Le Marais Walking Tour, Paris

The district Le Marais used to be a bourgeois area in the past and a major center of the Paris Jewish community that still exists today. Here, you will find different bookshops specializing in Jewish books, restaurants with traditional Jewish food and a synagogue. You may consider taking the self-guided city tour presented below to visit all the important attractions in Le Marais.
You can follow this self-guided walking tour to explore the attractions listed below. How it works: download the app "GPSmyCity: Walks in 1K+ Cities" from iTunes App Store or Google Play to your mobile phone or tablet. The app turns your mobile device into a personal tour guide and its built-in GPS navigation functions guide you from one tour stop to next. The app works offline, so no data plan is needed when traveling abroad.

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Le Marais Walking Tour Map

Guide Name: Le Marais Walking Tour
Guide Location: France » Paris (See other walking tours in Paris)
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Sightseeing)
# of Attractions: 10
Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.1 km
Author: karen
Place des Vosges

1) Place des Vosges (must see)

Originally known as the Place Royale, the “Place des Vosges” was built by Henri IV from 1605 to 1612. Situated in Marais district of Paris, it is the oldest planned square in Paris. Baptiste du Cerceau designed the building in the form of a square with all other construction bordering the square follow the same design. The result is a symmetrical layout of houses with red brick and white stone facades, steep slate roofs and dorm windows, all constructed over arcades. The square was officially inaugurated in 1612 as the 'Place Royale'. The King’s pavilion was present on the southern side and the Queen's pavilion was present on the northern side. In 1639 a statue of King Louis XIII was erected at the center of the square. It was destroyed during the French Revolution and a new statue was reinstalled in 1825. In 1800 Napoleon changed the name of the square from 'Place Royale' to 'Place des Vosges' to show his gratitude towards the Vosges department which was the first to pay taxes to the new French government. Many famous Frenchmen lived here including Richelieu, prime minister of France in 1624 and Victor Hugo, a famous author.

The house, now called 'Maison de Victor Hugo' is turned into a museum. You can visit the rooms where Victor Hugo wrote most of 'Les Misérables'. His life from childhood to his exile between 1852 and 1870 has been depicted using souvenirs, drawings and books. Many art galleries are also present at this most prestigious address. The Place des Vosges is now a peaceful place with a nice central park surrounded by shops and cafes. It is elegant with a classic French style and is a pure and unique example of early 17th-century architecture. Inside the square, the splendid fountains still have the name of King Louis XIII who was in power when the square was completed in the 1600s. During daytime, a secret door on the southwest corner of the square allows entry to the incredible Hotel de Sully Gardens. There is a courtyard across another passage displaying beautiful statues that depict the four seasons. Walking along the perimeter of the square under the spectacular arches, having a drink at Café Hugo and dining at Ma Bourgogne or La Guirlande de Julie – could be quite exhausting but definitely worth trying.

Why You Should Visit:
One of the most classy corners of Paris, with well-manicured gardens, nice shops (including the superior Damman Frères tea store), many art galleries to browse around, and several places to have your lunch or dinner, for every budget and taste. Great place for a picnic, too...

Don't forget to look at the balconies because they were the first extended balconies in all of Paris!
Sight description based on wikipedia
Le Marais

2) Le Marais (must see)

Le Marais ("The Marsh") is a historic district in Paris, France. In the 16th century, the aristocracy has built their residences here, which still can be seen. The area is home to many museums, art galleries and historic sites. It spreads across parts of the 3rd and 4th arrondissements in Paris (on the Rive Droite, or Right Bank, of the Seine).

The Marais is now one of Paris' main localities for art galleries. Following its rehabilitation, the Marais has become a fashionable district, home to many trendy restaurants, fashion houses, and hip galleries. The neighborhood has experienced a growing gay presence since the 1980s, as evidenced by the existence of many gay cafés, nightclubs, cabarets and shops. These establishments are mainly concentrated in the southwestern portion of the Marais, many on or near the streets Sainte-Croix de la Bretonnerie and rue des Archives. The Marais is also known for the Chinese community it hosts. Other features of the neighborhood include the Musée Picasso, the house of Nicolas Flamel, the Musée Cognacq-Jay, the Musée Carnavalet, and the new and very popular Café Charlot.

Why You Should Visit:
This neighborhood is rich in history and just feels different than the other more touristic parts of Paris.
Walking down a narrow street among people riding their bikes to work/lunch, you can turn on what appears to be an alley and find all the gems!
Lots of up and coming designers plus well-established ones make popping in and out of the shops a lot of fun.
As a plus, you get the best falafel in Paris at several establishments.
Sight description based on wikipedia
Musée Carnavalet – Histoire de Paris

3) Musée Carnavalet – Histoire de Paris

Editor's Note: This museum is closed for renovation until the end of 2019.

The Carnavalet Museum in Paris is dedicated to the history of the city. The museum occupies two neighboring mansions: the Hôtel Carnavalet and the former Hôtel Le Peletier de Saint Fargeau. On the advice of Baron Haussmann, the civil servant who transformed Paris in the latter half of the 19th century, the Hôtel Carnavalet was purchased by the Municipal Council of Paris in 1866; it was opened to the public in 1880. Inside the museum, the exhibits show the transformation of the village of Lutèce, which was inhabited by the Parisii tribes, to the grand city of today with a population of 2,201,578. The Carnavalet houses about 2,600 paintings, 20,000 drawings, 300,000 engravings and 150,000 photographs, 2,000 modern sculptures and 800 pieces of furniture, thousands of ceramics, many decorations, models and reliefs, signs, thousands of coins, countless items, many of them souvenirs of famous characters, and thousands of archeological fragments.

Opening Hours:
Tue-Sun: 10am-6pm
Sight description based on wikipedia
Square of George Cain

4) Square of George Cain

Georges Cain (1856-1919), an artist and writer, spent much of his life, from 1897 to 1914, serving as the guardian of the Carnavalet Museum. In gratitude for his service, in 1923 a square was laid out in Paris, bearing his name, which now holds an archaeological collection of long vanished monuments of the past and astonishing antique stone relics. In the center of the square stands a bronze statue, known as "Dawn", created by Laurent Magaier in the 17th century. In summer, the statue is surrounded by beautiful orange roses. The square and the garden form a soothing oasis of calmness amid the noise of the big city. It is an ideal place for tourists to unwind prior to or after visiting the Carnavalet and the nearby Picasso Museum.

The square has a children's playground and a central lawn, open to the public since 1931. You can sit on a bench and enjoy your picnic lunch, or surf the net and check your emails, using the available free WI-FI service. Replete with sweet smelling roses and outstanding tulips, Square Georges Cain will surely be one of your favorite spots in Paris. If you like to capture natural objects in their purest form, make sure to bring along your camera.
Sight description based on wikipedia
Musee Picasso

5) Musee Picasso

The Musée Picasso is an art gallery located in the Hôtel Salé in rue de Thorigny, in the Marais district of Paris. The hôtel particulier that houses the collection was built between 1656 and 1659 for Pierre Aubert. The architect was Jean Boullier from Bourges. It is considered to be one of the finest historic houses in the Marais. The Musée Picasso contains more than 3000 different works of art by Pablo Picasso including drawings, ceramics and paintings. This is complemented by Picasso's own personal art collection of works by other artists, including Cézanne, Degas, Rousseau, Seurat, de Chirico and Matisse. It also contains some Iberian bronzes and a good collection of primitive art. One of the most impressive aspects of the museum is that it contains a large number of works which Picasso painted after his seventieth birthday.

Editor's Note: Closed until Fall 2014.
Sight description based on wikipedia
Galerie Yvon Lambert

6) Galerie Yvon Lambert

In 1966, Yvon Lambert opened his first gallery on the rue de L’Échaudé in Paris, France where he began to exhibit American artists. Lambert showed founders of conceptualism, minimalism and land art such as Carl Andre and Lawrence Weiner. Nowadays the Yvon Lambert Gallery hosts collections of contemporary and avant-garde art by a lot of international artists including many American artists. Their unusual exhibitions attract lots of visitors that are looking for some really special pieces of art to admire.

Operation hours: Tuesday - Saturday: 10:00 am - 7:00 pm
Sight description based on wikipedia
Passage de Retz

7) Passage de Retz

Passage de Retz is an avant-garde gallery open since 1994 that hosts a series of impressive exhibitions by local and international artists. There are collections of Japanese textiles, American abstract expressionist paintings, contemporary Haitian paintings, and much more.

Operation hours: Monday: 10:00 am - 6:00 pm; Tuesday - Saturday: 10:00 am - 7:00 pm
Musee des Archives Nationales

8) Musee des Archives Nationales

The Musée de l'Histoire de France was a state museum of French history operated by the Archives Nationales. It occupied two buildings: the Hôtel de Soubise and the Hôtel de Rohan. Until 2001 the museum displayed rotating selections from its permanent collection in the Hôtel de Soubise, with temporary exhibits that sometimes expanded into the Hôtel de Rohan. The collection included documents that date from the Merovingian period before Charlemagne, documents and the only known sketch of Joan of Arc, Louis XVI's will and facsimiles of Marie Antoinette's farewell letter composed just before her execution, documents by Danton, Robespierre, and Napoleon, as well as jailers' keys from the Bastille.

The Hôtels de Soubise and de Rohan are also notable for their architecture and furnishings, with rooms that have changed very little since the 18th century, including the Chambre du prince, Salon ovale du prince, Chambre d'apparat de la princesse, an amusing Cabinet des singes (Monkey Cabinet), and the very fine Salon ovale de la princesse with featuring gilt and crystal decor and ceiling frescoes by François Boucher, Charles-Joseph Natoire, and Carle Van Loo.

Operation hours: Monday, Wednesday - Friday: 10:00 am - 5:30 pm; Saturday - Sunday: 2:00 pm - 5:30 pm
Sight description based on wikipedia
Musee d'Art et d'Histoire du Judaisme

9) Musee d'Art et d'Histoire du Judaisme

The Musée d'Art et d'Histoire du Judaïsme is a French museum of Jewish art and history and it is located in the Marais district of Paris. The museum has been inaugurated in 1986 but the initial collection was formed in 1998 and some other objects has been added to it afterwards. The museum reflects the history of Jewish communities in France, Europe, and North Africa, from the Middle Ages to the present.

The museum dates from 1986 when the then-Mayor of Paris, Jacques Chirac, made the Hôtel de Saint-Aignan available for a museum of Jewish civilization. The museum opened in 1998, and the initial collection was formed by combining the Strauss-Rothschild gift built up by Isaac Strauss and given by Baroness Nathaniel de Rothschild in 1890 to the Musée de Cluny, with the holdings assembled since 1948 by the Musée d'Art Juif. This collection has been enhanced by acquisitions and donations of art, and historical and ethnological objects. The museum reflects the history of Jewish communities in France, Europe, and North Africa, from the Middle Ages to the present. It contains archives of the Dreyfus affair, 20th-century art (Chagall, Modigliani, Soutine, Michel Kikoine), as well as objets d'art, textiles and manuscripts, and a 182-seat auditorium. The Carnavalet Museum has added to its collection of medieval tombstones.

Operation hours: Monday - Friday: 11:00 am - 6:00 pm; Sunday: 10:00 am - 6:00 pm
Sight description based on wikipedia
Musee des Arts et Metiers

10) Musee des Arts et Metiers

The Musée des Arts et Métiers (Museum of Arts and Crafts) is an industrial design museum in Paris that houses the collection of the Conservatoire National des Arts et Métiers (National Conservatory of Arts and Industry). It was founded in 1794 as a repository for the preservation of scientific instruments and inventions. Since its foundation, the museum has been housed in the deserted priory of Saint-Martin-des-Champs, in the 3rd arrondissement of Paris. Today the museum, which underwent major renovation in 1990, includes an additional building adjacent to the abbey, with larger objects remaining in the abbey itself. The museum has over 80,000 objects and 15,000 drawings in its collection, of which about 2,500 are on display in Paris. The rest of the collection is preserved in a storehouse in Saint-Denis. Among its collection is an original version of the Foucault pendulum, the original model of the Statue of Liberty by Auguste Bartholdi, some of the first planes, Blaise Pascal's Pascaline (the first mechanical calculator). The museum presents seven different collections: Scientific Instruments, Materials, Energy, Mechanics, Construction, Communication, Transportation. In the former church of St-Martin-des-Champs Priory are displayed cars, planes, the Foucault Pendulum and some other monumental objects.

Operation hours: Tuesday - Wednesday & Friday - Sunday: 10:00 am - 6:00 pm; Thursday: 10:00 am - 9:30 pm
Sight description based on wikipedia

Walking Tours in Paris, France

Create Your Own Walk in Paris

Create Your Own Walk in Paris

Creating your own self-guided walk in Paris is easy and fun. Choose the city attractions that you want to see and a walk route map will be created just for you. You can even set your hotel as the start point of the walk.
The French Revolution Landmarks Walking Tour

The French Revolution Landmarks Walking Tour

The French Revolution had a huge impact on France's history as it gave rise to a radical democratic republic and resulted in violence during the Reign of Terror. A lot of Paris' buildings were damaged beyond repair in the course of the Revolution. The sites they occupied are of a great historical value now. This guide is to highlight the landmarks of the French Revolution that remain.

Tour Duration: 3 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 6.4 km
Bourse-Opera Attractions Walking Tour

Bourse-Opera Attractions Walking Tour

Located on the right bank of the River Seine, the 2nd arrondissement, together with the adjacent 8th and 9th arrondissements, hosts an important business district, centred on the Paris Opéra. The area contains the former Paris Bourse (stock exchange), the Garnier Opera House and the famous Fragonard Perfume Museum.

Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.8 km
Top Paris Museums

Top Paris Museums

The following tour comprises a few great museums situated along the Seine. As France has a rich historic past and a vast cultural background, there are a lot of museums exhibiting collections that prove that. You can visit some of them by taking the suggested walking tour presented below.

Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 5.5 km
Luxembourg (6th Arr) Walking Tour

Luxembourg (6th Arr) Walking Tour

This tour takes you to explore the 6th or so-called Luxembourg arrondissement, one of the most expensive districts of Paris, home to posh boutiques, eateries and iconic cafes once favored by legendary writers, the likes of Hemingway and Camus. The area is particularly renowned for its unique architecture, rich history, and deeply rooted intellectual tradition. On this tour you will visit Jardin du Luxembourg, Le Palais de Luxembourg, Saint-Sulpice Church and other notable sights.

Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.5 km
Elysee (8th Arr) Walking Tour II

Elysee (8th Arr) Walking Tour II

This is the 2nd part of the 8th arrondissement tour of Paris, exploring one of the busiest districts of the French capital. Among the tourist highlights visited on this walk is the famous Arc de Triomphe, plus a number of museums and historic monuments.

Tour Duration: 1 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.9 km
Louvre (1st Arr) Walking Tour II

Louvre (1st Arr) Walking Tour II

This is part 2 of the 1st arrondissement tour of Paris exploring one of the smallest and oldest districts of the French capital, home to some of Paris's major landmarks, as well as business and administration offices . This itinerary includes Pavillon de Flore, Tuileries Gardens, Musée de l'Orangerie and many other prominent sights.

Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.6 km

Useful Travel Guides for Planning Your Trip

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15 Places for Tasting Best French Desserts in Paris

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9 Must Try Cafes in Paris

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10 Unusual Things to Do in Paris, France

10 Unusual Things to Do in Paris, France

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Tips for Exploring City on Foot at Your Own Pace

Whether you are in Paris for a quick stopover or have a few days to see the city in more detail, exploring it on foot, at your own pace, is definitely the way to go. Here are some tips for you to save money, see the best Paris has to offer, take good care of your feet while walking, and keep your mobile device – your ultimate "work horse" on this trip - well fed and safe.

Saving Money with City Passes

To save yourself time and money visiting Paris's multiple sights, you may want to resort to the so-called city passes, such as the Paris Pass, Paris Explorer Pass, Paris Museum Pass, or Paris Night Pass.

A city pass combines all or multiple Paris' top highlights, tours and experiences in one prepaid attractions pass, using which you can save incredible amounts on general admission fees as compared to purchasing tickets separately. Often, a city pass also allows you to skip the lines at major attractions, thus saving you precious time.

Staying at Walk-Friendly Hotels

Since you're keen on exploring cities on foot (we assume that you are, and this is why you're here), it is important that you stay at a hotel close to the city's major attractions. It saves you time and energy. Here are a few of Paris hotels that are conveniently located, but at the same time, also not so ridiculously expensive: Novotel Paris Les Halles, Les Rives de Notre-Dame, 9Confidentiel.

Taking Care of Your Feet

To ensure ultimate satisfaction from a day of walking around the city as big as Paris, it is imperative to take good care of your feet so as to avoid unpleasant things like blisters, cold or overheated soles, itchy, irritated or otherwise damaged (cracked) skin, etc. Luckily, these days there is no shortage of remedies to address (and, ideally, to prevent) these and other potential problems with feet. Among them: Compression Socks, Rechargeable Battery-Powered Thermo Socks for Cold Weather, Foot Repair Cream, Deodorant Powder, Shoes UV Sterilizer, and many more that you may wish to find a place in your travel kit for.

Travel Gadgets for Your Mobile Device

Your mobile phone or tablet will be your work horse on a self-guided walk. They offer tour map, guide you from one attraction to another, and provide informative background for the sights you wish to visit. Therefore it is absolutely essential to plan against unexpected power outages in the wrong place at the wrong time, much as to ensure the safety of your device.

For these and other contingencies, here's the list of useful appliances: Portable Charger/External Battery Pack, Worldwide Travel Charger Adapter, Power Converter for International Travel Adapter, and Mobile Device Leash.

Exploring City on Guided Tours

We have a strong bias towards exploring a city on foot, at your own pace, because this is how you get to see things up close with a maximum freedom. You decide how much time you wish to spend at each attraction and don't have to worry about following a crowd. That said, however, we also understand that some of you may want to go with a guided tour. If that is your case, here are some guided tours to consider. Be ready to fork out a bit of money, though, as a guided tour of Paris typically costs from around US$20 up to US$200 or more per person:

- Board a hop-on hop-off double-decker to enjoy sightseeing of Paris from the open top of the bus, listening in the headsets to the commentary provided in a variety of languages, and be able get off at any of the stops along the two interconnecting routes (your ticket is valid for both).

- Alternatively, you can cruise along the river Seine on a similar hop-on hop-off sightseeing boat viewing Paris's top attractions from a different angle, able to get on and off as often as you want at any of the eight stops along the Seine riverbanks. The ticket is valid for one day (24 hrs) and may be upgraded to two days (48 hrs).

- Embark on a self-balancing Segway tour – this usually lasts about 3 hours and allows you to get a real sense of the city. Most people (even those aged 70+) find it quite fun and convenient, enabling to cover much more ground than you otherwise would have done by walking.

- Pedal your way around Paris on a bike tour. In the course of 4 hours you will visit the city's most spectacular sights stopping at each of them for a bit of rest, watching the surroundings, and learning much about the city from an informative group leader.

- Take a walk around Paris with a knowledgeable guide for an alternative view of the French capital. Over the course of this 2-hour walking tour you will get insights and hear stories about every major classic sight of this fascinating city. A complete overview of Paris from the ground up!

- Come see the best of the French capital in just one day in a combo of a Seine river cruise and historical walk of Paris. You may start either with the Eiffel Tower or the Notre-Dame Cathedral making your way around the iconic sights of the city: the Louvre, Arc de Triomphe, Grand Palais, Alexandre III bridge, Invalides, Concorde Square, Orsay Museum, etc.

- Missing out on the French food, whilst in Paris, would be worse than a crime – it would be a mistake! If you don't want to make such a mistake, consider a private 3-hour food tour of Paris complete with a set of 10 unforgettable tastings the memories of which will last you a lifetime. Just make sure to bring along your appetite to make the most of the savory treats awaiting!

- Live a chocoholic’s dream right at the heart of Paris! Follow your sweet tooth sense on this 2-hour guided “chocolate walk” in central Paris visiting some of the best chocolate boutiques of the French capital, learning about peculiar chapters in the history of the city and the place delectable chocolate played in it. Adding to the excitement is a round of free tastings.

Day Trips

If you have a full or half day to spare whilst in Paris, why not use it to explore some of the out-of-town destinations, like Versailles, Fontainebleau, Champagne region, Loire valley, Normandy, or a combo of Honfleur and Giverny. For as little as US$90+ to US$200+ per person you will get a chance to discover highlights of the UNESCO World Heritage sites, see the favorite residence of the French royalty, world-famous vineyards, charming castles, and historic battlefields of World War II. For any of these tours you may be picked up either straight from your hotel or any other place in Paris, and transported by a comfortable air-conditioned minivan or train (whenever applicable) to the destination of your choice and back again.