The district of Marais is located in the center of Paris (3rd and 4th district), traditionally a bourgeois area, but also well-known historically.
Le Marais still hosts numerous private mansions with the particular characteristics of the architecture of seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Examples include the Hotel de Sully, L ‘Hotel Carnavalet,…
But the site most interesting is the Place des Vosges (Square). It was built at the initiative of King Henri IV on the former site of the Hotel des Tournelles which had been destroyed by Catherine de Medici at the end of the sixteenth century. Completed in 1612, it was named the Royal Square. The architecture is original, galleries shops are all around the square, and it allows events and parties organization. It takes its new name, Place des Vosges, in 1800, that has retained until today.
Rue des Rosiers is still a major centre of the Paris Jewish community, which has met a renewal since the 1990s. Walls feature announcements of Jewish events, there are bookshops specializing in Jewish books, and there are also numerous restaurants and other outlets selling kosher food.
One of the most interesting streets is the famous rue des Francs-Bourgeois, one of the few streets which largely ignores France’s strong tradition of Sunday closure, even within Paris. As such, it is a popular location for weekend brunches and walks.
The Marais, particularly towards the North near République is also famed for a strong Chinese community.
The neighbourhood has also experienced a growing gay presence since the 1980s, as evidenced by the existence of many gay cafés, nightclubs, cabarets and shops. These establishments are mainly concentrated in the southwestern portion of the Marais, many on or near the streets Sainte-Croix de la Bretonnerie and Vieille du Temple.
Other features of the neighbourhood includes the presence of numerous art galleries and museums, including the Musée Picasso, the house of Nicolas Flamel, the Musée Cognacq-Jay, the Musée Carnavalet.