Le Marais, Paris
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
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
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.
FREE? There is still such a thing?
Guide books often direct people to the Marais district but while there, most tourists often walk past two very good museums... and both are free (both closed on Mondays). To my knowledge, the PERMANENT exhibits of all museums operated by the City of Paris itself (Musées de la Ville de Paris) still offer free entrance.
The Musée Carnavalet at 23 rue de Sévigné (North of rue de Rivoli / rue St Antoine, Métro St. Paul) is dedicated to the history of the city itself -- including a section on famous historical figures of the revolution itself. (You may wish to find a guide book of museum as all of the information is in French only. Even if you're not interested in history, pop in to look at its fine sculpted gardens.)
The Musée Cognacq-Jay (practically just around the corner ... 300m away at 8 rue Elzévir) host excellent porcelain figurines and other trinkets.
Here are some other Musées de la Ville de Paris:
• Musée Zadkine (scuptures & drawings) @ 100 bis rue d'Assas (M° Vavin)
• Musée d'art moderne @ 11 av Président-Wilson (M° Alma Marceau)
• Balzac's House @ 47 rue Raynouart (M° Passy)
• Musée Bourdelle @ 18 rue Antoine Bourdelle (M° Montparnasse)
• Musée de la vie romantique @ 16 rue Chaptal (M° St Georges)
• Musée Cernuschi (Asian Arts) @ 7 av Velasquez (M° Villiers)
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.......
This baroque church sits 99 rue St-Antoine in the Marais using grounds formerly part of the 13th-century Philippe-Auguste wall, remnants of which can still be seen on rues Charlemagne & Jardin St-Paul. Constructed between 1627 and 1641 from the order of Louis XIII by two Jesuit architect, Martellange & Derand, its interior was patterned after the cruciform plan of the large Jesuit Gesu church in Rome. Cardinal Richelieu conducted the church's first mass in May 1641. Originally called the St-Louis church, its name was extended to St-Louis-St-Paul to honor its sister church that was destroyed during the Revolution. And like many other churches in Paris, during the Revolution this place became a place of worship of Reason.
This was also the parish church of Victor Hugo who baptized his daughters here. Delacroix's Christ's Agony in the Garden of Olives is one of the magnificent paintings honored here.
This massive church I fell in love with my 3rd trip to Paris, one of the reasons being I used it to guide me home to my hotel at night, the Hotel Jeanne d'Arc. Access to the Place du Marche Ste-Catherine, which is just around the corner from the hotel, was gained via rue Caron which was just one street down from the entrance to this church.
Photos: February 2006
Saint Paul et Saint Louis presents a striking aspect. Not only because of its dark and blackened outside (it really needs some cleaning) but the style - stocky and massive - is unusual for Paris.
This style comes from the model used : the "Gesu" : the church was built in the XVII th century by the Jesuits. Their influence made the chuch - called only Saint Louis - famous for their preaches and had very famous parishers like Madame de Sevigne (a neighbour) and the royal family.
At the begining of the XIX th century, the church became a 'standard parish' and "Saint Paul" (the area's name) was added to its denomination.
Now it is the only active catholic church in this very jewish part of Paris.
99 rue Saint-Antoine, 75004 Paris
Open monday-friday 8h to 20h, saturday 8h to 19h30, sunday 9h to 20h
Guided visit the at 15h the 2nd sunday of the month or on apointment
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.
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.
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..
This is a “hôtel” in the old sense of the word, meaning mansion. It was built from 1475 to 1507 for the archbishops of Sens.
From my favorite guidebook, the Michelin Guide Vert, I have learned that from 1689 to 1743 the Hôtel de Sens served as the arrival and departure point for the service of stage coaches (diligences) between Paris and Lyon. “The journey was dangerous. Before leaving, the travelers went to the trouble of making their testaments.”
In the early nineteenth century, travel by stage coach became faster (three leagues per hour!), more comfortable and less dangerous. One of the leading stage coach companies in the 1820s and 30s was Lafitte et Caillard, which had its arrival and departure point on rue Jean-Jacques Rousseau, just opposite the entrance to the Galerie Véro-Dodat.
Second photo: Entrance to the Hôtel de Sens.
Third photo: The Hôtel de Sens now houses a library, the Bibliothèque Forney, which was founded in the nineteenth century thanks to a legacy by a merchant named Aimé Samuel Forney (1819-1879).
Fourth photo: A bicycle tour group at the Hôtel de Sens.
Fifth photo: Le guide vert (The Green Guide).
Location and photo of Hôtel de Sens on monumentum.fr.
1 rue du Figuier, 75004 Paris
Vélib' 4011 or 4009
GPS 48°51'12.47" North; 2°21'33.18" East
Next review from September 2011: Bus 38
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).
Although not entirely off the beaten path since it is on the rue St-Antoine which continues from the rue de Rivoli, this church is certainly not anything I've ever read about in guidebooks. In fact, I'd never even noticed it before this trip!
This old Renaissance edifice (which lies in the midst of the Marais at the corner of rue St-Antoine & rue Castex) was the old Marais parish church known as the Ste-Marie temple. It is well-noted for being built by Mansart between 1632-34 under the initiative of Francois de Sales and Jeanne de Chantal. After the Revolution, it was thankfully spared and reformed into a Protestant church on December 3, 1802 and has been a place of worship since May 1, 1803. It is classified as an historic monument with tours occurring one Sunday out of the month.
Address: 17 rue St-Antoine, Marais, 4th arrondissement
Worship services every Sunday at 10:30am.
Photo: February 2006