Marais — 3rd & 4th
The popular Marais area offers much more than its convenient central location on the right bank, just west of the Bastille. A historic district, it is also one of the most artistic and fashionable with many art galleries and boutiques. The co-existence of the gay and Jewish communities makes for an interesting, cultural quarter.
The Marais is one of the only areas unchanged by modern development and as such, it is also one of the most intriguing. A riverside swamp until the thirteenth century, the construction of the Place des Vosges by Henri IV in 1605 attracted a wave of aristocracy. Following this relatively short period of grandeur, the area degenerated into poverty. In the decades following the 1960s, however, the area once again became restored and gentrified.
Today, the Marais is known for its beautiful squares, charming narrow streets and renovated Renaissance hotels particuliers (private mansion residences). Some of these have become chic flats, boutiques and offices, while others house museums such as the Musee Picasso and the Musee Carnavalet. The Marais is also home to France’s national Museum of Modern Art – the Pompidou Centre, more simply known as Beaubourg.
The Marais is divided roughly by the busy rue de Rivoli which continues to the Bastille as rue Saint Antoine. The quartier Saint Paul-Saint Gervais with antique shops and enchanting streets can be found to the south while to the north, you can find most of the museums, Place des Vosges and the area of the upper Marais.Noteworthy streets are rue des Francs Bourgeois, a shopper’s paradise; rue des Rosiers, the old Jewish quarter; and rue Vieille du Temple which is a bustling street full of terraced cafes and bars. These and other streets in the area display fascinating, colourful details such as intricate gates, elegant ironwork, secluded courtyards, chic boutiques and a diverse range of ethnic shops.
Today, the Upper Marais, situated between Musee Picasso and Republique, is arguably one of the best places to live in Paris.
Rue Charlot, rue de Poitou and rue de Bretagne have seen increased popularity due to recent renovations of many renowned buildings. Residents and tourists alike enjoy a great covered flea market, and various speciality food stores on rue de Bretagne , as well as art galleries and showrooms in this neighbourhood.
Points of interest
Anne, graphic designer, writer
I love my sweet village and its lovely neighborhood located in the heart of authentic Paris. I live, I write and I catch my ideas just here.
I love when the sun rises on L’Artisan Fleuriste, while their flowers smile at me. It makes my day.
I love sitting on the crowded terrace at Le Charlot where I can be a squatter for a nice latte in the middle of people I know without ever being disturbed.
I love picking up a few books at the facing bookshop Comme un Roman to enjoy a bit of reading in the Parc Royal.
I love sitting at Carette for a gourmet salad facing our unique Place des Vosges.
I love wandering round Merci, the trendy concept store where I can’t resist buying a new notebook to add to my collection.
I love shopping – my fatal flaw – fishing around in the eclectic shop L’Eclaireur for a special dress or a simple T-shirt, smelling the leather of the Italian shoes from Hoses and sniffing the clever fashion selection at AB33.
I love when the sun sets on the café La Perle, sipping a glass of champagne with friends, enjoying the constant chats, literally captivated by the shaking bubbles.
I love heading to the famous Grazie to share a pizza with friends or have a nice meal with a glass of wine at Glou with my lover.
I love ending my day watching the sky, my soul right in the middle of the bright stars of our beautiful Marais.