|Subject: Paris: Sunday in the Jewish section of the Marais|
Continuing my adventures in Paris.
Paris Day 4
It is early morning and we are listening to fine prime mainstream jazz on the radio: Armstrong, Miles Davis, Nat Cole (Mona Lisa), Lou Rawls, Joe Pass, Desmond and Brubeck (Take Five), Charlie Byrd, Toots Thielsman, Dizzy (Salt Peanuts,) Satin Doll, some Boogie Woogie and on and on. A wonderful way to wake up on a Sunday morning in Paris! Parisians love jazz!
We heated two Quiche Loraine we purchased yesterday and had those along with OJ, strong coffee and a Granny Smith apple for breakfast at 9:30am .
With the window open, we are blessed with the 9am church bells. At 10:30am, the bells at the church a half a block north of the garret and which we can see the bell, started peeling for a full three or four minutes. I had brought a small mini tape recorded and taped it. As it faded away, another church bell near by picked up the message. As that one faded away, the chirping of birds fell upon our ears. We could live like this#
The window, that you would swear is the original one including the hardware, swings out, not the double sash ones we have in our Chicago three flat. It has a window box containing lavender, ivy and a narrow leafed "bush."
As we left the apartment. I grabbed some shots of Susan at the enormous huge heavy double wood door to our apartment complex. The sidewalk is only 29" wide with poles on the street side to prevent cars from parking on the sidewalk on this very narrow street. The poles make the sidewalk even narrower.
The area our apartment is in is the old Jewish quarter, the "Pletzl," Yiddish for "Little Place," so I had looked up all the synagogues on our map and we started out to find them. In the next block south, towards the rue Rivoli, is the Synagogues Acip on ru du Bourgeois Tibourg. The Pletzl has been a Jewish community since the Middle Ages and was the destination of Eastern European Jews escaping pogroms at the end of the 1800's. World War II saw Jews deported to Nazi concentration camps, as plaques on buildings testify to. One told of 165 students from a shul. There is a memorial to the deportation behind Notre Dame at the east end of Ile de la Cite.
We found a few synagogues, but better yet, we are on the Rue des Rosiers, the street of the Rose trees, lined with delis, Jewish bookshops, synagogues, shtiebels, and kosher boulangeries (bakeries) and charcuteries (butchers), and other Jewish establishments. The area was teeming with Jews and others; shopping, eating and meeting. On a Sunday the street is packed full of young Jewish kids, the guys with their motorbikes, the girls flocking around them, all over the streets. A few foolhardy cars attempt to drive down the narrow street, but have to wait for ages. While they do, friends come up, lean on the window, and chat with the occupants. It's utter chaos. It is one of the few areas open for shopping in Paris on a Sunday. It was great fun to watch.
We stepped into Goldenberg Deli, the celebrated kosher restaurant, at 7 rue des Rosiers [01.48.87.20.16] and I purchased a fine salami and a box of Matzo. Ah! The aroma!
Jo Goldenberg arrived in Paris in 1920 after fleeing pogroms in Russia via Istanbul. He opened a Kosher butcher shop on the 15 Rue of the Rosiers in the Jewish district. Son Joseph "Jo" Goldenberg with his Abraham brother "Albert" opened the restaurant. It became an institution in the Ashkenaze Jewish community. The brothers lost both their parents and all their sisters in Auschwitz, but they survived the Nazi occupation of Paris.
The deli was the victim of a murderous terrorist attack on August 9, 1982, shortly after Israel ousted Arafat from Lebanon. Abu Nidal, a terrorist, had struck again against innocent Jews. A grenade tossed on the ground exploded and five men using machine-guns attacked diners and pedestrians at the Goldenberg restaurant leaving six persons dead and 22 wounded. In less than three minutes, the restaurant, symbol of the Parisian Jewish Community life, became the symbol of international anti-Semitism terrorism. Once again, Nidal's action appeared to coincide with Arafat's plan to strike Israel wherever Jews were most vulnerable. For the past 20 years, French counter-terrorism judge Jean-Louis Bruguière has attempted to bring Abu Nidal to justice for this attack. No one has ever been arrested.
Nidal's bullet-ridden body was discovered on Monday, August 19, 2002 apparently three days after his death. Palestinian sources in Ramallah claimed the 65-year old Palestinian had committed suicide!
After the attack the restaurant became a gathering place for Holocaust survivors and resistance heroes, the bombing regularly commemorated with flowers, bittersweet Yiddish music and prayers.
The front windows still bear the bullet holes and articles about the shooting are pasted in the windows. A plaque on the front of the restaurant recalls the victims of August 9, 1982. For anyone interested in this overall "situation" in France, there was an excellent in depth article in Vanity Fair addressing the subject two years ago.
We ate passable shawarma in pita, from L' As du Fallafel where we had to wait in a bit of a line that, because the sidewalk is narrow and spilled over the curb onto the street in both directions. The menu is in Hebrew on the outside next to the "take-away" window where we ordered and watched the "chef" assembling the falafel sandwiches at breakneck speed. It is probably one of few cheap eats in Paris.
Nearby was Florence Finkelsztajn, a Kosher Patisserie- Boulancerie at the corner of Rue des Ecouffes and Rue des Rosiers, and Toute au Buerre on the Rue Vieille du Temple that offered loads of Kosher goodies: Tarma, Gehakta Herring, Fromage Hongrois & Albanais, Gefilte Fish, Blinis, Borscht, Pirogues, Latkes, Kreplach, Strudel Pavot, Bagels, and Lekeh. We purchased some Bagels there.
The exterior has a number of large ceramic tiles done in the thirties of windmills and wheat stalks. People were sitting at small round tables or standing around noshing and smoozing.
A very special shop we discovered was Diasporama at 20 rue des Rosiers that had fabulous Jewish arts and crafts. The shop had a menorah with shapes in the form of flames routed out of a flat slab of polished metal to use as an oil menorah out of our prince range. They also had some absolutely wonderful drediels. [10:30~7p; 01.42.78.30.50.] If you are looking for Channuka presents, be sure to seek out this shop!
Returning to our apartment, we came across an exclusive tie and sock shop, Lia Cometti on rue Des Blanco near Rue Vielle Temple Manteaux in the 4th arrondissement. Hours: 11-7:30, phone 0148049721.
Around 5:30 pm we also discovered the Images de Demain, (Images of Tomorrow) a very good art/card shop at 62 rue des Ecoles, 5th arr. It featured beautiful papers!
Until my next installment, Steve in sunny Chicago