Once a swamp, the Marais (french word for marshland) district grow in importance on the fourteenth century due to its proximity to the Louvre Palace. In the seventeenth century became the favorite living place for the richest families in Paris, who built sumptuous mansions characteristic of the neighborhood. Today the Marais is a dynamic part of the city, with modern boutiques, great art galleries, upscale hotels and restaurants.
One of my favorite places in Marais, and probably one of the Parisian squares that I love the most is Place des Vosges. Perfectly symmetric, is one of the oldest planned squares in Paris. Entering through an arch, one can admire the surrounding red brick facades of the houses, stroll under the arcades, visit the shops, cross along the central garden or seat in a restaurant or cafe.
We opted for having crepes with ice-cream at Ma Bourgogne (19, Pl des Vosges) and they were delicious. But if you want to have a full meal and you're not under a tight budget there is a three Michelin star restaurant L'Ambroisie (9, Pl de Vosges) considered one of the best and most beautiful restaurants in Paris.
This square was the scenery of many historical events through the centuries and house of several prestigious people, like cardinal Richelieu or the writer Victor Hugo. Its possible to visit the Maison Victor Hugo (6, Pl des Vosges) where the autor lived for sixteen years and where he wrote most of his master piece Les Miserables.
The Place des Vosges can be the ideal place to start (or to finish) a walk in the Marais, currently one of the most charming districts of Paris. Some of the must visit spots include the Musée Picasso Paris, the Hotel de Ville and the Rue des Rosiers, the main street of the Jewish quarter.
You can get there by subway (stations Bastille and St-Paul), or walking from Île de la Cité, crossing Pont Notre Dame.