The Marais is an area of Paris that invites you to walk and explore
its museums and mansions. It is
one of the most picturesque section of Paris, but but is known more as the city's most
pleasant neighborhood. We think you will enjoy an afternoon wandering
the areas' streets. If you like art, the Pompidou Center and
the Picasso Museum are great places to while away the hours. If you like
shopping, there are many designer boutiques in this area and a number of
stores focused on decorative items for the home. (Many of these shops can be
found along the Rue des
arrondissement) (R) –
The Place des Vosges, one of the most interesting locations in the
Marais, is a
delightful residential square created in the early 17th century. Once
known as the Place Royale, the thirty-six townshomes surrounding
the square have kept their original period look, one that appears unique
to this section of Paris.
The compact square and the houses surrounding it are well preserved.
The Place des Vosges retains the appearance of the past and implies to the observer the nuances of upper class life
in historic Paris.
Among other notables, Cardinal Richelieu and Victor Hugo once lived in
the Place Des Vosges. The House of Victor Hugo, author of Les Miserables
Hunchback of Notre-Dame, is now a museum that you can visit for a
fee (6 Place des
A covered arcade runs along the first floor of the buildings where you
will find several restaurants and a few upscale shops.
We suggest you consider combining a lunch in the Marais, perhaps at the
Place des Vosges, with an afternoon at the Musée
Carnavalet, or the
Picasso Museum. The Marais has
long housed the Jewish neighborhood of Paris and if you are looking for
a great delicatessen (but certainly not New York sytle), this may be the place for you.
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(3rd arrondissement) (R) -
The Musée Picasso will be closed until summer 2013 due to major renovations.
The Musée Picasso is located at De l'hôtel Salé, a historic building
dating from the seventeenth century. The museum presents Picasso's work
in chronological order and includes an extensive display of Picasso's
paintings, statues (including a wonderful statue garden), ceramics, and
drawings. Closed Tuesdays, the Musée National Picasso is located at De l'hôtel Salé - 5, rue
Musée Picasso website , is only in French, so if you don't
read/speak it, try using Google to translate, it does a reasonable job.
arrondissement) (R) -
The Carnavalet Museum (the Musée de
l'Histoire de Paris) is a delightful
place to visit. The museum occupies two historic mansions on Rue de
Sévigné in the Marias and is named after the Hôtel de Carnavalet (the
former mansion of the writer Madame de Sevigné). The Hôtel de Carnavalet
was erected in the late 16th century and is a treasure. The interior
houses an incredible collection of art, ranging from the fine to the
decorative, that chronicles the history of Paris, although its
collections are focused on the Revolution and, to a lesser extent, the
19th and 20th centuries. Closed Mondays. (Hôtel Carnavalet - 23, rue de
Sévigné). See this
official site for more information.
(1st arrondissement) (R) -
Halles is the modern version of the historic market district of Paris
and it remains one of the most crowded areas of
the city. Although the “old markets” have been replaced by a
underground mall, the
shopping and restaurants attract attention. This is a place to meet,
watch street performers, eat and enjoy city life, but it offers little
in the way of unique
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arrondissement) (R) -
Once you have tired of the Louvre,
Orangerie, and the
for the Pompidou Center. While the Center houses an
outstanding museum of
modern art, the building itself is an art form that should not be
missed (see the photo at the top of the page).
The pipes along the outside of the building are color coded red for
elevators, blue for air, yellow for electricity and green for water.
In addition, the building provides performance spaces and a cinema.
The area surrounding the Pompidou Center, filled with
skateboarders and street entertainers, is also worth seeing.
For more information, see the
official website. The Pompidou Center is closed on Tuesdays.
arrondissement) (R) -
The City Hall of Paris was rebuilt in the 19th century after the fire of
May 1871 involving the Paris Commune and anti-Commune forces.
Unfortunately the fire, also, destroyed many irreplaceable documents describing
the history of Paris. This location has been the seat of government in
Paris for over six-hundred years.
The building houses the office of the Mayor of Paris and is often
used for official receptions. Its architecture is stunning inside
and out, but especially when illuminated at night. During winter you can
ice skate in the square at the front of the building.
(Intersection of 4th
arrondissement /11th arrondissement /12th arrondissement) (R) -
Place de la Bastille was of great importance to the French Revolution
and remains a name that is familiar to everyone who knows even a little
history of France. Originally a fortress constructed to defend the east
end of Paris from Invaders. It was then turned into a prison. The
Bastille was overrun and destroyed by the Parisians in 1789 and there
are no visible remnants of this infamous
The Colonne de Juillet is located on the site of the former Bastille.
The massive column commemorates the victims of the July Days
revolution in 1830, which resulted in the exile of King Charles X.
Those who gave their lives are buried at the base of the monument and
their names are inscribed on the column. The column is topped with a
statue representing the Génie de la
Liberte (the Genius of Freedom).
Although many tourists visit the Place de la
Bastille, there is actually very little to see here. If you want to see
consider combining the Place de la Bastille with a tour of the Marais.
The Bastille area reputedly offers some of the best nightlife in Paris,
so you may want to visit later in the evening.
You will find a number of exceptional places to eat in the Marais, so
take your time and find the one that is right for you. Don't settle for
fast food. Remember, you are in Paris and food is considered a national
treasure by the French.
If we have whetted your appetite for the Marais, you may want to visit
website for more detailed information on shopping and other aspects
of this wonderful section of Paris.