Monday, November 14, 2011

The Cour du Commerce Saint André

There's a tiny little passage between the boulevard Saint Germain and the rue Saint André des Arts in the Latin Quarter that is almost a thousand years old, called the Cour du Commerce Saint André. For centuries, it has been a small commerce street, and it still exists today, very much as it did back when Philippe Auguste was running France in the 13th century.

Although this small pedestrian passage is in a very busy part of the Latin Quarter, it's easy to walk past it without ever realizing that it's there. It is paved with very rough cobblestones and features a number of restaurants and an eclectic assortment of shops. One of the restaurants is a bistro from the turn of the century (the turn of the previous century, not this one), and another is the oldest café in Paris, the Procope, where people like Benjamin Franklin, Robespierre, and other Big Names from history came to chat and eat. It was also in a courtyard just off this passage that the guillotine was first tested (on sheep). And the passage originally ran just outside the city wall of Philippe Auguste, and some vestiges of that city wall are still in place and visible.

At the north end of the passage, which is covered, there's a bonsai shop, a stationery store, a bar, two restaurants, and a podiatrist's office.

Overall, the Cour du Commerce has a great deal of charm for its small size, and that's why I decided to make a video about it. The great thing about Paris is that cool and interesting spots like this are the rule, rather than the exception.

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