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Place des Vosges, le Marais | © Nico Crisafulli/Flickr
Place des Vosges, le Marais | © Nico Crisafulli/Flickr
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31 Absolutely Magical Views Of The Marais

Picture of Natalie Marin
Updated: 3 January 2017
Le Marais (literally “the swamp”) is one of the most ancient neighborhoods in Paris, and is perhaps also the most strikingly gorgeous. It is the best place in the city to experience “Old Paris,” as it still shelters the ancient city’s narrow, crooked medieval lanes and the pre-revolutionary noble palaces — Paris’ oldest, most eccentric and most beguiling neighborhood.
Place des Vosges, le Marais | © Nico Crisafulli/Flickr
Place des Vosges, le Marais | © Nico Crisafulli/Flickr

The Marais is a feast for the eyes, brimming with stunning examples of French architecture dating back over six hundred years.

This amazing medieval building is a wizened survivor from the 14th century.

Medieval Architecture in the Marais | © Curt Smith/Flickr
Medieval Architecture in the Marais | © Curt Smith/Flickr

This Late Gothic-Renaissance turret, at the Hôtel de Sens, is a lovely surprise in a modern capital city!

L'Hôtel de Sens | © So_P/Flickr
L’Hôtel de Sens | © So_P/Flickr

The Marais is home to many noble palaces, thankfully spared from the destructive frenzy of the French Revolution and Haussmann‘s city-wide remodel in the 1860s.

L'Hôtel de Soubise, home to the National Archives | © Jean-Pierre Dalbéra/Flickr
L’Hôtel de Soubise, home to the National Archives | © Jean-Pierre Dalbéra/Flickr

Many of these palaces are now museums, where you can step back in time into Old-World Europe.

The Marais is also home numerous exquisite gardens. Quiet and tucked away, these green spaces are peaceful retreats from the buzzing, bustling city.

Jardin, le Marais | © Guerretto/Flickr
Jardin, le Marais | © Guerretto/Flickr

Cars, crowds and mobile phones can’t make it past these walls. The only sounds here are birdsong and the breeze in the leaves.

Garden at the Musée Carnavalet | © tpholland/Flickr
Garden at the Musée Carnavalet | © tpholland/Flickr

These spots make the perfect retreat to sit back, stretch out, and get some air.

Garden at the Hôtel de Sens | © Nelson Minar/Flickr
Garden at the Hôtel de Sens | © Nelson Minar/Flickr

The Marais’ most famous and grandiose garden is the Place des Vosges.

Splendor trickles down even to its lion-head fountains!

Fountain at the Place des Vosges | © Guillaume Baviere/Flickr
Fountain at the Place des Vosges | © Guillaume Baviere/Flickr

And it has many fantastic sun-drenched spots to sit and watch the world go by.

Bench, Place des Vosges | © ParisSharing/Flickr
Bench, Place des Vosges | © ParisSharing/Flickr

But the magic of the Marais often lies in its quiet, hidden courtyards.

Courtyard, le Marais | © Sali Sasaki/Flickr
Courtyard, le Marais | © Sali Sasaki/Flickr

Like this stately spot, washed in charming pink and covered in ivy.

Often the magic can be found in tiny details on the outsides of buildings.

Snake-Eating Lion Door-Knocker | © Quinn Dombrowski/Flickr
Snake-Eating Lion Door-Knocker | © Quinn Dombrowski/Flickr

Like this revolutionary declaration, spanning this quiet lintel.

Liberté, Egalité, Fraternité | © taymtaym/Flickr
Liberté, Egalité, Fraternité | © taymtaym/Flickr

Or this fantastical and imaginative door-knocker guardian!

Knocker | © Jon/Flickr
Knocker | © Jon/Flickr

But other times, it’s best to keep your eyes to the sky.

L'Hôtel de Sully | © Guillaume Baviere/Flickr
L’Hôtel de Sully | © Guillaume Baviere/Flickr

Look up to take in the many equisistely sculpted windows.

L'Hôtel de Sully | © Guillaume Baviere/Flickr
L’Hôtel de Sully | © Guillaume Baviere/Flickr

Not a single, elegant detail spared.

L'Hôtel de Sully | © OTTAVI Alain/Flickr
L’Hôtel de Sully | © OTTAVI Alain/Flickr

With such enchanting streets, simply walking around the Marais is delightful.

You can even peek out for a view along the riverside.

View looking onto Ile Saint Louis | © (vincent desjardins)/Flickr
View looking onto Ile Saint Louis | © (vincent desjardins)/Flickr

The Marais is also famous for its lively Jewish quarter, offering delectable pastries and downright heavenly falafel.

Sacha Finkelsteijn's Bagels | © Curt Smith/Flickr
Sacha Finkelsteijn’s Bagels | © Curt Smith/Flickr

It’s also a great place for spotting street art. Paris’ famous Space Invader makes an appearance on this corner.

Space Invader on Rue de Fourcy | © John Althouse Cohen/Flickr
Space Invader on Rue de Fourcy | © John Althouse Cohen/Flickr

Street art can be playful, but also full of meaning. This one says, “Look at the sky!”

Regarde Le Ciel | © alainalele/Flickr
Regarde Le Ciel | ©

Artists in the Marais are not afraid to challenge, either. This one says, “In which world, Vuitton?”

Dans quel monde, Louis Vuitton? | © Guilhem Vellut
Dans quel monde, Louis Vuitton? | © Guilhem Vellut

This neighborhood likes to speak its mind to the world.

Je Suis Charlie | © João Dias/Flickr
Je Suis Charlie | © João Dias/Flickr

Some here just say it like it is. The perfect example: “Bad Boy Street,” the gateway to the Marais’ wild gay district.

The Marais loves to have fun. Bars, clubs, and rowdy nightlife make this a hopping district after hours.

Gay Pride, Marais | © Melanie M/Flickr
Gay Pride, Marais | © Melanie M/Flickr

Even the pastries are scandalous!

"Magic" Baguettes | © cyberien 94/Flickr
“Magic” Baguettes | © cyberien 94/Flickr

Of course, some of the Marais is downright eccentric.

Eccentric Man on Rue Des Rosiers | © Marko Kudjerski/Flickr
Eccentric Man on Rue Des Rosiers | © Marko Kudjerski/Flickr

But in the end, it’s impossible not to fall in love with this funky, ancient, and spectacularly beautiful corner of Paris!

Heart in le Marais | © Gideon/Flickr
Heart in le Marais | © Gideon/Flickr