For centuries, the Marais was not inhabited.
The name literally means the "marsh".
However, it became one of the richest and most fashionable areas of Paris in the 17th century.
One of the main reasons nobles were attracted to the area was the Place des Vosges.
Built by King Henri IV, it is one of the first examples of European urban planning.
It's a perfect square, composed of identical brick buildings.
It marked the beginning of a very influential style of European architecture - Classicism.
The Place des Vosges quickly became very fashionable.
Many nobles built their private residences around it.
Fun fact : it was initially called the "Royal Square" but was renamed when the Vosges became the first French département to pay its taxes during the French Revolution!
The Hotel de Soubise and the Hotel de Rohan are remarkable buildings of this period.
Today they house the French National Archives and a beautiful public garden.
Other examples of spectacular architecture of this period include the:
- Hotel Salé (the Picasso Museum)
- Hotel Carnavalet (the Museum of the History of Paris)
- Hotel de Marle (the Swedish Cultural Center)
- Hotel Saint-Aignan (the Jewish Art and History museum)
- Hotel de Beauvais (the Court of Appeal)
- Hotel de Guénégaud (the Hunting and Nature museum)
- Hotel de Lamoignon (the Historical Library of Paris)