riding between the Third and Fourth arrondissements, the place des Vosges at the pont Marie, the metro Saint Paul to the Daughters of Calvary, the Swamp is unquestionably one of the most trendy areas of Paris. Hipsters, bobos, fashion victims, art dealers, tourists and the LGBT community love it. The corner is crossed by arteries that have become popular: the street of the Archives for its many mansions, the rue des Rosiers for its specialties of jewish, rue des Francs-Bourgeois for its boutiques, the rue de Bretagne for its gastronomic offer diverse… The market for Children-Red, the oldest in the capital, the Picasso museum, and even, quite recently, the temple of Italian food Eataly are also its charm. Before the pedestrian crossings arc-en-ciel, dust and facades in varying states of disrepair filled yet space.

Lair of dirt before to be that of the style

The gentrification of the area has no a hundred years. Located in the floodplain of the right bank, the Marais takes its name from this location boggy. Although serviced by our predecessors from the Twelfth century, the Old Paris password petit favorite of royalty to the state of the island unsafe in 1920. Supporting evidence: the writer Isabelle Backouche consulted many archives in order to draw sketches, reports, manuscripts, testimonies, whether written or oral, and snapshots from that time, witnesses of this transformation. The historical narrative is built over the sites discovered, the City’s current builds page by page.

The book opens in march 1942, with a road map of the prefecture of the Seine. Considered in this document as “one of the city’s most unhealthy of Paris, the Marais is qualified in a second report, “one of the warts the most visible of Paris”. Its 14 hectares to become the laboratory of architectural experiments. The development work will sign the beginning of a wave of expulsions. Eight buildings on the quays of the Town hall are notably clean-shaven. The artisans and families organize resistance.

reshuffle the historic heart

In 1965, André Malraux initiates the rebirth of the Marshes, making him the first parisian district affected by a plan of safeguarding and enhancement. The gentrification begin! With two decades of advance, the architect of lyon Michel Roux-Spitz had already dared to believe in the promise of a bright future: “This island is being restored, instead of appearing with an unfortunate specialization social, or working class, or bourgeois, will be as a district of the left bank, with the most happy mixture of social classes. In the same house, in the same group, will be able to find, antiquarian, bookseller, or the merchant, and in the story, the student, the less well-off household, the single, large family, etc, This island will attract naturally a clientele of intellectuals, sensible people who appreciate the calm and love to live in a framework that promotes the culture,” he said. History has proven him right.

“Paris transformed: the Swamp 1900-1980, the island unsafe to the safeguarded sector” Isabelle Backouche Editions Créaphis. Published in march, 2019. 440 pages. 20€.

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