the Henri Cartier-Bresson Foundation, and wandering the upper Marais


Yesterday I was torn between going to the Henri Cartier-Bresson Foundation in the Marais or the Jeu de Paume in the Tuileries Gardens to see the Sally Mann photography exhibition. Turns out I did neither on this lovely 4-day weekend in Paris. I figured the Sally Mann exhibition would be packed, so me and my camera headed to the Marais. I walked northward along the rue des Archives (taking these photos along the way.)



Big line-up at Hank vegan burger, I hear it’s really good. (Hank stands for Have A Nice Karma).


When I got to the Fondation Henri Cartier-Bresson at number 79 rue des Archives, I didn’t feel like going in. It was so pleasant outside, I preferred to wander. I recommend exploring the upper Marais, much less crowded and more interesting than the lower which is teeming with tourists and over-commercialized.

Henri Cartier-Bresson was a French humanist photographer considered a master of candid photography, and an early user of 35 mm film. He pioneered the genre of street photography, and viewed photography as capturing a decisive moment. Cartier-Bresson was one of the founding members of Magnum Photos in 1947. He died in 2004 at the age of 95.


I walked up to the rue de Bretagne and turned right. At number 47 is a lively and consistently good couscous restaurant called Chez Omar; a neighborhood fixture, it’s been there a long time. If you don’t care for couscous, they serve other Moroccan dishes, including some French food.


Cross the road and walk up a side street to this beautiful glass-roofed building called Le Carreau du Temple (photo below). Built in 1863, it used to be a covered market. Now it’s a mixed-use public space hosting conferences, exhibitions and much more. It’s closed in August.


Located at the corner of rue Charlot and rue du Forez is a much-loved Asian fusion restaurant called Nanashi. The eating area is spacious and laidback, and the food fresh and tasty.  Another interesting road to walk along is the nearby Rue de Turenne.

Really worth visiting at number 39, rue de Bretagne is the Marché des Enfants-Rouges. Here’s what Wikipedia says about it – 

The Marché des Enfants Rouges is the oldest covered market in Paris. It was established in 1628 as the “petit marché du Marais” and is located at 39 Rue de Bretagne in the Marais (3rd) arrondissement. The market has been listed as a historic monument since 1982.

The name translates as “Market of the Red Children”, and refers to the nearby Hospice des Enfants-Rouges where orphans were clothed in red (the color of charity.) Today, the market offers fresh fruits, vegetables, flowers and bread, as well as restaurants.

And that’s about it. Oh, I didn’t mention why we’re enjoying a 4-day weekend in France. August 15th was the Feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, a Catholic holiday. In this fiercely ‘non-religious’ country that supposedly separates church and state and restricts religion to the private sphere, all banks, government buildings and many offices were closed. Because August 15 fell on a Thursday this year, my office gave us the Friday off as well.

Secularism in France … a myth?

Off to London next weekend, and the weekend after that: La Grande Braderie of Lille! (the annual huge flea market held every year on the first weekend of September).


9 thoughts on “the Henri Cartier-Bresson Foundation, and wandering the upper Marais

    • You are right, ms6282. I just looked up that word in English and it doesn’t have the same meaning as in French. In French, polyvalent means to have several different functions. Mixed-use or multi-purpose would be better words. Thanks for commenting!

      • I hope I didn’t come across as being pedantic there. I have a degree in chemistry (from a long, long time ago) and have familiar with theterm, but I’d never seen it used like that. But I think it’s quite appropriate in your post! Like it 😉👍

      • No, not at all! I welcome comments. In fact, it’s a mystery to me why I don’t receive more as my readership is pretty high and from all over. I guess they’re just a large bunch of quiet readers (?)

  1. Lovely. I guess this is the pleasure of living in such a dynamic city such as Paris. On days off you spontaneously roam around the Marais and come across delightful cafes, restaurants, historical buildings etc.. bliss!

    • Oh, absolutely. As much as I enjoy the peace, quiet and nature of the countryside, I’m definitely an URBAN GIRL. But one day I will leave Paris (I’ve been here way too long; it was never my intention to stay so long. I’m here because I have a really good job.) I don’t know where I’ll go. Brussels, maybe? It’s smaller, friendlier, and equally interesting. Do you know Brussels?

      • Ah how fabulous to have an amazing job in Paris, lucky you! No am afraid I know not much about Brussels but smaller and friendlier always warms me. I’ve only lived in London and Geneva in Europe and after Paris I don’t know whether you’d like Geneva which was a struggle for me (tooooo perfect) 🤣

  2. Visiting the Henri Quartier Bresson Foundation is a life goal. Did you get to see it another time? 🙂 Hope I get to see it this spring! Loved the spontaneity of your writing!

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