If there is one district in Paris that I would love exploring again and again, that would be Le Marais, the posh and truly Parisian among all districts of the French capital.
I just love this area, so easy to navigate on foot, not too touristy, plenty of museums, high concentration of outstanding buildings and hotels particuliers where their paved courtyards or manicured gardens are freely accessible to the public, numerous art galleries, independent shops, colourful cafés and the sight of chic Parisians walking their poodles along narrow alleys.
That’s why when I was in Paris last week for a quick meeting and had no time to satisfy my museum fix, I thought right away of going ambling in Le Marais and do my photo scouting. No regrets. I was in complete awe the whole time and my camera shutter never even had a chance to cool down as I was just completely carried away taking shots like there’s no tomorrow. Yes, as usual, I took myriads of photos but don’t worry, I am just posting a small percentage here so you don’t get photo overload.
But let me start from the area of Cathedral Notre Dame because that’s where I began my sightseeing (right after the meeting) having arrived via Metro Saint Michel.
This group of men playing music at this metro underground of Saint Michel seems to be a permanent tourist attraction here. Whatever season, for so many years, I’ve always seen them here. They sing a huge repertoire, sometimes, Latin music like the Tango.
At the river Seine, this lawn on a boat made me realize that not having a piece of your own land is not a reason why you can’t create a lawn complete with seasonal flowers.
From where I am standing, this sight of Le Conciergerie on the left and the two bridges, Pont Notre Dame and Pont St Michel, is so photogenic that I always take photos of the same spot despite taking hundreds already.
Le Conciergerie was the prison where Marie Antoinette was held before her execution at the guillotine in 1793.
The new mayor of Paris, Anne Hidalgo, had the locks of a bridge (pont des Arts) removed as it was geting too heavy that it was in danger of collapsing, but lovers always find a way where to hook their symbol of love. They were not there the last time I was in Paris!
Pope John Paul II and the rose window of Cathedrale Notre Dame.
Portal of the almost 900-years old Cathedrale
You see, I don’t need to go to a museum to see medieval sculptures. This gorgoyle is just one of the many you can see perched up of the Cathedrale.
A part of the frieze above the portal of the Cathedrale. For the nearly 900 years it is there exposed to the elements, I’m glad that it is still there intact, being enjoyed by millions of visitors who flock to the city each year, and hopefully by many generations to come.
This is the courtyard of “Hôtel-Dieu”, the oldest hospital in the capital, founded in 651. I always come here to enjoy the flowers but this time, it’s still empty, probably because it’s still the Winter season.
Just one of the few oldest streets of the city
Maison de la Colombe (House of the Dove), built in the 13th century (hence, the Seven centuries of History, written in French) now a restaurant offering the best wines.
If you want to experience the best wine in the oldest bar of Paris, serving meals at affordable prices, this is the place. I have yet to try it though.
A souvenir you will not forget, so says on the window. Have your hands moulded for 20 minutes and your hand sculpture will be mailed directly to your home address after 8 to 10 days.
Just at the shadow of Cathedrale Notre Dame, tucked on a narrow street is this cafe and restaurant with a facade charmingly decorated, tempting the eyes of passers-by to try their traditional French cuisine. The interior decoration is a feast to the senses, too.
From Notre Dame, I walked towards Hotel de Ville (City Hall) and was surprised to see these magnolia trees in full bloom!
This is the statue of Étienne Marcel, a 14th century Revolutionary and Provost of Merchants. His name is all over the capital: from the name of a road to a Metro station, several sculptures. . .
Another permanent fixture next to the Hotel de Ville is this carousel which gives free rides to children at Christmas time.
LE MARAIS DISTRICT
Note the silhouette of the man in a ponytail, sunglasses and high white collar, it has become an emblem.
These children are lucky to be growing up in a living museum such as Paris.
Garden of Hotel de Sully.
Hotel de Sully. This building houses the government body responsible for the care and management of historic monuments and buildings all over France.
The manicured garden of Musee Carnavalet. This building has been the official museum of the history of Paris since 1897.
If you are into café-spotting, Le Marais is the place to be.
Their names are very philosophical, too.
The square next to the Eglise Notre Dame des Blancs Manteaux is a favorite lunch break spot among Parisian employees.
Lucky to have stumbled upon this free guitar concert inside the Eglise Notre Dame des Blancs Manteaux. This church regularly holds concerts at lunchtime.
rue des Blancs Manteaux
A pawnshop in medieval times
A corner park littered with solar lamps installed by an artist.
A macaron shop
rue des Blancs Manteaux
This shop “Les Touristes” in rue des Blancs Manteaux oozes with colours for the home.
These big vases of delicious-looking roses seen outside a shop. A feast for my photographic eyes, that’s for sure!
You can have these used Chanel shoes for a song, if you don’t mind the age.
But this is a private terrace! Please can anyone tell me the story about these locks!
This fallafel shop in the Jewish quarter is always getting queued up.
Art in Place des Vosges
Place des Vosges
It’s practice day. Place des Vosges