Once an area of marshland as its name suggests ( Marais means swamp), the Marais  grew steadily in importance from the 14th century, by virtue of its proximity to the Louvre , the preferred residence of Charles V. Its heyday was in the 17th-century when it became the fashionable area for the monied classes, they built many grand and sumptuous mansions, hotels, that still dot Le Marais today. Many of these hotels have been restored and turned into museums. Once again fashionable with  the monied classes, designer boutiques, trendy restaurants and cafes now lined the streets.

In Le Marais district la Rue des grands bourgeois. This ancient street is lined with important museums, Pompidou center, Musee Picasso , this palatial home of a 17th century salt-tax collector is the setting for the largest collection of Picassos in the world, the results of a family bequest to the state.

The Hotel  Le Peletier de Saint- Fargeau adjoins the hotel Carnavalet to form the museum of Paris History.

Le Musee Carnavalet. the statue of Louis XIV in Roman dress by Coysevox is in the courtyard of the Hotel Carnavalet. Coysevox was a French sculptor ( 1640 – 1720), known for his decorative work at Le Chateau de Versailles.

La Maison de Victor Hugo. author of Les Miserables, Victor Hugo lived at number 6, Place des Vosges where his house is a museum of his life and work.

Place des Vosges. Once the site for Jousting and tournements, in the very heart of Le Marais, is a square of perfect symetry.

Hotel de Sully. this renaissance hotel was built for a notorious gambler, Mesme Gallet . ( 62 rue , Saint Antoine). A must visit, the gardens are beautiful!.

Hotel de Lamoignon. Behind the ornate doorway of this fine mansion is Paris’s historical library. 24 Rue Pavee, 75004. It is one of the oldest mansion houses in Le Marais.

La Rue des Rosiers. The smell of hot pastrami and horscht wafts from restaurants and shops in the heart of the Jewish area. “Street of the rosebushes” Rue des Rosiers begins at Rue Malher and proceeds northwest across Rue Pavee, Rue Ferdinand Duval, Rue des Ecouffes, and Rue des Hospitalieres  Saint Gervais before it ends at Rue du Vieux Temple.

Musee Cognacq – Jay. An amazing and exquisite collection of 18th-century paintings and furniture is shown in perfect period setting; 8 Rue Elzhevir, 75004.

Anne Suire


Travel Planner and Tour designer.