Jongkind enjoyed sketching in and around Paris, giving preference to everyday scenes rather than famous monuments or tourist attractions. In France, his work attracted rapid appreciation, especially in avant-garde circles. His views of Paris were acclaimed by the author Emile Zola and his etchings received praise from Charles Baudelaire.
Jongkind was fascinated by the demolition work being done in the historic heart of Paris. Emperor Napoleon III had decided to construct great boulevards to make the city easier to control and countless ancient buildings were disappearing under the demolition hammer. St. Marcel is in the 13th arrondissement, adjacent to the 5th arrondissement (Quarter Mouffetard). These days, the area has no street of this name, although there is one in the Marais (4th arrondissement).
Source: J. Sillevis, ‘De tijd van het impressionisme’, in T.M. Eliëns, J. van Es (eds.), Kunst is keuze, Den Haag, Zwolle 2007.