Paris is not only renowned for its monuments and museums, , the city also owes its reputation to the international fame of the individual quarters that make it up. Even if you have never been to a typical quarter of Paris, you have probably heard of some of them, like Le Marais or Belleville. So if you come to Paris, be sure to explore some of the quarters that have been home to famous Parisians through the centuries (artists, writers, architects…), certain of whose names adorn city streets today.




Le Marais was originally a vast swamp, and it was only in the 13th century that convents started to be built there and the beginnings of a cultural scene emerged. Place Royal (now Place des Vosges), was created in 1612 under Henri IV and immediately Le Marais became a fashionable quarter. Sumptuous mansions were built there in the French style, which now house its numerous salons. After the death of Henri IV (assassinated by Ravaillac) and the arrival on the throne of Louis XIII, Le Marais was abandoned by the bourgeoisie and became home to artisans and light industry. In recent times the area has undergone numerous restorations and the architectural treasures to be found there are once again displayed to their advantage, it is a quarter that has regained its charm and a place of unforgettable visits. Le Marais in 1657. Top right, the Bastille. Below the Bastille, the former Place Royale: now Place des Vosges.
Bottom left, the Temple on what is now the site of Square du Temple



The hill of Montmartre dominates Paris with its 130m summit and its name comes from “Mount of the Martyrs” (the bishop of Paris-Saint-Denis, the arch-priest Rustique and the archdeacon Eleuthère were decapitated there around the year 250). At the end of the 19th century the area became the central point for artistic and Bohemian life in Paris.




(metro Trocadéro)
(architects Jacques Carlu, Louis-Hippolyte Boileau and Léon Azéma,1937)
In 1878 the hill of Chaillot was the site chosen for a “Moorish-Romano-Byzantine” style palace, designed by Davioud. It was transformed in 1937 to become the monumental entrance to the International Exposition of Arts and Techniques. Jacques Carlu then constructed the Chaillot Palace conserving the structures put in place by Davioud. The esplanade is now favourite haunt of skateboarders and roller-bladers. Within the palace are several museums : the Cinematheque, the Maritime Museum, the Museum of Man and the Museum of French Monuments.



The ancient alleyways of the Latin Quarter are now crowded with Greek sandwich bars, fast-food restaurants and T-shirt shops. Nevertheless, the student atmosphere inherited from the Middle Ages still exists in the cafés, the bookshops and the numerous cinema clubs. The Quartier Latin is marker by two traditions, one of religion and one of university. After 1250, about 60 colleges were founded there, home to roughly 700 scholars, who received board in return for giving lessons. The most famous was founded in 1257 by Robert de Sorbon, and was reconstructed in the 19th century. After 1530 other intellectual institutions started to be founded in the area: the Coll√®ge de France and the observatory in the 17th century, the Grandes Ecoles date back to the Revolution and the Grands Lycées were founded under Napoleon.




The "triumphant pathway" from the Louvre to the Arche de la Défense was drafted in the 17th century. In 1664, Le Nôtre was given the task by Louis XIV of redesigning the surface of the Tuileries. The gardener (the word landscaper had not yet arrived) refocused the park to look upon the long avenue that stretched beyond, as far as to where the Arc de Triomphe now stands. In 1709, this planted walkway was named the Champs Elysées, alluding to Elysium: the final resting place for the souls of the heroic and virtuous in Greek mythology.




Now called "Palais de la danse", place de l'Opéra
(Op√©ra de paris) (architect Charles Garnier, 1874) (metro Opéra) (tel. 01 40 01 22 63 or 01 40 01 25 14, open 10.00-16.30, guided tours every day from 12.00 for ten or more persons, English language visits: 01 40 01 22 63)

Constructed by Charles Garnier in 1874, the opera house is somewhere between baroque and neo-Renaissance. In 1964, Chagall was commissioned by Malraux to renovate the roof of the amphitheatre. With a capacity of 2130 spectators, the great red and golden hall is situated exactly in the centre of the building. Since the opening of the Opéra Bastille, the Opéra Garnier has become the “Palais de la Danse” and is now devoted to ballet.

The famous quarters are what make up the renown of Paris and are certainly worth exploring. To find out more, we recommend that you follow this link: a walk in Paris.

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