Stepping into Le Marais is like stepping into history, and you all must know by now how much we enjoy that!
In fact, this is the area we would choose to live if ever given the opportunity to reside in Paris.
Le Marais, located on the Rive Droite (right bank) of the Seine was once a swamp. In the 14th century (after the swamp was dried up), the land was cultivated to grow produce for the abbeys in the surrounding area. Shortly after that Charles V decided he would escape the hustle and bustle and smell of the city and would move from his palace, into one of the newly built hotels, and thus by that, making this district officially a ‘Royal one’.
The Royals lived happily in the Place Royale, (now called Place des Vosges which is the oldest square in Paris) for a couple of hundred years until Louis XIV transferred his court to Versailles.
Place des Vosges is the oldest place or square in Paris and was the inspiration for hundreds of squares (it’s where the name came from) around Europe and the first Paris park to be open to the public.
After the Revolution, the area was abandoned by the rich, and the artisans, shopkeepers, immigrants, poorer bohemian types moved in.
Now, this former French aristocratic reserve is a melting pot of Jewish, Chinese and LGBT cultures. Kosher bakeries, noodle joints, and gay bars line its narrow cobbled streets.
Today it’s laneway’s, arcades and little side streets are home to trendy boutiques, galleries, and chic restaurants, deli’s and in my humble opinion, some of the best falafel and Yiddish smoked meat sandwiches this side of Black Sea.
Many a famous person has lived in this lively arrondissement as well. Victor Hugo the author of The Hunchback of Notre Dame and Les Misérables (which he wrote while living here) being one. You can visit the museum in his old house for free.
In fact, since the 13th century (so long before the Royals) was home to a huge Jewish population until Hitler came along.
Arts et Métiers, Paris Métro
Opened in 1904 this is one of Paris’ fantastic Metro stations. This Jules Verne/Steampunk inspired station is my favourite Paris station.
The month that we have spent in Paris, (well housesitting in Autouillet 40mins from Paris), has been fantastic. It’s given us the opportunity to go into the city whenever we wanted, to flaneur around its cobbled lanes and streets, watch the world go by while sipping cafe crème on the sidewalk cafes, and best of all, to feel like locals.
We are truly grateful to Wendy and Patrick for entrusting the beautiful La Tonnelle, Fanny, Mona, and the Dove to us for a month.
We have made new friends and hope to see them again one day, maybe even in Australia!