Marais is an old part of Paris with medieval and Renaissance buildings in it and it is still laid out like it was back then. Now the interesting thing is this: Marais doesnt appear on many lists of places to visit while in Paris and to be honest…that is CRAZY!! I spent today following a self tour on the Trip Adviser app (gives you directions to some of the main highlights of the area) and I spent a lot of the time doing an awful lot of WOW!!! This is really a beautiful area with fascinating places to explore. I walked around the gardens of Sens Mansion which was built around the 16th century (and as you know I am doing this trip on the cheap so the fact this was free was a bonus) it has an amazing garden. If you can find the entrance to the building (yep i couldnt lol) then you can go in because this is a public library.
I then wandered around the Saint-Paul Village which was filled with cute shops. The village is divided into a number of squares (all given a different colour) so make sure you go to each. Eventually I got back onto the tour and headed for Sully Mansion (Hotel de Sully) on the Rue Saint Antoine. This is a 17th century building which used to be luxury private mansions when this area used to be habited by the aristocrats. Now it is the offices for the National Monuments, so you can’t go in it but again you can wander around and trust me it is sooo worth the wander:
As you carry on walking on the tour you will find yourself in these archways which surround a garden. This garden is the oldest planned square in Paris. Further down you will come across Victor Hugo’s mansion (which you can look around). Now an interesting reflection…you dont see street people much in Paris and yet under these archways was a large mattress with a guy asleep on it, it struck me the contrast …beautiful ornate buildings with the oldest square in front of him and yet here was an example of the poor of Paris.
The oldest planned square in Paris
From here i walked to 23 Rue de Sevigne to go to Carnavalet Museum (Musee Carnavalet) can i just say at the start here…WOW!!! This is a museum worth going to (and it’s free!!!) it is an extensive museum spread over two old hotels dating back to 1500s. It has rooms decorated in the design of the times, art, history, jewellery and paintings over the entire room (yep entire…including the roof) I loved it and can’t recommend it enough.
After spending hours at the museum I set back out on my walk and ended up walking past a number of other great buildings and also the Jewish quarters of Paris (called ‘Pletzl’). In this area you can visit Picasso’s Museum, Musee Cognacq-Jay (another collection of arts), the Hunting and Nature Museum (yep those of you who know me know i wouldn’t go in there, but the write up says it is fun), Museum of French History (National Archives in Hotel de Soubise), and finally the Hotel de Ville (government buildings since 1300s, though only buildings from 1800s are standing here now).
Well at the end of it I was tired, had a great time and really want you to go to Marais if you go to Paris. Also, I highly recommend the Trip Adviser app for the self tours. Hope you have a great day 🙂