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Passy – a bourgeois village

2013-01-13

passy-1.jpgPhrenetic and magical excitement from Christmas season has fallen down, Paris has started the new year in a chilly rainy weather. The winter sales give the breath of optimism to the long month with still short grey days.

As many other tourists, you will find yourself by the Eiffel Tower, you will walk to Trocadero and only couple minutes walk from Trocadero to the left you can get to the Passy quarter. A quiet residential aristocratic quarter, resembling to a village. A quarter where already by the attitude of shop sellers, clothes of people in the street you feel that it is a rich part of Paris, the richness of which has lasted over several generations. Here tpassy-2.jpghe money and manners are a question of heritage.

A market street "rue de l’Annonciation" by its ambiance reminds other known Parisian market streets, such as rue Mouffetard, Montorgueil, or rue Daguerre by Denfert-Rochereau. The shop sellers know their clients, in January you can hear the frequent "Bonne année!", the sellers and the customers wish each other all the best in the new year. The new year’s wishes can be heard on each step the whole January.

We walk with a friend on the stone cobbles of the pedestrian street by the stands with fruits and vegetables, the colours of which smile to the rainy day, by the coffee placepassy-3.jpgs with heated terrasses, by the tables with the cups of foamy capuccinos, we breath the steam and smell of the crêpes made directly in the street, look in the windows of small private galleries. In one of them we are attracted by a huge red rabbit, we walk in with a question if we can take a picture of the artistic rabbit. The owner encourages us in buying the red maxi rabbit saying that it is on sale with 50% off. I make a bet for myself, estimating it must have gone from 14 000 euro to 7 000. I am close, it costs "only" 6 500. Fortunately we do not miss a 1 meter high rabbit at home, three children fill in the space sufficiently and make a live house decoration.

At the end of the street we get to the church Notre-Dame-de-Grâce de Passy, at the entrance of which two young ladies get settled with a basket in front of them. Studpassy-4.jpgents wanting to get some extra pocket money? The church was built in the 17th century, under the reign of Louis XIV, the time when the quarter Passy was a village inhabited by peasants and vine-dressers. In 1666 a lord of the Passy village, Claude Chachu, obtained from the archbishop of Paris the right to construct a church. The church was named "Notre-Dame-de-Grâce". A particular and original feature of the church, that attracts you as soon as you enter, is the contrast between the simplicity and modest decoration of the nave of the church and the grandiosity and rich paintings decoration of the cupola above the altar.

When a friend suggested to me to take a walk in the "village de Passy", I did not suspect that it would be really "a village", the origin of which still can be seen in thpassy-5.jpge stone of many buildings. Initially the monks of the "Minimes" order settled here in 1493. The vineyards did well here and this higher part offered a beautiful view. After the monks the aristocrats followed, attracted also by the vineyards, calm and the view. Only couple of minutes walk is sufficient for being able to identify that it is a quarter of diplomats and aristocracy, you notice it in the American accent of the man who talks to you, in the clothes of the babies in the strollers and faces and languages of the nannies, or from the conversation of the group of long-legged young girls in skinny jeans and low leather boots.Passy has remained a rich quarter.
 
Maria Dopjerova-Danthine, Paristep

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