Rue des Rosiers – Rosebushes St
Rue des Rosiers (literally Rosebushes St) is located in the heart of Paris Jewish Quarter in the historic Marais.
The street replaces the lane that ran along the inside of the rampart erected by King Philippe-Auguste in the late 12th century.
We know from ancient texts that this section of the rampart was lined with rosebushes, hence its name!
A superbly well restored tower and section of the rampart are still visible in the Jardin Rosiers – Joseph Migneret, a small public garden accessed from no10.
The Rue des Rosiers’ current layout dates from the mid 19th century.
An old cul-de-sac, Impasse Coquerelle, which used to link the current Rue Ferdinand-Duval and Rue Pavée, was indeed open in order to extend Rue des Rosiers towards Rue Malher.
Rue des Rosiers – Jewish Quarter
This area of Paris had traditionally been known as the Jewish Quarter since the beginning of the Roman colonization.
The presence of the Jewish community in France, however, was always subject to controversy throughout the Middle-Ages.
It indeed generated recurrent intolerance and distrust towards the community.
In 1394 King Charles VI even signed a decree forbidding Jews from living in the French Kingdom.
These were forced to sell all their possessions and were escorted out of the borders.
The Jewish community re-appeared in France between 1881 and 1914.
They indeed escaped persecutions they were subjected to in Germany, Romania, the Austro-Hungarian Empire and Russia.
About 20,000 Ashkenazi Jews therefore sought asylum in Paris and settled in the old Jewish Quarter, which they called the Pletzl (Place).
Closer in time, Rue des Rosiers was the theatre of another tragic anti-Semitic attack that took place on August 9, 1982 in the restaurant Goldenberg at no7.
The shooting known as Fusillade de la Rue des Rosiers resulted in 6 dead and 22 wounded.
The Fatah Revolutionary Council of Abu Nidal was initially held responsible.
However, it would seem that the attackers were Caucasians.
The case has remained unsolved and the building retained for years traces of bullet holes in the walls.
The restaurant was sold in 2006 and has since been converted into a clothing store – as most stores along the street.
Hammam Sauna Saint-Paul
Rue des Rosiers has few significant architectural features.
However, it is still very picturesque because it is mostly pedestrian.
It’s also still lined with Jewish food shops, bakeries and libraries, but sadly they are slowly replaced by fashion shops.
One of the most interesting buildings is the Hammam Sauna Saint-Paul at no.4.
It dates from 1863 and remained very popular for decades.
However, it became obsolete during the 20th century, when all flats were eventually equipped with bathrooms.
You’ll easily recognize its pinkish facade; it indeed stands out against the neighbouring white buildings!
The private vocational school, next door at no4bis, was open in the building of the “Société de patronage des apprentis et ouvriers israélites de Paris”.
This school for apprentices was founded in 1852.
A commemorative slab, affixed to the facade, pays tribute to the memory of the director, staff and students who died in concentration camps during WWII.
You’ll also discover the beautifully restored facade of an 18th century mansion at no. 23.
As you walk towards the corner of Rue Ferdinand-Duval, you’ll come across one of the district’s Jewish bookshops.
This street was known as Rue des Juifs (Jews St) from 1500 to 1900.
It is lined with very old houses.
Synagogue de la Rue des Rosiers
There is a small synagogue at no17.
However, when people refer to the Synagogue de la Rue des Rosiers, they mostly refer to the larger building in Rue Pavée.
Hector Guimard, the master of Art Nouveau in France, built the Agoudas Hakehilos synagogue (Union of the communities) at no10 Rue Pavée.
The Synagogue de la Rue Pavée is therefore also known as Synagogue Guimard.
It stands out from the surrounding buildings, because of its unusual architecture.
The Askenazi community of Paris commissioned its construction in 1913 in order to serve the large Jewish community who sought asylum in the capital from 1881 to 1914.
The building was partially destroyed during WWII, but was rebuilt and restored.
It was also listed Historical Monument on June 4, 1989.
Rue des Rosiers is without any doubt one of the most unusual streets in Paris, a visit off the beaten track!
Related article: Our visit of the nearby museum of art and history of Judaism
Directions: 4th District
Metro: St-Paul on Line 9
Coordinates: Lat 48.857069 – Long 2.359625