THE MARAIS DISTRICT of Paris, in the 4th arrondissement, is hugely popular. Home to a Royal residence in the 17th century, it was abandoned to the people during the French Revolution and descended into an architectural wasteland before being rescued in the 1960’s. Today, the area is very fashionable again with galleries, restaurants, chic fashion boutiques and cultural centres. All year round, the Marais is a busy, bustling place – so sometimes it’s nice to find a quieter, less crowded spot.
The Impasse de la Poissonnerie is to be found in the Marais between the rue Jarente and the Marché Sainte-Catherine.
What would be called in English a “dead-end street” becomes an Impasse in French – a much more elegant way of expressing the term I always think.
I came across the Impasse de la Poissonnerie recently for the first time. It’s another of those surprises that delight those of us who search this city for the unexpected.
In times gone by this used to be an open street, one of several used to supply goods to the Marché Sainte-Catherine just beyond. Although this street is now blocked off, the original fountain remains.
Sounds of the fountain:
The clue as to what might have happened in this street in former times comes from its name. The word Poissonnerie suggests an association with fish and so it comes as no surprise to find that this street was originally home to the fish vendors who supplied the market.
Today, the street is largely deserted. Only the name of the street and the fish included in the fountain façade serve to remind us that this too was once a busy, bustling place.