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What to do in the 4th arrondissement of Paris: Travel Guide

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A local guide to the 4th arrondissement of Paris

Welcome to Paris's dynamic historic and cultural heart, the 4th arrondissement. Nestled along the right bank of River Seine, the 4th arrondissement showcases a wealth of architectural marvels, from the iconic Notre-Dame Cathedral, the Hôtel de Ville, to the Place des Vosges and also the ultimate Parisian chic and fashion in the trendy Le Marais area. Join Paris Rental on a journey to the 4th arrondissement of Paris with our unique travel guide and discover the best things to do in Paris's 4th arrondissement. 

1. Le Marais neighborhood: a journey through time

Le Marais, located in the heart of the 4th arrondissement of Paris, has a rich history spanning several centuries. A marshland to start, the Le Marais area transformed in the 12th century by constructing religious institutions and aristocratic residences such as the Saint-Paul church and Sainte-Chapelle. It became a trendy neighborhood during the Renaissance, attracting French nobility and royalty.

In the 17th century, the Marais experienced its golden era, with many lavish mansions built in the neighborhood, including the Hôtel de Ville, Place des Vosges, and Hôtel des Tournelles (belonged to kings Louis XII and Henri II). In the 18th century, however, the nobility began to spread elsewhere in Paris, and the Le Marais became a melting pot of diverse communities.

In the 19th century, the Marais was neglected, but its fate changed in the mid-20th century, as Le Marais became a hub for the LGBTQ+ community and artists in Paris. Preservation and restoration efforts in the second half of the 20th century have brought Le Marais back to life, transforming it into the vibrant, eclectic, and trendy neighborhood it is today. Its cobbled streets and historic residences are proof of Paris's evolution over the centuries. And Le Maris is the most popular neighborhoods among expats

Le Marais during 1600

2. Everything about Place des Vosges and surrounding areas 

History about Place des Vosges

Located in the heart of Le Marais neighborhood, Place des Vosges is not only Paris' oldest square but also the most famous attraction in the 4th arrondissement of Paris.

Place des Vosges has a rich history dating back to the early 17th century. Originally known as the Place Royale, it was commissioned by King Henry IV in 1605 and completed in 1612. The Place des Vosges was a groundbreaking urban design, marking the city's first example of a planned square.

Initially, Place des Vosges showcased the wealth and power of the French monarchy, with aristocratic residences surrounding a central garden. Over the years, it became a hub for the Parisian nobility, hosting lavish events and gatherings.

Today, it stands as a symbol of timeless elegance, hosting art galleries, boutiques, cafes, and some of Paris' most prestigious apartments for rent in the 4th arrondissement and sale above its arcades.

Place des Vosges

What to do near Place des Vosges?

Art galleries:

On the ground floor of the buildings surrounding the Place des Vosges, you'll discover a world of exquisite art galleries presenting an eclectic mix of contemporary and classic artworks. Take advantage of the Art Symbol Gallery, which specializes in modern and abstract art and is one of the most famous and prestigious galleries on Place des Vosges, located at 21 Place des Vosges.

Cafés:

Besides, there are lovely cafés and boutiques around the Place des Vosges. Among them, Carette stands out for its elegant Parisian ambiance and for serving the best hot chocolate in Paris. Enjoy the creamy hot chocolate with fresh whipped cream while admiring the picturesque views of the Place des Vosges.

Carette: 25 Pl. des Vosges, 75003 Paris

Home of Victor Hugo/ Maison de Victor Hugo:

You can also visit the Maison de Victor Hugo, the former residence of Victor Hugo, one of France's most renowned writers and poets, at 6 Place des Vosges. He lived on the second floor of this private mansion from 1832 to 1848, where he wrote some of his significant works, including a large part of "Les Misérables." The Maison de Victor Hugo museum features exhibitions, including his drawings and an iconography of his literary work. 

3. Discover Centre Pompidou and modern art

The Centre Pompidou in Paris is a modern and contemporary art powerhouse renowned for its innovative architecture and dedication to exploring new artistic frontiers. Since its opening in 1977, the iconic Centre Pompidou has been a symbol of "avant-garde" creativity, featuring a unique inside-out design that exposes its structural elements, escalators, and colorful pipes.

Home to an extensive collection of works by iconic artists such as Picasso and Kandinsky, the Centre Pompidou is a vital institution that captures the essence of significant art movements, including Cubism, Surrealism, and Pop Art. Beyond its permanent collection, the center consistently hosts dynamic temporary exhibitions, a library, a bookshop, and a self-study area.

Unfortunately, Le Centre Pompidou will close from late 2025 to 2030 for a complete renovation of the building.

4. Visit Notre-dame de Paris and the île de la Cité

The 4th arrondissement of Paris is home to iconic landmarks such as Notre-Dame Cathedral and the Île de la Cité. Here's our travel guide and tips for an enriching visit and capturing unique views in the historic 4th district:

What to do in Île de la Cité in Paris?

Île de la Cité, located in the 4th district of Paris, is one of Paris's two remaining natural islands on the Seine River along with Ile Saint Louis. Steeped in history, Île de la Cité is Paris's historical and geographical center. Renowned landmarks in Île de la Cité include the majestic Notre Dame Cathedral, the exquisite Sainte-Chapelle, and the impressive Conciergerie. With its charming streets, quaint parks, lovely flower market, and rich tapestry of history, Île de la Cité will offer you an unforgettable visit.

Sainte-Chapelle:

Visit Sainte-Chapelle, a Gothic masterpiece known for its stunning stained glass windows. The play of light through the colorful glass is particularly mesmerizing.

Square du Vert-Galant:

Relax in the Square du Vert-Galant, a peaceful park at the tip of Île de la Cité. It's an ideal spot for a break, offering a unique perspective of the Seine, and is also one of the best places to enjoy sunsets in Paris.

Pont Neuf:

Walk across Pont Neuf, the oldest standing bridge in Paris. Pause to take in the beautiful views of the Seine River and the city from this historic vantage point. And immerse yourself in the beautiful scenes of the famous French movie "Les Amants du Pont-Neuf" - The Lovers on the Bridge.

Pont Neuf

Sunset on the Seine:

Wrap up your day with a walk along the Seine at sunset. Capture the changing colors of the sky and the city lights reflecting on the water.

The Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Paris is a masterpiece of French Gothic architecture and is an iconic symbol of Paris. Constructed between 1163 and 1345, it features imposing spires, intricate gargoyles, and magnificent rose windows. Despite the fire in 2019 that caused extensive damage, ongoing restoration efforts aim to preserve the cathedral's historic grandeur and cultural significance. The Notre Dame de Paris is scheduled to reopen approximately on December 8, 2024.

Here are some tips for visiting Notre Dame de Paris:

1) Early Morning Visit: 

Start your day early to avoid crowds. Morning light enhances the cathedral's beauty and provides a more serene atmosphere.

2) Climb the Towers:

Consider climbing to the top of the towers for a spectacular panoramic view of Paris, including the Seine River, Île de la Cité, and the surrounding cityscape.

3) Attend a Mass or Service: 

Experience the spiritual side of Notre Dame by attending a mass or service. Check the schedule in advance and be respectful of worshippers.

5. Walks along the Seine River

Exploring the quays along the Seine on Île de la Cité is a delightful experience, offering a glimpse into this UNESCO World Heritage site's rich history and picturesque scenery. Here are suggestions for walks, points of interest, and tips for photo breaks:

Where is the best place to take a stroll on the Ile de la Cité? 

Begin your walk at Pont Neuf, the oldest standing bridge in Paris. Admire the views of the Seine and the surrounding architecture. Then, head towards Square du Vert-Galant to take a break by the water and enjoy the tranquility. Walk along Quai de l'Horloge, where you'll encounter historic buildings and the Conciergerie, a former Royal palace and prison.

Then, approach Notre-Dame Cathedral from different angles and get different views. After your tour on Ile de la Cité, cross Pont Saint-Louis to Île Saint-Louis, another charming natural island in Paris, for a change of scenery.

Tips for Taking Coolest Photos in Ile de la Cité

1) Golden Hour:

Get your photo during the golden hour before sunset for soft, warm lighting that enhances the beauty of the surroundings.

2) Details and Textures:

Focus on capturing architectural details, such as ornate lamp posts, cobblestone streets, and historic buildings.

3) Reflections:

Utilize the reflective surfaces of the Seine for creative shots, capturing the skyline and landmarks mirrored on the water.

4) Street Performers and Artists:

Keep an eye out for street performers and artists along the quays. They add a vibrant and dynamic element to your photos.

6. Guide to Nightlife and Gastronomy in the 4th arrondissement of Paris

Paris's 4th arrondissement of Paris is an absolute culinary paradise and is one of Paris's best neighborhoods for eating out, offering some of the best and trendiest restaurants in the city. Here's a selection of the best restaurants, bars, and cafés in the 4th arrondissement of Paris:

Best Restaurants in Paris 4th district

L'Ambroisie
Located on Place des Vosges, L'Ambroisie is one of Paris's few Michelin 3-star restaurants. It offers refined classic French cuisine and sumptuous interior design. Reservations are strongly recommended.

L'As du Fallafel
Situated at 34 Rue des Rosiers in the Jewish neighborhood, L'As du Fallafel offers the best falafel in Paris and is an excellent dining spot for vegetarians and vegans! L'As du Fallafel is famous for its delicious falafel sandwiches. The falafel is freshly made, crispy on the outside, tender on the inside, and served with creamy tahini sauces and fresh salad. Don't let the queues scare you; this restaurant is renowned for its fast service. 

L'As du Fallafel: 34 Rue des Rosiers, 75004 Paris

Au Bourguignon du Marais
Au Bourguignon du Marais specializes in Burgundy specialties and traditional French cuisine. They work with the finest French local produce and have selected the region's finest wines to accompany classic French dishes prepared with the utmost care, such as boeuf bourguignon, chicken supreme pot-au-feu style, and Parmentier of lamb.

Must-Try Cafés in Paris 4th district

The 4th arrondissement of Paris is gathering some of the best coffee shops in Paris. Embrace the Parisian café culture. Relax at a sidewalk café, sip coffee, and people-watch while immersing yourself in the local ambiance.

La Caféothèque
Situated by the Seine River, La Caféothèque is known for its high-quality, specialty coffee. La Caféothèque is not just a coffee shop; it is a coffee library and a place for coffee education, as it is Paris's first specialty coffee shop. You can learn about the coffee-making process and different bean varieties.

La Caféothèque de Paris: 52 Rue de l'Hôtel de ville, 75004 Paris

Terres de Café
Founded in 2009 by Christophe Servell and voted Best Roaster in France, Terres de Café is one of Paris's most famous specialty coffee shops and offers the broadest range of specialty coffees.

Bars and Nightlife in Le Marias Paris 4

The 4th arrondissement of Paris is a top destination for nightlife lovers, offering a vast choice of bars, lively clubs, and LGBTQ-friendly venues, making it one of the most exciting neighborhoods to discover hip and diverse Paris' nightlife.

Bonnie
Located by the Seine, with the Île Saint-Louis at its feet and offering a gorgeous panoramic view of Paris with the Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame, and Sacré Coeur, Bonnie is Paris' hottest rooftop, where you will find a magnificent restaurant, bar, and nightclub.

Bonnie: 10 Rue Agrippa d'Aubigné, 75004 Paris

Le Mangerie
La Mangerie is a cozy French tapas bar serving cocktails and tapas-style small plates. It is an excellent place for a friends' gathering or a romantic date night in Le Marais.

7. Best places for shopping and local artisanal products in the 4th district of Paris

Whether you're into high-end fashion, vintage clothes, or unique artisanal goods, the 4th arrondissement will be a paradise. Le Marais neighborhood in the 4th arrondissement is considered one of the best shopping areas in Paris and is always the favorite spot among designers, fashionistas, influencers, artists, and celebrities. Here are some of the best shopping spots in the 4th district:

Coolest clothing stores and fashion boutiques in Paris 4th District

Le BHV Marais
Le "B.H.V Marais" known as "Bazar de l'Hôtel de Ville" is one of the oldest department stores in Paris, dating back to 1856. It's a popular destination for locals and tourists, offering various products across various departments, including fashion, beauty, home goods, decoration, and D.I.Y (making things for your home yourself).

Address: 52 Rue de Rivoli, 75004 Paris, France

Archive 18-20
Archive 18-20 is a unique concept store in Le Marais, blending urban sophistication with natural charm. This chic boutique features designer fashion, an urban garden, and a dynamic gallery hosting monthly exhibitions—from A.P.C. jeans to vintage furniture.

Address: 20 Rue des Archives, 75004 Paris

Rue des Rosiers
Rue des Rosiers, situated in the Marais district of Paris, is a Jewish cultural hub and a fantastic destination for shopping lined with trendy boutiques and fashion stores. You can find a mix of contemporary French and international brands and independent designers. Besides, Rue des Rosiers in the 4th arrondissement is also one of the filming locations in the popular Netflix series "Emily in Paris."

Best Vintage Strore and Concept Shops in Le Marais Paris 4th Arrondissement

Free'P'Star
Free'P'Star is a famous vintage shop in Le Marais offering a diverse selection of second-hand clothing and accessories for both men and women. The Free'P'Star store is one of Paris's best vintage shopping places and offers unique and eclectic pieces, allowing shoppers to discover hidden gems from various fashion eras.

Address: 61 Rue de la Verrerie, 75004 Paris, France

Kilo Shop
Kilo Shop is a famous thrift shop in Le Marais in Paris where you can buy vintage clothes by weight. This thrift store offers a unique shopping experience. You'll be given a basket or bag to collect your items when you enter the Kilo Shop. After selecting the pieces you want, you'll proceed to the weighing station, where the total weight will determine the cost.

Address: 69-71 Rue de la Verrerie, 75004 Paris

Best Home Decor Stores near Le Marais Paris 4

Fleux
Fleux is a well-known concept store located in Paris' 4th arrondissement. It is famous for its unique selection of contemporary and trendy home decor, furniture, and lifestyle items like furniture, lighting, and home accessories. Fleux is an excellent place to explore the latest interior design trends and find stylish home additions.

Fleux: 39 Rue Sainte-Croix de la Bretonnerie, 75004 Paris

8. Practical tips for visiting Paris' 4th arrondissement

Use Public Transportation in Paris 4th District:

Paris' 4th arrondissement is well-connected by public transportation. You have several accessible metro stations and lines, including 1 and 11 at Hôtel de Ville, line 7 at Pont Marie, and line 4 on Ile de la Cité.

Walking Tours:

The 4th arrondissement is a very walkable neighborhood with plenty of lovely streets. Consider exploring the area on foot or joining a walking tour to appreciate the neighborhood's charm fully.

Discover the charm of Paris's 4th arrondissement with its rich history, iconic landmarks, and vibrant culture. Your Parisian adventure awaits! Do not hesitate to contact PARIS RENTAL if you want to rent a long-term furnished apartment in Paris.

 

Editor: Siyi CHEN

Credit Photo: Unsplash+

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