In the Lion’s Den

We are staying in Rue des Lions, Saint Paul. Curious about the street name, we looked it up and discovered there had once been a royal menagerie here.

In fact we remembered the menagerie being mentioned in the description of this tiny apartment … which is reached through a great blue door in a stone wall, then a big metal gate which opens into a sunny courtyard. See the blue doors in the centre below, just above the car.

Just inside the gate is an obviously old wall …

but of course old buildings in the centre of Paris are not unusual!

Here is our doorway, on the right of the arch. It is a small but luxurious apartment, fully equipped, with only one tiny window and most natural light coming through the glazed door. The owner lives above and beside us. Inside the door, if you look up at the ceiling you can see holes in the stonework, holes that look as if they once held iron bars.

Closer to floor level there is a strange stone semicircle …. now part of the kitchen ….

so we think this was a cage in King Charles V's royal menagerie in XIV C. Apparently he moved the animals from the Louvre to the gardens of his new house in St Paul, and the Rue des Lions has had that name ever since.

The semicircle would once have contained a feeding dish for the animals, that could be filled, then rotated so that the food was inside the cage, without the keepers having to enter themselves. So here we are in Paris, a stone's throw from the Seine, in a very comfortable little lion's den!

 

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16 thoughts on “In the Lion’s Den

  1. How absolutely intriguing to be living in what used to be Charles V’s royal menagerie! One of the best features of ancient cities is the layers of interesting history you can dig up from something as simple as the name of a street.

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