4th Arrondissement: Guide to Le Marais
The 4th arrondissement of Paris is a vibrant, multicultural neighborhood filled with amazing art, great shopping, and beautiful monuments. The 4th arrondissement is located on the Right Bank of the Seine, near the center of the city. It also includes half of the Île de la Cité and all of the Île Saint-Louis.
Background on Le Marais
Like I mentioned in my post all about the 3rd arrondissement, Le Marais is a diverse area with a fascinating history that influences its culture today. Le Marais covers the 3rd and 4th arrondissements. Hundreds of years ago, this area was actually marshland, which literally translates to “le marais” in French. This area was first settled by religious orders who built churches outside the existing city in the 1200s. In the 1400s, the French nobility built mansions in Le Marais, making it a popular neighborhood for the aristocracy. You can still see some of these homes in Le Marais today- they’re called “hôtels particuliers”.
After the French Revolution, Le Marais became the main Jewish community in Paris, and the area still retains a Jewish influence today. In the 1980s, Le Marais became the center of LGBT life in Paris, and there are still some LGBT bars and stores in the 4th arrondissement.
Things to Do in the 4th Arrondissement
From modern art museums to boutique shopping, there are so many things to do in the 4th arrondissement.
Museums in the 4th Arrondissement
Le Centre Pompidou
The Pompidou Center is the home of the National Museum of Modern Art, as well as various cultural centers. The building is very industrial and modern, identifiable by the tubes encasing the escalators that run along the outside of the building. The Pompidou is one of the most visited museums in Paris, featuring works from artists like Matisse, Picasso, and Pollock. The Stravinsky Fountain, created to reflect the works of composer Igor Stravinsky, is located outside. You can purchase tickets online for the museum for 14 euros per adult. The museum is closed every Tuesday, and admission is free the first Sunday of every month.
Check out my guide to art museums in Paris for more information about can’t-miss museums in the French capital!
Archeological Crypt of Île de la Cité
The Archeological Crypt of Île de la Cité is a museum displaying artifacts from periods throughout the history of Paris, dating back to ancient Roman times. I found this museum interesting because I didn’t know much about Parisian history before the medieval period. The crypt is located in the square in front of Notre Dame, and it’s often overlooked by people visiting the famous cathedral.
Mémorial de la Shoah
The Shoah Memorial is a Holocaust memorial and museum that educates visitors about this history of the Jewish community in Paris and the impact of the Holocaust on French Jews during World War 2. This monument memorializes the 76,000 Jewish people who were deported from France during World War 2. The museum is closed on Saturdays.
Maison de Victor Hugo
Famous author Victor Huge lived in this apartment-turned-museum from 1832 to 1848. You can tour his preserved apartment and see recreations of other rooms in this small museum located on the beautiful Place des Vosges. Hugo’s most famous works include the Hunchback of Notre Dame and Les Misérables. This museum is closed on Mondays.
Pavillion de l’Arsenal
The Pavillion de l’Arsenal is an architecture and urban planning museum located on the eastern edge of the 4th arrondissement. Although I never visited this museum, I can see how it would be interesting to someone who is interested in how Paris became the city it is today through city planning. This museum is closed on Mondays, and admission is free.
European House of Photography
This museum is devoted to contemporary photography. It is open Wednesday through Sunday, and full price adult tickets cost 9 euros.
Check out this guide for more non-touristy things to do in Paris!
Other Points of Interest in the 4th Arrondissement
Notre Dame Cathedral
You can’t visit Paris without visiting the famous Notre Dame Cathedral! 12 million people visited the church in 2017, making it one of the most-visited landmarks in Paris! Notre Dame is located on the Île de la Cité in the middle of the Seine River. Admission into the cathedral is free, so you can expect long (but fast-moving) lines to enter! Inside, you can admire the famous rose stained glass windows.
There are additional fees to enter the crypt and the towers. I highly recommend going to the top of the towers to admire beautiful views of Paris! Be sure to get your tickets ahead of time! I booked a tour that included an hour touring the outside of the cathedral and tickets to the towers, and I thought this was a great way to learn more about the church and avoid the struggle of getting tickets myself!
Hôtel de Ville
The Hôtel de Ville houses the city of Paris’s governmental administration offices. The building itself is beautiful, and there is almost always something going on in the square in front of the Hôtel de Ville.
Place des Voges
The Place des Vosges is one of the most beautiful squares in Paris. This was one of the most popular places for French nobility to live during the 1600s and 1700s. Today, the buildings surrounding the green park house galleries, apartments, and Victor Hugo’s home. This is one of the most picturesque areas in Paris, perfect for a picnic!
Le Marais Paris Shopping
Bazar de l’Hôtel de Ville (BHV)
BHV is a huge department store located in the 4th arrondissement, right next to the Hôtel de Ville. This is a beautiful department store, featuring almost every major fashion brand! This is a great place to get a Parisian department store experience!
Boutiques and Chain Stores
There’s a variety of shopping in Le Marais! Brands like Gucci, COS, and more have outposts in the 4th arrondissement, so just stroll along the main streets and enjoy!
4th Arrondissement Food
Berthillon is the most famous ice cream in Paris! Its main outpost is on the Île Saint-Louis in the 4th arrondissement, but you can find other places serving the ice cream throughout Paris! All the flavors are delicious and rich! I personally love the salted caramel and raspberry flavors. I always make sure I get Berthillon ice cream when I’m in Paris!
L’As du Fallafel
L’As du Fallafel is a super famous falafel restaurant in Paris! You can expect long lines all the time at this cheap food stand. There are several other falafel places in the 4th arrondissement that are equally good if you don’t feel like waiting in line!
Le Marais Paris – Travel Guide to the 4th Arrondissement
The 4th arrondissement of Paris is a beautiful and diverse neighborhood. I loved staying here during my first trip to Paris because you’re close to attractions in the 1st arrondissement, but there aren’t as many tourists. The Place des Vosges is one of the most Instagrammable places in Paris, and you just can’t miss the magnificent Notre Dame.