Things to see and do - Paris
A Stroll Through The Marais :
Nearby tourist sites
Nearby hotelsSee all hotel tips Paris
Things to do nearby
- 140 €
- 145 €
- 109 €
A Stroll Through The Marais
A Stroll Through The MaraisPedestrian, 4 km, 1 day
A dilapidated and disreputable neighbourhood 50 years ago, le Marais is now one of the gems of the French capital. Restored as part of an initiative by the former French Minister of Culture, André Malraux, it’s one of the few Parisian neighbourhoods to have been spared by Baron Haussmann ...Customise this route and add it to My travel book
With its medieval alleys, its elegant renovated classical mansions, its atmosphere, this lively quarter is the setting for delightful strolls, in particular as the number of galleries, fashionable boutiques, bars have flourished. Who would have thought that life would so return to this quarter when André Malraux set the renovation of it underway in this quarter would be 1962 ? At the time, the mansions had been taken over by constructions parasitaires, workshops and boutiques, divided into flats where the living conditions were often unhealthy and it never looked as if it would recover its old glorious past! Its name says it all: there were first of all marshlands where monasteries s were built in the 13C. The monks reclaimed and drained the land and cultivated it. Charles V moving into the Hôtel Saint-Paul and Henri IV building the Place des Voges were going to result in the development of the Marais: important nobles and courtiers built splendid houses there and developed the French-style mansion between the courtyard and the garden. Yet fashion was already moving on and the Marais declined while the fashionable world moved towards the West.... The Marais then became a popular quarter, while the Jews from central Europe set up around the Rue des Rosiers. Renovation and its closeness to the Georges-Pompidou centre did the rest: today, Jews, gays, lovers of art and ruined buildings, «bobos» and artists live there.
This vast square, probably conceived by Métezeau, was the wish of Henri IV. When completed in 1612, the Place Royale became the centre of elegant life, with carrousels and pleasure. The square got its present name in 1800 in honour of the département which was first to pay its taxes. The square contains 36 pavilions which have kept their original design: alternating stone and false brick facing, arcaded ground floor, with two upper floors crowned by a steep slate roof with garret windows, a rear-courtyard and hidden gardens... In brief, a setting comparable to the great «plazas mayores» of Castillian towns. The soberly-decorated pavilion of the Queen responds symmetrically to the Pavilion of the King. In the centre of the square, a pleasant public garden is a good place to catch the rays of the sun on a fine day... . Unless you prefer the shade of the arcade where from time to time an improvised classical concert takes place, while the windows of the art galleries, or antique shops charm, shock or astonish the passer by ... some of whom will be in search of the shades of the past that inhabit this square:: Madame de Sévigné was born at No. 1 bis, Théophile Gautier and Alphonse Daudet lived at No. 8, Marion Delorme at No. 11, Bossuet at No. 17, Richelieu at No. . 21 (two duellists paid with their life for the insolence of defending their honour beneath his windows when the Cardinal had just prohibited duels). And of course Victor Hugo!
Carnavalet Mansion and Museum
Setting off from Place des Vosges, you will find the hôtel d'Albret (Nos. 29bis and 31), hôtel Barbes (No. 33), which has a pretty courtyard, hôtel de Savourny (at No. 4 rue Elzévir), the hôtel de Coulanges (Nos. 35-37), hôtel de Sandréville (No. 26), the hôtel d'Alméras (No. 30), with its gateway with a ram's head, hôtel de Poussepin (No. 34, the Swiss Cultural Centre)... For the literary-minded, the layout at No. 51 the «Poldavie» from the Belle Hortense by Jacques Roubaud.
Like the Hôtel de Soubise, it was built in 1705 in the second Louis XIV style by P. -A. Delamair. Four cardinals of Rohan, prince-archbishops of Strasbourg, lived there. More prince than archbishop, the last was implicated in the affair of the Queen's Necklace (1785). In the right-hand courtyard, admire the quivering Chevaux du soleil by Robert Le Lorrain. The interior decoration of the apartments (wainscotting, upholstery, Cabinet des Singes by Christophe Huet) dates from 1750.
In the Hôtel Salé (17C) over 200 paintings are collected enabling you to follow the development of the painter and the man, an exceptional collection of sculptures, 3 000 drawings and engravings and a number of ceramics by the master from Malaga. The painter's personal collection made up of some fifty works by painters he admired (Braque, Cézanne, Rousseau, etc. ) completes the exhibits, a donation.
The church of the Jesuits, in the present-day lycée Charlemagne, was built between 1627 and 1641 on land donated by Louis XIII. A façade where the classical orders are one atop another conceals the dome. The light and spacious interior with sculptures and decorations in profusion, was the setting for ceremonies that were more worldly than truly pious, under the musical direction of Marc-Antoine Charpentier. Don't miss the marble sculpture by Germain Pilon, the Vierge douloureuse.
This small area, stretching between the streets of Jardins-Saint-Paul, Charlemagne, Saint-Paul and Ave-Maria, is filled with inner courtyards around which many antiquarians have set up their premises.