The Marais District, like most of Paris, is a wonderful neighborhood to walk around and explore history, do some shopping and grab a bite to eat.
The Marais District in Paris has always been somewhat of a cultural melting pot. In the early Twelfth Century it was largely a Jewish Community. The Nineteenth Century brought an influx of Chinese to the area and today it attracts trendy, Gay residents. It is situated on the Rive Droite, or Right Bank of the River Seine. It it also part of the 3rd and 4th arrondissements.
Hire a Local Paris Guide
The best and easiest way to learn about the Marais District is to hire a local guide. A good choice is Richard Nahem of Eye Prefer Paris Walking Tours. Richard is an expat from New York who lives in the Marias District and has acquired quite a bit of knowledge since moving to Paris in 2005.
Walking tours usually begin at a Metro Stop and the Saint Paul stop is a good place to start off. If this is a visitors first time to Paris, this may be the first experience to be had with the Paris Metro System. It’s actually very easy to navigate and get around as well as being economical and clean.
Buildings and Architecture in the Marais District
The Marais District has many old buildings and great examples of early and modern architecture. The L’Hotel de Beauvais was built in 1657 by the royal architect, Antoine Le Pautre. It was officially built for Catherine Beauvais but is also rumored to have been a secret gift to chambermaid. Mozart played here in 1763 and today it is now a court of appeals.
Saint Paul Church is the oldest Jesuit Church. It was built is 1641 and is a great example of baroque Jesuit architecture.
Place de Vosges is the first square that was built in Paris and was completed in 1604. The buildings are all uniform and the trees are boxed. There are many shops and street musicians that play here.
Gardens in the Marais District
Tucked away within the Marais District are many gardens, both public and private. Rue Villahourdin is an out of the way rose garden. Rue des Rosiers, which means street of the rosebushes is also a great stop. La Sicel de Watteau has a Fleur dis lis patterned garden and Place de Vosges has a large garden area.
Shopping and Eating in the Marais District
Paris has lots of great food stores and the Marais District being the cultural hub that it is, is no exception. Izrael has a great assortment of middle eastern foods. Rue Vieille du Temple has many bars, cafes and restaraunts. The best Falafel in the world can also be found here at L’As du Falafel.
There are many, many other sites to see and things to do in the Marais District that are not mentioned here. So put those walking shoes on and experience this incredible area of Paris.