The French capital is essentially a city of the late 19th century with some older buildings, and little in central Paris is capable of transporting you back in time to any period before the Belle... Read More
The French capital is essentially a city of the late 19th century with some older buildings, and little in central Paris is capable of transporting you back in time to any period before the Belle Epoque.
Most strikingly and most disappointingly, there is little in Paris that speaks of the period of the French Revolution – even of the Bastille itself, stormed on 14 July 1789 to ignite the revolutionary firestorm that was to sweep away the old order, only a few stones remain.
All the more reason then to be grateful for the Cour du Commerce Saint Andre, a cobblestoned lane connecting Boulevard Saint Germain and Rue Saint André des Arts (Metro Odeon).
This place really looks and feels like the 18th century, and if you listen closely enough, you may be beginning to hear the voices of the angry mob coming out from behind the doors of no. 9, the place where Jean-Paul Marat, First Martyr Of The Revolution, edited his hate-rag called L'Ami du Peuple. Georges Danton lived in a house at no. 20, but that building stood near the place where his statue now stands (near Odeon metro station), in a part of the street that fell victim to a later urban regeneration scheme in the, you guessed it, 19th century.
Le Procope, established in 1686 and often called the oldest restaurant in Paris, was one of the centers of the city's intellectual life before and during the Revolution – and even afterwards when Benjamin Franklin, at the time the US ambassador to France, came here often to "fine-tune the constitution" as has been claimed.