For a Great Day in Paris, visit the Marais:
When you arrive in Paris, it is often an overwhelming experience. Rushing from monuments to major museums, gets you to see the sights but not always feel the pulse of the city and its people. Part of the fun of travel is imagining everyday life in your new destination, and a good way to do that in Paris is in the Marais area. The Marais is located on the right bank opposite Ile St. Louis.
Here you will find a few of the medieval buildings left in Paris, beautiful 18th century mansions, interesting museums, fascinating art galleries and a treasure trove of antiques. The area is populated with Jews, Asians, and Algerians. The historic Place des Vosges, a beautifully architected square of fashionable pink brick buildings trimmed in beige with a stone arcade walk way beneath, is the highlight of the neighborhood. The square surrounds a lovely green park and makes for an inviting view from the restaurant tables sitting outside under the colonnades. The square is filled with art galleries, restaurants, specialty shops, the scrumptious Hotel Pavillon de la Reine and the home of the great writer Victor Hugo. Plan the Place as a spot for lunch or dinner where cozy restaurants with timbered ceilings and stone walls let you feel the real Paris as you smell the aromas and taste the spices that make a meal in France special. The Ma Bourgogne restaurant is a good bet.
A short walk from the Place are some interesting museums reflecting the eclectic feel of the Marais. The Museum Carnvalet will give you a good glimpse into the history of Paris and life from the inside of her Paris homes. The Musee Cognacq-Jay is a beautiful 16th century home housing the fine 18th century collection of art, antiques and decorative arts given to the city by the founders of La Samaritaine department store. A palatial 17th century home is the setting for the Musee Picasso said to be the largest collection of his work in the world. And reflecting the Asian influence here you can also visit the Musee Kwok-On which is devoted to the art of Oriental theatre.
For those interested in antiques, the Village St. Paul near the river is a must see. Here over 100 antique dealers are clustered around the narrow cobblestone courtyards of the Marais. Everything from china to country-style furniture is available for sale. The streets to check out include Rue des Jardins St.Paul, Rue Charlemagne, Ru St. Paul and the quai des Celestins.
In order to get the best detail on the history, people and places in the Marais, a Two Hour Walking Tour is available by an experienced English speaking guide. You will take an easy stroll through the area and learn about life through the centuries, things that took place in little out of the way courtyards as well as the duels in the famous Place des Vosges. So don’t miss the real Paris, see the Marais.
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