Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Wandering further in Le Marais

Not far from where I took yesterday's photo, I came across these three gentlemen on their way to Agudath Hakehilot, an orthodox synagogue designed by Hector Guimard (the same architect who designed the Paris Metro entrances). Jews have called the Marais (swamp in English), or Pletzl (little place in Yiddish), their home since at least the 13th century. To learn more, you can check out the book, The Complete Jewish guide to France.

ParisDailyPhoto 1 year anniversary minus 4 days!


  1. What a wonderful, atmospheric shot.

  2. I agree Ham, I love the way the photo respects the men by taking it from the back, yet not in a sneaky kind of way.

    Who would have thought the synagogue had the same designer as the metro?! Where DO you find this stuff Eric? It's what makes your blog so unique I have to say.

    And Tomate, before you even say anything, this is not the Brokeback part of the Marais. Those are NOT cowboy hats you see. ;-)

  3. LOL Michael... then I guess those posts on the left are not for horses?

    Duane Bong: LOL!

    * * *

    Seriously, this picture has a truly authentic and timeless feel to it, and without the horse-posts, it would be practically impossible to tell when it was taken.

    Thanks Eric :)

  4. Guimard married a Jewish artist-painter, an expatriate New Yorker named Adeline Oppenheim, in 1909, by which time he already had a narrow practice (mostly in the 16th, in Auteuil) with deep pockets, a repeat clientele. Adeline no doubt helped him get this synagogue commission of 1913. She helped finance some of his more important works--her father was a banker--including their splended house on the rue Mozart. It still stands. The rest the stuff she partially underwrote was built for rental or resale. In 1938 the couple left Paris for New York, maybe for economic reasons, but mostly out of fear of rising anti-Semitism, I guess. Hector died in 1942 in the USA. Adeline returned to claim her house and all the custom art nouveau furniture in it, and attempted to give it to the state to use a as a museum. The Republic refused.

    Anyway, Guimard's career and personal life was tied up with his wife's ethnicity.

    Brian C.B.

  5. Interesting I did not realize there was a Jewish guide to France.

  6. That is a really great photo Eric.

  7. Wow! I am stunned with that pic..Maybe someday I can click that good ;)

    Nicely done..though reminds me of Sicily more than Paris.. I wonder why..

  8. Great shot and past-time atmosphere.

  9. Oh what a fabulous picture!

  10. What is Mitterand doing in the Marais, I thought he was dead?

  11. Bonjour:

    Very nice shot! It wouldn’t have the impact it does if it was in color. The content would have diluted.

    I have also attempted to get shots like yours during my fall 2002 visit to Paris but with a bad experience. Saturday services had just let out. I was across the street to grab a shot of the structure, not the people, and was immediately pounced upon by two militant Jews in suits speaking French. I kept telling them I was Jewish, to no avail. I even spoke Yiddish. Finally a very tall Jewish guy came over to explain to me that it was the people that did not want to be photographed. There has been a long history (the Vichy government's collaboration during W.W.II) of anti-Semitism and terrorist activity directed at Jews and synagogues in all of France. I never went back and got the shots. Typical! Get it then or you’ll forget to return. If you do return the light or weather will be lousy, a delivery truck will be in the way or you’ll just forget or not have the time. This really got under my skin. Damn terrorists. My poor wife had to endure my “rant” as we strode along.

    Oh, about what appear to be “horse hitching posts?” They are there to make it impossible for automobiles to park on the sidewalks on the extremely narrow medieval streets. The street is only the width of one car. The sidewalks are often the width of one person. Sometimes it is convient to walk in the cobble stone street. Not a pleasant experience if you are fashionable women is spike heels!




  13. That's a great photo! Thanks for sharing!

  14. I just discovered your blog through MetroDad. I love that I will be able to come to your site every day and visit my favorite city in the world.

  15. Great shot. Paris is a great city to take B/W pictures. WOnderful!

  16. For sure like a film still. The blook coming out in four days?

  17. Eric,
    You should be VERY proud of this particular shot!

  18. Steverino: sorry you didn't get your shots. Maybe Eric or someone else will return and take some for you?

    You're quite right, if you don't get photographs right away, you may never get another chance. Such is the traveler's luck ;-)

    You're also quite right about the posts. Last time I went back to France to visit my parents, I asked my father if he'd care to see that neighborhood again with me and to my surprise he drove through it... You're correct, the streets are very narrow in that area and I'm surprised we didn't get stuck. At some point, we saw these posts sticking out of the sidewalk and my father said "darn it, guess we can't park here anymore!"

    There was a little pastry shop we used to go to when I was a kid, near Rue des Rosiers, but I can't remember it's name or exact location now. I think it's still there. It was painted blue or green. Anyway, enough out of me.

    Thanks again Eric, for these shots of the Paris I used to know.

  19. You have some amazing photos on your blog. I think this one is my favorite. I like black and white better than color, I believe it reveals more of the emotion in a photo.

    Good work!

  20. Bonjour Eric

    I love your blog. My brother and I will be staying in the Marais in June. Second trip for me, 7th or so for him. We have a great tiny apartment.

    He is a photographer, as well, and I sent him a link to your site. Your photos are beautiful - you are truly talented! Thank you for sharing!


  21. We were going to use Marais as a middle name for our daughter who was conceived in the Marais (our favorite place to stay). We needed a name starting with M and it's pretty....until you realize it means swamp. (=

  22. le chapeau de gauche n'est pas très miterandien. Les juifs sont de plus en plus chassés par les gays même pour les boutiques, et bientôt adieu les carpes et les gateaux au pavot

  23. Bonjour

    to find out more and everything you want about le marais in english, check the number one guide for le marais, only web site affiliated with paris tourist office for le marais = http://www.parismarais.com ... soon there will be parismarais.fr all in french... enjoy and send your comments :-)