Le Marais

Le Marais

You cannot go to Paris and not go to the Marais. If you have ever visited the West Village in New York you will understand the general feel. There are crooked lanes that date back to medieval times and are filled with bars, restaurants, boutiques, bakeries, and hotels.

After the revolution, much of the area was abandoned by the wealthy class. It was quickly overtaken by the poor and bohemian types and turned into squalor. It got so bad that the neighborhood was almost completely destroyed by city officials looking to modernize Paris. World War I started and thus put a pause on the revitalization.

To begin exploring the area start at the Notre Dame and the Hotel de Ville. Continue walking to the Bastille. Continue to the Places des Vosges which is thought to be the most beautiful square in Paris. As you pass through take a minute to find #6. This is where Victor Hugo wrote Les Miserables in the 19th century when the area was flooded with immigrants, artists, and Jews.

Nearby are the Carnavalet Museum and the Picasso Museum. Continue on to the Rue des Rosiers, here you will find the Jewish quarter where the population decreased by 75% during World War II. Most of these people perished in concentration camps. Now the area is filled with delis, bakeries, and restaurants.

If you are in the mood for a pastry walk along Rue St. Antoine. The small Square of St. Catherine is a great place to sit and watch the world go by. You will find some nice bars and restaurants in this square as well.

Take your time to wander around this area and see what life was like back in the day in Paris.

For a walking route and map click here.

For more information on this area check out this website.

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Kristal Ham

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