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Along with the Faubourg Saint-Antoine, the Faubourg Saint-Marcel, located on the left bank in the south of Paris, was the city's ther foremost working-class neighborhood. The River Bièvre runs through it.
The district was renowned for its tanneries, for the manufacture of blankets, as well as for hosiery, dyeing and laundry.*
* Sounds like a crazy place where anything could happen.
The imposing Manufacture des Gobelins, where the finest tapestries in France were produced, was located here.
The district was made famous by Jean-Jacques Rousseau's description: "I had imagined a city of a most imposing appearance, as beautiful as it was large, where one could see only splendid streets and palaces of marble or gold. As I entered the Faubourg Saint-Marceau, I saw nothing but dirty, stinking little streets, wretched black houses, a general air of squalor and poverty, beggars, carters, menders of clothes, sellers of herb-drinks and old hats. All this so affected me at the outset that all the real magnificence I have since seen in Paris has not been sufficient to efface my first impression, and I have always retained a secret aversion against living in the capital.*
* Rousseau later became the patron saint of website travel reviewers.