Le Marais

Though gentrification has made this one of the city’s most fashionable quarters, it is still heavily Jewish and has been for nearly one hundred years.

TravelCurious Tip

Inkeeping with its bohemian feel, this is one of Paris’ best districts for vintage clothes shopping.

Spread out over the 3rd and 4th Arrondissements on the Right Bank of the Seine, Le Marais is an endlessly charming labyrinth of small crooked alleyways where you can easily wander for a day. It is arguably the most historic district in Paris, with more pre-revolutionary buildings left intact than anywhere else in the city. As well as imbuing the area with a strong sense of history, the age of the place gives Le Marais a completely different feel. While Paris is famed for its wide open squares and avenues (think Place de la Concorde and the Champs-Élysées), these were actually only constructed during the rule of Napoleon after the French Revolution. The architecture and haphazard layout of Le Marais is what all of Paris would once have looked like, and so it offers an intriguing insight into the Paris of old.


The Spirit of the Revolution

Nevertheless, the lack of major world attractions often means that Le Marais is overlooked by visitors to Paris. But what it lacks on this front it more than makes up for in charm, and you can immediately see how its unmistakably Bohemian vibe brought Robespierre, Victor Hugo and Jim Morrison to live here. Particularly worth visiting is the Place des Vosges, one of Paris’ most beautiful parks, built by Henry IV and considered by Napoleon himself to be the jewel of Paris.


Nearby Attractions

See all attractions in Paris
Rue des Archives
This emblematic Marais street is perfect for a pleasant walk to explore the rich history and architecture of the neighbourhood.
Rue des Rosiers
The Rue des Rosiers, which means "street of the rosebushes," is a street in the 4th arrondissement of Paris, France.
Rue Pavee
Rue Pavée - Paris is famous with its historical buildings
Jardin des Rosiers
Joseph-Migneret is a charming little park that the locals know
Marche des Blancs Manteaux
Marche des Blancs-Manteaux hosts exhibitions and concerts
Square Georges Cain
Square Georges Cain garden in Paris

Related Tours

Le Marais in the French Revolution: Private Paris Walking tour
One of the most vibrant Parisian districts, the Marais also possesses an unparalleled cultural heritage. Once the place to live for the French nobility, this area witnessed some of the key moments of the Revolutions that would change the history of France forever. 

On your private walking tour of Le Marais, you will:

  • Enjoy an introduction to pre-revolution France in Le Marais;
  • Visit the remains of the famous Bastille prison, along with other physical traces of the revolution in the area; 
  • Stroll down rue Saint-Antoine, where you will see and hear the history of the first exclusively female political club;
  • Take a pause inside beautiful Place des Vosges, where Victor Hugo lived - famous author of Les Miserables and the Hunchback of Notre Dame;
  • Learn about the Jewish community who settled here;
  • Step into the largest church in Le Marais, which still has graffiti on its walls from the Commune of 1871;
  • Discover a section of a wall remaining from the prison de La Force.
The events of the French revolution were chaotic, historic, and truly extraordinary and on this tour, you will uncover this iconic period of history with an expert guide. 

Your tour begins with an introduction to pre-revolution France and the economic and political landscape that led to a great class clash between the clergy, the nobility, and the bourgeoisie. You will learn about the fall of Louis XVI and the dismantling of the Ancien Régime, explore the remains from the storming of Bastille, and hear about France's abolition of feudalism, and the subsequent stream of power conflicts that made France's history so bloody. 

On your way, you will discover one of Paris's most charming squares, the Place des Vosges, a luxurious mansion transformed into a prison during the Terror, and the streets where the Jewish community settled in, favoured by the religious freedom granted by the Republican convention. 

Helped by your professional guide, you will also hunt for hidden historical vestiges, such as a cannonball stuck in a building dating back to the Middle-Ages and remnants of Republican graffiti inside a church. 

Whether you’re new to French history or have been studying this notable period of the country, your expert guide will tailor the tour for you to see the impact of the revolution on Paris and the modern world.  
Paris in the Second World War: Private Half-Day Walking Tour
Learn about life under Nazi Occupation during the Second World War on this walking tour of Paris. You'll hear about the French Resistance, the terrifying invasion of Nazi tanks, and the horrific arrest and deportation of the Jews - exactly where it all happened. Learn of quiet daily acts of courage, and how Hitler's generals defied him at the last which ultimately led to the Liberation of Paris. 

On your private half-day tour you will: 

  • Explore areas of Paris that were particularly marked by the Nazi Occupation and eventual liberation of France on this 3-hour walking tour;
  • Begin at Metro Saint Paul, with a tour of Le Marais and the Jewish Quarter where you'll learn about daily life under Nazi Occupation;
  • See the moving Holocaust Memorial, the Museum of Jewish Art and History and walk down Rue des Rosiers as you hear about the persecution, chilling round-up, and deportation of the Jews to Auschwitz;
  • Walk to the Prefecture de Police opposite Notre Dame Cathedral where you'll see evidence of shelling and shrapnel;
  • Stop off at the famous bookshop Shakespeare and Co, and hear how its founder Silvia Beech refused to sell her books to the Gestapo;
  • Take the metro to the Tuileries Gardens where you'll hear all about the Monuments Men
  • Visit two famous hotels nearby on Place Vendôme and Rue RivoliThe Ritz and Le Meurice;
  • Enter Place de La Concord, where peace was declared;
  • - Walk part way up the Champs Elysees, the famous road along which both the Nazis and the Allied Forces marched; 
  • End your tour at the statue of General Charles de Gaulle, hero of France, next to Le Grand Palais and Le Petit Palais both of which were used as hospitals during the war, and with a grand view stretching all the way up towards the Arc de Triomphe. 

From Nazi Occupiers and Collaborators to French Spies of the Resistance, from famous military heroes to quiet acts of daily courage, from the horrors of the Holocaust to the final triumphant Liberation of Paris, you will discover some of the neighbourhoods and monuments that saw key events take place on this fascinating walking tour of Paris during the Second World War, with an expert and passionate guide. 

You'll learn about the hardships of life in Paris under Nazi occupation, like food rationing, poverty and blackouts, as you walk through the charming neighbourhood of Le Marais. Stand in the Pletzl (Yiddish for 'Little Square') the hub and heart of Jewish culture in Paris to hear the horrifying stories of the Holocaust. 

You will see evidence of shelling and shrapnel at the Police HQ and hear how the bells of Notre Dame stopped tolling throughout the Occupation, only to ring out once more at the Liberation. Hear about the French Resistance working in underground tunnels, and the role of the Eiffel Tower in disrupting communications. 

Learn about Silvia Beech who refused to sell her books to the Gestapo at Shakespeare and Co, Josephine Baker, the nightclub dancer who became an Allied spy; or rumoured collaborators like Gertrude Stein and Coco Chanel. 

Hop on a metro to the Tuileries, and walk to Place Vendôme. The Ritz, like all hotels, was requisitioned by the Nazis and was favoured by Hermann Göring who filled his Imperial Suite with stolen artworks. Later Ernest Hemingway announced the liberation of Paris from the Champagne bar, which he proceeded to drink dry... 

The Hotel Le Meurice became the Head Quarters of the military governor of Paris. It is where the German officer Dietrich von Choltitz failed to carry out Hitler's order to level Paris, and lied when Hitler asked "Is Paris burning?" All with consequences that you'll hear about as you reach Place de La Concord and the statue of General Charles de Gaulle on the Champs Elysees that saw the eventual, triumphant liberation of Paris. 

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