THE WALK This walk takes you to the Marais, area situated between the 3rd and 4th arrondissements of Paris. Spared by the great Haussmannian works (19th century), it is above all an area of exceptional architecture, as there are still a lot of magnificent mansions of the 17th century, which now mainly houses museums. Originally settled on a vast marshy area (so the name of « Marais », that means “Marsh”), the district had its heyday in the early 17th century when King Henry IV decided to build a sublime place dedicated to stroll: la Place des Vosges (inaugurated in 1612). Then, the mansions will flourish in the Marais which will be the fashionable district throughout the century. Today, the neighborhood is pretty”trendy” (where you will find a plethora of shops and designer brands), and hosts a diversified population (Gays, Jews, Asians…). But it is above all one of the most gorgeous area in Paris for a walk!
- Beginning of the walk at the metro stop Pont Marie (line 7). Take Quai des Célestins for 150 meters (having the Ile Saint Louis on your rightside).
- Turn left on rue des Jardins Saint-Paul. On your left is the biggest remnant of Paris of the Philippe Auguste wall, built around the city in the 12th century. Continue straight on until rue Charlemagne (notice the beautiful fountain in front of you) and turn right.
- Rue Saint-Paul, go to number 8 of the street. You can see a pretty watchtower dating from the late 16th century. Then, retrace your steps and continue ahead rue Saint-Paul.
- On your left, you’ll pass by a dead-end, the Impasse Saint-Paul. Take it. At the end of it is a hidden entrance to the beautiful Saint-Paul Saint-Louis Church.
- Return rue Saint-Paul and go straight on. Rue Saint-Antoine, turn right and head towards rue Birague (left sidewalk). At the end of the street is the magnificent Place des Vosges.
- Everything is fabulous, and lush, Place des Vosges. Stroll around the arcades and enjoy the unique atmosphere of the place, probably the most beautiful place in Paris. Do not miss Louis XIII public garden, in the middle of the Place.
- Then, head to north-west of the square and take the rue des francs-bourgeois. This street, bordered by a lot of mansions, is the backbone of the district. You are in the heart of Le Marais.
- Go straight on. You can see, amongst other things, the Musée Carnavalet, museum dedicated to the history of Paris.
- Turn left on rue Pavée. You will pass by the Hotel Lamoignon, mansion housing nowadays the « historical library of Paris ».
- Turn right on rue des Rosiers. You will find many jewish shops, food shops and restaurants. This street is indeed the emblematic street of the Jewish community in Paris. Cross it to fully enjoy its special atmosphere.
- Arrived rue Vieille du Temple, turn right. At the number 54, you can see a nice gothic watchtower, dating from the early 16th century
- Go back rue des Francs-Bourgeois on your right. 50 meters on your left is the Impasse des Arbalétriers (crossbowmen dead-end), where is today the cultural center of Switzerland. It is here that « John the Fearless » killed his cousin, the King’s brother, the Duke of Orleans.
- Continue straight on rue des Francs-Bourgeois. A new unsual discovery is expecting you at 35-37 rue des Francs-Bourgeois. Entering the building (now the Maison de l’Europe), you can access the most secret garden of Paris: the francs-Bourgeois-Rosiers public garden.
- Like the surprises ? So go to the n°55 of street, and enter the courtyard of the Crédit Municipal. On the rightside is another piece of the Philippe Auguste wall.
- Go then to 60 rue des Francs-Bourgeois and enter the Hôtel de Soubise (housing the Archives Nationales Museum). This is undoubtedly the most impressive mansions of the district we are still able to visit freely! Do not forget to visit the wonderful garden of the Archives Nationales.
End of the walk