By Alejandra Hernandez
Whether you are a true Parisian, a tourist, or you simply love Paris, one thing is certain… you can’t skip going to Le Marais. Its medieval and history roots makes it one of the most beautiful quarters in the city of love. With small stone streets, independent fashion boutiques, artisanal coffee shops and streets lined with cozy restaurants, Le Marais is perfect if you want to have a breathtaking stroll. Plus, it was popular with royalty, the rich and famous people of the 40s, so many of the magnificent buildings they lived in can still be seen and are even called home by Parisians today! As you can see, there’s a lot to know about this amazing district before planning your next visit, so keep on reading, you’ll fall in love with the district immediately.
Ever wondered why Le Marais means The Swamp?
The district was once covered with tiny irrigated fields that produced vegetables for the city during the late Middle Ages! And here’s more: The french word marais literally translates to ‘swamp’ in English, which is particularly appropriate because of the marshy quality of the land on the banks of the Seine. Makes sense, right?
But why do high-fashion stores and fancy apartments at Le Marais exist today?!
There’s an interesting background you need to know! Charles V (king of France from 1364 to his death) left his original palace to take up residence in various newly built Hotels in Le Marais. Everything was going fine until the death of Henry ll: the Royal Family moved back to the Louvre. Yes… they left everything including the hotels! But, what happened next? The super wealthy people of 17th and 18th centuries, desperate to escape from the movement and hustle of the inner city, took them over and moved there. Amazing right? Thanks to this, more extravagant hotels were built, gradually making it one of the richest architectural assemblages in Paris.
Ever noticed a lot of kosher delis and bakeries there?
Le Marais has traditionally been the Jewish quarter in Paris since the middle ages. (Cultural fact: France is called home by them since antiquity). After the French Revolution, jewish families lived there in secret during the intervening centuries, then the next generations started to appear and the rest is history. So yes, a lot of jewish history hides behind the fashion boutiques and the New York-style diners. Plus, the kosher delis are an amazing option to eat!
Are you planning on staying there for a night?
The district is built on a smaller scale than the rest of Paris. Which means you’ll find little, charming places to call home for a day (or more). There’s even a hotel designed by Christian Lacroix! (What?!) Yup, L’Hotel du Petit Moulin, located on a peaceful street just steps from the Jardin des Archives Nationales, has a very particular bohemian/Neo-classic style you need to see with your own eyes. (And it’s just one out of many amazing options that may suit your visit to the district). Tourism will come back to the city in no time so start booking your stays!
With its charming and historic places, Le Marais is loved by Parisians and tourists from around the world. Do not hesitate to go, it’s a perfect plan whenever you want to visit it. For more tips and cool spots to complement your visit to Le Marais, watch our video below. Nothing better than the insights of a local like Adriana Seminario. (P.S. don’t forget to subscribe!)