The Faubourg* Saint Antoine is located a few steps away from the Place de la Bastille.
A BIT OF HISTORY :
Since the 12th century, it has been an important area for trade and craft industry .
The craftsmen set up mainly, along the “rue du Faubourg Saint Antoine” in courtyards and alleys.
In the 15 th century, the district rose thanks to a special decree of the king who exempted every workers of the Faubourg from taxes. It was then, a main location for wood, furniture and cabinet-making industry.
At the beginning of the 18th century : more than 200 workshops in activity in this area.
Some great cabinet-makers were the furniture suppliers to the aristocratic palaces.
Among these great cabinetmakers, Charles-André Boulle (1642-1732), was considered to be the preeminent artist in the field of marquetry and was considered by his contemporaries as “the most remarkable of all French cabinetmakers”. He was the supplier to the court of Louis XIV.
MAP : the “Faubourg Saint Antoine” is located on the east of “La Bastille”
An OLD TRADITION OF TRADE AND CRAFT INDUSTRY : carpenters, cabinet makers, hupholsterers, chair caners, scrap dealers, rags pickers… Visiting this area will give you an idea of what was the 18th and 19th century in Paris.
Below : photos of the beginning of the 20th century.
URBAN OASES in PARIS . Nowadays : a few artisans workshops can still be found in these hidden passages and courtyards, but also contemporary designers, artists…
FLOWERS, PLANTS, CATS AND DOGS…
One of the courtyards is in the video “N’oubliez jamais” sang by JOE COCKER (with CATHERINE DENEUVE) in the 90s
*Faubourg means that this area has been for a long time outside of Paris. The Faubourg St Antoine is part of Paris since the end of the 18th century (1795)
Practical details :
- Metro station : Ledru Rollin (line 8) or Bastille (line 1, 5 or 8)
- Avoid the weekends, when more passages or courtyards are closed.
- Some of the courtyards are private locations : so you can’t be sure that you’ll manage to get in.
- Most of the courtyards and passages are cobbled : walking is not always confortable …(!)
- Suggested breaks : Le Pain Quotidien, rue de Charonne (a pleasant and relaxing setting and a nice welcoming. for a meal, a dessert or a drink (Suitable meals for vegetarians) – And some nice cafés around the Place d’Aligre (Metro stop : Ledru Rollin)
Private walking tour in the FAUBOURG SAINT ANTOINE : If you’d like visiting this neighborhood with me, please contact me (A visit of a renown outdoor market can be included in the “Faubourg Saint Antoine walk”)