Walking in the Marais neighbourhood of Paris

The “Marais”, located in the eastern part of Paris, on the right bank, is one of the walking tours proposed by Paris-Cultural. It is not always on the agenda of tourists spending a few days in Paris, although it ‘s an historical district, with a variety of interesting buildings, museums and one of the most beautiful square of the capital, the “place des Vosges”, built under the reign of the king Louis XIII.

The Marais takes its name from the swamps which covered this area in the Middle Ages.  This land was first occupied by the monks who grew vegetables and cereals to feed the Parisian population. Later on, from the 16th to the 18th century, the kings and the aristocrats decided to build castles and mansions on the right bank of the Seine river because the island of the City was becoming too crowded. Walking through the Marais, you will have the opportunity to discover different architectural styles, from medieval houses to beautiful mansions built between courtyards where the carriages could come across the monumental gates and beautiful gardens. Some of them are museums, such as the Cognacq Jay museum and Picasso museum.

At the end of the 18th century, many aristocrats moved to the left bank, in the 6th and 7th districts where they had more space to build their new houses. The former aristocratic houses of the Marais, became occupied by craftsmen and the district slowly lost its glamour but in the 1960’s, people were attracted by it because the real estate prices were low and it was slowly gentrified. It regained its power of attraction and is now a very lively place to visit, with lots of nice shops, art galleries and good restaurants.

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