Short description

Rue des Rosiers is at the heart of the Jewish Quarter. It has also become a traditional stop for falafel (a small fritter made from chickpea and bean flour).
Indeed, the most important place in Paris for Judaism is located in the Marais. It's called the Pletzl (Little Square in Yiddish). The 4th arrondissement (Métro St Paul) has welcomed Jews from near and far since the 13th century. Even today, despite the district's gentrification, it retains a strong community identity. On rue des Rosiers, rue Malher and rue des Hospitalières-St-Gervais, you'll find numerous restaurants, bookshops, kosher delicatessens, synagogues and shtiebels (small oratories).
On August 9, 1982, 15 rue des Rosiers was the scene of a horrific event. Jo Goldenberg's Jewish restaurant at this address was bombed by members of Abu Nidal's Fatah-Revolutionary Council (FCR), a Palestinian terrorist organization violently opposed to the PLO and Fatah. Six people were killed and 22 wounded. Bullet marks only disappeared from the window in 2010, when the restaurant was replaced by a clothing store, which has since closed. The plaque in memory of the victims having disappeared, a new one was installed by Paris City Hall in 2011. The façade has been listed as a historic monument.

Localisation
Address

Rue des Rosiers
75004 - Paris

Coordinates Latitude Longitude
Sexagesimal (°, ', ") 48° 51′ 25″ N 2° 21′ 35″ E
Degré décimal (GPS) 48.85710 2.35963

 

Full description

Rue-des-Rosiers street is an old street in the center of Paris, which runs from east to west for 303 meters only, in the Saint-Gervais district, in the southern part of the Marais. It already bore this name, in 1230, because of the rosebushes that grew in the nearby gardens, along the enclosure of Philippe Auguste.

Note: another rue des Rosiers existed in the former commune of Montmartre which was not then part of Paris. It became the rue du Chevalier-de-la-Barre.

The strong historical Jewish presence in the Marais of Paris

Since the 13th century, the Jewish community has found hospitality in France and in Paris it lives in Le Marais.

As is well known, France was the first country in Europe to recognize people of the Jewish faith as full citizens, granting them full civic rights.

Synagogues, faith-based schools and kosher shops came together and resembled a small Shtelt (village).

Later, in successive waves, Ashkenazi Jews fleeing pogroms and persecution arrived in 1881, then in 1900 until 1914 from Romania, Austria-Hungary and Russia. Once again, it was in the Marais that they settled. The Ashkenazi, Yiddish-speaking community is thus strongly represented, explaining the strong image of the Pletzl in the 20th century, but recent research shows that the Sephardic community is also present. The current rue Ferdinand-Duval separated from the rue des Rosiers in the 15th century, and took the name of "rue des Juifs". It was renamed "rue Ferdinand-Duval" in 1900 at the time of the Dreyfus affair.

The Pletzl or "little square", in Yiddish

This is the typical Jewish space, of the Jewish community, of the Jewish quarter of the Marais. But the exact location of this "square" in the Marais remains vague. For some, it is located around the Saint-Paul metro station. For others, it extends from the rue des Francs-Bourgeois and the rue de Rivoli. For others still, the Pletzl forms a square bordered by 4 streets, on the one hand between rue des Rosiers and rue du Roi de Sicile, and on the other hand between rue Pavée and rue Vieille du Temple. This perimeter is crossed by 2 streets: the rue des Ecouffes and the rue Ferdinand Duval, formerly called rue des juifs. The rue des Ecouffes refers to the money lenders in the Middle Ages. It is indeed this delimitation that we find indicated on certain maps.

Rue-des-Rosiers street and the evolution of the neighborhood

However, over the years, the Marais had become an unhealthy neighborhood, where poverty and tuberculosis flourished. After the Second World War, entire blocks of buildings had to be destroyed.

The plan to save and rehabilitate the Marais launched by the Minister of Culture André Malraux in 1962 saved the neighborhood from total destruction. On Rue des Rosiers and elsewhere, old buildings inhabited by modest families were restored. Not far from the Jewish quarter, the restoration of the Hôtel Salé in the 1970s, followed by the installation of the Picasso Museum in 1985, in the same hotel, revitalized the neighborhood. The evolution was gradual from 1962 onwards.

The gay community, at the forefront of the avant-garde, began to move into the neighborhood and renovate apartments. Two gay bars were set up in the lower part of the rue des rosiers. After the Jewish ghetto, the "pink" ghetto appeared with the gay community. However, the Jewish community remained intact and very much alive.

In the 1990s, the sociology evolved. Grocery stores, fishmongers and bookstores closed and were replaced by trendy ready-to-wear boutiques.

"Gentrified", the district loses some of its soul but it still attracts tourists from all over the world. Because it preserves the memory of a Yiddish culture with its last old storefronts. Preserved, they perpetuate the memory of the neighborhood.

Moreover, it is still possible to find Rue-des-Rosiers street, the best traditional dishes, such as apfel strudels (at the Finkelstajn pastry shop), hallots (braided buns for Shabba at Murciano) and falafels (L'As du falafel).  Falafels are vegetarian sandwiches made of fried chickpea puree.

Rue-des-Rosiers street remains emblematic of the Jewish community and has many stores, food stores, bookstores and typical restaurants. Since the 1980s, luxury boutiques (clothing, perfumes, accessories) have taken their place and are slowly changing the appearance of the street.

Remarkable buildings and places of memory of the Rue-des-Rosiers street

  • At no 4 was a famous hammam, the hammam-sauna Saint-Paul built in 1863. It became a store of which only the original frontage remains, which always carries the inscription "HAMMAM SAINT-PAUL - SAUNA - PISCINE".
  • At No. 4 bis is a private vocational school, the School of Work, created by the Consistoire Israélite.  The school paid a heavy price to the Nazi barbarism: a commemorative plaque testifies to this.
  • At no. 7 was a famous restaurant, run by Jo Goldenberg, known for his traditional Jewish cuisine. It closed in 2006.
  • At no. 10, the passage gives access to the Rosiers - Joseph-Migneret garden where the Philippe Auguste rampart is still visible in places.
  • At no. 16, the building now belongs to the OPAC, and one can see in the courtyard the remains of a mansion, a staircase entrance, and a mascaron. On the street, a bakery adjoins the former Café des Psaumes, now a "social café" run by the Œuvre de secours aux enfants.
  • At no. 17 is the Synagogue du 17 rue des Rosiers, one of the two synagogues on the street, the other being at no. 25.
  • At no. 22, there was a social restaurant at the beginning of the 20th century, Au fourneau économique (ancestor of the Restos du cœur).
  • At no 23 is a 17th century hotel. In 1650, it belonged to a certain Genlis, then in 1750 to the lieutenant-colonel d'Estat. About him, the bad legend is peddled that he owed his advancement to the behavior of his wife, very beautiful and very in court, which made his rivals say: "When you make your way by the sword, it is slower than by the scabbard". On the first floor was a restaurant, and in 2017 a luxury pastry shop.
  • At No. 25 was the butcher Émouna, now a self-service laundry that has retained the original ironwork
  • At no. 26 was Yvette Feuillet (January 25, 1920 - July 6, 1943), a resistance fighter in the FFI with the rank of sergeant, deported and murdered in Auschwitz, posthumously cited in the "Order of the Resistance".
  • At no. 27 there has been a bakery with Ashkenazi specialties since 1865.
  • At no. 34 was Louis Shapiro (March 28, 1913 - April 30, 1944), Resistance fighter and commander in the FTPF, was shot at Mont Valérien. Above the front door of the building, a plaque recalls his memory.
  • In 1925, a modern butcher shop, the Maison Skoïknit, was located at number 40. Since 2006, it is a ready-to-wear store.

Since 1979, date of the opening of the restaurant that claims to have been introduced in France, the Rue-des-Rosiers street is associated with the sale and consumption of falafels, vegetarian sandwiches made with fried chickpea puree: several restaurants compete with each other.

The attack on Rue-des-Rosiers street on August 9, 1982

In 1982, a terrorist attack was perpetrated against the Goldenberg restaurant at 7 rue des Rosiers. Six people were killed and twenty-two others wounded. Attributed to the Palestinian terrorist movement Fatah-Revolutionary Council of Abu Nidal, this massacre shook France.  The closing of the Goldenberg restaurant in 2007 was also a symbolic date in the sociological transformation of the street.

 

 

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