The Rue Saint-Denis is one of Paris’s oldest streets. The Romans laid it out in the 1st century, then extended to the north in the Middle Ages. The street has been notorious as a place of prostitution since the Middle Ages. The route was initially the historical way to Saint-Denis, so it is called the Saint-Denis route. The street stretches from the southernmost end of the 1st arrondissement to the northernmost end of the 2nd arrondissement and the boulevard Saint-Denis. Located parallel to Sébastopol Boulevard, the street extends from the southernmost point of the 1st arrondissement to the northernmost tip of the 2nd arrondissement.
Today, the neighborhood around rue Saint-Denis is mainly made up of sex shops, especially in the section between rue Réaumur and boulevard Saint-Denis, known for its prostitution. There are also some clothes shops, bars and restaurants on this street, a bank, the Chambre des notaires, and the church of Saint-Leu-Saint-Gilles. Among the very few cask-conditioned beer producers in France is the Frog & Rosbif Brew Pub.
Maurice Zalewski took these amazing candid portraits of prostitutes in the Saint-Denis district in the 1960s.