Le Marais, Paris
Many visitors to Paris never get to the area known as Le Marais. It's the 4th arrondisement and was once home to a large Jewish population. You can still find Jewish restaurants and bakeries there - Rue de Rosiers - but now there are some wonderful boutiques and the Museum of the City of Paris is also nearby as is the Picasso Museum. Be sure to stop in and visit Victor Hugo's home near the Place des Vosges.
This a bit of the city wall begun in 1180 during the reign of Phillippe-Auguste that marked the early outlines of Paris. The swampy area known now as The Marais lay outside these walls and was where the Jews originally settled in the 1300s..
There are many old half-timbered houses left in the old parts of Paris, but, for fire protection reasons, most of the timbered facades have been plastered over. These are among the few that remain and are found along rue Francois Miron
The oldest half-timbered house in the Marais is from the 14th-century and found at 3 rue Volta, near rue des Vertus.
Seeing the name in the guide, I thought initially that I'll see a huge church in the heart of Le Marais.
Cathedrale Ste-Croix-de-Paris is actually a small church built in 1624 as a Capuchin monastery chapel.
The church is now the church of the Armenian comunity.
Address: Rue Charlot
Paris is a town full of museums.
In Le Marais we have discovered on a street Musee de la Curiosite et de la Magie. The entrance is quite small and hidden and it can be easily missed.
Unfortunately it was our last morning in Paris and it was closed in the morning, but I've heart that the museum displays an interesting collection of objects related to this art.
11 rue Saint-Paul
If you have the opportunity do walk through the ancient Marais district. It used to be a swamp land in ancient times hence its name. There still exists a few buildings dating from the medieval period, the 1300's or so. They are the types of building styles you would encounter in Alsace for example: half-timbered. Today the Marais is a very happening area, but it's interesting to take note of its humble beginnings.
Relax at Place des Vosges. This is Paris' original attempt at urban planning. The Place des Vosges is now its oldest square. The square symmetry of the square, with its ground floor arcade, consists of 39 (some say 36) houses - each made of red brick with stone facings. Its construction was under Henri IV from 1605 - 1612. The site was originally occupied by the Hôtel des Tournelles. On a nice day you can find Parisians having lunch in the square.
The Orthodox synagogue was designed by Hector Guimard, also the designer of the famous Metro entrance ways. You will find it on 10 rue Pavée. It was Guimard's wife who was Jewish -- the Germans blew it up in 1940, but it has been rebuilt. The fence is a protective addition.
There was a small holocaust monument on the right in in a garden behind the black iron fence. The stones in the picture on the right formed the early sewer system, providing for runoff in the streets.
See the website for the history of the Jewish presence in the Marais.
Behind the City Hall, there is the rue Miron with 2 ancient houses built in the 14e century.
The number 11 is called the Reaper due to a commercial sign. The number 13 is the Sheep.
They are remodeled in 1967 and the half-timber has been cleared from the plaster.
This square is in the Marais and was built in the early 17th Century by Henry IV as a royal place which turned the area into Paris's high rent district (until La Revolution). It is a lovely square now evidently a very popular place for picnics and young lovers. It is where Victor Hugo lived while writing "Les Miserables" and you can tour his house. The architecture is nice and there are shops and cafes on the lower level.
An elegant symmetrical square in the Marais, Place des Vosges was commissioned by Henry IV in 1605, and completed 7 years later. Highly fashionable during the literary days of the 17th century, it gained a reputation for lover's trysts, with some houses occupied by the mistresses of members of the court adjoining their own.
The center of the square was used for duels.
The Maison de Victor Hugo is in the southeast corner and is open to the public.
Today, the square is home to many over-priced restaurants and shops, but makes for an atmospheric stop to watch kids at play, and sip un cafe.
The most incredible place to just hang out, Le Marais has it all. For the traveller who likes to see the big highlights of a major city as quick as possible and then spend a little more time relaxing and soaking up some of the real city life, then you could do worse than setup base in Le Marais.
Endless amounts of bars, clubs, pubs, cafes and restaurants of all styles make it an unforgettable experience. The real winner about Le Marais is that it side steps the tourist trap yet it is yards from the Louvre and Notre Dame.
Trust me you will never eat a full French breakfast in more stunningly beautiful and relaxed surroundings.
Aint been there in over 4 years and always think about returning.
You know how it is.......
The garden of the Place des Vosges, is the area of games of the children of the district. It is often a garden all simple, with its alleys in crosses, its chestnut trees and its public benches where come to sit down the moms or the nurses, of the students au pair.
The tradition wants that it is one places where the young men come to court the ladies... but at the hour of the mobile telephones, Internet and women emancipated, I have the impression that this kind of customs disappears!
Near the Marais and the rue des Francs Bourgeois : the rue des Rosiers which is the main Jewish district of Paris.
Here the butchers are Kocher. The shop signs are in French and in Hebrew. The pedestrians by the streets speak all the languages of the Central Europe.
The second Jewish district of Paris (but less typical) is rue Richer near the metro Cadet (9° arrondissement).