- Type: Neighborhood/Area
- Time to Spend: 2 hours to Half Day
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Straddling the 3ème and 4ème arrondissements (districts), Le Marais is one of Paris' oldest and coolest districts—so cool, in fact, that French writer Victor Hugo called it home. Walking this neighborhood's cobbled streets will make you feel as though you're in medieval Paris. Many of the buildings here survived the French Revolution of 1789 and now house tiny art galleries and cafés.
Despite the Old-World French atmosphere, you'll find numerous stores and restaurants marked with Hebrew writing; that's because this area is the city's historic Jewish district. Many of the narrow streets—especially rue des Rosiers—fill with the aromas of freshly baked challah bread and savory falafel. (Just note: Some businesses in this area are closed on Saturday for Shabbat, the Jewish sabbath).
Recently, Le Marais has become the epicenter of the city's gay community, with vibrant nightclubs and a host of chic boutiques moving in where Jewish delis once thrived.
To get a feel for the area, recent visitors recommend tagging along on a guided walking tour. According to one TripAdvisor user, a guided tour "really gives an insight into the history of Paris, from the original wall surrounding the city to the original wood buildings." Free tours are offered every day at 2:30 p.m. by Discover Walks. To learn more about Le Marais, see our guide to Paris Neighborhoods.