- To discover some dark sides of Paris history.
- To hear sinister details about medieval executions.
- To discover off the beaten track places, only know by genuine Parisians.
- To have a drink at a France-wide iconic 10th arrondissement bistro.
The Dark Side of Paris Walking Tour (Private)
This tour is about crime and punishment, theft, corpses trapped in trunks, notorious executioners, prison and gallows… These scary stories happened a long time ago, in the North eastern district of Paris, nestled between Gare de l’Est and République. A rather bustling but very charming part of Paris, today. But yesterday?
Have you ever considered that the so romantic Canal Saint-Martin neighborhood could have a darker side; that a stylish library could have been first a prison?
Frédérique has got many stories to tell, some are kept in history books, and others hit the headlines at the beginning of the 20th century. She’ll try to spare you too many ghastly details, as you’re not supposed to be having any nightmare afterwards… But what about a Crime theme stroll with no shivering at all?
You will meet Frédérique at the Gare de l’Est, a very elegant railway station, whose luggage room was sometimes used to keep very unusual belonging, such as… corpses hidden in trunks…
From crime story to jail, there’s only very short distance… We will be heading to a hidden gem, a Spanish-like courtyard housing a large and modern library. Hard to believe but this is the site of the former Saint-Lazare women prison where an international female spy was locked up, before facing execution by firing squad.
On our way to the Canal, will be evoked anarchists, among which a murderer who was the most wanted 1890’s criminal to have bombed several magistrates’ flats and blew up a restaurant nearby.
The Sanson family, the great dynasty of executioners, had a house here. Wearing the title of “Monsieur de Paris”, they held the position for almost two centuries, teaching from father to son techniques of dismemberment, decapitation, disemboweling, breaking on the wheel… and few other gracious things.
Overlooking the Canal, from the iron footbridges, we will have a look at the water and imagine what it could be hiding… Corpses, of course. Corpses in pieces or as a whole, ugly cadavers or beautiful dead women. Not to mention fire guns, bombs or Vélib…
This romantic and hype neighborhood used to be very popular at the beginning of the 20th century, people working here in storehouses and factories. This was a place for cheap accommodation. In one of those tiny flats, a famous Florentine had been kept for two years under a bed… You will know all the details of an incredible theft that hit the headlines. Even Picasso was suspected!
We will be ending the tour with a description of the notorious Montfaucon gallows, avoiding ghastly details… and we will finally share a drink in Hôtel de Nord. Nothing gloomy in it! It is the scene of one of the most famous French films and hence one of the best-known bistro in the whole country.
Meeting Address: Rue du Faubourg Saint-Martin, 75010 Paris, France - Gare de l’Est, place du 11 novembre, under the Clock, Metro lines 4, 5 & 7, Gare de l’Est station / Quai de Jemmapes, 75010 Paris, closest metro station: Gare de l'Est, lines 4, 5 & 7
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