Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Courtyards and passages - vestiges of old Paris

Nothing brilliant to report but I'm exploring locations for a scene in the book and find that inspiration comes visually from
photos. So here's some gems of places that I discovered by accident, or a friend told me about, or I got curious and pushed open a beautiful paint chipped door and snooped inside...in random order

Rue Delambre 14th arrondissement literally in the block behind the well known cafe La Coupole qt Montparnasse.
The door arch intrigued me so when someone went inside I followed them and this spread out before me. Old workshops, artists ateliers as you can see from the north facing windows and at center - where it's lit - is The Breton culture center - a hive of dance and Breton language classes and Celtic festivals - who would know?

This old artisan complex in the 12th arrondissement dates back to when Marie Antoinette and the nobles kept part of this as their stable - some stone walls date to the 17th century. This area extends in a honeycomb where little alleys and dirt passages were home to more than 60 artisans, craftsworkers and artists; carpenters, enamelers, lithograph printers, mirror makers. Now two remain but the City of Paris bought the complex and are 'saving' it.

This is near the Gare de l'Est in the 10th arrondissement notice the timbered old two story building. Probably some former stables for cart horses further down.

Believe it or not this is on the rooftop of a medieval bulding in the 5th arrondissement near the Sorbonne. My friend and I entered a building were James Joyce wrote part of Ulysees and just followed winding stairs, higgledy piggledy slanted corridors where we ducked our heads to avoid 15th century timbers and ended up on this roof walkway bordering an old 13th century wall remnant. This corkscrew conglomerate of buildings were built on top of and sideways dating back to the 13th century. Like a lot of the Latin Quarter.

My friend er victim posing in a 19th century Directoire style courtyard in the 11th arrondissement not far from the Bastille. Got to get the details correct, n'est-ce pas?

Cara- Tuesday


  1. How remarkable these old buildings are! The imagination is just so enlivened. I am traveling through your posts :)

  2. Ooooooh, discoveries .... love those!

  3. You're one heck of a fascinating person, Cara Black. You've inspired me to return to Paris in the Spring. And read more of Aimee's adventures in the Winter.

  4. I love narrow alleys and courtyards and passages almost as much as I love ghost stations. Thanks Cara!