Stroll & discovery, Leisure

Guided tour in the Marais, the historic and cultural district par excellence

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The districts blessed by the gods are not lacking in Paris. But there are some which, in addition to combining all the attractions of a city of art and history, have something indefinable and which carries you away, an atmosphere of joyful freedom. Le Marais is one of them.

The Marais is THE historical and cultural district par excellence! A "must", or a must, in good French! It is also the only district that spills over into two boroughs, each of them concentrating a majority of architectural gems of incredible diversity. 

And to think that until the Middle Ages, there were only swamps there, which had to be drained, then subdivided! This was the mission of religious institutions, very present from the 13th century until the Revolution, then that of the aristocrats, who, to get closer to their king, settled in sumptuous mansions, between courtyard and garden, where they could dazzle their hosts, and which have come down to us.

To walk in this district is therefore to discover these splendid residences, as well as the royal squares. Henri IV, the “king builder” had something to do with it, he who cared about the happiness of Parisians.

It is also to relive History, long and turbulent, with its joyous or dark hours, which has also shaped the district. Wasn't it Montgoméry's sword, by striking King Henry II to death, which "created" the magnificent Place des Vosges, whose stone, brick and slate pavilions reflect the light marvelously?

It is to discover the way of life of the small Jewish community which, since the 12th century, and despite various exiles, continues to animate the picturesque rue des Rosiers, and offers culinary specialties from the Orient and Eastern Europe. Is for amateurs of all walks of life.

It is rubbing shoulders, for a moment, with kings and queens, writers, enlightened courtesans, politicians and religious. What an emotion to find, along the streets, the imprint of the passionate Queen Margot, immortalized by Alexandre Dumas, of the delicious Marquise de Sévigné, of the brilliant Victor Hugo, all these extraordinary characters who have contributed to the brilliance of the district . 

A district that hosts wonderful museums. including the oldest and largest of them, the Carnavalet Museum, a true memory of the city, a multitude of gardens, from the most sumptuous to the most confidential, the magnificent Hôtel de Sens, a rare Parisian testimony to medieval architecture , just like the Philippe Auguste wall, parts of which remain here and there, the astonishing Synagogue of Art Nouveau style….

This district, which has continued to improve over the centuries, despite some vicissitudes, is now saved forever, and for the pleasure of all, after having been completely rehabilitated thanks to the Minister of Culture André Malraux, Historical, cultural, essential, are not empty words to describe the Marais. 

To which we can add, without being mistaken, trendy and avant-garde, in terms of art, design, fashion. Here, in tune with this eclecticism, tolerance is established as an art of living. The harmonious cohabitation of communities as different as the gay community and the Orthodox Jewish community is striking proof of this.

For all these reasons and more, visiting the Marais is an unparalleled and unforgettable experience. If you want to multiply the pleasure of the walk by that of discovery, to go from surprise to surprise, to see the invisible, the added value of a guide takes on its full meaning, particularly in a district as dense and diversified as the Marais.

We recommend Pierre Malzieu, a guide who knows how to create itineraries that give pride of place to the unexpected, and to the best of the best, and who likes to share his knowledge. He will comment for you on the abundant history of the place, and will reveal to you the rich heritage and the sometimes hidden treasures that it has left us, along with some good addresses.

You can find him on his website (, and for a private visit, contact him by telephone at the number 06 50 00 07 53, and by e-mail:

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