Paris has always been in the bucket list of every passionate traveler, and especially for couples, as the City of Love is the best place to rekindle your romance and spend quality time together. On the other hand, if you want to know and experience the medieval culture of Paris, the perfect answer to that is a trip to the Le-Marais district in Paris. One thing is certain; you cannot go to Paris and skip a visit to the Marias District, which is where you will get the feel of pre-medieval Paris.
The aristocratic district of Paris hosts many buildings of historic and architectural importance. In fact, the pre-revolutionary buildings and streets in Le-Marais are maintained intact as a cultural heritage, and the beautiful buildings and houses here reveal the wealthy status of former Parisians.
Even though the place is historic, the medieval lanes of Le-Marais are filled with hotels, restaurants, bars, low and high fashioned boutiques, jewelry stores, fashionable art galleries, museums, old-fashioned bread shops, and much more. The place is also the epicenter of designer hotels and this is why starting an evening in and around the Marais District is the best way to experience the culture as well as the current scenario of Paris city from the locals.
Exploring the Le-Marais District
Marais means marsh and that is exactly what this area was until the 12th Century when it was converted to a farmland. Later, King Henry IV began building the Place Royale here and it started the building bloom of Le-Marais. Gradually, the wealthy and famous moved in and the district became one of the most happening centers of the city.
Later in 13th Century, Paris’s Jewish quarters were built in Le-Marais, which are still around speaking aloud of the ancient times. Other historical highlights of Le-Marais district include the church of St-Paul-St-Louis, Hotel de Sully, the church of St-Gervais-St-Protais, etc. There are also private mansions in Marais district, many of which are open to public.
Market of the Red Children
The Le Marché des Enfants Rouges or Market of the Red Children was built in 1615 on the request of King Louis XIII where poultry, games, and other foodstuff were sold and supplied to Le-Marais and Place Royale, which is now known as Place des Vosges. In 1772, a well and a barn was added to the Market of the Red Children as a reference to the orphanage that Marguerite of Navarre had opened in the district.
Today, the building that has celebrated its 400 years is the hub of taste buds of all kinds, their main cuisine being French. However, they also have Italian as well as Lebanese as some of their best mouth-watering cuisines, and you will not get tired of their inventive and authentic Japanese flavors in the Japanese corner. The market is open from 08:00 am to 08:30 pm on Tuesdays to Saturdays, and from 08:30 am to 05:00 pm on Sundays.
The Aristocratic Marais
The political and social history of the place can be unveiled through a visit to the 20 important buildings in the district as well as to the emblematic spots that have been converted into museums, administrative offices, or other public places that are considered to be the jewels of Parisian heritage. You can dive into the history of the district through these, from the enhancement of the lands by various abbeys to the culture of the neighboring temples. Moreover, there are several gothic vaulted cellars here too, that have survived decades in the district.
In the 16th Century, a new generation of aristocratic mansions was constructed on top of the buildings that were previously built here. Furthermore, since before the revolution of 1789, the Marais had passed out of fashion and the elegant mansions were occupied by working-class families where they shared large rooms as apartments and installed workshops in their courtyards. Fortunately, in the second half of 20th Century, the Marais had a comeback with a large scale renovation, followed by an increase in rent prices and the arrival of many trendy boutiques, which had made the district lively, happening, dynamic, and modern.
The Deaf Alley
This is the least known place in Le-Marais, as the name suggests, and it is not almost a street. The deaf alley is a semi-private impasse with gates at both ends in the rue de Beauce extension that was created in 1620. Furthermore, the alley was once in the shape of ‘L’ without sidewalks, with the concave starting at 3 rue Chaplin and ending at 15 rue Pastourelle with stone terminals and uneven cobblestones.
The part of L giving rue Chaplin has been closed for many years, but is seen through a grid; the other rue is always closed though. The deaf alley resembles the middle ages where one emptied their chamber pot through the window of the house and the passersby protect themselves from splashing of dirt on their head.
Other features of the Le-Marais district that showcase the cultural heritage include the remolder, carnival museum, the scandalous graffiti, Mr. & Mrs. Scarron, the secret gardens of Le-Marais, etc. So plan a trip to the Marais District when on Paris tours and get to know the culture of true Parisians.