Neighbourhood Walk – In and Around Le Marais
The best way to explore any city is on foot. It’s possible of course to walk between main attractions and soak up a bit of local atmosphere and colour that way but its lovely to take time out away from the ‘must see and do’ list and just wander.
The Marais, originally a marshland, was first occupied by religious orders and then found favour with royalty for a while. Its narrow cobbled streets were spared Haussmann’s renovation programme in the 1800’s and the district is now back in vogue and full of cafes, independent boutiques, galleries and squares.
It is a lovely area just for walking and offers a break from the major monuments of the city. The area has plenty of its own landmarks of course. This is primarily an outdoor activity but there are a few significant museums (Museum of Jewish Art and History, Picasso Museum) in the nieghbourhood should you wish to include them.
Marche des Enfants Rouge -Set yourself up with lunch at this food market which has Lebonese, Italian and Japanese stalls among many other options. You can eat in or take away. Get there early to avoid the lunchtime rush.
Merci Concept Store -Too early to buy anything – you don’t want to have to carry stuff all afternoon – but have a quick look anyway and decide if you need to revisit!
Place de Vosges is the oldest planned square in Paris. The Louis XIII Garden is surrounded by 36 red brick mansions. The ground level is colonnaded and its arcades are full of galleries and cafes.
(The roofs are dotted with small dormer windows)
(The arcades are lined with shops and galleries)
(Victor Hugo lived at number 6)
Hotel de Sully this beautiful 17th century mansion houses the Historic Buildings Commission but there is free access to its courtyard and gardens
Place du Marche-Sainte-Catherine
(This tree – lined square is a lovely spot for lunch or coffee)
Hotel de Lamoignon nowadays houses the Historic Library of Paris
Rue des Rosiers (Street of the Rosebushes) lies at the heart of the Jewish quarter. Its bakeries, delis and butchers have been largely replaced by boutiques and designer stores but the street is still known for its falafel sandwiches!
(Street junctions are demarcated by trees and small gardens)
Jardin des Rosiers -Joseph Migneret is a combination of gardens of several bordering houses and is thus divided into separate areas. The gardens are named after a local head teacher who was active in the Resistance.
Joseph Migneret’s School on Rue des Hospitalieres St. Gervais
Eglise de Notre Dame des Blancs Manteaux is named after the white habits worn by the monks who founded a convent here
Centre George Pompidou Just outside the neighbourhood but within walking distance, make sure to check out what’s on at the centre at the time of your visit to Paris. If not interested in any of its exhibitions, you can at least enjoy the architecture of this ‘inside out’ building.
Eglise St Merri – close to the Pompidou Centre, this church offers a respite from the noise and bustle of the streets
Tour St Jacques is all that remains of a 16th century church which was a starting point for the pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela
Hotel de Ville was entirely rebuilt after a fire in 1871. It is the largest municipal building in Europe and is home to the mayor of Paris
Memorial de la Shoah is dedicated to Jews lost in the Holocaust. The Mur des Justes bears the names of 76,000 Jews deported from France and here is an eternal flame in the crypt
Time for a treat! Head along by St Paul’s for a well earned rest!