At the end of our tour in the medieval Paris, on the right bank, we have reached the Temple district. For me, this district reminds me when I was going with my great grand-father, a watchmaker who was getting his supplies in this district dedicated in
the past to the watch parts and jewellery. When the weather was nice, we were usually making a stop at the Temple public garden.
For many Parisians, the Temple district will remind the Carreau du Temple, a second-hand clothing market that I have never known. This popular market declined in the Seventies and was transformed in 2004 into a cultural multipurpose space, after nearly having become a car park.
A walk during the week is usually peaceful compared to the liveliness in the evenings and week-ends, much to the annoyance of the inhabitants … Whatever, either by day or by night, we are very far away from Atget's time, even more from the knights Templar's time. The tragic events that also took place during the French Revolution does not seem to affect the party-goers, obviously unfeeling the negative vibes from the past.
With this tour, we will go along the Temple enclosure and in the old streets part of the Temple area. More especially, following Atget's steps we will stop at:
* 77, rue du Temple
* 16, rue Dupetit-Thouars
* 2, rue de la Corderie
* 12, rue Portefoin - Hôtel Turgot
* 14, rue Portefoin - Hôtel de Breteuil
* 83, rue des Archives
* Marché des Enfants-Rouges rue de Bretagne
* 79 et 81, rue des Archives
* Hôtel de Tallard – 78, rue des Archives
* Rue Pastourelle - Impasse Sourdis
* 61, rue des Archives
* 72, rue des Archives
* Fountain - 1, rue des Haudriettes, 53 rue des Archives
* 7, rue de Braque
* 8 bis, rue de Braque
* 45, rue des Archives
La rue du Temple
La rue du Temple was leading to the vast estate owned by the powerful knights Templar. Their Order, both religious and military, was initially founded in 1118 by nine knights in order
to protect the pilgrims to the Holy Land and to defend the Holy Sepulchre.
The Templar has been named from the house, close to the ancient Solomon's Temple that Beaudoin II, King of Jerusalem, assigned to them. The Templars, as much soldiers as monks, had to take a vow of poverty, chastity and obedience, following the Saint-Bernard's strict rule. However, the number of gifts bestowed upon them during the crusades made them very wealthy. Over time, even after their military involvement ended, they nevertheless maintained their prestige and received many gifts and privileges granted by kings, one of which being tax exemption.
When the Templars came back to France, their military power transformed into a financial power. It can be read that they owned over nine thousand castles across Europe. By 1140, they settled in Paris, close to today's Hôtel de Ville, rue de Lobau where they drained the swamps on the northern fringe of Chaussée Saint-Antoine; then in the middle of the 12th century they moved more to the North on a wide territory. In this land, in the middle of the fields, they built a cloister protected by walls and a huge dungeon.
The enclosure – l'enclos du Temple – grew into a small city inside Paris with many privileges. Anybody having crossed the drawbridge was getting protection against a sum of money to be paid to the Grand Master's collector. In 1307, Philip IV of France – Philip the Fair – in need of money, seized their possession and accused the Order of heresy. The Templars were tortured by the Inquisition and forced to confess being devil worshippers, while the Templar holdings were confiscated.
After more than six years in jail, the Grand Master of the Temple, Jacques de Molay was again questioned and finally burned at stake on a small island in the Seine, the Ile des Juifs (The Jews Island), nowadays the Vert-Galant public garden on Ile de la Cité. As Jacques de Molay was burning, he shouted the famous curse warning the Pope and the King Philip IV would die within one year and the curse for the next three Kings – all happened. The Templar possessions were handed over to the Order of Knights of the Hospital of Saint John of Jerusalem (which later became the Order of Malta) until the French Revolution.
In a strange turn of history, the curse of Jacques de Molay seems to have put a spell beyond the accursed kings up to the dark times of the French Revolution with the captivity of Louis XVI in the Temple dungeon … At the Revolution, few buildings remained from the Temple fortress, basically the palace of the Grand Prior of the Temple rebuilt during the 17th century and a disused large tower, chosen on 13th August, 1792 by the Commune of Paris to lock up the King Louis XVI and his family. The Temple dungeon was located now rue Eugène-Spuller, between the Temple public garden and the 3rd district town hall. King Louis XVI was imprisoned in the dungeon until his trial and execution on 21st January, 1793 in the Place de la Concorde. On 2nd August, 1793 Marie-Antoinette was transferred from the dungeon to the Conciergerie to be executed on 16th October, 1793.
“She was awakened if indeed she slept. She embraced her daughter and her sister-in-law - her son had been taken from her a month before - and then she passed down the stairs of the Tower and out into the stifling, oppressive night. Surrounded by commissioners and soldiers she crossed the silent garden of the Temple; not, we may well believe, without turning, as Louis XVI had turned on the 21st January, to look her last at the Tower that loomed, huge and sinister, in the darkness. A cab awaited her at the steps of the palace; the great gate opened to let her pass: She and her guard briskly crossed the sleeping town. ”“
The last days of Marie-Antoinette – G. Lenôtre (translated by Mrs.Rodolph Stawell)
It is said that Louis XVII, Dauphin of France, separated from his mother on 3rd July, 1793 and since completely isolated and uncared-for, died on 8th June, 1795 in the Temple, when he was
10 year old. However, some disturbing facts have questioned the official story and the enigma is still unresolved.
77, rue du Temple - Old house where Bouchotte, war ministry
lived in 1793.
in 1901 by Atget
77, rue du Temple
We are staying at this difficult time of the French Revolution with this picture taken by Atget showing a house at 77, rue du Temple. A plaque on the wall is indicating that the War Ministry
Jean-Baptiste Bouchotte (1754-1840) lived in this house in 1791 during the National Convention.
Well, who was Bouchotte ? I have found little description about him; one written by the French historian G. Lenôtre in his book about Charette, a man who played a key role during the war in Vendée during the French Revolution.
“ … Not a bad man, hard worker, very moral, motivated by good intentions, this Chief officer of the Army has a gift for promoting those incompetent and for preferring the naughty ones. He was the patron of the incompetence. As a Republican at its core, he thought his first duty was to democratize the Army and the offices of his Department; ”
The description of this officer, quite unflattering, does resonate with the sentence written by Victor Hugo in his book Ninety-Three when he describes Cimourdain, a committed revolutionary: “No one today knows his name. History has many of these great Unknown.”
16, rue Dupetit-Thouars
1910/ 1912 Atget
We are in the district called Carreau du Temple. In the past, it was a market specialized in secondhand clothing since the transfer of the old linen market in 1802
in an area close to the rotonde du Temple. The rotunda, constructed in 1788 where there was only vacant land and vegetable gardens, was initially intended
for commercial use and housing.
Close to the rotunda, the old clothes market was held in up to 1800 shops spread over four wooden pavilions. Four streets with naval officers names were crossing these pavilions: rues Carafelli, Dupetit-Thouars, Dupuis and Perrée.
Some of these pavilions had evocative nicknames, such as the Flying Louse specialized in scrap and secondhand clothing, the Black Forrest selling shoes. The space between the rotunda and the old clothes pavilions was called Carreau du Temple (the Temple Tile) because the sellers were spreading the clothes directly on the floor, on the tile.
All these buildings were demolished in 1863 and replaced with a new market, called the Carreau du Temple, made of cast iron pavilions where the first Paris fair was held in 1904. Not enough used and deteriorated, the Carreau du Temple was renovated by the 3rd district city hall, transforming it into sports and cultural facilities. Around the two remaining pavilions, the old secondhand shops have been replaced by galleries, trendy shops, restaurants and bars.