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  • Eye Prefer Paris is an ex-New Yorker's insider's guide to Paris. Richard Nahem writes his blog from his fabulous 18th century apartment in the fashionable Marais district of Paris

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Behind the Paris Street Signs Series 4: Le Marais and Bastille

STREET SIGNS JAN.-1

For series four of Behind the Paris Street Signs, I stayed mostly in my neighborhood, the Marais, and a little bit beyond, to the Bastille. 

Jean-Marc_Nattier _Portrait_de_Pierre-Augustin_Caron_de_Beaumarchais_(1755)

Boulevard Beaumarchais 

The Boulevard Beaumarchais runs from the Place de la Bastille to Boulevard Filles-du-Calvaire, which is an extension of the same boulevard that eventually ends at Place de la Republique. It is named after the celebrated playwright and writer, Pierre-Augustin Caron de Beaumarchais (1732-1799), who wrote two of the most famous comedies of the time, The Barber of Seville and The Marriage of Figaro, which were both later adapted into iconic operas. Beaumarchais had many other talents and skills besides writing including an inventor- inventing an important watch mechanism (his father was a watchmaker), musician, diplomat, arms dealer, and a spy. Beaumarchais was an early supporter of the American Revolution and later became part of the French Revolution. In his personal life, Beaumarchais was married three times and at one point was accused by his enemies of poisoning his first two wives in order to inherit their fortunes. 

Just off the rue Saint Antoine, right before Place de la Bastille, is a bronze statue of Beaumarchais, standing erect, proudly folding his arms. 

STREET SIGNS JAN.-2
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Rue Necker

Jacques Necker, who lived from 1732 until 1804, was a banker from Geneva who later became a finance minister under King Louis XVI, a French statesman, and a political economist. His role of finance minister from 1777 to 1781, for which he was eventually fired from, after creating a controversy, when he publicly disclosed the country’s budget publicly, when they were always hidden by the rule of the monarchy. 

There’s a children’s hospital in Paris named after Necker. 

STREET SIGNS JAN.-4

Antoine-Jean_Amelot_de_Chaillou-1

Rue Amelot 

In the 11th arrondissement, rue Amelot is named after Antoine-Jean Amelot de Chaillou, who was a French politician who held various government positions including president of Grand Conseil/Grand Council, Secretary of State of the Département de la Maison du Roi, and intendant of finances. De Chaillou also held various positions at the French Academy of Sciences, from an honorary member to eventually becoming the president in 1779. He was arrested and imprisoned in 1792, like other nobles of the time, and died in the Luxembourg Prison in 1795. 

STREET SIGNS JAN.-5
STREET SIGNS JAN.-5

Rue Clotilde de Vaux

More like a passageway in between Boulevard Beaumarchais and rue Amelot, Rue Clotilde de Vaux is named after Clotilde de Vaux, a writer who inspired philosopher and writer August Comte to invent the secular Religion of Humanity. De Vaux, who was born in Paris and lived from 1815 to 1846 (she tragically died of tuberculosis at the tender age of 31), was forced into an arranged marriage by her family, but her husband turned out to be a scoundrel who abandoned de Vaux and fled to Belgium, running up a sizeable gambling debt. She moved to the rue Payenne in the Marais, and became a writer, writing short stories for literary magazines. In 1844, she met Auguste Comte, who at the time was a professor at Ecole Polytechnique. Comte fell madly in love with de Vaux and even though she didn’t return his love, she agreed to exchange letters until she died in 1846.

STREET SIGNS JAN.-6

Rue Roger Verlomme

Rue Roger Verlomme has one of my favorite Marais restaurants on it, Chez Janou, which serves an incomparable chocolate mousse. Roger Verlomme was born in 1890 and died in 1950 and held many important government jobs including a private secretary in the army during WWI, and the prefect in various departments in France. He forsake his government duties in WWII because he didn’t support the Vichy Government’s policies, and joined the Resistance in 1940, along with his son. His last position was the prestigious Prefect of the Seine. There’s a public school named after Verlomme in the 15th arrondissement. 


 



 

 


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