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Becoming A Member Of The Community

I never expected to become to civic-minded, yet here I am, becoming a real member of the community of the 3rd arrondissement. Who would have believed it?

Last night I was invited by friend and colleague, Pascal Fonquernie, who owns several apartments on rue Charlot, to attend a “Reunion du Conseil de Quartier Temple” in the “Salle des Fêtes” of the Mairie of the 3rd on rue Eugène Spuller. We were among about 40 people who came to discuss the future of the neighborhood, including Mayor Pierre Aidenbaum. Aidenbaum has been mayor since 1995 and is also an ardent civil rights defender as past president of the “Ligue Internationale Contre le Racisme et l’Antisémitisme” and a member of the “Commission Nationale des Droits de l’Homme.”

What sparked my interest in the meeting was a four-color beautiful brochure about the Carreau du Temple project soon to be voted on by the residents of the quartier that arrived in everyone’s mail box not long ago. This part of the district is drenched with history. In Thirza Vallois’ “Around and About Paris, Volume I,” the founding fathers of the 3rd, the Knights Templars, are described in great detail. “The Temple was the birthplace of fancy goods and fashion accessories, for the first time available to the masses. Its inhabitants could clear their surplus goods at its annual fair, which Napoleon turned into a permanent market, consisting of four wooden pavilions bearing derisively pompous names.” Later in her book, she goes on…”Little is left of the “Marché du Temple” (erroneously called the Carreau du Temple: the Carreau was the space between the Temple and the market, where pedlars traded with the Temple’s inhabitants), just one iron structure north of the Mairie. Following the example of Les Halles, Napoleon III replaced the four wooden pavilions with six iron ones, all the way to rue du Temple.”

There are now three proposals on the boards to revitalize the iron structure: 1) “Le Sport en Avant,” 2) “La Culture d’Abord” and 3) “Un Espace Pour Tous.” Any inhabitant of the quartier can vote — over the age of 15, who lives, works or studies in the 3rd, and I guess that includes me. A “voting bus” is scheduled to appear in different locations over the course of 4 days in January so that everyone has a chance to voice an opinion.

The meeting last night opened with a member of the council making a slide presentation to show how merchants in the neighborhood were violating the ordinance to maintain a sidewalk width of no less than 1.6 meters to allow the handicapped to pass freely by obstructing it with signs, plants, wares, etc. He had photographed dozens of storefr
onts and had devised a system of red, y

ellow and green lights to show which were in clear violation (red), questionably violating (yellow) and clearly within the law (green). A debate on each photo ensued and we chuckled to ourselves how very French a discussion of this kind was. Even Mayor Aidenbaum was amused. The final conclusion…widen the sidewalks!

Many other changes were discussed: 60 trees are soon to be planted along rue de Bretagne as part of the “Quartiers Vert” program, the speed limit for cars will be reduced to 30 kilometers per hour and pedestrian crossings at the same height as the sidewalks would be added in several places to encourage the cars to slow down (acting like speed bumps).

The arrondissement is certainly a very vibrant one and its inhabitants keen to show civic pride. I am certain many other arrondissements of Paris are very much the same. The Mairie of the 3rd has a Web site and an e-letter I receive monthly, not to mention the many published materials we receive regularly in our mailboxes. If you click on you’ll easily find the Web site for each arrondissement in Paris and you’ll be able to discover for yourselves which are more progressive than the others. You may also discover there are ways you can become a real member of the community, as I am.

Adrian Leeds
Editor, Parler Paris
E-mail: [email protected]

P.S. Last week another IL client purchased a pied-à-terre here in the 3rd — on rue de Picardie in a charming 17th-century building. Jocelyn Carnegie has been heavily canvassing the neighborhood for great finds, so if you’re interested in becoming a neighbor of mine, email Jocelyn at [email protected]


40m2 two-room apartment on the last floor (5th) with a view of the roofs of Paris, high ceiling, wood beams, fireplace, open kitchen open to the salong with a small balcony facing west, one bedroom on the courtyard, lots of charme.

Asking Price: 235,000 Euro + 2% Finder’s Fee

Serious inquiries, email: 16-1-04_View_Roofs


45m2 two-room apartment on the last floor with three sided exposure and clear views, wood beams and lots of charm.

Asking Price: 320,000,00 Euro+ 2% Finder’s Fee

Serious inquiries, email: 16-1-04_Place_Sainte-Catherine


74.19m2 three-room duplex with an equipped American style kitchen in perfect condition with lots of charm in a beautiful building, quiet.

Asking Price: 375,000 Euro + 2% Finder’s Fee

Serious inquiries, email: 16-1-04_Rue_Charlot


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