Le Marais District

Le Marais District (86)

You are in the historic heart of Paris. And the best thing to do is to lose yourself amidst its narrow streets. 

The district was once a marshy area. In fact, its name means marsh. In the 13th century monks and Templar knights settled here. But it was not until 1605 that Henry IV ordered the Place Royale to be built, later the Place des Vosgues, the beginning of its age of splendour. It soon became the place for the most select classes of society and both art and literature had a leading role here. The construction of mansions and small palaces proliferated. But the movement of the Court to Versailles in 1692 meant that the aristocracy moved to other areas and the buildings passed into the ownership of ordinary Parisians who turned them into stores and shops. After some decades of abandonment, the district was the object of a big remodelling project in the 1960s. Today it is once again a fashionable spot for the wealthy.

And today the lovely Renaissance small palaces house museums, government offices, galleries, cafés and shops. Today you can visit some of the best museums in Paris in the residences that were once home to the nobility, now occupied by the Picasso Museum and the Carnavalet Museum, dedicated to the history of Paris.

It is a very lively district. In its main streets and narrow alleyways you can find boutiques, art galleries and restaurants.

Today it is a coveted fashion spot and its expensive rents have forced many shops to move to other parts of the city, but even so, you can still find lots of craftsmen, bakers or small charm-filled cafés. Le Marais is today the heart of the gay scene of Paris.

One of the most famous streets in the district of Le Marais is Rue des Rosiers, which together with its nearby streets forms the Jewish quarter of Paris. It is a very popular and cheerful district, highly recommendable for strolling around and doing some window shopping.

In the centre of the district is the Place des Vosges, Paris’s first ever public square. Today it is a quiet and pleasant spot for walking, but in the past it was the setting for duels and jousting. 

So don’t doubt it, day or night, Le Marais will delight you. 

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