Le Marais: A History


Le Marais: A Window into the Aristocratic Past

Last week we looked at one of my favorite neighborhoods in Paris, this one is no different. Le Marais is one of the most beautiful Parisian neighborhoods known for its beautiful buildings, rich history, and famous residents. With is beautiful white faced buildings, this neighborhood quickly becomes the favorite of many.

Aristocratic District

Back in the 1700s, and even before then, le Marais was where all the aristocrats lived. Many of them wanted to be near the king, who lived in the Palais Royal or the Palais du Louvre. Of course the kings eventually moved to Versailles, but the aristocratic class stayed put in their huge houses, called Hotel Particuliers.

St. Paul

A Jewish Community

Eventually the nobility started moving out of the neighborhood and the Jewish community moved in. Because of antisemitism, this neighborhood was targeted by the Nazis during World War II and was attacked in the 1980s. But to this day, a strong Jewish presence can be seen in the streets of le Marais. Between stores and synagogues, it's a great place to learn about Jewish history in Paris.

Famous Residents

Through the years, le Marais has been home to many famous people. The most notable are Robespierre, head of the Reign of Terror during the French Revolution, and Victor Hugo, known for writing The Hunchback of Notre Dame and Les Miserables. You can even take a tour of his home while visiting le Marais.

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