Le Marais is an area of Paris located astride the 3rd and the 4th arrondissement of Paris. It is one the most popular district of Paris with a mix of culture, history, fashion and arts.
A stroll through several centuries of History and Arts
Le Marais was formerly a marsh area inhabited as early as the 12th century by religious orders, among which the most famous was the Templar Order. In the 17th century, with the construction of the Place des Vosges, formerly called Place Royale, the Marais became the home of the Parisian Aristocracy. A century later, this area started to be abandoned in favour of the Faubourg St Germain and Faubourg St Honoré areas. The French Revolution definitely banned the rich landlords and transformed Le Marais into a craftmen’s area.
Nowadays Le Marais is the last area that really kept the identity it had before Haussmann’s great public works. It kept its small streets, its architectural character and private mansions which give this area its special charm. Strolling in Le Marais is a pure moment of architectural contemplation. The Hotel de Sully for example, is one of the most beautiful buildings of Paris and was ordered directly by the king Henri IV in the 16th century.
Numerous museums are present in the area, the most famous one being the Carnavalet museum, an art gallery which focuses on Parisian history from the French Revolution until today. Another popular museum is the Picasso museum, dedicated the work and personal collection of the famous Spanish artist in the beautiful Hotel Salé.
The house of Victor Hugo located Place des Vosges, is also to be seen if you are a fan of the French writer of Les Miserables. The house-museum dedicated to Victor Hugo’s life was formerly his private apartment between 1832 and 1848. It shows personal aspects of his life like his relationships with the 2 women Adèle Foucher and Juliette Drouet.
The “Place des Vosges” is by the way one of the most beautiful square of Paris and the oldest one. And to seize the day in a luxurious and discrete way, spend a night at the “Pavillon de la Reine” another 16th century private mansion now transformed into a refined Spa hotel.
Meet the new Paris designers
Le Marais has become a stronghold in the fashion world. Many of the new talented fashion designers have taken up residence in this trendy area of Paris. Famous fashion brands can be found like “Vanessa Bruno” and her iconic bag, or “Merci” the concept store on Boulevard Beaumarchais selling clothes known by celebrities, also a place to soak up the local Parisian atmosphere with friends, drinking a cup of coffee at the cosy café.
Another distinctive feature of Le Marais is its artistic side. Various famous art galleries are located in the area. Daniel Templon, a French gallery owner and art seller has one of the most famous modern art gallery of France located 30, rue Beaubourg, in the heart of the Marais. Another major player of the contemporary art market in France, Yvon Lambert, has a gallery in the Marais, 108 rue Vieille du Temple.
Do not eat, relish
Another important point about Le Marais is Gastronomy. Whether it is for fine cuisine, a tea room or an unusual foodie experience, the place has something to satisfy your needs. L’Ambroisie for instance, a 3 Michelin stars restaurant located on the “Place des Vosges”, or the tea house “Mariages Frères” located rue du Bourg Tibourg with a hidden tea museum at the first floor are the kind of places to experience . La “Maison Plisson”, a French gastronomical delicatessen located boulevard Beaumarchais, welcome you with a variety of high quality products. The “Marché des Enfants Rouges” is also a must do place in the Marais. It is a covered market built in the 17th century, it offers a variety of high quality French products that will delight you. And just close to it, one of the best cheese shop of Paris can welcome you for special wine and cheese tasting presented by a cheese master in a typical 17th century Parisian cellar.
If Paris is in your travel plans, what better way to learn about the city then with a local.
Paris-Toujours is a travel planning agency based in Paris and run by a Paris specialist that creates authentic and high-end experiences of the City of Lights, including Le Marais district.