Highlights of the Marais area of Paris include a park where locals head for relaxation, homes of the famous, a world-class museum, and high-end shopping. Have you visited the Marias area of Paris? If not, plan to stroll around here and explore someday. This area of Paris, which includes the 3rd and 4th arrondissements of the city, was built on marshland (“marais” means marsh) in the 1100s. Here are some highlights of a day in the historic Marais.
The Place des Vosges
The Place des Vosges is the oldest planned square in Paris. It’s a park lined by elegant red-brick buildings. Victor Hugo’s home is here and is open to the public. Families hang out here, locals come to exercise or study, and tourists marvel at the peacefulness.
The Sunday Market
We took the bus to the Bastille circle, got off, and found the street we wanted as a starting point to our adventure. I’m not good at directions, though, so we went the opposite way. We wandered along, enjoyed a breakfast of chocolate croissants in a local bakery, and then figured out our mistake and turned around. We came to a street jammed with large and small trucks and immediately found the Sunday Market on the other side of them. So by happy accident we blended with residents doing their weekly shopping.
The Jewish Quarter
The Marais has been home to a community of Jews since the 13th century. Sadly, this area is the site of terrorist attacks and of deportations. Memorials name some of the children deported during WWII.
The Goldenberg deli is the site of a 1982 terrorist attack that left six people dead and 21 injured. As recently as 2015, two of the perpetrators were found. This is a community that does not forget those it lost.
The Marais also has museums and shops and restaurants. On a Sunday, the Marais is especially vibrant as the residents come out in droves to enjoy their free time. It’s a bustling place, full of history and life.
If you go to the Marais, I highly recommend lunch at La Terrasse Sainte-Catherine on Sainte Catherine Place. Locals filled the restaurant and it seemed everyone ordered a basket of French fries. So we did, too. I’m not a fry eater normally, but these are truly remarkable. And the salmon burger was delicious.