The Marais is a historic district in Paris, France. Long the aristocratic district of Paris, it hosts many outstanding buildings of historic and architectural importance. A romantic, festive and trendy district, the charm of the Marais lies in its cobblestone streets, historic spots and quirky boutiques. Straddling the Paris Centre arrondissement, this district with a village feel was built on marshland (‘marais’ in French), hence its name. It spreads across parts of the 3rd and 4th arrondissements in Paris.
The Marais of Paris offers a harmonious blend of cultures. Discover the richness of its architectural and artistic heritage through its streets lined with historic buildings and museums. The Marais of Paris offers a mixture of fraternity and tolerance born of the cohabitation of diverse communities, and superb historical remains, mostly dating from the Middle Ages.
Buildings and museums tell the story of France. The Marais is the medieval historic center of Paris. It is one of the districts least affected by Baron Haussmann, so its architecture stands out with the rest of the capital. A glimpse of the old Paris of the Renaissance. Historic buildings bearing witness to Paris’ rich past, from its cathedral to the old half-timbered houses that line the streets to museums. The historic center is known as the “Marais”. Stroll through its streets to marvel at some of the most emblematic buildings in Paris.
The Marais is known for its beautiful architecture, beautiful shops, and art galleries. In its historic center is the Jewish quarter which has buildings dating back to the Middle Ages, including the oldest residence in the capital, rue de Montmorency. This historic district straddling part of the Marais, with its chic mansions and medieval half-timbered houses. While strolling through the streets of the district, don’t miss the opportunity to discover its fabulous buildings, witnesses of Paris’ past.
Located in the heart of Paris, the Marais owes much of its charm to its magnificent architecture and rich history. The district has many 17th-century private mansions, typically built with white freestone and featuring a large entrance through which a horse-drawn carriage could easily pass. Some of the houses are now listed monuments. Among the most beautiful mansions are the hôtels de Sully and de Soubise, not to mention the Hôtel Salé, a magnificent building once frequented by the writer Honoré de Balzac and now home to the famous Picasso museum.
A Paris landmark that one cannot possibly fail to notice is the Hôtel de Ville. This imposing building housing the Paris city council has a huge courtyard where many events are held all year round. A short distance from here is the romantic Place des Vosges dating to the Renaissance: Paris’s oldest square. This charming oasis of greenery is surrounded by red-brick buildings where such illustrious names as Victor Hugo, Madame de Sévigné and Colette once lived. Then there is the Baroque-style church Église Saint-Paul Saint-Louis du Marais with its beautiful pastel-coloured clock and a painting by Eugène Delacroix. There are many treasures to be spotted at every corner as you stroll around this area.
In Rue François Miron, passers-by stop to look up at two half-timbered houses. Although they are often identified as the oldest houses in Paris, they actually date to the 16th century. The oldest is in fact the house of Nicolas Flamel, built in 1407 and also located in the Marais, on Rue Montmorency. Stretching from the Haut Marais to the banks of the Seine, this delightful district with its village atmosphere offers visitors a journey into the history of Paris.
The Marais of Paris is the result of the extension of the city in the 13th and 14th centuries, the enclosure of Charles V. After some security incidents at Ile de la Cité, King Charles V decided to move to Hôtel Saint Paul in Le Marais. This relocation of the Royal Court was followed by all the important people who wanted to stay near the King and they built beautiful private mansions (hôtels particuliers) around the new royal palace. Some of these private mansions host today interesting public or private museums.
The Marais is an old area of swamps comprising in its northern part since the 12th century lands of the feudal domain of religious orders, among which the Order of the Temple and the Abbey of Saint-Martin-des-Champs, which is settled there and subdivided former agricultural lands of their domain over the centuries. The fortified enclosure of Charles V built from 1356 to 1358 sets its limit to the northeast and east. The district became the privileged place of residence of the nobility and the Parisian upper middle class in the 17th century, who built mansionsmany of which survive.
From the middle of the 18th century, the district was gradually abandoned by the Parisian elite in favor of Faubourg Saint-Honoré and Faubourg Saint-Germain, which were closer to the court of Versailles and offered more space. The French Revolution completes to drive out the wealthy owners. The district is therefore occupied by a population of craftsmen and workers who occupy the old hotels and build workshops in the old inner courtyards.
The major development works in Paris in the 19th century had little effect on the district, which retained its narrow streets, but many quality buildings were gradually destroyed. In the 1960s, under the impetus of André Malraux, a program to safeguard and preserve the district was launched. The preserved district is now, thanks to its beautiful buildings, frequented by tourists and sought after by the wealthy classes. Many museums are located there.
The Marais is divided between north and south by the rue de Rivoli, the main shopping street of the arrondissement. Rue des Rosiers is one of the main centers of this community and you can still see grocery stores, restaurants and bakeries typical of this community today, even if the ready-to-wear stores are increasingly snacking the street. Its lower part is affectionately nicknamed the “Gay Paris”, a center of the LGBTQ community and the rainbow flag can be seen on some streets.
This district is very appreciated by locals for its central location and quality of life. The Marais is also known for its little streets, cafés, and shops. There’s lots that’s contemporary to look at especially at the Centre Georges Pompidou with a lot of the very best contemporary art. Take a tour of the luxury boutiques, but especially of the neighborhood’s historic kosher restaurants and patisseries, also the Chinese part of Marais district in full expansion.
The Jewish Quarter
From the end of the 19th century until the Second World War, approximately 110,000 Ashkenazi Jews, fleeing the misery and the persecutions of which they were victims in Eastern Europe, settled around the rue des Rosiers, in the district called the Pletzl.
Today, the engraved plaques affixed to the buildings of the district keep the memory of the 25,000 people, men, women and children, who were exterminated in the Nazi camps during the Second World War. Since 1998, the Marais has housed the Museum of Art and History of Judaism (MAHJ), which notably traces the history of the Jewish population of the district.
The northwest of the Marais is also home to a Chinese community originally from Wenzhou. Thus, one can discover, rue du Temple and near the Republic, the Chinese church of Paris (Saint Elizabeth of Hungary church – Notre Dame de Pitié). Today, their activities as traders in jewelery and leather goods push them to invest in shops and workshops in the north of the 3 rd arrondissement and, beyond, in the Sentier district.
During the First World War, France lacked arms in the rear and particularly hard-working men. At the request of France, the Middle Empire ends up sending several thousand of its nationals, on the express condition that they do not participate directly in the fighting. Initially established at the Ilot Chalon near Gare de Lyon, some stayed to settle in 1954 around Rue au Maire.
The gallery district
Many art galleries have settled in the Marais, especially since the reopening of the Picasso Museum in 2014 following renovations.
The gay district
Since the 1980s, the district has seen the strengthening of a homosexual (or gay) community, mainly grouped around rue Sainte-Croix-de-la-Bretonnerie, through the frequentation of bars, restaurants, bookstores, clothing and the acquisition of real estate. These businesses mark a change in the sense that they are now open to the city. Bolstered by international success, it is now a symbol of the renewal of the district. However, with the evolution of mentalities and under the pressure of real estate prices, gay businesses are gradually being replaced by branded clothing stores. For example, the iconic bookstoreLes Mots à la Bouche was forced to leave the neighborhood in 2020.
The watchmakers’ quarter
This is the Parisian district of suppliers of watchmaking equipment, repairers and clockwork craftsmen. Since the beginning of the 19th century, they have mainly been located around the Square du Temple, as well as in the surrounding streets.
The National Archives district
It is made up of the hotels of Soubise, Rohan-Strasbourg and adjacent hotels. Following the redevelopment of the National Archives, all the gardens are now accessible to the public. The Hôtel de Rohan-Strasbourg is being renovated and is to house the interiors of the Hôtel de la Chancellerie d’Orléans (now destroyed) which the Banque de France had kept in its reserves.
The Hôtel de Soubise dates from the end of the reign of Louis XIV and succeeded two other prestigious hotels: that of the constable Olivier de Clisson, comrade in arms of Bertrand Du Guesclin (of which the door remains), replaced during the Renaissance by that of the Dukes of Guise, who led the capital’s insurrection against Henry III in 1588.
The Marais is a buzzing enclave of hip cafes, eateries and shops. Art lovers troop to modern galleries and the Musée Picasso, where many artworks are displayed in a stately 17th-century mansion. The Musée des Arts et Métiers is a top destination for science history buffs. The lively Marché des Enfants Rouge draws crowds to its international food stalls.
A good part of the district is very touristy endowed with an exceptional charm. Visit the beautiful terraces of Place du marché-Sainte-Catherine and the quays of the Seine. Explore the Bastille, between the two is the Saint-Paul district with extremely pleasant old Renaissance-Classical style houses and many shops.
The Temple Quarter comes from the Knights of Templar, the religious and military order who by the 14th century owned this area. Today the beautiful Arts et Métiers Museum stands as a silent witness of this arts & crafts past in medieval times. Another remarkable building linked to the Templars in this area is the Carreau du Temple, a covered market occupying the former site of the Templars’ medieval enclosure.
Another architectural gem is the Hôtel de Ville in Paris. Admire its Renaissance facade in white stones and its richly decorated village hall. Then head to Bastille by getting off at the homonymous metro station. In the green spaces of the Square Henri-Galli II, you can observe the ruins of a wall of the old fortress, the location of which is marked on the ground of the Place de la Bastille by cobblestones.
The Center Georges-Pompidou with its strange architecture with its colored tubes and its mechanical escalators visible from the outside. Discover its thematic temporary exhibitions around great masters of contemporary art, in particular painters such as Kandinsky, Henri Matisse or Paul Klee, and the permanent collections of the National Museum of Modern Art.
The gardens of the Place des Vosges, lined with arcades, with its majestic fountain and its lawns which fill with students and families as soon as the fine weather arrives. Dating from 1605, this former Place Royale in Paris is one of the oldest in the capital. There are many other places of interest to be discovered on the Right bank, the Île de la Cité and Île Saint-Louis, without forgetting the ‘quais de la Seine’ which have been listed as a World Heritage site by Unesco.
Near City Hall is a wide variety of gay-friendly bars, restaurants, bookstores and shops. The discotheques of the district, promise a lively evenings, under the sign of tolerance, freedom and hedonism. At night the 4th has several of the most active bar scenes most travellers will have ever seen, including the lower Marais district which is sometimes known as gay Paris although there are no shortage of bars catering to straight singles or a mixed crowd.
The Marais brings together monuments and buildings known from all over the world. The Place des Vosges, the Beaubourg museum, the Ile Saint-Louis, the quays of the Seine, part of the Bastille… The Marais concentrates many cafes, restaurants and shops. The Museum of Arts and Crafts offers an essential visit for lovers of scientific history. Art lovers, on the other hand, can enjoy the modern galleries of the museums. Finally, there is the lively Marché des Enfants Rouges, an unmissable spot in the arrondissement.
The history of the district is very rich. There are many buildings there that date back to the 18th century. For example, Nicolas Flamel’s house is the oldest in Paris since it was built in 1407. Also the Renaissance-era Paris City Hall, Paris Police Headquarters, and Town Hall, the Paris Prefecture and the Parisian urban planning workshop. The place de la Bastille, symbolic place of the French Revolution…
Paris City Hall
The Hôtel de Ville de Pari in is the city hall of Paris, has been the headquarters of the municipality of Paris since 1357. It serves multiple functions, housing the local government council, since 1977 the Mayor of Paris and her cabinet, and also serves as a venue for large receptions. It is possible to visit the Town Hall, place of power and prestige.
The south wing was originally constructed by François I beginning in 1535 until 1551. The north wing was built by Henry IV and Louis XIII between 1605 and 1628. It was burned by the Paris Commune, along with all the city archives that it contained, during the Commune’s final days in May 1871.The outside was rebuilt following the original design, but larger, between 1874 and 1882, while the inside was considerably modified.
While the rebuilt Hôtel de Ville from the outside appeared to be a copy of the 16th-century French Renaissance building that stood before 1871, the new interior was based on an entirely new design, with ceremonial rooms lavishly decorated in the 1880s style. The central ceremonial doors under the clock are flanked by allegorical figures of Art, by Laurent Marqueste, and Science, by Jules Blanchard.
Some 230 other sculptors were commissioned to produce 338 individual figures of famous Parisians on each facade, along with lions and other sculptural features. The sculptors included prominent academicians like Ernest-Eugène Hiolle and Henri Chapu, but easily the most famous was Auguste Rodin. Rodin produced the figure of the 18th-century mathematician Jean le Rond d’Alembert, finished in 1882. The decor featured murals by the leading painters of the day, including Raphaël Collin, Henri-Camille Danger, Jean-Paul Laurens, Puvis de Chavannes, Léon Bonnat, Albert Besnard, Henri Gervex, Aimé Morot or Alfred Roll. Most can still be seen as part of a guided tour of the building.
Hôtel de Sully
The Hôtel de Sully is a Louis XIII style hôtel particulier, or private mansion, located at 62 rue Saint-Antoine in the Marais, IV arrondissement, Paris, France. Built at the beginning of the 17th century, it is nowadays the seat of the Centre des monuments nationaux, the French national organization responsible for national heritage sites. One of the most beautiful private mansions in Paris, installed in the large lower rooms, one can observe its ceiling with painted beams and joists. The garden, originally made up of plant embroidery, gives access to the Place des Vosges. It is not open to the public but you can cross the courtyard and the garden during opening hours to access the Place des Vosges.
The hôtel de Sully was built, with gardens and an orangery, between 1624 and 1630, for the wealthy financier Mesme Gallet. The building is usually attributed to the architect Jean Androuet du Cerceau. The site was chosen to give access to the Place Royale – today the Place des Vosges. The Marais was then an especially fashionable area for the high nobility; the construction of the hôtel de Sully fits in a larger movement of monumental building in this part of Paris. The hôtel then passed through the hands of various owners, becoming an investment property in the 19th century. Various additions and alterations were made, to accommodate trades, craftsmen and other tenants.
It has been listed since 1862 as a monument historique by the French Ministry of Culture. It became a state-owned property in 1944. A long restoration programme was then undertaken, which was completed with the repair of the orangery in 1973. Since 1967 it has been the home of the Caisse nationale des monuments historiques et des sites, which in 2000 became the Centre des monuments nationaux. This public body, under the supervision of the Ministry of Culture and Communication, is responsible for the management of historic buildings and monuments in state care.
Hôtel de Beauvais
The Hôtel de Beauvais is a hôtel particulier, a kind of large townhouse of France, at 68 rue Francois-Miron, Marais, Paris. Until 1865 rue Francois-Miron formed part of the historic rue Saint Antoine and as such was part of the ceremonial route into Paris from the east. The hotel was built by the royal architect Antoine Le Pautre for Catherine Beauvais in 1657. It is an example of eclectic French baroque architecture. Great historical figures have left their mark on these places, including Louis XIV and Mozart. Administrative building, the Hôtel de Beauvais can be visited during the European Heritage Days.
The building contains several unexpected elements for an hôtel particulier. Public shops are located along the ground level, which may be a continuation of an ancient Roman tradition. The mezzanine windows, which were uncommon in Paris, may have been a throwback to High Renaissance in Rome. On the street side, the eye is drawn to the beautiful “Grand Style” facade and its imposing balcony. Hôtel de Beauvais’ façade is in the French Baroque style, common to hôtels particuliers. Strict symmetry is created using false walls and windows. The façade uses vertical bands of rusticated stone and horizontal moldings instead of orders to define major lines.
The highlight of the visit remains the inner courtyard with its concave facades and its vestibule resting on 8 Doric columns. Le Pautre’s major triumph was in his treatment of the irregular site and the creation of a symmetrical façade. Architectural historians also laud the building for its influence on the free plan; seen in the central cour d’honneur, created by the articulation of pochè and an ambivalence towards solid space.
Memorial to the Martyrs of the Deportation
The Mémorial des Martyrs de la Déportation is a memorial to the 200,000 people who were deported from Vichy France to the Nazi concentration camps during World War II. It is located in Paris, France, on the site of a former morgue, underground behind Notre Dame on Île de la Cité. It was designed by French modernist architect Georges-Henri Pingusson and was inaugurated by Charles de Gaulle in 1962.
The memorial is shaped like a ship’s prow; the crypt is accessible by two staircases and a lowered square protected by a metal portcullis. The crypt leads to a hexagonal rotunda that includes two chapels containing earth and bones from concentration camps. The walls display literary excerpts. Pingusson intended that its long and narrow subterranean space convey a feeling of claustrophobia. The memorial’s entrance is narrow, marked by two concrete blocks. Inside is the tomb of an unknown deportee who was killed at the camp in Neustadt.
Along both walls of the narrow, dimly lit chamber are 200,000 glass crystals with light shining through, meant to symbolize each of the deportees who died in the concentration camps; at the end of the tunnel is a single bright light. Ashes from the camps, contained within urns, are positioned at both lateral ends. Both ends of the chamber have small rooms that seem to depict prison cells. Opposite the entrance is a stark iron gate overlooking the Seine at the tip of the Île de la Cité.
Hôtel de Soubise
The Hôtel de Soubise is a city mansion entre cour et jardin ([ɑ̃ːtʁ kuːʁ e ʒaʁdɛ̃]), located at 60 rue des Francs-Bourgeois, in the Marais of Paris. The Hôtel de Soubise was built for the Prince and Princess de Soubise on the site of a semi-fortified manor house named the Grand-Chantier built in 1375 for connétable Olivier de Clisson, that had formerly been a property of the Templars.
Carreau du Temple
The Carreau du Temple is a covered market in the Marais of Paris, built in 1863. In 1811 a wooden structure was erected on the site to house a permanent market, which was replaced by the current cast iron, brick and glass structure in 1863. Major renovation of the Carreau du Temple is due to be completed by the end of 2013. During the work, the building was stripped to its metallic structure. Various facilities will be created below ground level and on the main floor. Among the new facilities is a 250-seat auditorium and 1,800 square metres (19,000 sq ft) of multipurpose space at ground level, and below ground level, sport and cultural facilities, including a recording studio. The capacity of the renovated building will be 2800 persons.
Hôtel de Guénégaud
Hôtel de Guénégaud or Hôtel de Guénégaud-des-Brosses is a 17th-century hôtel particulier, or large townhouse, in Paris. At 60, rue des Archives in the Marais of Paris. Designs by the architect François Mansart. Along with the Hôtel Carnavalet, it the best preserved hôtel particulier designed by this architect. A perfect example of the mid- 17th century Parisian hotel, it consists of a main body, between courtyard and garden, two back wings and a building overlooking rue 1. The whole is imbued with great sobriety. The hotel has retained, in its south wing, its admirable stone main staircase, formed of a double straight flight, continued to the ground by curved steps arranged in an arc.
The hôtel was acquired by Jean Romanet in 1703, and, according to the his contemporary Germain Brice, Romanet greatly embellished its interiors in the following year. It fell into disrepair and was divided into apartments in the late 19th century, but was acquired by the City of Paris in 1961. An extensive restoration was begun in 1962 under the direction of the architect André Sallez, and since 1967 it has housed the Musée de la Chasse et de la Nature and the offices of the Club de la Chasse et de la Nature.
Hôtel de Donon
The Hôtel de Donon is a private mansion, located at No. 8, rue Elzévir in the Marais of Paris, in the Île-de-France region. It was built from 1575, at the request of Médéric de Donon, lord of Châtres-en-Brie and Loribeau, king’s adviser and general controller of his buildings. In 1640, the hotel passed to the Le Mairat family then to the Hénault de Tourneville and Bourgeois families from 1798, before being bought by the city of Paris in 1974. Since 1990, the hotel has housed the Cognacq-Jay museum.
The general design of the Hotel de Donon, with high roofs, seems close to the house that Philibert de l’Orme is having built in the Marais, and seems to have benefited from advances that have been put in place for the hotel. Carnival. With perfect unity and taste, the ensemble wonderfully evokes the refined life of the Age of Enlightenment. The splendid large attic, a place for exhibitions, evokes the nave of an overturned boat. The structure of the main building is characteristic of hotels in the Marais of this period.
The hotel’s architect adopted a regular plan: the buildings surround a rectangular courtyard. Basically, the main building is located between courtyard and garden; two wings connect it to the building on the street; the south one probably housed sheds and stables, while a simple gallery occupied the north wing. On the side of the courtyard, as well as on the side of the garden, two small side pavilions project. The structure of the main building is characteristic of hotels in the Marais in the 16th century: two floors of cellars – one of them in the semi-basement reserved for the kitchens and the common room – above which are raise two floors of the same height, one on the upper ground floor reserved for reception apartments, the other square floor topped with a high attic.
Hotel Liberal Bruant
The Hôtel Libéral Bruant is a mansion of classical architecture, located at 1 rue de la Perle in the Marais of Paris, in the heart of the Marais district. The courtyard façade adopts the use of arched bays which have been fashionable since the second half of the reign of Louis XIV in Paris. Bruant inserts rectangular windows of smaller proportions and blind oculi intended to receive busts of Roman emperors. The vast pediment is adorned with cherubs and cornucopias.
All the facades on the courtyard, the rear facade, the roofs corresponding to the said facades, the portal on the street, and the ground of the courtyard are the subject of a classification as historical monuments since May 22, 1964. In 1968 the Bricard company, subject to restoring it and installing a lock museum there., where you could find collections of old locks, in iron and gilded bronze. This museum opened its doors in 1976, but was closed in 2003 and has since been replaced by a center for contemporary art.
Hotel de Rohan
The Hôtel de Rohan, built by the architect Pierre-Alexis Delamair, from 1705 for the de Rohan family, today houses, together with the adjoining Hôtel de Soubise, part of the National Archives. This monument located at the corner of rue Vieille du Temple and rue des Quatre Fils, has been classified as a historical monument since November 27, 1924.
Nothing has been preserved of the initial decor of the 1750s, on the ground floor of the hotel, which has on the courtyard side an entrance vestibule in the center of the facade, a small staircase on the left and the main staircase. honor on the right, adjacent to the courtyard of the stables to the north. On the garden side, five large adjoining rooms overlook the garden, of which the three most to the north were occupied by the library.
On the side of the main courtyard, the building has a narrower and more sober facade, framed on each side of the courtyard by lower service buildings, surmounted by a broken roof. The axis of this facade on the courtyard has the particularity of being shifted towards the South compared to that of the facade on the garden, more developed, to leave room for the courtyard of the stables, on the North side of the honor courtyard. The same particularity is found in the Hôtel Salé, now the Picasso Museum, built a few years earlier.
It was under the second Cardinal de Soubise that the apartments of the Palais de Rohan were decorated as we can admire them today. The ground floor has retained none of its old decoration. The large elongated oval vestibule serves both a square lounge overlooking the garden at the end, an old service staircase on the left, and the majestic renovated main staircase on the right.
The Marais is full of historical and religious places, including the Saint-Jacques tower, the Saint-Paul-Saint-Louis church, the pavilion de l’Arsenal, the Shoah Memorial.The Museum of Art and History of Judaism to discover its permanent collection. Nearby is the rue Pavée synagogue, in Art Nouveau style, designed by Hector Guimard.
The Saint-Nicolas-des-Champs church, of Catholic worship, is located rue Saint-Martin in the Marais of Paris. It is essentially in the Flamboyant Gothic style, but its construction took place in five stages over two hundred years, from 1420 to 1620. It has been classified as a historic monument sinceFebruary 10, 1887.
The church’s size is significant with its 90 m long (one of the longest in Paris), its 36 m wide and its bell tower which rises to 32 m. The flamboyant part (1420-1546) of the first seven spans appears as if set between two parts of the 17th – 18th centuries: to the west, the double entrance vestibule (1647-1649 and 1775) also serves as a support for the large organ case while to the east the perspective comes up against the monumental two-sided high altar (1620-1629 and 1775) which conceals the double ambulatory and the row of chapels.
More than seventy “objects” (paintings, sculptures, murals, bells, etc.) have been classified as Historic Monuments, the vast majority since 1905 at the time of the Law of Separation of Church and State. It is the COARC – Conservation of religious and civil works of art of the City of Paris – which watches over them (for example, restoration of the murals of the chapels in 2011 or of the southern flank in 2021, with the DECH).
The Saint-Denys-du-Saint-Sacrement church, located 70 rue de Turenne in the Marais of Paris. The very simple façade has a central prostyle portico with four Ionic columns, surmounted by a triangular pediment decorated with a bas-relief by the sculptor Jean-Jacques Feuchère and representing the theological virtues: in the centre, Faith which raises the chalice and the host (the holy sacrament), on the left, Hope rests the anchor on tables reminiscent of the Shema Israel and on the right Charity protects a child and extends a burning heart towards the book where reads a phrase from Saint Paul’s hymn to charity.
On either side of the entrance, two niches with the statues of Saint Paul and Saint Peter by the sculptor Jean-François Legendre-Héral in 1849. Above the portal, The four cardinal virtues (Prudence, Temperance, Strength and Justice), bas-reliefs, 1865, by Noémi Constant (1832-1888), alias Claude Vignon (from 1866). The church is partly due to the fact that it houses (in the first chapel on the right) a Pietà executed in 17 days by Delacroix in 1844. A recent restoration revealed the beauty of the Pilgrims of Emmaus, a work painted in wax by François-Edouard Picot. A large grisaille of a frieze-shaped trompe-l’oeil bas-relief by Alexandre-Denis Abel de Pujol adorns the wall of the choir, in which a new altar designed by Marc Couturier has been installed since 1995
Church of Sainte-Élisabeth-de-Hongrie
The Sainte-Élisabeth-de-Hongrie church is a religious building located in Paris, dating from the 17th and 19th centuries. First chapel of the monastery of the nuns of the Third Order of Saint Francis (from 1646 to 1792) then Catholic parish church (since 1802) of the Temple district, it usually hosts the religious celebrations of the Sovereign Order of Malta in Paris (since 1938).
The church stands out mainly for its original facade, in the classical style, of Jesuit inspiration. A Pieta by Joseph-Michel-Ange Pollet is on the tympanum. Four statues, dating from the Second Empire: below: Saint Louis and Saint Eugenie (patron saint of the wife of Napoleon III); top: Saint Elizabeth and Saint Francis of Assisi.
Synagogue of Nazareth
The Nazareth Synagogue is a synagogue located at 15 rue Notre-Dame-de-Nazareth, in the Marais of Paris. It is the oldest of the great synagogues of Paris. It is attached to the Israelite Central Consistory of France. The synagogue is one of the two Parisian synagogues, with that of the rue des Tournelles, to have two floors of galleries for women, supported by cast iron columns. These are only used during major holidays. During the week, when the number of worshipers is between 30 and 50, or on Shabbat when the number of worshipers is around 150 people, men and women are distributed left and right on the ground floor.
At street level, the one-storey-high facade comprises a central bay with a large door, surmounted by a flat crenellated pediment, and two side bays with a narrower door, but without a pediment. On the outer edge of this door is engraved the motto of the French Republic: “Liberty, equality, fraternity”. Behind, we see the gable of the prayer hall, with a clock where the numbers have been replaced by the signs of the zodiac. During the 1999 storm, the hands of the clock were torn off. They should be reinstalled soon. A rose window with a Star of David in its center adorns the facade, below the clock.
On entering the synagogue, we find fixed to the wall of the room located to the left of the peristyle, two black stone plaques with inscription in gold letters, one with the text of the royal and prefectural ordinance authorizing the construction of the first synagogue of 1822 and on the second, the list of members of the Consistory of Paris at the time. The names of all members of the community massacred by the Nazis during World War II are listed on plaques fixed in the peristyle. The building, which can accommodate up to 1,200 worshippers, is in the neo-Moorish style. The building, the interior paintings and the stained glass windows were identically renovated around the year 2000. The twelve windows symbolize the twelve tribes of Israel. The liturgical furniture is period, as well as the organ, and the chandeliers, formerly equipped with candles.
Saint-Gervais-Saint-Protais is a Roman Catholic parish church located in the Marais of Paris, on Place Saint-Gervais in the Marais district, east of City Hall. The current church was built between 1494 and 1657, on the site of two earlier churches; the facade, completed last, was the first example of the French baroque style in Paris. The church contains remarkable examples of medieval carved choir stalls, stained glass from the 16th century, 17th century sculpture, and modern stained glass by Sylvie Gaudin and Claude Courageux.
The facade of the church was begun in 1616, While the nave of the church was late or flamboyant gothic, the facade introduced an entirely new classical style, which opened the way for the French Baroque. The facade placed the three classical orders of architecture one atop the other. The ground floor featured three bays with pairs of columns with capitals of the simplest Doric order, with a classical pediment. Above this is a level of three bays with columns of the ionic order, and above that is a single bay with paired columns of the Corinthian order, holding up a curved pediment. In order to attach the new facade to the gothic portion of the church, de Brosse designed a traverse and two semicircular chapels on either side of the facade. The facade served as model for other churches in France and Europe.
The nave of the church (1600–1620) is notable for its dramatic height and the simplicity and purity of its lines. While the lower level of the nave is late gothic, the upper level of the nave shows the influence of the Renaissance, with large semi-circular arches containing a series of large stained glass windows, filling the church with light. The upper windows are 21st-century, by Claude Courageux, illustrating the story of Adam and Eve, Noah’s ark, and the patriarchs and their spouses. The ceiling of the nave, where the arches of the walls come together in an elaborate embroidery, symbolizes the vaults of heaven.
The wooden choir stalls (16th–17th century), from the reigns of François I and Henri II, are richly carved with scenes of daily life, the different professions, and grotesque animals. Out of sight from those attending mass, they were designed as a place where the Canons of the church could relax during the service. Some of the figures were too intimate for more puritanical later centuries, and had to be censored, including a carved image of a man and woman bathing together.
The chapel of the Virgin, at the back of the church, has a dramatic late gothic vaulted ceiling, featuring a hanging crown of stone 2.5 meters in diameter, and abstract designs resembling flames. The room is often used for silent meditation by church visitors. The chapel has some of the oldest stained glass windows in the flamboyant gothic style, made by Jean Chastellain in 1517, illustrating the life of the Virgin Mary. Another remarkable window by Chastellain, “The Judgement of Solomon”, made in 1533 in the colorful Renaissance style, is found in a side chapel.
Église Saint-Paul-Saint-Louis is a church on rue Saint-Antoine in the Marais quarter of Paris. The present building was constructed from 1627 to 1641 by the Jesuit architects Étienne Martellange and François Derand, on the orders of Louis XIII of France. The church shows both elements inspired by Italian and French traditions. It can thus easily be compared to the Church of the Gesù, in Rome, but it is more stretched out, in height and in width. The plan is a compromise between the single nave lined with chapels, present in the Gesù, and the Latin cross of French tradition, noticeable in the stretched transept. This one, slightly protruding, as well as the short apse, the high windows allowing abundant light and the domeabove the transept crossing, are also reminiscent of slightly earlier Italian architecture, such as that of Carlo Maderno. On the other hand, the high proportions (the dome is 55 m high) would rather be closer to French Gothic art.
The facade, the subject of major restoration work August 2011to October 2012, is also composed like an Italian facade, but its verticality recalls the Gothic, and its highly ornate character, the architecture of the Low Countries. The main source of inspiration could have been the facade of the Saint-Gervais-Saint-Protais church in Paris, made in 1618 by Salomon de Brosse: the same organization in three bays on two levels for the side bays and on three for the central span, highlighted by a projection and coupled columns. In July 2014, a major scaffolding was put in place to restore the skylights of the lantern above the dome as well as the summit cross, which culminates at 56 meters.
The Église Saint-Merry is a parish church in Paris, located near the Centre Pompidou along the rue Saint Martin, and is dedicated to the 8th century abbot of Autun Abbey, Saint Mederic. Though the church was built in the midst of the Baroque period, its architecture is predominantly Flamboyant or late Gothic, with an abundance of floral and vegetal carved decoration, as well as sculptures of fantastic creatures, particularly on the door and window casings. The church is pressed by large buildings which almost hide three sides. The three portals on the west front are covered with a large pointed bay, and enclosed by two large buttresses. The sculpture on the west front is almost entirely from the time of Kin Louis-Philippe in the first half of the 19th century.
The interior of the church, like the exterior, shows Gothic architecture skilfully blended with Renaissance features and decoration. The slender Gothic pillars of the nave and choir which support the vaults have been transformed into Renaissance arcades with massive classical pillars, and abundant decoration. The walls and columns are covered with sculptural foliage, animals, and elongated statues of Biblical figures, including Saint Peter, Moses holding the Ten Commandments, and Saint Merri himself. Much of the art and decoration is found in the chapels that surround the nave and the choir, the disambulatory behind the altar, and in the transept. Some dates to the 17th century, while a large part comes from the 20th century, replacing art destroyed in the Revolution.
The statues in the archway of the door on the west front are copies of those in the south transept facade of Notre-Dame-de-Paris. A few more modern sculptures were added on the upper levels, including cheerful images of a rabbit and a dog at the top of cornice, and an assortment of whimsical gargoyles. The original bell square bell tower on the south side was built two stories high. It was given a third level in 1612, but after a fire in 1871 it was reduced to its original height. On the left side is a more slender bell tower, with decorative arches. It contains one of the oldest church bells in Paris, from 1331.
The Tour Saint-Jacques is the only remnant of the Saint-Jacques-la-Boucherie church, whose new bell tower was built between 1509 and 1523. This bell tower is erected in the middle of the first Parisian square, which bears its name, in the Marais of Paris. Flamboyant Gothic bell tower erected between 1509 and 1523, the Saint-Jacques tower is the only vestige of the Saint-Jacques-de-la-Boucherie church built in the 16th century and destroyed in 1797. This sanctuary was the meeting point and starting point on the Via Turonensis (or Route de Tours) of the pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela. The statue of Blaise Pascal, installed at the base of the tower, reminds us that he repeated his barometric experiments at Puy-de-Dôme here.
While taking up certain elements of the contemporary Louis XII style, this building shows the extent to which Parisian and particularly religious architecture is reluctant to new developments brought from Italy and remains, like the Hôtel de Cluny, essentially faithful to the style Flamboyant Gothic from the 15th century. A statue of Saint Jacques le Majeur surmounts, at the northwest corner, the platform on which a small meteorological station has been installed since 1891. It depends on the Observatory of Montsouris. The sculpted symbols of the four evangelists (the lion, the bull, the eagle and the man), appear in the angles. These statues were restored in the last century, like the gargoyles and the eighteen statues of saints which decorate the walls of the tower.
Marais have much to offer the culture enthusiast in contemporary art, 18th-century romanticism and classicism. The Marais is rich in art galleries. Its proximity to the Pompidou Center has made it a perfect place for amateurs. The district has a fine heritage of museums.
The museums of the Marais are among the best anywhere, the district is fortunate to be endowed with a large number of 17th century mansions which have been the perfect setting for setting up museums. Thus, the Salé hotel houses the Picasso Museum, the Carnavalet hotel has become the Paris History Museum, the Donon hotel presents the Cognacq-Jay collection, the National Archives museum has taken up residence in the hotel. de Soubise, and the Museum of Hunting and Nature in the Hôtel Guénégaud. As for the Museum of Arts and Crafts, it has moved into a former priory from the 12th century.
At the Musée Cognacq-Jay, visitors can browse artworks, sculptures, furniture bearing the maker’s mark and precious objects inside a beautiful Parisian mansion dating to the Enlightenment. The Musée Carnavalet displays mementoes of the French Revolution as well as items relating to the history of Paris. The Maison de Victor Hugo has been preserved exactly as the author of Les Misérables left it. The Musée d’art et d’histoire du Judaïsme is also situated in a fine private mansion, the Hôtel de Saint-Aignan. And the Musée Picasso showcases some of the Spanish painter’s best artworks alongside a number of temporary exhibitions.
The most emblematic cultural place in the Marais is probably the Center Pompidou, easily spotted because of its sheer size and the brightly coloured tubes making up its exterior. It houses France’s biggest collection of modern and contemporary art. While you’re there, do go up to the top floor to admire one of the most breath-taking views over Paris.
There are also many art galleries all around the Place des Vosges. The Marais is very lively. There are an impressive number of cafes, bars and restaurants for its small size. Art lovers and collectors of all kinds of art will enjoy a browse in the numerous art galleries dotting the district, such as the Galerie Perrotin, Thaddaeus Ropac, Daniel Templon, Karsten Greve and Eric Dupont.
Museum of Arts and Crafts
The Musée des Arts et Métiers is an industrial design museum in Paris that houses the collection of the Conservatoire national des arts et métiers, which was founded in 1794 as a repository for the preservation of scientific instruments and inventions. The museum presents seven different collections: Scientific Instruments, Materials, Energy, Mechanics, Construction, Communication, Transportation. In the former church of St-Martin-des-Champs Priory are displayed cars, planes, the Foucault Pendulum and some other monumental objects.
The museum has over 80,000 objects and 15,000 drawings in its collection, of which about 2,500 are on display in Paris. The rest of the collection is preserved in a storehouse in Saint-Denis. Among its collection is an original version of the Foucault pendulum, the original model of Liberty Enlightening the World (commonly known as the Statue of Liberty) by Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi, some of the first planes (Clément Ader’s Avion III, Louis Blériot’s Blériot XI…), and Blaise Pascal’s Pascaline (the first mechanical calculator).
The permanent exhibition of the Musée des Arts et Métiers is organized into seven thematic collections themselves subdivided into four chronological periods (before 1750, 1750-1850, 1850-1950, after 1950): scientific instruments, materials, construction, communication, energy, mechanics and transport. Additional presentations insist on particular points: the laboratory of Lavoisier, the theater of the automatons, the models of teaching of Mrs. de Genlis. The old church presents, among other things, the experiment of the rotation of the Earth using Foucault’s Pendulum.
Scientific instruments are represented by the collections of the physics cabinets of Jacques Charles or Abbé Nollet, to which are added the laboratory of Antoine Laurent de Lavoisier, the calculating machines of Blaise Pascal, the precision clocks of Ferdinand Berthoud, the instruments used by Léon Foucault to measure the speed of light, Frédéric Joliot-Curie ‘s cyclotron at the Collège de France and several objects illustrating the progress of robotics.
National Conservatory of Arts and Crafts
The Conservatoire national des arts et métiers is a French public higher education institution, national research centre and grand établissement as well as grande école of engineering. Founded in 1794 by the French bishop Henri Grégoire, CNAM’s core mission is dedicated to provide education and conduct research for the promotion of science and industry. With 70,000 students and a budget of €174 million, it is the second largest university by enrolment in Europe for distance learning and continued education, after the University of Hagen. CNAM provides certificates, diplomas, Bachelor’s degrees, Master’s degrees and PhD’s in Science, Engineering, Law, Management (AMBA-accredited), Finance, Accountancy, Urban Planning and Humanities.
The headquarters of the National Conservatory of Arts and Crafts is located in Paris at 270, 278 and 292 rue Saint-Martin (Paris). This set of historic buildings corresponds to the former Saint-Martin-des-Champs priory. It houses the Museum of Arts and Crafts around which the entire history of the establishment has been built. The CNAM hosts also a museum dedicated to scientific and industrial inventions: Musée des Arts et Métiers.
The Musée Carnavalet in Paris is dedicated to the history of the city. The museum occupies two neighboring mansions: the Hôtel Carnavalet and the former Hôtel Le Peletier de Saint Fargeau. On the advice of Baron Haussmann, the civil servant who transformed Paris in the latter half of the 19th century, the Hôtel Carnavalet was purchased by the Municipal Council of Paris in 1866; it was opened to the public in 1880. Carnavalet Museum is one of the 14 City of Paris’s Museums that have been incorporated since January 1, 2013 in the public institution Paris Musées. It reopened in 2021 with new rooms and galleries and an expanded collection.
The building, an historic monument from the 16th century, contains furnished rooms from different periods of Paris history, historic objects, and a very large collection of paintings of Paris life; it features works by artists including Joos Van Cleve, Frans Pourbus the Younger, Jacques-Louis David, Hippolyte Lecomte, François Gérard, Louis-Léopold Boilly, and Étienne Aubry, to Tsuguharu Foujita, Louis Béroud, Jean Béraud, Carolus Duran, Jean-Louis Forain, Pierre Puvis de Chavannes, Johan Barthold Jongkind, Henri Gervex, Alfred Stevens, Paul Signac, and Simon-Auguste. They depict the city’s history and development, and its notable characters.
The Musée Picasso is an art gallery located in the Hôtel Salé in rue de Thorigny, in the Marais district of Paris, France, dedicated to the work of the Spanish artist Pablo Picasso (1881–1973). The museum collection includes more than 5,000 works of art (paintings, sculptures, drawings, ceramics, prints, engravings and notebooks) and tens of thousands of archived pieces from Picasso’s personal repository, including the artist’s photographic archive, personal papers, correspondence, and author manuscripts. It also contains some Iberian bronzes and a good collection of African art, by which Picasso was greatly inspired. The museum also contains a large number of works that Picasso painted after his seventieth birthday.
There are a few rooms with thematic presentations, but the museum largely follows a chronological sequence, displaying painting, drawings, sculptures and prints. Other items include photographs, manuscripts, newspaper clippings and photographs to provide additional contextual information. The museum has also made an effort to present works by cartoonists who mocked or caricatured Picasso’s work from the 1950s. The second floor has a special area set aside for temporary exhibitions and prints. The third floor contains the library, the documentation and archives department (reserved for research), and the curator’s offices.
Museum of Hunting and Nature
The Musée de la Chasse et de la Nature (Museum of Hunting and Nature) is a private museum of hunting and nature located in the Marais of Paris, France. Exhibits focus on the relationships between humans and the natural environment through the traditions and practices of hunting.
The collection is partly made up of objects and works that were gathered personally by François and Jacqueline Sommer: their collection totalled nearly three thousand hunting-related objects, including nearly five hundred engravings. The museum displays ancient and contemporary works together.
The museum organizes several temporary exhibitions each year in Paris and Chambord. These exhibitions are of a heritage nature (iconography of hunting in the 19th century, iconography of the dog in the history of art, practices and culture of hunting in the Renaissance, etc.) or present the work of contemporary artists.
Museum of Jewish Art and History
The Musée d’Art et d’Histoire du Judaïsme or mahJ is the largest French museum of Jewish art and history. It is located in the Hôtel de Saint-Aignan in the Marais district in Paris. The museum conveys the rich history and culture of Jews in Europe and North Africa from the Middle Ages to the 20th century. Its fine collection of religious objects, archives, manuscripts, and works of art promotes the contributions of Jews to France and to the world, especially in the arts. The museum’s collections include works of art from Marc Chagall and Amedeo Modigliani.
An important place is devoted to the Jewish presence in the arts with painters from the School of Paris (Chagall, Kikoïne, Soutine …) and contemporary artists (Christian Boltanski, Sophie Calle …). The museum has a bookshop selling books on Jewish art and history and Judaica, a media library with an online catalogue accessible to the public, and an auditorium which offers conferences, lectures, concerts, performances, and seminars.
The Musée Cognacq-Jay is a museum located in the Hôtel Donon in the Marais at 8 rue Elzévir, Paris, France. The museum’s collection was formed between 1900–1925 by Théodore-Ernest Cognacq (1839–1928) and his wife Marie-Louise Jaÿ (1838–1925), founders of La Samaritaine department store. At his death, Cognacq gave the collection to the City of Paris. The Cognacq-Jay Museum is one of the 14 City of Paris’ Museums that have been incorporated since 1 January 2013 in the public institution Paris Musées.
The museum contains an exceptional collection of fine art and decorative items, about 1200 items in total, with an emphasis on 18th century France, ranging from European and Chinese ceramics, jewels, and snuffboxes, to paintings by Louis-Léopold Boilly, François Boucher, Canaletto, Jean-Siméon Chardin, Jean-Honoré Fragonard, Jean-Baptiste Greuze, Maurice Quentin de La Tour, Sir Thomas Lawrence, Hubert Robert, Giovanni Battista Tiepolo, and Jean-Antoine Watteau; sculpture by Jean-Antoine Houdon, Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne, and Jacques-François-Joseph Saly; and fine furniture attributed to Jean-François Oeben and Roger Vandercruse Lacroix. 17th century is also represented, notably with two paintings by Rembrandt while 19th century is represented with works by Camille Corot, Paul Cézanne and also Edgar Degas.
The Musée de la Serrure, also known as the Musée de la Serrurerie or the Musée Bricard, was a private museum of locks and keys located in the Marais at 1 rue de la Perle, Paris, France. The museum closed in 2003.
The museum was established by the Bricard Company, and was located within the Hôtel Libéral Bruant (1685), the home of Libéral Bruant (1635-1697), Parisian architect of Les Invalides. It was dedicated to the art of keys, locks, and door knockers, and displayed an assortment of locks from Roman times to the present, including keys made of bronze and in Gallo-Roman iron, knockers from the Middle Ages, and locks and keys from the 16th through 19th centuries. The museum also had a locksmith’s workshop, plus displays of ironworks.
The Archives nationales are the national archives of France. They preserve the archives of the French state. The National Archives have one of the largest and oldest archival collections in the world. As of 2020, they held 373 km (232 mi) of physical records (the total length of occupied shelves put next to each other) from the year 625 to the present time, and 74.75 terabytes (74,750 GB) of electronic archives.
The National Archives of France also keep the archives of local secular and religious institutions from the Paris Region seized at the time of the French Revolution (such as local royal courts of Paris, suburban abbeys and monasteries, etc), as well as the archives produced by the notaries of Paris during five centuries, and many private archives donated or placed in the custody of the National Archives by prominent aristocratic families, industrialists, and historical figures.
The Centre Pompidou is a complex building in the Beaubourg area of the Marais of Paris, near Les Halles, rue Montorgueil, and the Marais. It houses the Bibliothèque publique d’information (Public Information Library), a vast public library; the Musée National d’Art Moderne, which is the largest museum for modern art in Europe; and IRCAM, a centre for music and acoustic research. It is named after Georges Pompidou, the President of France from 1969 to 1974 who commissioned the building, and was officially opened on 31 January 1977 by President Valéry Giscard d’Estaing.
It was designed in the style of high-tech architecture by the architectural team of Richard Rogers, Su Rogers, Renzo Piano, along with Gianfranco Franchini. It was the first major example of an ‘inside-out’ building with its structural system, mechanical systems, and circulation exposed on the exterior of the building. Initially, all of the functional structural elements of the building were colour-coded: green pipes are plumbing, blue ducts are for climate control, electrical wires are encased in yellow, and circulation elements and devices for safety are red. According to Piano, the design was meant to be “not a building but a town where you find everything – lunch, great art, a library, great music”.
Maison de Victor Hugo
Maison de Victor Hugo is a writer’s house museum located where Victor Hugo lived for 16 years between 1832–1848. It is one of the 14 City of Paris’ Museums that have been incorporated since January 1, 2013 in the public institution Paris Musées. The museum consists of an antechamber leading through the Chinese living room and medieval style dining room to Victor Hugo’s bedroom where he died in 1885.
The museum is in the Place des Vosges (3rd and Marais of Paris) and dates from 1605 when a lot was granted to Isaac Arnauld in the south-east corner of the square. It was substantially improved by the de Rohans family, who gave the building its current name of Hôtel de Rohan-Guéménée. Victor Hugo was 30 when he moved into the house in October 1832 with his wife Adèle. They rented a 280 square metre apartment on the second floor. The mansion was converted into a museum when a large donation was made by Paul Meurice to the city of Paris to buy the house.
The Pavillon de l’Arsenal is the Paris Center for architecture and urbanism, a center for urban planning and museum located in the Marais at 21, boulevard Morland, Paris, France. The museum building was built in 1878-1879 for Laurent-Louis Borniche, wood merchant and amateur painter, near the former site of a Celestine monastic community turned arsenal. In 1988 it became a center for documentation and exhibitions related to urban planning and the architecture of Paris.
Today the museum’s activities include operating its exhibitions, publishing reference books on issues related to the daily life of Parisians, and providing a forum for individuals and authorities involved in the city’s urban planning. Its permanent exhibit (800 m²) displays Parisian architecture and shows how the city has evolved. Three additional spaces are used for temporary exhibits on topics including housing in Paris, the Paris of Baron Haussmann and of private homes, projects for Paris 2012, and other aspects of French and international architecture.
The Hôtel de Sens is a medieval hôtel particulier, or private mansion, in the Marais, in the Marais of Paris, France. It nowadays houses the Forney art library. The Forney Library is part of the network of specialized libraries of the City of Paris, its collections having developed around the decorative arts, crafts and their techniques, fine arts and graphic arts. It regularly organizes exhibitions.
The collections are enriched with documents devoted to the fine arts (painting, sculpture, architecture, drawing, engraving) and to the graphic arts (by integrating the collection of the Library of graphic arts in 2006, previously kept at the town hall of the 6th arrondissement of Paris). They also include many foreign works, notably Anglo-Saxon, Italian, Slavic and Chinese. The documentary policy currently favors the fields of fashion and costume, decorative arts and crafts, the art of gardens, iconography, the history of printing and the history of art in general.
The Marais became a centre of LGBT culture, beginning in the 1980s. The gay community began to move to the Marais in the 1980s and a flourishing gay scene soon emerged, with the opening of LGBT-friendly bars, clubs, restaurants and bookshops. Florence Tamagne, author of Paris: ‘Resting on its Laurels’?, wrote that the Marais “is less a ‘village’ where one lives and works than an entrance to a pleasure area” and that this differentiates it from Anglo-American gay villages. Tamagne added that like US gay villages, the Marais has “an emphasis on ‘commercialism, gay pride and coming-out of the closet'”.
The area remains a hub of LGBT life in Paris today and you will find many gay and lesbian spaces and shops in Rue des Archives, Rue du Temple, Rue de la Verrerie and Rue des Lombards. Popular spots are Open Café or COX to have a drink, Raidd Bar for live music and entertainment and Tango (La Boîte à frissons) or the legendary Le Dépot for clubbing, one of the largest cruising bars in Europe as of 2014 is in the Marais area. Mutinerie and Bar’ouf are among the best lesbian bars. And do look out for the rainbow pedestrian crossings painted on the road at intersections on Rue du Temple and Rue des Archives.
The Marais has a relatively large number of green spaces for its size. The Place des Vosges, undoubtedly one of the most beautiful squares in Paris, bordered by red brick buildings, offers a moment of calm among the busy streets. Here was where Victor Hugo used to lived.
Located at the foot of the Center Pompidou, the Igor Stravinky fountain was created in 1983 by the artists Jean Tinguely and Niki de Saint Phalle. It is recognizable by its 16 colorful sculptures animated by water jets evoking the work of the famous Russian composer. Located in a square sheltered from traffic, the Stravinky fountain is bordered by a few restaurants, the contemporary music research center (IRCAM) and the Saint-Merri church.
The Anne-Frank garden is a green space in the Sainte-Avoye district of the Marais of Paris, at 14, impasse Berthaud. This garden covers 4,000 m 2 in the former gardens of the Hôtel de Saint-Aignan, where the Museum of Jewish Art and History is now located (entrance via rue du Temple). It is the only municipal public garden in the Sainte-Avoye district.
Square du Temple – Elie-Wiesel is a Parisian garden in the Marais, created in 1857. The garden includes a bandstand, dating from 1900, a play area for children, lawns, the largest of which is open to the public fromApril 15toOctober 15, fountains and a water feature with an artificial waterfall on rocks in the forest of Fontainebleau. The grid that surrounds the square was designed by the architect Gabriel Davioud.
Square Émile-Chautemps, is a green space in Paris, located in the Marais of Paris. This square located between the boulevard de Sébastopol, the rue Salomon-de-Caus, the rue Papin and the rue Saint-Martin opposite the National Conservatory of Arts and Crafts (CNAM) in the Marais of the capital, is accessible by 98 bis, boulevard de Sébastopol. This square honors the doctor of medicine, deputy, senator, then minister Émile Chautemps (1850-1918). The square was created in 1858 as part of the transformations of Paris under the Second Empire.
Other public spaces in the Marais on the whole small spaces, gardens or squares, but fairly well distributed, such as the square Louis XIII, the square Henri-galli, the place Jean-Paul II, the square Jean XXIII, the square of Ile-de-France, the square Barye, the square Charles-Victor-Langlois, the garden des Rosiers, the garden of the Bataillon-de-l’ONU, the square Albert-Schweitzer, the garden of the Hotel de Sens, the garden Roger-Priou-Valjean, the square Marie-Trintignant, the square of the Tour Saint- Jacques…
There’s a lot of stuff to buy in the Marais, mainly in the side streets of the upper Marais down near the Marais. Of particular interest are the large number of men’s clothing stores on rue de Turenne. Between the urban Paris, small boutique hotels with historic cachet and good value for money, the choice is varied, but not necessarily cheap. Art galleries and antique shops are not uncommon in the borough either.
The neighbouring streets are filled with shops of every description, notably Rue Vieille-du-Temple, Rue du Temple and Rue Charlot. Major brands have stores in the district, including Uniqlo, COS, The Kooples and Scotch & Soda. And the Marais is a paradise for vintage shopping, there are plenty of shops selling pre-loved clothing.
The Marais is an authentic Paris neighbourhood where many French traditions remain intact. The oldest market in Paris, the Marché couvert des Enfants Rouges, is on Rue de Bretagne. With colourful stalls, fresh produce, flowers and tasty dishes prepared on the spot, it is a popular meeting place for Parisians. On market days, the stalls spread out into the neighbouring place Baudoyer and even the courtyard of the Paris Centre arrondissement town hall. On Rue de Bretagne, there are a number of shops selling regional French specialities and some choice places to stock up on food, from bakeries to cheesemongers.
With its beautiful cupola and bird’s-eye view of the Hôtel de Ville, BHV MARAIS is a Paris retail icon. This department store built in 1856 in the heart of the Marais has all the top ready-to-wear brands under one roof. It also stocks a wide range of leisure and design items and has a variety of dining options.
In recent times, luxury brands such as Karl Lagerfeld, Gucci and John Galliano have also opened boutiques in the district. A number of concept stores have also cropped up in the Marais, like Bring France Home stocks French-made souvenirs of the City of Lights, while Front de mode specializes in eco-friendly clothing.
The Village Saint-Paul-Le-Marais has 200 or so antiques dealers and design shops. It’s the perfect place to browse for unusual finds. If you can’t see what you’re looking for here, then there are plenty of treasures to be found at the brocantes (antiques markets) held in the Marais from early springtime into mid-autumn.
Mariages Frères is a treasure trove of quality teas, while Diptyque is the place to go for fabulous scented candles. You can also try out new fragrances at Fragonard and browse an attractive selection of home decoration and designer furniture at one of the Fleux stores on Rue Sainte-Croix de la Bretonnerie.
There are nice places, trendy or traditional throughout the Marais. If you’re looking more upscale, try the northeast part of Bastille. Among the area’s restaurants for lunch or dinner are Glou, l’Art de la Truffe and Robert et Louise, all of which put a contemporary twist on traditional French cuisine. At Le Bel Canto, on the banks of the Seine, the staff not only serve fine French food, they also sing opera arias. The Marais has Michelin-starred restaurants such as L’Ambroisie on Place des Vosges as well as classic Parisian brasseries: Bofinger, Le petit Bofinger, Le Comptoir des Archives and Les Philosophes.
There are plenty of street food stalls selling whatever takes your fancy: crêpes, noodles or bagels. The best falafel in Paris is also to be found in the Marais: head for one of the little shops on Rue des Rosiers, like L’As du Fallafel, to try these delicious chickpea patties topped with roasted aubergine, fresh veggies and homemade tahini sauce.
The Marais is paradise for sweet food. Traditional boulangeries selling bakery treats are everywhere, tea rooms have cropped up on many streets, and some of the big-name pastry chefs have opened up shops here, from Yann Couvreur and Pierre Hermé to Christophe Michalak. If your taste runs to exotic treats, visit one of the Yiddish bakeries on Rue des Rosiers to sample delights such as linzer torte, strüdel, baklava and vatrouchka. The most popular ice cream places in the area are Pozzetto, Amorino…
Listen to live jazz in the cellar of 38’Rivoli, sip a coffee on the rooftop of the Musée Picasso, munch falafel in rue des Rosiers, spend time with friends at a rooftop bar like the Perchoir. La Perle, Candelaria and Le Progrès are three of the trendiest and liveliest bars in the area. The many café terraces in the Marais are also popular with Parisians, who come here to have a drink with friends on summer evenings. There are bars where you can dance, speakeasies, karaoke bars …