Guide Tour of the 4th arrondissement of Paris, France

The 4th arrondissement of Paris, also known as the arrondissement of Hôtel-de-Ville, is one of the 20 arrondissements of the capital city of France. The 4th arrondissement is in the center of Paris. It is very touristy, including some good region on the right bank. contains the Renaissance-era Paris City Hall, the Renaissance square of Place des Vosges, the overtly modern Pompidou Centre, the Notre-Dame de Paris as well as the Île Saint-Louis.

The 4th arrondissement 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. The 4th arrondissement is 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.

The 4th arrondissement of Paris is located on the right bank of the Seine. The Fourth arrondissement of Paris is situated on the right bank of River Seine and also includes half the island of Île de la Cité and the whole of Île Saint-Louis. The 4th arrondissement is the third smallest arrondissement of Paris, and is bordered by the 1st arrondissement, the 3rd arrondissement, the 5th arrondissement, the 11th arrondissement and the 12th arrondissement.

The 4th arrondissement 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 4th arrondissement 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.

Notre-Dame de Paris Cathedral, whose construction began in the 12th century, is the jewel of the arrondissement. Crossing its spacious esplanade, you will have the opportunity to admire the details of its magnificent Gothic facade. The towers of Notre-Dame Cathedral with one of the most beautiful panoramic views of Paris. The upper room reveals an admirable Gothic architecture vaulted, approach the famous gargoyles, including the famous Stryge, the belfry, the bells and the Emmanuel dome. Discover in its crypt the foundation stones near the banks of the Seine, which date back to Roman times.

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.

Administrative districts
The 4th arrondissement is made up of four administrative districts: To the west, the Saint-Merri district, in the center the Saint-Gervais district, to the east, the Arsenal district, and to the south the Notre-Dame district. With the 3rd arrondissement, it is part of the Marais district, which notably includes large Jewish communities.

Quartier Saint-Merri
The Saint-Merri district is the 13th administrative district of Paris, located in the 4th arrondissement. The district is named in honor of Bishop Merry of Paris, a monk and prelate in the 7th century, to whom the Saint-Merri church is dedicated. Partially pedestrianized, it is now one of the main tourist areas of Paris, in particular due to the presence of the Georges-Pompidou center, also known as Beaubourg, and numerous shops, and also because it is close to and between the Les Halles district, at the center of the capital’s public transport network, and the Marais.

Quartier Saint-Gervais
The Saint-Gervais district is the 14th administrative district of Paris located in the 4th arrondissement. It takes its name from the martyrs Saint Gervais and Saint Protais, whose legendary life is recounted in The Golden Legend and which is the name of the church of Saint-Gervais-Saint-Protais. It was, under the Old Regime, the church of the building brotherhoods. The current Saint-Gervais district encompasses the former Saint-Paul districts to the east and Saint-Gervais to the west, separated by the rue de Fourcy. Together they form the southern half of the Marais.

Quartier de l’Arsenal
The Arsenal district is the 15th administrative district of Paris located to the east of the 4th arrondissement. The district owes its name to the presence, since 1533, of the King’s Arsenal or Grand-Arsenal, which extended along the Seine, from the rue du Petit-Musc, to the enclosure of Charles V. Under Louis XIV, the Arsenal became an arms store and served as a chamber of justice. In 1757, the Marquis de Paulmy d’Argenson (1722-1787), bailiff of the artillery, created a library there, known today as the Arsenal library, one of the most important in Paris in the 19th century. Between 1807 and 1871 stood the reserve attic along the basin of the Arsenal. L’Louviers Island was attached to the shore in 1847. Since 1983, the basin of the Arsenal shelters a marina (the port of the Arsenal).

Quartier Notre-Dame
The Notre-Dame district is the 16th administrative district of Paris, located in the 4th arrondissement. It takes its name from Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris. The district includes the Île Saint-Louis and part of the Île de la Cité up to the Boulevard du Palais. The district is practically made up of part of the Île de la Cité and the Île Saint-Louis: the Seine forms the southern border (Quai Saint-Michel, Quai de Montebello, Quai de la Tournelle and part of the Quai Saint Bernard). In the north the border is in the middle of the Seine, in the west it is the Boulevard du Palais and in the east it is the Seine.

Main Attractions
The 4th arrondissement brings together monuments and buildings known from all over the world. Notre-Dame de Paris, the Ile de la Cité, the Marais, the Place des Vosges, the Beaubourg museum, the Ile Saint-Louis, the quays of the Seine, part of the Bastille…

A good part of the district is very touristy, the Marais on one side and the old Jewish quarter, around the rue des Rosiers on the other, are both endowed with an exceptional charm. Visit the beautiful terraces of Place du marché-Sainte-Catherine and the quays of the Seine.

Explore the Marais towards Bastille, between the two is the Saint-Paul district with extremely pleasant old Renaissance-Classical style houses and many shops. Île Saint-Louis is also a small neighborhood with character. The ice creams at Berthillon are an almost obligatory stop when you pass on the island.

The Île de la Cité has been inhabited since the 1st century BC, when it was occupied by the Parisii tribe of the Gauls. The Right Bank was first settled in the 5th century. Since the end of the 19th century, le Marais has been populated by a significant Jewish population, the Rue des Rosiers being at the heart of its community. There are a handful of kosher restaurants, and Jewish institutions. Since the 1990s, gay culture has influenced the arrondissement, with new residents opening a number of bars and cafés in the area by the town hall.

Religious buildings includue: the Notre-Dame Cathedral, the synagogue on rue des Tournelles, the Temple du Marais and the Tour Saint-Jacques. But also important civil buildings: Shoah Memorial, Lycée Charlemagne, Commercial Court, Quartier des Célestins, Colonne de Juillet (place de la Bastille), Hotel-Dieu…

Historical heritage
The 4th arrondissement contains 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 (you can see the July column in its center), the place Georges-Pompidou: it hosts the National Center of art and culture Georges Pompi dou, rue des Ecouffes: Saint-Paul metro, part of the Jewish quarter of the Marais, there are Jewish shops, the Pletzl; rue de Rivoli: it leads to the Louvre…

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, 4th arrondissement, 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.

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Religious heritage
The most famous monument of the 4th arrondissement is undoubtedly the Notre-Dame de Paris cathedral, but this small arrondissement 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…

Notre-Dame de Paris
Notre-Dame de Paris Cathedral, commonly known as Notre-Dame, is one of the most iconic monuments in Paris and France. It is located on the Ile de la Cité and is a Catholic place of worship, seat of the Archdiocese of Paris, dedicated to the Virgin Mary. The cathedral is one of the most widely recognized symbols of the city of Paris and the French nation. The cathedral inspires many artistic works, in particular the 1831 publication of Victor Hugo’s novel Notre-Dame de Paris inspired popular interest in the cathedral. Approximately 12 million people visit Notre-Dame annually, making it the most visited monument in Paris.

Begun at the instigation of Bishop Maurice de Sully, its construction spanned approximately two centuries, from 1163 to the middle of the 14th century. After the French Revolution, the cathedral benefited between 1845 and 1867 from a major, sometimes controversial, restoration under the direction of the architect Eugène Viollet-le-Duc, who incorporated unpublished elements and motifs into it. For these reasons, the style is not totally uniform: the cathedral has characteristics of primitive Gothic and radiant Gothic. The two rose windows that adorn each of the arms of the transept are among the largest in Europe.

The cathedral is linked to many episodes in the history of France. Royal parish church in the Middle Ages, it hosted the arrival of the Holy Crown in 1239, then the coronation of Napoleon I in 1804, the baptism of Henri d’Artois, the Duke of Bordeaux, in 1821, as well as the funeral of several Presidents of the French Republic (Adolphe Thiers, Sadi Carnot, Paul Doumer, Charles de Gaulle, Georges Pompidou, François Mitterrand). It is also under its vaults that a Magnificat was sung during the liberation of Paris in 1944. The 850th anniversary of its construction was celebrated in 2013.

Saint-Gervais-Saint-Protais church
Saint-Gervais-Saint-Protais is a Roman Catholic parish church located in the 4th arrondissement 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.

Saint-Paul-Saint-Louis church
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 workAugust 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.

Saint-Merri Church
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.

Saint-Jacques tower
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 4th arrondissement 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.

Cultural spaces
The most emblematic cultural place in the 4th arrondissement is probably the Center Pompidou, the contemporary art museum of the city of Paris. There are also many art galleries all around the Place des Vosges. The 4th arrondissement is very lively. There are an impressive number of cafes, bars and restaurants for its small size.

Pompidou Centre
The Centre Pompidou is a complex building in the Beaubourg area of the 4th arrondissement 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 4th arrondissement 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.

Arsenal Pavilion
The Pavillon de l’Arsenal is the Paris Center for architecture and urbanism, a center for urban planning and museum located in the 4th arrondissement 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.

Forney Library
The Hôtel de Sens is a medieval hôtel particulier, or private mansion, in the Marais, in the 4th arrondissement 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.

Public spaces
The 4th arrondissement 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.

Other public spaces in the 4th arrondissement 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 are nice places, trendy or traditional throughout the 4th arrondissement, particularly in the Marais, on the Île Saint-Louis, and around the Pompidou centre. If you’re looking more upscale, try the northeast part of Bastille, on the Ile de la Cité: it will be expensive, of relative quality, unimaginative and likely to be crowded with tourists.

Taste the falafels on rue des Rosiers and Berthillon ice cream on rue Saint-Louis en l’Ile, or strolling through the village of Saint-Paul and quai d’Anjou along the Seine.

The restaurant “In the dark?” offers a rather unique dining experience, where all diners eat in the dark. The idea is to amplify other senses, such as taste and smell, by allowing visitors to enjoy their meal in a unique way. The Marais district has restaurants that offer authentic falafel dishes, L’As du Fallafel claims to serve the ‘best falafel in the world’. Located on Ile-Saint-Louis, Berthillon sells some of the best ice cream in the capital, as well as a large selection of pastries.

The Peloton Cafe offers coffee and sometimes organized bike tours to admire the city’s landmarks. La Caféotheque located next to the Seine, the only cafes in town to do its own roasting and offer homemade coffee beans.

The Maria Loca is a cocktail bar located next to the Place de la Bastille, also hosts concerts and events sometime. La Belle Hortense is a place combining reading and drinking, by offering wine and a book from their collection.

Between the urban Paris, small boutique hotels with historic cachet and good value for money, the choice is varied, but not necessarily cheap. Shops in the 4th arrondissement are generally luxury shops. There are famous markets such as the flower market on Place Louis Lepine on the Île de la Cité. One of the most famous brands in Paris is the BHV, one of the first “department stores” in Paris.

Tags: France