Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Sab's Paris Quirks & Curios: "The Irish Pub That Never Was"

Sab's Paris Quirks & Curios
by Sab Will,  wannabe offbeat Paris street guru

The title says it all: quirks and curiosities. And as luck would have it, Paris is packed with them; you just have to know where to look!

In this on-going series I offer you some hand picked, photographed and commented oddities which particularly interested me, and I hope will do the same for you.

I'm an avid collector of such items so any comments and suggestions you may have would be very welcome. So, without further ado, let's get straight onto...

Sab's Paris Quirks & Curios
2nd Arrondissement: Quirk 2 ~ "The Irish Pub That Never Was"

Another Irish Pub?
It was just recently, in fact, after many years in Paris that I eventually made it to the famous 'museum of the city of Paris', the legendary and rather poetic-sounding Musée Carnavalet.

What a letdown!

Just room after room of bloody boring old chairs and stuff. And there I had been expecting the old town to come to life before my eyes with reconstructions of I don't know what but it certainly wasn't the aforementioned sitting devices surrounded by dusty beds and crusty pictures which were going to get my imaginative juices flowing.

What happened to guillotines and gallows and grisly scenes of gore and gratuitous violence and plague and fires and whatnot? I guess a childhood of visits to the London Dungeon must have spoilt me a bit.

I must admit that I didn't see the whole museum, but what I did see didn't bode well, with one notable exception: the very first room which was dedicated to old shop signs - what a marvelous collection!

"Today we're not in a museum,
unless you consider the streets of
Paris as such!"

We're not talking about some neon nightmare here; this is old Paris at its purest and finest. The famous Chat Noir (Black Cat) cabaret, a hearty negro man/clock, a splendid carved goat in a vineyard from 1745, but I'm getting ahead of myself.

At the sign of the cork tree
Today we're not in a museum, unless you consider the streets of Paris as such! We're out in a road with one of the most curious names in the city, rue Tiquetonne in the 2nd arrondissement.

This road used to be called the rue du Petit-Lion-Saint-Sauveur, whatever that means, but because of a (depending on which source you want to believe) baker who lived there around 1400 called Rogier de Quiquetonne. The name was adopted in the 1800s, with the 'Qu' getting transformed into 'T' for sonoric reasons no doubt. It's true it's a particularly pleasant name to trip around the tongue.

So anyway, here we are in rue Tiquetonne, which I forgot to say follows the trace of the outside of the old Philippe Auguste wall faithfully. And above some sort of boutique for which the road is quite well known called The Cork, in reasonable English for once, is one of the very few shop signs remaining from the middle-ages, and a beautiful one it is too.

Beautiful detail from centuries ago

The shop, which is well named if not well employed (I'm convinced it should be an Irish pub) is the proud possessor of a lovely ceramic cork tree. Guess why? I mean guess why there is a cork tree on the wall? Because it used to be a cork merchant way back when.

A rare Paris beast indeed
And that's pretty much my story for today! There are others, a handful, as impressive and evocative as this one, but for that you'll have to wait a while, dear reader, until we hit the appropriate quartier and arrondissement, but rest assured, you'll know them all by the time we're finished. I shall leave no sign unphotographed. The fifth arrondissement will have a few, for sure...

Only $3.46 on Amazon!
For the time being, take a stroll down this charming medieval street and imagine yourself back then when you could pop in for a few corks for your wine bottles if you had a sudden need for them, ahh, those were the days!

By the way, Dumas' D'Artagnan lived here, he of the Three Musketeers fame.

(Pass the rouge, Rogier...)

* Sab Will runs Photo and Curios Tours in Paris, and also manages a variety of Paris and photography-themed sites and blogs. He writes an illustrated Paris Chronicle every day, runs a Meetup group for Paris lovers, interviews Paris personalities and reviews Paris books (on this blog), and even contributes to the city's street art (shh), so feel free to browse some of the links below and in the right-hand column to find out more about what he gets up to out there...

© 2012 Sab Will / Paris Set Me Free - Suggestions, questions, requests and offers always welcome!

No comments:

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...