Le Marais

Le Marais on Google Earth (KMZ File)
    Le Marais, literally "the swamp", was originally exactly that. It wasn't until the 13th century that convents came to the area and it began to develop life and culture. The neighborhood became part of Paris when Charles V reinforced and extended the city wall constructed under Philippe Auguste. Charles V then moved to the Hotel St-Paul in the Marais, but his successors preferred the Hotel des Tournelles. It was here that Henri II died, following a wound from a tournament. Catherine de Medicis later had the mansion torn down. 

   The Place Royale (now the place des Vosges), built by Henry IV, was finished in 1612 and the Marais became a very stylish neighborhood, home of many grand French mansions and "salons", a sort of intellectual and philosophical conversation group. But after the Henry IV's assassination (by Ravaillac) and Louis XIII's accession, the high society left the area and it was taken up by artisans and small industries.

   Today, a trip around the Marais shows the numerous restorations it has seen. The neighborhood contains some of the oldest buildings in Paris, and their architectural treasures make the Marais a charming and unforgettable place to visit.  

Le quartier du Marais en 1657.
En haut droite, la Bastille.
Sous la Bastille, l'ancienne Place Royale:
Place des Vosges
En bas gauche, le Temple sur l'emplacement actuel du square du Temple