Market of the Red Children

On the pleasant and lively street called Rue de Bretagne there is a covered market with the unusual name Marché des Enfants Rouges (Market of the Red Children).

It turns out that this is the oldest market in Paris. It was created in the year 1615 during the reign of King Louis XIII as a shopping center for the Marais district, which at the time was a new and quite fashionable aristocratic quarter. The market originally had its own well for water and a stable for the horses.

The name of the market came from a nearby orphanage (founded in 1534 by Marguerite de Navarre), where the children wore clothes which were red to show they had been donated by Christian charities.

The market was closed for six years in the 1990s, and might have remained closed except for vigorous campaigning by the local inhabitants. It was re-opened in November 2000. The market was again closed for several weeks during the coronavirus lockdown in 2020, but it re-opened on May 11 of that year.

Lebanese restaurant Marché des Enfants Rouges

This unpretentious Lebanese restaurant is half under the roof and half outside the market. The gateway in the background leads to Rue de Bretagne.

Market stalls and bookshop on Rue de Bretagne

Since not everything fits into the covered market, some of the market stalls with non-perishable goods like jewelry and clothing are out on the sidewalk.  On the right is a nice bookshop (librairie) called comme un roman (‘like a novel’), which is in the ground floor of three small buildings at 39 Rue de Bretagne. The main part of the market is behind the bookshop and is accessible through two gates on either side of the shop.

Café du Marché on Rue de Bretagne

This ‘Café of the Market’ is at the corner of Rue Charlot. Since the chairs and tables are so close together, you can tell that my photo is from the time before the coronavirus.

Location and aerial view on monumentum.fr.

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

See more posts on the Marais district of Paris.

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