Rue des Lions ©CC0 Mbzt via Wikicommons
Rue des Lions in Paris. Photo: ©CC0 Mbzt via Wikicommons

Once the king of the jungle roamed the Marais

JUNGLE FEVER
The rue des Lions is a short street in the 4th arrondissement of Paris, at the southern tip of the popular Marais district, edging towards Bastille. It runs from rue du Petit-Musc to rue Saint-Paul and was originally known as rue des Lions Saint-Paul because it opened on a part of the former Hôtel Saint-Pol palace built for King Charles V in 1360 and later used by Charles VI.

The name of the street, however, does not come from any figurative image or statue but from actual lions that were once kept in what is now one of the most popular tourist neighbourhoods in the capital. This road was formerly the alley to access the king’s menagerie, with a dozen lions in captivity, and a garden with a pond where salmon would swim.

It was hardly an elegant pathway though, said to be an unsightly sluice of mud and waste. But time was kind to rue des Lions, and as the Marais evolved, the street rose to literary lore as the home of Madame de Sévigné, who once resided at number 11. It is now at the heart of one of Paris’s most fashionable districts, brimming with hip boutiques and galleries and charming cafés.

From France Today magazine

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