Sapeur Pompier demonstrating helmet on future rescuer recruit
Events and Trade Shows,  Neighborhoods

Journées du Patrimoine-My Paris Fire Station

Sapeur Pompier demonstrating helmet on future rescuer recruitOne of the advantages of the  Journées du patrimoine, the annual heritage weekend, is that doors normally closed are open to the public.  Most Parisian courtyards are hard to peek into nowadays unless you happen to be around when someone enters or exits. The magnetic key used is necessary to ensure security. On this special weekend you may find courtyards of other buildings accessible.

The sapeurs pompiers (the fire brigade) for our area opens its doors every September. They are also known for their July 14 (Bastille Day) fireman’s ball. Since 1812, our caserne des pompiers, 7 & 9 rue de Sévigné, is housed in a former prince’s domaine.

The fire station has no pole for the firemen to slide down, but it has a beautifully sculpted wooden frieze in one of the dorm rooms. The TV lounge ceiling is composed of wooden, exposed beams that I would not mind having in my apartment. They would clash, however, with my current decor! The main building is done in the Mansart style from the 1600s.

Mansart style of the Caserne de Sévigné includes masks, Doric and ionic columns

The Hotel Bouthillier de Chavigny as it is known officially, has been cut up, reshaped, rebuilt and added on to. A large part of the main building is the work of François Mansart, achieved between 1642 and 1643. You recognize his style by the garlands and masks and two levels of relief Doric and ionic columns.

With over 15,000 French sites to visit, I chose the fire house this year because it is close to home and something that we could get into without waiting in line too long. We started late in the day, about 4 p.m. The sites begin to close at 6 p.m.

This gave us time to walk around some of the smaller streets in the Marais after the visit and find that elusive strudel for the evening’s dessert before heading home.

Every year on the third weekend of September since 1984 visitors enter sites and monuments normally closed to the public. In 2009 over 12 million visitors took part in discovering and rediscovering the diverse heritage of France.

Before a September visit to Paris, France or Europe for this event, visit the Journées du patrimoine website for information. Buy the Friday newspaper, le Parisien, for the supplement containing all of the dates, times and locations. Information becomes available on the France Culture website about six weeks before the event.

Hotel Bouthillier de Chavigny-Caserne de Sévigné-wall
The wall to nowhere; the building changed shape often between the Middle Ages and modern times.
Hotel Bouthillier de Chavigny-Caserne de Sévigné-frieze
Firemen's dormitory, divided into two levels, with visible sculpted wood frieze
13 rue de Sévigné
13 rue de Sévigné opened its normally closed doors to allow patrimoine visitors to admire the courtyard and peek in stairwell windows.
Boulangerie Malineau Marais, Paris, France
The boulangerie (18 rue Vielle du Temple) sells excellent strudel and other cakes not found in all bakeries
Square Léopold Achille
Setting sun over the park; During the 13th center this was the northern limit for the fruit and vegetable producers within the "Culture Sainte-Catherine".
Observing cat along the rue de Turenne
Observing cat along the rue de Turenne during a late afternoon in September

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