DESCRIPTION – Paris: Les Marais and its French Mansions: Aristocratic Residences between courts and gardens
Le Marais stands as a living museum of diverse architectural styles. During the late Middle Ages, Paris was a patchwork of tiny land parcels, featuring closely clustered narrow houses. The name “Le Marais,” which means “the swamp,” has endured from that era. Today, it encompasses the third and fourth arrondissements, once occupied by small irrigated fields that supplied the city with vegetables. In the 16th century, as the nobility and bourgeoisie sought larger parcels of land for their residences, they turned to this underdeveloped city sector. Over the course of the 18th century, they erected grand hotels and expansive single-family homes, many of which bore a striking resemblance to genuine palaces.
Le Marais is celebrated for its exquisite historic mansions, which are locally referred to as “hôtels particuliers.” These architectural treasures not only captivate with their aesthetic splendor but also carry profound historical and cultural significance.
This is an architectural walk to view the “French mansions” dating from the 17th Century. These mansions feature both courtyards and gardens and are unique monuments in French architectural history.
Even if the French mansions appeared at the end of the 15th Century starting with the Hotel de Cluny, the number of mansions dramatically grew in the 17th Century, in particular in the Marais, which was the place to be at the time.
From sumptuous courtyards to French style gardens, hidden under beautiful gateways, including marble stairs and allegorical statues, heavy gate doors and high oak framed windows, the Marais and its mansions will take us by surprise. One of our stops will be the old gold recycling plant which is today a trendy fashion store.