L’hôtel d’Ecquevilly

For those who have just tuned in, let me point out that the Hôtel d’Ecquevilly is not a hotel in the modern sense of the word, but rather a private mansion that was built in 1636 in what was then a new and upcoming aristocratic district of Paris, Le Marais (= the swamp).

The mansion changed hands several times before becoming the property of the Marquis of Ecquevilly in 1733. He was the “Captain General of the Hunts”, also known as le grand veneur de France, a military officer in charge of organizing hunting expeditions for the king. Since then, this mansion has also been known as l’hôtel du Grand Veneur.

Rue de Turenne / garden gate

The front entrance to the mansion is on rue de Turenne, named after a highly successful 17th century French general. The mansion is not normally open to the public, but if you walk around the block to the back, you come upon this gate, which is also private property but is open to the public during the daylight hours.

Public garden on rue de Hesse

The garden behind the Hôtel d’Ecquevilly was turned into a public park in 1988, when it was named the Jardin Saint-Gilles-Grand-Veneur-Pauline-Roland.

This is admittedly not a very catchy name (can you imagine someone saying “OK, I’ll meet you at the Jardin Saint-Gilles-Grand-Veneur-Pauline-Roland”?) but what it refers to is Saint Gilles (a nearby street), Grand Veneur (the alternative name of the mansion) and Pauline Roland (a militant feminist and socialist who lived from 1805 to 1852). Apparently they couldn’t decide which of the three names to use, so they just kept all three.

The little street by the garden was named rue de Hesse in 1987, either after the German state of Hessen, where Frankfurt am Main is located, or after the writer Hermann Hesse (1877-1962), or both. (Does anyone know which?)

Hôtel d’Ecquevilly, 60 rue de Turenne, 75003 Paris
Location and aerial view on monumentum.fr.

My photos in this post are from 2015. I revised the text in 2020.

Also on rue de Turenne: The Scarrons’ House of Impoverishment.

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