Tuesday, 16 June 2015

bastille - take a walk on the quiet side

I'm trying to replace hidden & secret, so let's call this face of Bastille the unknown & quiet one. The Bastille area of Paris, can usually best be described as bustling, very bustling. You will never walk long in order to find a cafe, restaurant, bar or anything that involves food, drinks & people. But there's another side of Bastille too, quiet corners with lovely passages & alleys, right next to all the agitation. Here are three of them.

c o u r  d a m o y e

Hidden and yet right next to Place de la Bastille. Most people walk by without ever noticing & yet all you have to do is take the entrance at number 12, discreetly located between two cafes.

The alley is open to public during daytime, but the gates close in the evening, making it possible for the lucky residents to enjoy this peaceful space all to themselves. I would love to see what it looks like on those beautiful summer nights. I'm sure tables & chairs are pulled out on the cobblestones for intimate dinners.

La Cour Damoye is named after Antoine Pierre Damoye who bought the plot in 1778. At that time it was used as a shooting gallery by the cavalry, but he started building & renting small industrial buildings out to scrap & rag merchants & other craftsmen who established their stores & workshops on the ground floor. Most of the buildings date back to this period of time with stories having been added later on.

Today, you will mostly find communication agencies, design companies & art galleries, with private apartments on the upper floors, all in a quiet village-like atmosphere. And let's not forget the most famous address in cour Damoye : Brulerie Daval, one of the last coffee roasters in Paris where you can buy freshly roasted coffee from Madame D'Amico who opened this shop with her husband some 70 years ago...  that's right.

p a s s a g e  d u  c h e v a l  b l a n c

This passage is quite unique & different from most other passages in Paris with its singular architecture. As you can see, most of the buildings here have beautiful wooden pans. Built in 1824 the name is believed to come from an old signboard, which is quite disappointing I think. I had imagined some crazy story behind it, a legend about a great white horse (cheval blanc means white horse), but it doesn't seem to be the case.

Within the passage you will find a lovely procession of old, paved courtyards named after the first months of the year. There used to be plenty of workshops here for those working with wood; cabinetmakers, carpenters... Today it's mostly offices (I would love to work here!), showrooms & galleries, maintaining the creative vibe of the place. You can enter it at 2, rue de la roquette.

p a s s a g e  l h o m m e

I know I already did a post about this beautiful little passage, but it's really worth mentioning again, or at least show a few more pictures & it's right next to the other two places. Click here for more info on Passage Lhomme

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