Thursday, September 26, 2013

The Oldest Church, the Oldest Sign, and a French Writer's Lucky Toe

Today we walked to Le Marché des Enfants Rouges (Market of the Red Children) for lunch.  The name comes from a former orphanage in the area which provided red uniforms for its children.  It sells some fresh produce but most of the space is taken up by small restaurants.  We ate at a Moroccan place where Bill had stuffed sardines and I had couscous with leg of lamb brochettes.  Delicious!

From there we took a walking tour from a book we found in our apartment, "Secrets, Legends, and Mysteries of Old Paris."  This tour begins near the Sorbonne.  We found a statue of Montaigne in a small park across from the Sorbonne.  Legend has it that if you rub his toe and make a wish the wish will come true.  I tried it and it worked!  See the last photo in this post to find our what my wish was.

Not too far away was the oldest church in Paris, Saint-Julien-le-Pauvre,  located just steps away from the oldest tree in Paris.  The church is now used for Melkite Greek Catholic services.  It looks like a small village church and is very modest compared to many of the huge Gothic churches throughout the city.

Several blocks away is the oldest sign in the city.  It depicts St. Julian the Hospitaller (not to be confused with Saint-Julien-le-Pauvre) and his wife ferrying a passenger in a boat.  Julian accidentally killed his parents.  Filled with remorse, he decided to leave everything behind him and settled in a remote area near the Seine where he established a hospital and offered to ferry people across the river.  One day he ferried a leper across the river and it turns out that the leper was actually Jesus, who forgave him for his tragic accident.

The tour then took us in the neighborhood of the Pantheon, which was quite hilly.  We decided to call it a day and hopped on the Métro to return home.  Near our Métro stop we stopped at a bakery and this is when my rubbing Montaigne's toe paid off.  The pastry on the left is a religieuse, so named because it is supposed to resemble a nun in her habit.  The one on the right is called Paris-Brest and according to Wikipedia it was created to commemorate the bicycle race of the same name.

1 comment:

  1. 9/26/2013 - Edited to amend the title and clarify the actions of Julien the Hospitaller.