PARIS — Bourse

This is the 2nd arrondissement of Paris and it is located on the right bank of the River Seine. It is an important business district which is centred on the Paris Opéra. The area contains the former Paris Bourse (stock exchange) and a large number of banking headquarters, as well as a textile district, known as the Sentier. This district is also the home of all of Paris’s surviving 19th century glazed commercial arcades which are light, dry and paved pedestrian passageways. There are a number of theatres in this district as well.

The sights found here are:
Palais de la Bourse
Théâtre des Variétés
Théâtre National de l’Opéra-Comique
Café de la Paix
Théâtre Musée des Capucines
Théâtre des Bouffes-Parisiens
La Bibliotheque Nationale de France
Galerie Colbert
The Covered Walkways
Place des Victoires
Rue Montorgueil Pedestrian Area
La Tour Jean sans Peur

Palais de la Bourse

Palais de la Bourse
Also known as the Palais Brongniart, this served as the main building of the Paris Stock Exchange from 1826 till the 20th century. It was built between 1807 and 1825 under the rule of Napoleon. The building is quite impressive with its 64 Grecian-style columns that are more than 10 metres high on the outside which surround the building like a Greek temple. The facade has statues representing Justice, Agriculture, Commerce and Industry. In 1909 Palais Brongniart was extended including a circular room bordered with a railing where the brokers used to stand known as the Corbeille. It is now used as a conference and events centre.
For information about the Palais de la Bourse visit the website at: http://www.palaisbrongniart.com

Théâtre des Variétés
This theatre owes its creation to Marguerite Brunet who was put into prison for debt in 1803. She and her theatre company were ordered to leave their original premises at the Théâtre du Palais-Royal and so with the help of Napoleon she founded a new theatre in 1807 at the side of the passage des Panoramas. The theatre has many different types of productions such as operettas, films and other musical events.
To find out more about the theatre visit the website at: http://www.theatre-des-varietes.fr

Théâtre National de l’Opéra-Comique
Théâtre National de l’Opéra-Comique is an opera company and opera house in Paris and can seat around 1,248 people. Those associated with this theatre have made important contributions to operatic history and tradition in France and their aim is to bring opera to a wider audience. Some of the works that have been performed here include: Cavalleria Rusticana, La Fille du Régiment, Lakmé, Manon, Mignon, Tosca, La Bohème, Werther and Carmen which is one of its more popular operas.
To find out more about the theatre visit the website at: http://www.opera-comique.com/en

Café de la Paix
The Café de la Paix is one of Paris’ most famous cafes. It was designed by the same Garnier who designed the Opéra Garnier. The decor in this cafe recalls a past era and is very elegant. This cafe is expensive but probably worth it given the surroundings.
For information about the cafe visit the website at: http://www.cafedelapaix.fr

Théâtre Musée des Capucines
This is a private museum dedicated to perfume which was opened in 1983 by the perfume company Fragonard. It is found in a very grand townhouse built in 1860 and the decoration inside is of that period. Here you will find many exhibits relating to the making of perfume such as a 19th century copper distilling apparatus, alembics (process of creating essential oils), flasks, potpourri and perfume roasters. There are also exhibits of the animals and plants that provide raw materials for perfumes. A collection of perfume bottles illustrates 3000 years of perfume making. It is open daily and you can take a free guided tour.
To find out more about this museum visit the website at: http://www.fragonard.com/parfums_grasse/GB/fragonard/paris/le_theatre_musee_des_capucines_et_sa_boutique.cfm

Théâtre des Bouffes-Parisiens
This theatre is famous for its productions by its founder — the composer Offenbach. The theatre was established in 1855 but it was rebuilt in 1862 when Offenbach left. Several other important musical as well as dramatic works have been staged here.
For information about the theatre visit the website at: http://www.bouffesparisiens.com (in French only)

La Bibliotheque Nationale de France
The National Library opened in 1996. A collection of over 300,000 books are housed in a modern building made of wood, glass and steel comprising four towers around a central garden. You can visit the reading rooms or take a guided tour but both of these will cost you and it isn’t possible to wander around here without a library card. Concerts and conferences are held here periodically.
For information about the library visit the website at: http://www.bnf.fr/en/tools/lsp.site_map.html

Galerie Colbert

Galerie Colbert
The Galerie Colbert was built in 1826 to house fashion and perfume boutiques as well as reading rooms and book and music publishers. In the 19th century it was closed until 1974 when the Bibliotheque Nationale de France acquired it as a storehouse for its reserved collection. In 2002 the Institut National d'Histoire de l'Art (National Institute of Art History) and the l'Institut National du Patrimoine (National Heritage Institute) were established here. The Galerie Colbert has been renovated over time and partially incorporates the facade of the Hôtel Colbert which was a mansion built between 1634 and 1637. The magnificent rotunda which is at the heart of the building is lit up by a glass roof and it is worth visiting to view this space. Today, hundreds of researchers, students, and conservators populate the five floors of the Galerie and many conferences, exhibits, lectures and retrospectives are held here.

Galerie Vivienne

The Covered Walkways
These are a number of early 19th century shopping arcades which were built to protect pedestrians from mud and horse-drawn vehicles. From the original one hundred or so only twenty still remain today. For a long time they were left to fall down but many have been renovated and now contain upmarket shops and cafes. Some of the better ones found in this area are La Gallerie Vivienne found between the Palais de la Bourse and the Palais-Royal and is home to a range of luxurious shops as well as the lovely tearoom A Priori Thé and Cave Legrand, a terrific wineshop. Passages des Princes found between Boulevard des Italiens and Rue de Richelieu is a child’s paradise as it is full of toys shops. Passage du Grand-Cerf found around the Rue St Denis area has a lot of jewellery shops. The Passage des Panoramas is situated between the Boulevard Montmartre in the north and the Rue Saint Marc in the south near the Théâtre des Variétés. Here you will find the chocolatier Marquis, the celebrated engraver Stern as well as numerous stamp collectors’ shops.

Place des Victoires

Place des Victoires
This circular square which was the first of its kind was designed by Hardouin-Mansart in 1685 to show off a statue of Louis XIV that marked victories against Holland. The original statue was destroyed after the Revolution (although the massive slaves from its base are now in the Louvre), and replaced in 1822 with an equestrian statue by Bosio. There are some fashion boutiques occupying the grand mansions you find around the square.

Rue Montorgueil Pedestrian Area
This area contains some of Paris’ best produce, meat and fish markets as well as some delicious pastry shops such as La Maison Stohrer. This area has a cosy village-like atmosphere with its bistros, boutiques, and bars which will please most people wandering around here.

La Tour Jean sans Peur

La Tour Jean sans Peur
This little tower is all that is left of the Hôtel de Bourgogne which was a large mansion on the edge of the city walls built in 1369 by Jean Sans Peur (John the Fearless), the Duke of Burgundy. The tower was built between 1409 and 1412 as an extension of the house. The second-floor vaulted ceiling looks like a leafy tree which was a masterpiece of medieval architecture. Some other areas of interest here is the restored red velvet latrine and the Room of Jean-sans-Peur where he may have taken refuge in times of trouble. The tower is open from 1.30pm to 6pm April to November from Wednesday to Sunday and from November to March it is open on Wednesday and the weekend. You can look around here on your own and it will cost €5. If you want a guided tour it will cost €8 and you meet at 3pm if you are one of 5 to 20 people. For larger groups you will need to make an appointment.
To find out more about the tower visit the website at: http://www.tourjeansanspeur.com (in French only)

Traveller's Tip

Make sure you pick up the brochure in English at the front desk.