Paris Covered Passages,Centre Pompidou and 59 rue du Rivoli

JUL 19,2019 - JUL 19,2019 (1 DAYS)

France

1 DAYS

Citywalk

Tip 1: Parisian Covered Passages (Passages couverts de Paris).

Tip 2: The Centre Pompidou, Place Georges-Pompidou, 59 rue du Rivoli, Hotel de Ville and BHV Marais department store.

Main sights: Passage Verdeau, Passage Jouffroy, Passage des Panoramas,  Galerie Colbert, Galerie Vivienne, Place des Petits Pères, Place des Victoires, Place Goldoni, Passage du Grand-Cerf, Passage du Bourg l’Abbé, Passage de l'Ancre, Fontaine Stravinsky, Centre Pompidou, Tour Saint-Jacques, 59 rue du Rivoli,  Hôtel de Ville, BHV Marais.

Start: Cadet Metro station (Line 7). End: Rambuteau Metro station (Line 11). Distance: 12 km. Duration: 1 day.

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Introduction: The covered passages are a typically Parisian architectural feature: shopping arcades built in Paris, primarily, during the first half of the 19th century. Most of Parisian 'Passages Couverts' sprang to life in the 1820s, briefly after the Napoleonic fall, during the Restoration of the Bourbon monarchy. Lots and lots of the city real estate that used to belong to various religious orders, and the Catholic church in general, were nationalized and auctioned during (and following) the preceding Revolution of 1789. The developers of the time, seeking to increase their profits, decided to subdivide the properties and cut them open, placing various businesses and tenants inside those newly pierced arcades. By the 1850s there were approximately 150 covered passages in Paris but their number decreased greatly as a result of Haussmann's renovation of Paris. Approximately 20 passages remain in the 21st century, all in the vicinity of the Grands Boulevards, on the Right Bank. The common characteristics of the covered passages are that they are: pedestrianized; glass-ceilings; artificially illuminated at night (initially with gas lamps); privately owned; highly ornamented and decorated; lined with small shops on the ground floor; connecting two streets. Originally, to keep the passages clean, each shop had an "artiste de décrottage" (a shit-removal artist) at the entrance to clean the shoes of visitors. The covered passages of Paris are shortcuts from one street to another that were constructed )in the early nineteenth century( inside the existing buildings. They all have beautiful glass ceilings that let the sun shine in and allow you to enjoy the beautiful architecture of the passages. Before the Champs-Elysées took all the spotlight, the covered passages were actually the place to go to find the latest trendy clothes! Today, the covered passages welcome very diverse shops, from luxurious clothing stores to little French restaurants. I will give you all the good addresses!

Our daily Passages Couverts Itinerary: From the Cadet Metro station we walk 300 m. to our first passagae. Head southwest on Rue Cadet toward Rue la Fayette, 250 m. Turn left onto Rue du Faubourg Montmartre, 35 m. 

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Turn right onto Passage Verdeau. The Passage Verdeau, 6 rue de la Grange-Batelière in the Grands Boulevards district, takes the name of its creator. The second entrance to the covered arcade is at 31 bis rue du Faubourg Montmartre. Passage Verdeau is being the northernmost covered arcade in the city, starting in the south on rue de la Grange-Batelière and terminating in rue du Faubourg-Montmartre, in the north. Built in 1847, it is one of the most charming covered arcades in the capital. It is the continuation of two other well known arcades: Les Panoramas and Jouffroy (see below). These sites are great for enjoying an original walk. A number of antiques dealers and unique shops (old books, postcards, collectors' cameras, etc.) have set up in the Passage Verdeau. Visitors' eyes are caught by the beautiful shop fronts bathed in light thanks to the high glass roof designed to look like fish bones. The location of Passage Verdeau is what is usually referred to as Quartier Drouot, named so after one of the biggest Paris auction houses, still located there. The neighborhood is a traditional city hub for numerous art galleries and dealers in antiques (that is, on the Right Bank). It is also the reason Passage Verdeau features several of those, such as one of the branches of QAD (Quartier Art Drouot) art gallery, an antique prints and watercolors store Amicorum, and Galerie Herve Peron, yet another offshoot of QAD, and Galerie Maillard-Fouilleul specializing in the period photographs and old prints. Among other businesses Passage Verdeau offers are: a French traditional restaurant Le Bistrot, Holy Bol, an all-in-one French Patisserie and Thai Cafe, an Italian restaurant (and 'epicerie', delicatessen store) Ristorante a Vino I Golosi, and a bookstore Librairie Farfouille:

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Passage Jouffroy is 150 m. SOUTH (almost adjacent) to Passage Verdeau. Passage Jouffroy, 10-12 boulevard Montmartre: it is also accessible via 9 Rue de la Grange-Batelière. It was the first one to be built only with metal and glass, which made it really modern at the time. Since it was built in 1836, Passage Jouffroy has been one of the most visited covered arcades in the capital. Situated on the Grands Boulevards and in the continuation of Passage des Panoramas, it owes its charm to its beautiful iron and glass architecture (the ogive glass roof immediately catches the eye) and its marble paving, renovated in 1987. The other asset to the Passage Jouffroy is the variety and originality of the establishments which it houses. Just at the entrance of the passage, you can see the famous Grévin Museum where you can take a selfie with your favorite singers’ wax statues! If you decide to go to the museum, the exit is actually in the passage so you have no excuse not to visit it afterwards. Many children and adults are visiting the Musée Grévin and its famous waxwork models. The Salon des Miroirs is a former 19th century brasserie which, today, is only used for private hire and transforms into a club on Saturday nights. The Hôtel Chopin is an original place to spend the night. Some of the most original shops add a special touch to the visit: old canes and walking sticks, old books, paper specialists and many others. It's worth a visit for the window displays alone! Gourmets can take a break at Valentin, the unmissable tea room. We loved the old book stores and the beautiful Pain d’Epices toy shop that sells old-fashioned dolls, wooden toys or tiny furniture for dollhouses. This shop will definitely bring back your childhood memories!

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Cafe Zephyr:

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Musée Grévin:

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Continue 100 m. southward to Passage des Panoramas, 11 boulevard Montmartre, dates from 1799. It has retained its old-fashioned charm and merchant spirit. It is home to the Théâtre des Variétés, inaugurated in 1807 and still providing entertainment. An hommage to strollers and curious walkers, the Passage des Panoramas is considered the first covered walkway in Paris. A lot of the original facades of the stores have been kept, which gives it a charming atmosphere. Each store window reflects an historical moment of the French capital; from the Bourse district to the Grands Boulevards, sheltered by a magnificent canopy, the 'commercial artery' is listed as historical monument. Along its 133 m of intense activity, eateries share the space with craftsmen. They work alongside many postcards, coins, autographs and old stamps collectors. Admire the remaining ancient architecture, such as the Chocolatier Marquis and Stern printing house, symbolizing the ambitious planning from the 18th century. Inaugurated in 1807, the Théâtre des Variétés is still active, programming concerts and plays, it has enlivened the walkway for two centuries, with celebrities always present. This passage is quite famous among stamp collectors. So, if you’re in love with old stamps and postal cards, you should definitely go check out this gallery and add a Parisian souvenir to your collection! If you’re looking for a place to eat, we recommend the Gyoza bar. 

Cafe Victoria Station:

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Cafe Stern:

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We continue 500 m. more south to Passage Colbert. Head south on Passage des Panoramas toward Rue Saint-Marc, 15 m. Turn right onto Rue Saint-Marc, 45 m. Turn left onto Rue Vivienne, 200 m. We see on our left the grandiose building of the Bourse:

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Continue 200 m. further south along rue Viviene. Turn left onto Galerie Vivienne, 30 m. Turn right onto Galerie Colbert, 15 m. The Galerie Colbert, built in 1823, has the particularity of having no shops. Its colonnade and rotunda surmounted by a glass dome house the Institut National d’Histoire de l’Art and the Institut National du Patrimoine. The public are free to walk through the gallery and can stop off for lunch at the Grand Colbert brasserie, located at the entrance and famous for its Art Deco style:

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The adjacent Galerie Vivienne, 5 Rue de la Banque is definitely the prettiest you will find in Paris. Just take a look at the mythology-themed mosaics on the floor and shiny, luxury boutiques. The Galerie Vivienne was built in 1823 in neo-classical Pompeian style by the architect Francois-Jacques Delannoy. In a tranquile place, just behind the Richelieu Library and near the Palais-Royal, a former royal palace, it's definitely worth visiting. You will admire the colorful mosaics on the ground and its intertwined patterns signed by the famous mosaic artist Giandomenico Facchina. The beautiful glass ceilings lets the light in and allow you to enjoy the amazing architecture of this passages. The Gallery Vivienne is 176 m. long and has been registered as a historical monument since July 1974. Galerie Vivienne had fallen into disuse at the beginning of the 20th Century. The new life of this passage started back in 1960s. Today, here you can find only chic and rather expensive luxury shops and restaurants. Jean-Paul Gaultier opened his first boutique here, and if you are fond of the designer clothing, you can visit one of the many prêt-à-porter shops, like Wolff & Descourtis or Nathalie Garçon. But, you can also have a lunch or a drink, shop some very nice wine, an old book or even a present in “Si tu veux”, children store which offers a wide selection of games and toys inspired by the famous Montessori method:

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l'Aparte:

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From Galerie Vivienne, 5 Rue de la Banque we head north for 50 m. We turn right to stay on Galerie Vivienne, 35 m. We continue onto Passage des Petits Pères (Passage of the Little Fathers), 30 m. We arrive to the Place des Petits Pères. The name of the place keeps the memory of the convent of Augustins which extended all around. The Augustinians were called the "Little Fathers". The square was formerly the courtyard of the convent of the Little Fathers whose basilica Notre-Dame-des-Victoires was their church. This convent was abolished during the French Revolution and part of its buildings became the town hall of the former 3rd arrondissement of Paris until 1849, then, from 1850, it housed the barracks of the Petits-Pères also called "Barracks of the Bank", which overlooked Bank Street and Notre-Dame-des-Victoires Street. On its south side, the square is bounded by the rue des Petits-Peres. There is a shop of religious objects at #8. Nos . 4 and 6 keep overhanging the windows of the statues of Virgins with the Child. # 4: Sylvain Georges: "orchideist", # 6: Sarah Lavoine's boutique (which also houses 6, place des Victoires) and Maison Bleue, a bookstore and religious publisher since the 19th century, # 10: bakery and tea room "Le Moulin de la Vierge". West side:
At No. 1-3 is the building of the bank Leopold Louis-Dreyfus, occupied by the General Commissariat for Jewish issues under the Vichy regime. The passage of the Little Fathers leads to the square on this side. No. 5 houses the Charlotte-Delbo library an historical monument with its facades and roofs overlooking the street and the inner courtyard, as well as the entrance hall and, on the first floor, the wedding hall with its decor (painted by Paul Moreau of Tours. North side: At no. 7 is the Notre-Dame-des-Victoires Basilica (former church of the convent of the Little Fathers):

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A bit south to the Place des Petits Pères is the Place des Victoires. This square designates the border between the 1st and the 2nd arrondissements. The Place des Victoires is at the confluence of six streets: Rue de la Feuillade, Rue Vide Gousset, Rue d'Aboukir, Rue Étienne Marcel, Rue Croix des Petits Champs, and Rue Catinat. A circular square with some interesting architecture and an equestrian statue in the centre: in honor of King Louis XIV, celebrating the Treaties of Nijmegen concluded in 1678-79. The square was designed by the Royal Architect at the time, Jules Mansart, who was also responsible for the design of the Place Vendome. The design incorporated unified facades on the buildings. The buildings and the square were completed in the second half of the 17th century. Today the surrounding area is fairly upmarket and there are several fashion designers (Kenzo and Cacharel) who occupy the ground floor shop fronts:

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From Place des Victoires we head south toward Rue Catinat, 55 m. Exit the roundabout onto Rue Étienne Marcel, 300 m. Slight left onto Rue Tiquetonne, 220 m. Turn left onto Rue Dussoubs, 30 m. Continue onto Place Goldoni, 45 m. This place was named in memory of the Italian playwright Carlo Goldoni (1707-1793), who died in Paris on February 6 , 1793 in the house whose current address is 21, rue Dussoubs. Children's Square is a work by the Belgian artist Patrick Corillon, created in 2006, consisting of a steel bas-relief located against the blind wall of a building in the Goldoni Square, facing the Primary School at #12, rue Dussoubs:

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From Place Goldoni - head south toward Passage du Grand Cerf which is on your left, 50 m. Passage du Grand-Cerf, 145 rue Saint-Denis - a 12-metre-high structure made of metal and wrought iron, is one of the most spectacular arcades in Paris. It is also accessible via Rue Dussoubs. The Grand-Cerf covered arcade was created in 1825, not far from Turbigo (Montorgueil district). It is almost 12 m. tall, making it one of the largest covered arcades in Paris. It is made of metal and wrought iron with a beautiful glass roof allowing light to shine through it. Visitors can stroll through it and discover the pretty shops selling handmade jewellery, furniture and and fashion. Amateurs will discover shops selling kitting items, lighting, and many other items. A must-see typically Parisian covered arcade!

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After a refreshing drink, you can stop in at Passage du Bourg l’Abbé, one of the smallest passages in Paris, with many art galleries. It’s very close to the entrance to Passage du Grand Cerf, so if you’re not tired of Passages yet, be sure to stop in at the little boutiques. The entrances for these are a bit tougher to spot compared to the larger galleries:

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Head east from Passage du Grand Cerf toward Rue Saint-Denis, 50 m. Turn right onto Rue Saint-Denis, 40 m. Turn left onto Rue de Turbigo, 150 m. Turn right toward Passage de l'Ancre, 20 m. A few steps from the Musée des Arts et Métiers (Museum of Arts and Skills – 3rd arrondissement), the passage de l’Ancre (passage of the Anchor) is a small and unusual private lane to visit -  very close to the neighborhoods of Beaubourg or the Marais. Easily visible from the street, this is an amazing little piece of countryside that youe do not expect to find in the heart of old Paris. Being just over 50 meters long, this passage is very different from traditional covered passages of Paris. You will find indeed neither big window nor old stores for collectors, but a flowered setting with beautiful colored windows. Looking for a different and quirky store?  Notice in the middle of the passage the Pep’s store, specializing in the repair and sale of umbrellas and parasols. An unique and original shop ! Considered as one of the oldest passages of Paris, its name comes from an anchor-shaped sign displayed by an old hostel of the street. You can access Passage de l’Ancre by 2 different entrances : the 223 rue Saint-Marin (the better one) or 30 rue Turbigo. To enjoy the pretty porch, we recommend the 223 rue Saint-Martin.

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Move to Tip 2 below.

Citywalk

Tip 2: Centre Pompidou:

From the quaint and charming Passage de l'Ancre we walk approx. 500 m. south to Centre Pompidou. Head east on Passage de l'Ancre toward Rue Saint-Martin, 35 m. Turn right onto Rue Saint-Martin, 140 m. Note, on your left, the rue Montmorency (narrow and atmospheric). Turn left onto Rue du Grenier-Saint-Lazare, 70 m. Turn right onto Rue Brantôme, 170 m. This road It crosses the Horloge district from North to South in the middle. Parallel to rue Beaubourg in the east. Turn right onto Rue Rambuteau, 15 m. Turn left. Take the stairs, walk 75 m. and The Centre Pompidou is on your left at Place Georges-Pompidou. 

Note: Due to the closure of the Piazza (main entrance), since August 27, 2019 (until SEP 2020) entry to the Centre Pompidou is via Rue Beaubourg, on the Rue Saint-Merri side, until the work is finished, but the escalators will continue to operate. From Passage de l'Ancre - head east on Passage de l'Ancre toward Rue Saint-Martin, 35 m. Turn right onto Rue Saint-Martin, 300 m. Turn right onto Rue Saint-Martin, 170 m. At the intersection with Rue Saint-Merri - turn RIGHT (west) to Centre Pompidou to face Fontaine Stravinsky at Place Starvinsky. A public fountain ornamented with sixteen works of sculpture, moving and spraying water, representing the works of composer Igor Stravinsky. It was created in 1983 by sculptors Jean Tinguely and Niki de Saint Phalle, and is located between the Centre Pompidou and the Church of Saint-Merri.  The sculptures in the fountain represent:

L'Oiseau de feu (The Firebird)
La Clef de Sol (the Musical Key of G)
La Spirale (The Spiral)
L'Elephant (The Elephant)
Le Renard (The Fox)
Le Serpent (The Serpent)
La Grenouille (The Frog)
La Diagonale (The Diagonal)
La Mort (Death)
La Sirène (The Mermaid)
Le Rossignol (The Nightingale)
L'Amour (Love)
La Vie (Life)
Le Cœur (The Heart)
Le Chapeau de Clown (The Clown's Hat)
Ragtime (Ragtime)

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rue Aubry le Bouher - Xavier Valthan, Renz Opiano, 2013

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The basin covers some of the rooms and offices of IRCAM (Institut de Recherche et Coordination Acoustique/Musique), an organization devoted to promoting modern music and musicology, connected with the Pompidou Center. The founder of IRCAM, composer and conductor Pierre Boulez, suggested the work of Stravinsky as a theme for the fountain. Because of the offices and rooms below, the fountain was designed to be as lightweight as possible, with very shallow water, a lining of stainless steel, and sculptures composed of plastics and other light materials.

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The Centre Pompidou, designed by Renzo Piano and Richard Rogers, is a 20th-century architectural marvel, immediately recognizable by its exterior escalators and enormous coloured tubing. It is home to the National Museum of Modern Art and is internationally renowned for its 20th and 21st century art collections. The works of iconic artists are displayed chronologically over two sections: the modern period, from 1905 to 1960 (Matisse, Picasso, Dubuffet, etc.), and the contemporary period, from 1960 to the present day (Andy Warhol, Niki de Saint Phalle, Anish Kapoor, etc.). In addition to its permanent collections, internationally renowned exhibitions are organized every year on the top floor, where visitors can enjoy a breathtaking view of Paris and its rooftops. Everything you might need to spend a pleasant half-day, or indeed a day in the museum is available: eat at Le Georges, learn more at the public information library, and take a break browsing the shelves of the museum gift shop. At the foot of the Centre, the Atelier Brancusi presents a unique collection of works by this artist who played a major role in the history of modern sculpture. Monday: 11.00 - 21.00, Tuesday: Closed, Wednesday-Sunday: 11.00 - 21.00. 

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There are very mixed opinions on the building of Centre Pompidou. But, above all, it is a beautiful building filled with lots of nice things to see. It is a vast collection of modern art. You'll need tough legs for walking among the numerous spaces of this complex. You walk up and down like in Ikea store and WITHOUT AC. Avoid in very hot or cold days. The whole building and its passages and corridors are in in a bad repairing condition. The escalators might be very hot and humid. The whole building cries and deserves for maintenance and refurbishing. Take a long breath... Many people prefer to look at its exteriors only... One advantage: there are visitors but not overwhelming. If you can force yourself to enter this maze, disorder, neglection and temperature of this building -  you will enjoy its contents here and there. 

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We visited the Dora Maar (1907-1997) special exhibit with interesting view of this multi-talented artist. Usually known as Picasso's muse, she was also a photographer who rubbed shoulders with and influenced the "creme de la creme" of the Parisian art and literary field, leaving her mark on the avant-gardes of the 1930s. The exhibition shows the different facets of Dora Maar, including the lesser known ones. Considered as a personality of the early 20th century and a true inspiration for many artists and writers, such as Paul Eluard and Jacqueline Lamba, the exhibition showcases some of Dora Maar's original aspects.

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In case you get to one of the top floors - the view across Paris is exceptional:

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From the Centre Pompidou - head south on Rue du Renard toward Rue Saint-Merri, 260 m. Turn right onto Rue de Rivoli, 150 m. and arrive to Tour Saint-Jacques and Square de la Tour Saint-Jacques. The closest métro station is Châtelet. The Tour (Tower) Saint-Jacques stands alone in the middle of a little garden of the same name. This 52-metre flamboyant Gothic tower is all that remains of the former 16th-century Church of Saint-Jacques-de-la-Boucherie ("Saint James of the butchers"), which was demolished in 1797, during the French Revolution, leaving only the tower. This sanctuary was the meeting point on the Via Toronensis (or Tours route) of the pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela (Saint-Jacques-de-Compostelle). The statue of Blaise Pascal, at the base of the tower, is a reminder that it was here that he repeated his barometric experiments carried out in Puy-de-Dôme. On the north-west corner, a statue of Saint Jacques le Majeur dominates the platform on which a small meteorological station was established in 1891. It belongs to the Observatoire de Montsouris. The tower's rich decoration reflects the wealth of its patrons, the wholesale butchers of the nearby Les Halles market. The sculpted symbols of the four evangelists (the lion, bull, eagle and man), appear on the corners. These statues were restored during the last century, along with the gargoyles and the 18 statues of saints that decorate the walls of the tower.

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We exit the tower's garden from its north-west corner and continue along rue de Rivoli 250 m. to west arriving to the contemporary artists colony of  59 Rue de Rivoli. This building, abandoned by a bank, was invaded by popular artists in the late 1990s. It is now a permanent and itinerant exhibition for many new and established artists. A real explosion of contemporary art in the heart of Paris:

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This surprising, Avant-Garde place where you actually walk through the ateliers of all kinds of different artists working there on 7 floors.. Walk in !!! There is so much to discover in every metre. Dont miss it !!! Every floor,every studio, every corner, every artist has a completely different and unique style, trend, colour, appeal, passion and enthusiasm. There is art on the stairs, the walls, the floors and everywhere you look. 

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We leave the artists' colony on rue de Rivoli 39 and start to locate a place for dinner or public transportation back to our hotel. Our next destination is the Hôtel de ville of Paris. Head BACK SOUTHEAST on Rue de Rivoli toward Rue des Lavandières Sainte-Opportune, 500 m. The Hôtel de Ville is on the left. During the weekends and sunny days this square becomes completely different than its former, formal look in the past. You'll see clowns, acrobats, summer sportive youngsters playing netball etc'. A marvelous, unexpected sights:

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The Hôtel de ville is wonderful in its exteriors. A building with great architecture. Stunning architecture. If it was cleaned - it could be one of the most ornate and beautiful buildings in the world. Continue 50 m. east and arrive to BHV MARAIS, 52 Rue de Rivoli. Take the elevator to the 5th floor and have a splendid, on-budget and pleasant, air-conditioned lunch or dinner at this department store. In case you buy some stuff in this huge shop expect long lines on the counter. The big bonus of the restaurant/cafeteria at BHV is the rooftop open to the public and the sights of the Seine and Parisian roofs. If you have, still, time and energy - continue for a short stroll in the Marais. Continue NORTH along rue du Temple.

13 rue du Temple:

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From rue du Temple (or rue Simon le Franc) you can get different and limited sights of Centre Pompidou:

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Continue northeast on Rue du Temple toward Rue Sainte-Croix de la Bretonnerie, 300 m. Turn left onto Rue Rambuteau, walk 45 m. to find another candies store -  la Mère de Famille at 23 Rue Rambuteau:

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Continue 50 m. along Rue Rambuteau. Turn right to rue Beaubourg to arrive to Rambuteau Metro station.

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