Don't be shy !!! When strolling around in Le Marais, you have to be courageous and pass the open doors (or portals) to discover the hidden and probably most beautiful parts of Le Marais : the cloisters set inside the old buildings. Well, if you're too shy to do so, sometimes, some open squares are former cloisters and you can enjoy their design.
Fondest memory: During a "Music Feast" (in the whole country, on the 21st of June, everybody is allowed to play music in the streets... such a great idea !!!), a friend and I entered a party in Le Marais to which we were not invited. They just opened the door when we were fronting it for some other reasons, so, we decided to behave like guests !!! The house was unbelievable, but everybody was dancing in this huuuuuge cloister of it.... A great memory...
Recently, I was thinking of the places Carol and I had been and was wondering...in which of these places had I felt the most connected to a community (?). Of all the possible little villages and charming towns we had made an effort to "slow travel" in, it occurred to me that, of all places, Paris began to feel the most like home. Specifically, the neighborhood of le Marais.
I know it seems odd that an area within a huge international city could be the most welcoming but I think I understand why.
Certainly there are tourist in le Marais but you never feel that they are central to this neighborhood's being. Real people live here. Not just the jet set but regular people who pick up a baguette on the way to the Metro as they hurry off to work and fill the cafes and falafel bars in the evening with their dogs under their tables. And, they live behind those big wooden doors that lead to private courtyards and four story walk-up apartments.
In a small country village you try to blend in but everyone knows you're just visiting. In a city and especially in a neighborhood like le Marais, it might seem like you actually belong. A few visits to the same patisserie or that Jewish deli and who knows, someone might think..."they might have just moved in down the street!"
Of course, it's all just an illusion but still...walking around in le Marais starts to feel like home.
Le Marais is located on the Right Bank just above Ile St. Louis, west of the Bastille and east of Les Halles...more or less.
Fondest memory: Intro Photo: Taken at Rue de Turenne and Rue des Francs Bourgeois...site of our first café au lait. It seems to be a plaza but is merely a pleasant intersection.
Photo 2: Taken from the main street of le Marais, Rue Saint-Antoine, looking down Rue Jacques Coeur...obviously one of the more up-scale areas about a block from Place de la Bastille.
Photo 3: We wished we had discovered this place sooner. A charming cafe with some of the best pastries we found. Located at the corner of Rue Tiron and Rue Francois Miron.
Photo 4: Southwest America meets New York City meets Paris' Jewish Quarter...Micky's Deli is all that and delicious! Located at 23 Bis Rue des Rosiers.
Photo 5: On our first evening stroll we happened upon Rue des Barres with the Church Saint-Gervais just peaking out on the left.
Go to Musée Carnavalet 23 rue de Sévigné (Métro : St Paul). Paris History Museum. 10 AM to 6:00PM except Monday.
FREE except for temporary exibits.
On the photo : the court with Louis the 14th statue.
Fondest memory: Ancient shop signs, furnitures, paintings, uniforms, models, the room of Louis the 16th in the prison of the Temple.
A sculpted stone from la Bastille. The contractor in charge of the Bastille demolition, the 'Patriot Palloy' had the idea to sculpt some stones of the construction at the image of the fortress to send them to each department in order to show the tyrany symbol was destroyed.
A small museum, very interesting.
For further illustration see my travelogue 'place des Vosges'.
The district of Le marais to preserved its charm and its authenticity. It is with a big pleasure that you will be able to discover the real Parisian life there, as it was already at the last century.
Bread, is an indispensable food to French. Their reputation is not that they eat a piece of bread, cheese and one glass of wine ? The bakeries are therefore the daily space, where the inhabitants of the district meet, every day (because bread consumes itself cool !).
Fondest memory: One finds there again, of the stores as this one, but I can assure you that they become very rare, of the whole districts having made the object of operations of ' building's promotions ' are, henceforth, disfigured forever.
The place des Vosges, to the heart of the district of Le Marais, forms a perfectly coherent architectural whole, typical of the French urban architecture of the XVI th century.
Fondest memory: It is in an angle of the place that the big French writer, Victor Hugo, lived in.
When I visited Paris in the summer of 1991, I stayed with grad school friends Louisa and Freddie. They had a flat on the fourth floor of this apartment block in the Marais district. It was a great district to be in: full of fashionable people and somewhat "gai", close to the synagogues of the old Paris ghetto, with bakeries and bars around the corner.
One thing I didn't like: it was early July, and hot. We had to keep the windows open all night long - and the traffic noise from the streets below never died down completely.
'L'As du falafel': famous pita restaurant.
rue des rosiers in the 'Marais' neighboorhood.
A bit victim of it own success but a place to be!
(Vanessa Paradis & Lenny Krevitz went there and many other personns you may find the picture on the walls!:)
Fondest memory: the great wheel, at Concorde... There removed it :( Really don't know why!
-The places, windows and doors take another meaning when thinking that there they worked or they lived Victor Hugo and Alexander Dumas-
In Paris, life is everywhere and so is the fiction. In order to confirm it, it is enough to raise the head in any street and watch some of the boards that remember where some author lived or what seat was the scene of some famous text.
These boards, omnipresent, help me to get through the anonymity of the facades. The windows and the doors take another meaning immediately, the words seem to take flight and Literature is materialized in something more than books.
Some of those houses were transformed into museums, like that in which Victor Hugo, the writer of The Hunchback of Notre-Dame lived, in a corner of Place des Vosges at number 6 (ph. 33 01 42 72 10 16).
Place des Vosges lies in the heart of the fashionable Marais district, not far from the new Bastille opera. King Henri IV decided its construction at the beginning of the 17th century. It has a brick and stone architecture unique in Paris and also features an homogeneous square design and lovely arcades. One of my favorite things is the peaceful and refreshing garden featured over there. It is a good starting point for a visit to the Marais district or shopping in the rue des Françs-Bourgeois near-by.
Place des Vosges is close to the metro station Saint-Paul on line 1. It can also be reached on foot from the Pompidou center (15 minutes), the Bastille Opera (10 minutes) or the Notre-Dame cathedral (20 minutes), all of them very pleasant walks.
Fondest memory: Montmartre was incredible. I just love it (see Activities you must)
Strolling by the rue Rivoli....stop at Galignani (a lovely bookstore where you can spend hours...have a quick lunch or TEA at Angelina...and stroll by Rue de Saint Honorte which will take you to the lovely Place Vendome...Can t wait to be there again. =)
Favorite thing: Visiting cities just for its museums and historical buildings is important and fun to do, but you always need alternative things to do so you don't get bored. All of Paris is interesting to walk around in, but I especially recomment the Marais area. It's somewhat the equivalent of Greenwich Village in NYC. The little boutiques that line the streets have unique things to offer, clothes and doodads that you won't find in brand name stores. It's worth spending an afternoon strolling here, even if you just sit at a cafe and watch people walk by. You should not skip out on lunch or dinner here, where you will eat the best falafels you've ever tasted (in Europe at least). Take it to go and keep walking -- you'll burn off the calories and enjoy the best of Paris that much more.
PLACE DES VOSGES
Le loir dans la theiere (Tea room)
3 rue des rosiers
tel 01 4272 9061
Fondest memory: PLACE DES VOSGES
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