It is lined with workshops where small-scale furniture is still made by craftsmen.

Sign in a craftsman's window.
French manufactured in our workshops
The prettiest factory in the Paris region

The area has been associated with the furniture-making business since the 15th century, when Louis XI gave people the right to set up shop here in a bid to relieve local poverty.  At the time, the district was outside Paris.  Some of the famous French furniture makers, such as Weisweiler and Carlin, who produced the masterpieces of the 18th century for Queen Marie Antoinette, had workshops here.  Now it is a mixture of brash furniture stores with pieces made cheaply abroad or small artisans making traditional-style pieces.  However, the trades of upholstery and gilding have survived int he workshops of the smaller backstreets.  ~Frommer's 24 Great Walks in Paris, p. 54-55.  (ISBN 978-0-470-22897-5)

The passage is just one block long, but oh so pretty!  We stepped--literally just steps--down a little passage off this main cobblestone street, and peeked into an atelier long enough to see a couple of craftsmen at work.  Here's the little "side" street:

Chairs placed out on the street for sale.

Looking back along passage du Chantier from where we started.

That's it--just one little block and we were passing through the square opening at the other end and back out into the hustle and bustle of the city.  What a treat to find this out-of-the-way place, rich in history, both past and present!

  • Nearest Métro station:  Place de la Bastille (lines 1, 5, and 8) to the west; or Ledru Rollin (line 8) to the east.
  • Cost:  Free.
  • What to look for:  A cut-out square entryway right in the middle of a row of buildings along the south side of rue du Faubourg St. Antoine about halfway between the two Métro stations listed above.  Walk through that cut-out and into another world!  Peek into workshops, browse furniture shops, admire the craftsmanship.  Enjoy the cobblestone street, cafés and greenery along your walk.
  • Combine with:  place de la Bastille, a walk down the promenade Plantée (coulée Verte), or a visit to canal St. Martin.

Treasuring life's moments,

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  1. I like all the street shots, they are so fun. :)

  2. Thanks for was like going on a nice Paris stroll.