Preferences Preferences To safeguard0
Contact us
Paris Ouest (Paris 16ème - Victor Hugo)
Sotheby's International Realty
Paris Ouest (Paris 16ème - Auteuil)
Sotheby's International Realty
Paris Ouest (Paris 17ème - Etoile Monceau)
Sotheby's International Realty
Paris Ouest (Neuilly-sur-Seine)
Sotheby's International Realty
Paris Ouest (Hauts-de-Seine - Yvelines)
Sotheby's International Realty
Paris Marais
Sotheby's International Realty
Paris Est
Sotheby's International Realty
Send an email



My research
Le Marais - History
  1. Home
  2. >
  3. Area
  4. >
  5. Le Marais - History

Le Marais - History

The Marais is a very difficult territory to define geographically; originally, the entire right bank of the Seine up to the foot of the Butte Montmartre, the hill of Belleville and up to the future Monceau plain was a marshy region. As the city develops, what is called the Marais gradually shrinks; in the 18th century, Jaillot limited it to the current 3rd arrondissement, but today we consider that the Parisian "Marais district" is covered by the 3rd and 4th arrondissements. It is today bounded to the west by the street Beaubourg, to the east by boulevard Beaumarchais, to the north by rue de Bretagne and to the south by the quays of the Seine and boulevard Henri IV.

The Marais is therefore an area of ​​swamps given by Charles the Bald to the Sainte-Opportune abbey in 879 who transformed it into crops then called "market gardeners", then fruit. It was then occupied since the 12th century by religious orders including Saint Martin des Champs and the Maison du Temple, who installed establishments there. In the 14th century, the future 3rd arrondissement, hitherto peripheral, was included in the fortified enclosure built from 1360 by Charles V but kept its rural aspect. Various religious foundations and numerous mansions were built from the 13th to the 17th century, from the middle of the 18th century the area was gradually abandoned by the Parisian elite in favor of the Faubourg Saint-Honoré and the Faubourg Saint-Germain which offered more space. The area is therefore occupied by a population of craftsmen and workers who occupy the old hotels and build workshops in the old inner courtyards.
The major renovations of Paris in the 19th century did little to affect the district which retained its narrow streets. In the 1960s, a program to safeguard and preserve the neighborhood was launched under the impulse of André Malraux. Thanks to its beautiful buildings, the preserved district is now frequented by tourists and sought after by the wealthy classes. Museums are installed there

Properties in Marais

Historic sites

The third and fourth arrondissements bring together the following historic sites that are particularly important from a historical perspective:

Saint-Martin: Under Henry I, in 1060, the monastery of Saint-Martin des Champs was founded; the latter received royal immunity from the start, that is to say that no intervention by the police and royal justice was possible in the territory of the abbey. She became the "third daughter of Cluny" in 1079, when Philippe Premier gave Saint-Martin to the powerful eponymous abbey. From the original enclosure of the monastery, three towers remain today. The original church was enlarged several times.

The Temple: The order was founded in 1118 and by 1143 there was a house in Paris. In the thirteenth century, he received the lands of the old abbey of Sainte-Opportune fallen into disrepair on which an enclosure was built. This enclosure included a church, the Tower of Caesar, the famous keep made famous since he received Louis XVI as a prisoner and all the monastic buildings. The whole formed a formidable fortress initially located outside the walls of Philippe Auguste. When the Order of the Knights Templar disappeared in 1314, the buildings returned to the order of the Hospitallers until the Revolution.

The great families of the 12th to the 17th centuries: It is not possible to evoke the history of the 3rd arrondissement without mentioning the Barbettes or the Braques, who gave provosts of Paris and provosts of the Merchants in the 13th and 14th centuries. Very wealthy families, they became close to the king; the Barbette hotel was on the north side of rue de Turenne; it was there that the Duke of Orleans, chief of the Armagnacs, was assassinated in 1407. When Charles VI was taken madly, he became Regent and excludes from the Council his rival, Jean Sans Peur, who therefore ends up having him murdered.

Hotels from the 15th to the 17th century: The Marais welcomed a number of new “robe” nobles who multiplied from the 16th century onwards. The old nobility was also present, and all these powerful families built many beautiful hotels where they lived. Thus the Hôtel de Guise which became Rohan-Soubise in 1700; the Carnavalet Hotel was built on the culture of the convent of St Catherine and took its name when it was acquired by the family of Kernevenoy whose deformed name became Carnavalet.
Dedicated to the history of Paris, it was closed between October 2016 and the end of 2019 for renovation. It offers a large number of paintings from the capital's era: the port of Bercy, the cemetery and then the Saints Innocents market, the former Hôtel-Dieu, the Tuileries palace, the Montmartre mills...
It also presents models: the Ile de la Cité before its redevelopment by Haussmann, La Bastille (carved from one of the stones of the building), the Hôtel de Sens before its renovation.
It also contains interior decorations of private mansions dating from the 17th and 18th centuries, the heyday of the Marais district. Another example is the Hôtel de Sandreville or the Hôtel d'Alméras, built from 1610 and still in existence.

Place de France: A grandiose project that was not completed, but whose plan and several streets remain. Indeed, fan-shaped streets linked by arc-shaped streets were to completely reshape the neighborhood, like Haussmann's future works, two and a half centuries later. This project was directly led by Sully and benefited from land transfers, among others from the Temple. The first works remain today on the streets of Poitou, Brittany and Normandy, Beauce and Picardy. Debelleyme, Perche and Forez streets were also part of the project. It was the great entrepreneur Charlot who produced these first elements.
When the enclosure of Charles V was gradually destroyed, they thought of replacing it with Boulevards, which was done in the 17th century; they were endowed with beautiful triumphal doors under Louis XIV (Saint Denis, Saint Martin)

The Saint Paul Hotel: In 1361 the Dauphin, future king of France Charles V, brought together a set of buildings known as the Hôtel Saint-Pol in which he moved, abandoning the Palais de la Cité, in defiance of Parisians, and in who will also live his son. A number of relatives of the king then settled in the neighborhood and the Hôtel des Tournelles became a second royal residence. On January 28, 1393, the French nobility assembled in the hotel attended a grand ball; but a fire of incredible violence led to the death of many participants ...... this drama has been remembered (like the fire in the Bazaar of Charity five centuries later) under the name of the Bal des Ardents.
The death of Charles VI, October 21, 1422, marked the end of this royal residence, too loaded with dramas.
François Ier resells in lots the Saint-Pol hotel to cover his expenses and clean up his finances. At the same time, the monks of Couvent Sainte-Catherine-du-Val-des-Écoliers separated from part of their cultivated land. From the housing estate of Sainte Catherine culture, 7 Renaissance hotels remain today, including the Albret, Angoulême and Carnavalet3 hotels.
Following the accidental death of Henri II, Catherine de Médicis obtained the destruction of the Hôtel des Tournelles, near Saint-Paul, the location of which remained vacant for half a century.

Blancs-Manteaux: In 1258, Saint-Louis brought the Serfs of the Virgin Mary, religious Augustins, from the south, whose white dress gave them a nickname. They were quickly replaced by the Guillemites, hermits of Saint-Guillaume, who retained this nickname. The convent, built from 1258, was completely overhauled at the end of the 17th century. The White Mantles disappeared in 1790, but the church remains today.
Around the square Charles-Victor-Langlois, site of the old cloister of the Blancs-Manteaux, are:
Notre-Dame-des-Blancs-Manteaux church, the cultural space of white coats; the Theater des Blancs-Manteaux.

Place des Vosges: The creation of Place Royale (future Place des Vosges) by Henri IV took place from 1605. It was Claude Chastillon who designed the famous pavilions of 4 arcades, two floors and large slate roofs, but the king had designed the plan of the facades, the actual construction of which was carried out by the individuals to whom the lots had been granted: this explains the visible differences from one hotel to another. At that time, a large sanded space for the rides occupied the center of the square. It was inaugurated by Louis XIII in 1612.
It was the first monumental square in the capital and used for official ceremonies, such as the marriage of Louis XIV and Marie-Thérèse of Austria: the current square only dates from the 19th century. When he came to power, Napoleon gave him the name of the first department to update its taxes on the occasion of the reorganization of public finances.
These works relaunch the construction of large mansions by the aristocracy. The Prime Minister of the time Sully established himself in the hotel which still bears his name today.
The Jesuit order decides to build its professed house in this elite quarter, around the Saint-Louis church, a stone's throw from the Saint-Paul church, which has since disappeared. The Marquise de Sévigné regularly went to mass in this church to listen to the famous homilies of Father Louis Bourdaloue. We heard the music of the greatest French composers of that time: Marc-Antoine Charpentier, André Campra, Louis Marchand and Jean-

Philippe Rameau: Between 1632 and 1634, under the direction of the architect François Mansart, Michel Villedo built, rue Saint-Antoine, the church of the Visitation-Sainte-Marie (current Temple of the Marsh). The church was closed in 1793 and transformed into a book depot; it will then be assigned to the Protestant cult in 1802. In 1643, rue du Temple, it continues to finish around 1646 the construction of the Church of St. Elizabeth of Hungary, started in 1628 by master mason Louis Noblet and stopped in 1631. The church was consecrated by Jean-François Paul de Gondi, future cardinal of Retz, then coadjutor of the archbishop of Paris.

The intellectual and artistic life

The intellectual and artistic life of the 17th century was particularly rich:

Collections and libraries abounded in the hotels in the Marais; paintings, works of art, antiques, coins, Chinese porcelain, natural curiosities, etc. are exhibited in the rich residences of the Maréchale d'Estrées, the Coulanges family or Gaignières, the Duke of Richelieu, the President of Mesmes or the Count of Avaux.

The salons: around the great nobility of the sword, but also around the dress, even around people esteemed for their intellectual merits, very brilliant salons developed, in contact with all the scholars and artists from all over Europe.
Thus the Hôtel de Rambouillet and, above all, Madame de Scudéry's salon where the famous "tender card" is produced. Ninon de Lenclos, who lived 90 years, left an immense mark in this district of the Marais; his living room, where everyone brought his supper, was probably the most brilliant by the quality of the spirits present, the music that was played there and those who frequented it: the Richelieu, Gondi, Condé, Queen Christine of Sweden or the future Mme de Maintenon, as well as Molière, La Fontaine, Boileau, La Rochefoucault or Lully. The Duke of Orleans, future Regent, was very assiduous.
Madame de Sévigné was also a great figure in the neighbourhood, and her living room was famous, especially since she ended up living in the Carnavalet hotel until her death in 1696.
The religious buildings were rehabilitated and transformed at the time of the Counter-Reformation, following the Council of Trent (1545), and their architecture defines the famous style of the Great century. So Saint Nicolas des Champs, Minimes, Sainte-Elisabeth, Daughters of Calvary or Daughters of the Savior.

The decline of the 18th century and the Revolution:
The installation of the king in Versailles led to a postponement towards the west of Paris of the installation of the big families; the elites then settled in Faubourg Saint-Germain and Faubourg Saint-Honoré. The nobility of dress still remains faithful to the district; the hotels of Soubise and Rohan were built, but the salons collapsed. Alone, perhaps the Temple remains a brilliant cultural center, in particular in the hotel of the Grand-Prieur. Mozart himself came to play there.
At the end of the 18th century, there was a greater concern for town planning, which was quickly amplified on the occasion of the French Revolution. The parish cemeteries of the Saint-Gervais-Saint-Protais and Saint-Paul churches are transferred outside the city and markets are created on the site of the Sainte-Catherine church and the Saint-Anastase hospital (current space of White-Coats).
The district is saturated with constructions and the Revolution results in the departure of the last elites: mansions and building courtyards are invested by a population of modest condition made up of craftsmen, merchants and workers.
Religious or civil buildings change destination; Saint-Martin-des-Champs became the Conservatory of Arts and Crafts in 1796 after having been a school, a weapons factory and even the town hall of the 6th arrondissement for some time. The Temple, a veritable small town of 4,000 inhabitants, benefited from Asylum and Franchise, that is to say that the king's power stopped at his door. On August 13, 1792, the king and his family were locked up there. Louis XVI left on January 21, 1793 to be executed, as well as the Queen the following October. The dolphin, who became Louis XVII, died there on June 8, 1795 following ill-treatment. At the risk of becoming a place of royalist pilgrimage, Napoleon decided to destroy it (1811). Nothing remains of it today, but a market was set up in the same year in the form of four wooden halls. Quickly become very famous, this market rather reserved for the impecunious, was modernized in 1863: metal pavilions replaced those in wood. In 1901, these metal pavilions were rebuilt; these are those of today.

Haussmannian transformations affect the sector only marginally via new alignment rules for new constructions. We can thus observe, today, the existence of "hollow teeth" or streets of irregular width due to the failure of a complex regulation and its interruption with the end of the Second Empire. Some breakthroughs could not have been avoided. Several witnesses of medieval Paris disappear and some plots adopt strangely biased forms with the construction of Turbigo or Réaumur streets to name only the main ones. The place of the Castle of Water becomes the place of the Republic.

The Marais in the 19th century: degradation of the district.
After the migration to the west operated by the nobility in the 18th century, the beautiful hotels were rented, sublet, sold, divided and, of course, degraded. The artisans who settled there in the following century had no regard for these monuments, and the city itself had the convent of the Minims destroyed, the buildings of Saint Elizabeth, many hotels and houses from the 17th century. Fortunately, some administrations

Settled in certain buildings, which preserved them; the Archives at the Hôtel de Soubise, then de Rohan, the museum of the history of Paris at Carnavalet,
The Old Paris Commission, created in 1897, did a remarkable job which avoided a number of additional destructions; when it was still necessary to destroy, the Commission took numerous and precious photographic shots today.
During the 20th century, and especially since the war, restorations therefore took place.
In 1964, notably reinforced by the cultural and artistic impact that the Marais festival represented at the time, André Malraux made the Marais the first "safeguarded sector" governed by a safeguard and enhancement plan (PSMV) and housing many museums and historic places of memory with exceptional architecture. The PSMV regulations, published and thus enforceable against third parties on April 16, 1965 for 126 hectares, were not approved until August 24, 1996. The Marais and a large part of the 7th arrondissement are, to date, the only two Parisian sectors to benefit from this specific protection. These two plans are currently being revised.


The National Archives district

It is made up of hotels in Soubise and Rohan-Strasbourg and more modest adjacent hotels. Following the redevelopment of the National Archives, all of the gardens are now accessible to the public.
The Hôtel de Soubise dates from the end of the reign of Louis XIV and succeeded two other prestigious hotels: that of the constable Olivier de Clisson, companion in arms of Bertrand Du Guesclin, replaced in the Renaissance by that of the Dukes of Guise, who led the capital's insurrection against Henry III in 1588.
The Hôtel de Rohan-Strasbourg is being renovated and is to house the interiors of the Chancellerie d'Orléans hotel (now destroyed) which the Banque de France had kept in its reserves

The Jewish quarter

From the end of the 19th century until the Second World War, around 110,000 Ashkenazi Jews, fleeing the misery and the persecutions of which they were victims in Eastern Europe, settled around the rue des Rosiers, in the district named the Pletzl.
Today, the engraved plaques affixed to the buildings of the district keep the memory of the 25,000 people, men, women and children, who were exterminated in the Nazi camps during the Second World War. Since 1998, the Marais has housed the Museum of Art and History of Judaism (MAHJ), which traces in particular the history of the neighbourhoods’ Jewish population.


The northwest of the Marais is also home to a Chinese community from Wenzhou. Thus, one can discover, rue du Temple and near the Republic, the Chinese Church of Paris (Church of St. Elizabeth of Hungary – Notre-Dame de Pitié).
During the First World War, France lacked arms in the rear and particularly hard-working men. At the request of France, the Middle Kingdom ended up sending several thousand of its nationals, on the express condition that the latter did not participate directly in the fighting. Originally established at the Chalon Island near the Gare de Lyon, some stayed to settle in 1954 around rue au Maire. Today, their activities as merchants in jewellery and leather goods prompt them to invest in the shops and workshops in the north of the 3rd arrondissement and, beyond, in the Sentier district.

The gallery district

Many art galleries have settled in the Marais since the opening of the Picasso Museum in 1985.

The Watchmakers district

It is the Parisian district of suppliers of watchmaking equipment, repairers-craftsmen in clockwork. Since the beginning of the 19th century, they have been located mainly around the Square du Temple, as well as in the neighbouring streets.