Each of Paris’ 20 arrondissements has a Town Hall, the Mairie, and a district mayor responsible for local services; each Mairie also includes a district court that handles minor civil and criminal offenses, and each is housed in a suitably impressive building. This one, whose interior entrance and lobby gave us the mystery picture for Where in the World #50, serves the 10e arrondissement in eastern Paris. It’s at 72 Rue du Faubourg de Saint-Martin. It’s a busy district, although its nearly 100,000 residents are only 60% of its peak 1881 population.
Included in its four quarters are the Gare du Nord and Gare de l’Est, much of the Canal Saint-Martin, three major hospitals and a wide range of restaurants and shops serving a population that’s about as diverse as you can find: European, African, Asian and even Latin American. The shopping includes a number of Paris’ famous through-the-block galleries. such as the Passage Brady, below. Some are ritzy, some are everyday.
The puzzle picture was taken on the fly one evening as we were walking to dinner at Brasserie Flo, late, tired, and on the wrong street by a block. I’d have like to take more pictures of the interior, but that was not an option…a shame, because I’d only previously passed it when the gates were closed and the view hidden.
In addition to the usual district services, this Mairie also provides a home to a branch of the Paris public library system.
In 2004, by arrangement with one of the judges of the 10e’s court, Ray mond Depardon filmed hundreds of hours, involving over 200 cases, and edited them into “10th District Court,” a documentary featuring about a dozen cases of various misdemeanors and disputes, showing not only the operation of the system, but insights into human behavior, policing and ethnicity in France. It’s been shown on TCM, and is available on Amazon and Netflix…I recommend it.
Gare du Nord, above, is home to many suburban lines and the Eurosrar to London,
as well as the connection to CDG Airport. Below, the Gare de l'Est is always busy, especially now that it is the terminal for TGV lines to Strasbourg and Germany. Below today's picture, two World War I pictures by Maximillien Luce, the "last Impressionist" showing 1917 winter scenes, and wounded soldiers at the station.
Also in the 10e: the monumental statue that crowns Place de la Republique (and is often a focal point for political protest) and one of my favorite under-appreciated Paris churches, Saint-Laurent. First built in the 6th century, destroyed and rebuilt in the 9th, and rebuilt again in the 15th in strong Gothic tones, it got a major overhaul when Haussmann decided to make it a feature of the new boulevards rather than a victim of their building.