Discover the culture and history of the Jewish community through the ages with a historical walk of the fascinating quarters of Le Marais. The Marais is one of Paris’ oldest and most dazzling quarters. First developed in the 12th century, the Marais, which means "swamp" and once was one, went from being a royal favorite under Henri IV and Louis XIII, to falling into ruin after the Revolution of 1789. Since its revival in the 1960's, it has shone as a center of Parisian artistic and cultural life.
The Marais is one of the only areas that preserves the narrow streets and architectural styles of Medieval and Renaissance-era Paris. Most of Paris was overhauled in the mid-19th century under the direction of Napoleon III and architect Baron Georges Eugène Haussmann.
The wide, sweeping boulevards and grey, classical-inspired apartments that characterize places like the Champs-Elysées and Montparnasse are the work of Haussmann, who also modernized Paris by installing sewer and water systems. The Marais has a much different flavor. Its dramatic residences (hôtels), artisan’s boutiques, galleries, lavish squares, and fascinating history are worth reserving at least a half-day for exploration.
As time allows, you can visit the Museum of Jewish Life, Jewish memorials, and taste the best falafels in Paris. Perhaps a walk of the lesser known Jewish quarters or a visit to the Jewish section of a famous cemetery dedicated to the extinguished souls during World War II.