Le Marais Walking Tour

A Le Marais Walking tour by a licensed private tour guide from 130 € for two people. Le Marais was the royal district of Paris from the end of the Dark Ages to the Renaissance. Nowadays, it is a unique open-air museum that is also famous for its trendy and fancy shops.

Photo of Place des Vosges to illustrate Le Marais private tour, Paris, France.

The Place des Vosges, formerly one of Paris Royal Square. Nowadays, it is one of the most romantic places in Paris.

Le Marais Walking Tour in a Nutshell

From 130 € for 1 to 2 people + 25 € per extra person 

  • Guided tour in English available in 2 durations: +/- 2-hour or 3-hour.
  • Genuine private tour = your party only (6 people max.)
  • +/- 3 km to 4 km distance covered
  • Postgraduate (MPhil) certified French national guide
  • Flexible schedule – 7/7 if available


What’s in the tours?

Sacred Architecture

16th C French Renaissance

17th C French Baroque

Middle-Age Paris

Civil Architecture


Paris Medieval City Wall

Baroque & Gothique Churches

Half Timbered Houses

Pletzl (Jewish District)

Village Saint-Paul

Hôtel de Sully Mansion 

Place-des-Vosges Royal Square

Hôtel-de-Sens Mansion

Why to follow a Marais Walking Tour with us?

Yves the Broaden-horizons tour guide in Paris Knows the Marais very well as he used to lived there for a total of more than 15 years.

Your Private Tour Guide in Paris

Certified French national guide
BA, Magna Cum Laude, Heritage Developpement & Preservation from Conservatoire des Arts et Métiers
Postgraduate from Paris Dauphine-PSL University

Know more about Yves, your private tour guide in Paris

Glimpse of the 2H Marais Walking Tour

Middle Ages

Civil Middle Ages remains are pretty rare in Paris. Some of the most impressive ones are in the Marais.

The biggest remaining portion of the Paris city wall of the 1200s is in the Marais. The Wall was commissioned by the King of France, Philipe Augustus, before leaving for the third crusade to protect Paris from any attack of the English of Richard Lionheart.

The Hôtel de Sensthat was built in flamboyant gothic at the end of the 15th century.

Some of the very few remaining Paris timber houses (15th century).

Photo of hôtel Maubuisson timber house to illustrate Le Marais Walking Tour, Paris, France.

Hôtel Maubuisson, one of the very rare timber houses of Paris. Crédit photo: Broaden-Horizons.

An Amazing 16th & 17th centuries Heritage

Le Marais is nothing less and nothing more than the Parisian district of the Renaissance (16th C.) and the French “Grand Siècle” (17th C.). A lot of prestigious hôtels particuliers (private mansions) of the era can still be seen:

  • Hôtel d’Aumont
  • Hôtel de Beauvais
  • Hôtel Hénault de Cantobre
  • Hôtel de Chalon Luxembourg
  • Hôtel de Sully, etc.

Built in 1706, the Hôtel Hénault de Cantobre is now a European center for contemporary photographic art. It houses an exhibition center, an extensive library, and other facilities.

Hôtel Hénault de Cantobre, Maison Européenne de la photographie to illustrate the Marais Walking Tour, Paris France

Hôtel Hénault de Cantobre, Maison Européenne de la Photographie. Crédit photo: Broaden-Horizons.

Hôtel de Sully is the most famous and prestigious hotel particulier of the Marais. It is named after its most prestigious owner, the Duc of Sully, who was the main minister of King Henry IV at the end of the Renaissance period.

It is a reference for the private mansions architectural design “entre cour et Jardin” (between courtyard and garden) that appeared in Paris in the 16th century.

Nowadays, the hôtel serves as a passage from rue Saint-Antoine (courtyard side) and place des Vosges (garden side); it is also the headquarters of the Centre des Monuments Nationaux (French, ‘National monuments centre’).

Hôtel de Sully, built between 1625 and 1630 is still notably mannerist in the style of the end of the Renaissance. Crédit photo: Broaden-Horizons.

Place des Vosges: The oldest squares of Paris

The King Henry IV of France commissioned the square at the end of the Renaissance. But as Henry IV was assassinated in 1610, it was finally inaugurated in 1612 by his son Louis XIII.

The Place des Vosges is with Place Dauphine, Place de la Concorde, Place des Victoires et Place Vendôme, one of the five royal squares of Paris. Initially called Place Royale, it was renamed Place des Vosges in 1792 during the French Revolution.

This is one of the nicest places in Paris and also with île Saint-Louis, one of the most expensive in terms of real estate price.

Here is the museum Maison Victor Hugo as the famous French novelist lived there from October 1832 to July 1848.

There is a long list of famous ones who lived in Place des Vosges; among them
at number 11, from 1639 to 1648, Marion de L’Orme, well known for having been the Mistress of the Duc of Buckingham and also of the Cardinal de Richelieu. Place des Vosges is a time machine that brings you back directly to the time of D’Artagnan and the Three Musketeers!

Place des Vosges, formerly Place Royale, was inaugurated by Louis XIII in 1612. Crédit photo: Broaden-Horizons.

The Hôtel de Ville de Paris (City Hall)

A reference in Paris’s history from the Middle Ages to WWII.

In front of the hôtel de Ville is the place de l’hôtel de Ville. Before 1802 and from the early Middle Ages, it was called the Place de Grève (The French word grève refers to the shores or banks of a body of water). There in the Middle Ages was the Port of Paris; it was also the place of most public executions with the gallows and the pillory.

The Place de Grève saw the first use of the guillotine.

In the Middle Ages the “city hall” was called the “maison aux piliers” (“House of Pillars”). In 1533 King Francis I ordered the construction of a new Modern Renaissance city hall. Heavily damaged during the “Commune de Paris” (1871), it was rebuilt from 1873 to 1892.

Photo of Hôtel de Ville de Paris (City Hall) to illustrate the Le Marais Walking Tour, Paris, France.

Photo: The Hôtel de Ville de Paris. It is one of the most critical historical milestones of Paris. It was intensely damaged during the Commune de Paris Revolution and rebuilt as close as possible to the original Renaissance Building. Crédit photo: Broaden-Horizons.

Two of the most attaching and architecturally essential churches of Paris

Saint-Protais Saint-Gervais church (15th to 17th centuries). The church was first built in a flamboyant Gothic, but after an interruption of the work, the facade built between 1616 and 1620 introduced an entirely new classical style, which opened the way for the French Baroque. Saint-Gervais Saint-Protais is a very lively church, as it has been (since 1975) the headquarters of the Monastic Fraternities of Jerusalem.

Saint-Paul Saint-Louis church (17th century). Built for the Jesuit architect Étienne Martellange, it was the first church in Paris to break away entirely from the Gothic style and use the Jesuits’ new Baroque style. It is obviously a typical counter-reformation church with interior decoration directly inspired by the Church of the Gesù in Rome. The first mass was said by Cardinal de Richelieu, First Minister of State of King Louis the XIII, on Mai 9th, 1641, 1.5 years before his death.

White flamboyant gothic choir of Saint-Gervais Saint-Protais. Crédit photo: Broaden-Horizons.

A living district

Rue des Francs Bourgeois and its famous independent boutiques, fancy & trendy shops and concept stores.

Rue Saint-Antoine, the former main entrance of Paris.

The spice of the Pletz (Jewish district).

The stunning Village Saint-Paul with its antique dealers and vintage shops

Village Saint Paul Paris le Marais Walking Tour

Photo: Village Saint-Paul is a fantastic village-like quiet place in the earth of Paris. Crédit photo: Broaden-Horizons.

Photo of the Jardin des Rosiers to illustrate Le Marais private tour, Paris, France.

Photo, Jardin des Rosiers with some remains of the wall of Paris (built around 1200). The garden entrance is rue des Rosiers in the Pletz. The most impressive remains of the wall are just beside Village Saint Paul. Crédit photo: Broaden-Horizons.

Le Marais Extended Tour (3H)

The Marais extended propose one extra hour walk. This extra hour is normally dedicated to discovered northern parts of the Marais where stands a lot of prestigious 16th to 18th Centuries mansions,

  • Hôtel Carnavalet
  • Hôtel de Soubise
  • Hôtel d’Albret
  • Hôtel de Châtillon
  • Hôtel Aubert de Fontenay (hôtel Salé) – musée Picasso
  • Hôtel de Marle – Institut Tessin, also known as the Centre culturel suédois

We don’t enter the mansions (hôtel particular); nevertheless, when possible, we walk a little in their yards or gardens.

Photo the Hôtel de Chatillon to illustrate the Le Marais private tour, Paris, France.

Hôtel de Châtillon, Marais, Paris. Crédit photo: Broaden-Horizons.

The extra time of the Marais extended tour can also be dedicated to going deeper into some themes or places of the tour or to discovering some hidden gems of the Marais , suchas, for example, the gardens of the hôtel de Soubise or some of the amazing boutiques of the Marais as the Méert one, a maison famous for its waffles since 1677.

Photo of the Archives Nationales Public Garden to illustrate the Marais Private Tour in Paris.

The garden of the hôtel de Soubise. Crédit Photo Broaden-Horizons.

Photo Méert boutique to illustrate the Marais Private Tour.

Boutique Méert, Marais, Paris. Credit photo Broaden-Horizons.

The Other Marais Tour – with departure from Notre Dame passing by île Saint-Louis

The other way to visit Le Marais is to start from the Notre-Dame Area, cross île Saint-Louis, and finally reach the former Royal Square of Place des Vosges.
The tour is called Notre-Dame to le Marais Walking Tour. There are two tour versions: the normal 2-hour and the 3-hour extended.

Notre-Dame to Le Marais Walking Tour (2-hour)

The tour includes exterior comments of Notre Dame, and then we cross the bridge from île de la Cité to Iles Saint-Louis and then to the right bank of the Seine. Saint-Louis. It’s one of the nicest strolls in Paris, if not the nicest . Then we walk to Place des Vosges, passing beside some of the most important monuments of the Marais (Hôtel de Sens, City Wall of Philippe Augustus, etc.).

Even if île Saint Louis is considered an extension of the Marais (this is historically the case), this tour only gives a first approach to the Marais.

Nevertheless, it is probably one of the best tours for a first-timer in Paris.

See / book our Notre-Dame to Le Marais Tour

Photo Notre-Dame, Ile de la Cité, Ile Saint Louis, Le Marais to illustrate à guided tour in Paris, France.

View of Notre-Dame on île de la Cité, with île Saint-Louis on the right.

Notre-Dame to Le Marais Extended Tour (3-hour)

The 3-hour version of the Marais Walking Tour brings an extra hour, which gives a lot of flexibility to the tour. The tour can be oriented in three different ways in function of the customer’s desires, his previous knowledge of Paris, etc.

1. Dedicate the extra hour to globally take more time to do the all tour.

2. Dedicate the extra hour to the Marais (right bank) to include a real Marais tour (See Marais 2-hour tour description)

3. Dedicate the extra hour to focus more on île Saint-Louis.


Photo of a café in the south part of Le Marais to illustrate Le Marais private tour, Paris, France.

A café close to the quay of the Seine River in the south part of Le Marais. Its 1900s hundred facade is listed. In the background, Saint-Gervais Saint-Protais church. Crédit photo: Broaden-Horizons.

Focus on île Saint-Louis

Urbanized in the 17th century, the island is full of prestigious hôtel particuliers on the bank of the river; it is traditionally the most expensive district of Paris.

Many famous people lived there, for example, Sculptor Camille Claudel (see our Rodin museum tour), former French president Georges Pompidou, and famous French baroque painter Philippe de Champaigne (See our 17th Century French painting Louvre tour).

île Saint-Louis is also famous for its Salon de thé, glacier Bertillon, known for decades for making the best ice creams and sorbets in Paris.

South Marais - Quay of the Seine River with Pont Marie in the background - Paris private tour.

Ile Saint-Louis and Pont-Marie. Crédit photo: Broaden-Horizons.

More about The Marais Guided Tours

This is a list of all the possible subjects we may speak about during the tours.  What we speak about exactly depends on the tour we do and the options we take when doing it.

Architecture Oriented Guided Tours

  • High Middle Age Gothic versus Jesuitical Baroque.
  • Canonical versus non-canonical church orientation.
  • Medieval timbered houses, cellars, and alleyways.
  • Civil Gothic with watch turrets, pinnacles, and gables.
  • The Italian origin of Renaissance architecture.
  • Doric, Ionic, and Corinthian architectural orders.
  • Classical 17th hôtels particuliersbetween court & garden” layout with their stone, or brick and stone facades.

Historical figures of the Tours

  • Richard the Lionheart: King of England.
  • Saint-Louis, Philippe-Auguste, Charles V, Henri II, Catherine de Médicis, Henri IV, Louis XIII: Queens and Kings of France.
  • Napoleon I, Napoleon III: French Emperors.
  • Cardinal de Richelieu, Duc de Sully: French ministers.
  • Gabriel, Comte de Montgomery: Captain of the King’s Scots Guard.
  • Boccador: Italian architect of the Renaissance
  • Victor Hugo the famous French writer.
  • Jim Morrison: American singer and poet

Historical Periods Broached During the Tours

  • Roman Empire, the beginning of Paris
  • Middle Ages, an amazing demographic and cultural growth
  • 16th century, The French Renaissance
  • 17th century, “Le Grand Siecle”Le Marais apogee
  • French Revolution, a big impact on Paris monuments
  • First and Second Empires, Paris transformation eras

Things to know before Booking

Meeting Point
Close to Hôtel de Ville de Paris,
The exact meeting point is given in the booking document.

Access Métro line 1 station: Hôtel de Ville.

Marais Tour Attention Points

  • Tour is on foot.
  • Prices do not include transportation, food, drinks, or any other extra services.
  • Neighborhood tour: we don’t enter monuments unless otherwise specified. Nevertheless, we may enter Saint-Paul and/or Saint-Protais churches.
  • Tour duration & content are purely indicative, they may vary due to contingencies.
  • Weather: the tour will start on schedule rain or shine.

Book your Marais Private Walking Tour

Choose below your tour: You will then be  asked : -> choose the number of people, date & hours of visit -> after our validation-> pay on line.

Photo of the Hôtel de Donon to illustrate the Marais private tour Paris, France.

Hôtel Donon, Le Marais, Paris. Credit photo Broaden-Horizons.