A Guide to Le Marais, Paris
Travel with me to the 4th in Paris, and discover its many secrets…
Just steps from the Hotel Pavillon de la Reine is the stunning and ornate 200 year old Victor Hugo Museum, which houses where the author of the Hunchback of Notre Dame and Les Miserables lived, wrote, and died.
As you exit the wonderfully-designed Museum and start to stroll the streets of this part of the City, you will notice something very odd: that, unlike the rest of Paris with its oversized large roads and grand buildings, the sidewalks in this district are narrow; the streets are humble; and its “feel” is not modern Parisian per se. Instead, you’ll walk and walk and get lost on every street corner, wanting to explore every little neighborhood’s fun and peculiar mysteries. You’ll notice that this is the classic Paris that so many fall in love with.
As you continue to glide through the 4th, you’ll see the best examples of Baroque architecture, a sophisticated throwback to France’s once prominent aristocracy who called Le Marais home. And, by the way, this is why they call the 4th the prettiest part of Paris, which is the prettiest city in the world: the architecture here is made with love and class and sass. Some real head-turners. These buildings are homes, museums of magic, and even former castles whose grand entrances are overlooked by ghoulish gargoyles (some of which are rumored to be haunted).
If you enter any of them, you’ll see deliciously dangerous exposed beams, crooked staircases only a supermodel could fit through, and portes cocheres (entrances to secret courtyards and gardens). You’ll even notice an homage to one of Le Marais’s former fortresses, the famed Bastille Castle that caused the French Revolution. You’ll keep thinking to yourself, it’s so amazing how the beauty of architecture can often mask and hide a chillingly haunted past–and keep secrets maintained for centuries.