Le Marais, the chic district of Paris

Its name may literally mean 'The Marsh', but Le Marais, in the third and fourth arrondissements of Paris, is traditionally one of the most elegant and aristocratic city districts. As you'll see from our photo gallery, it's also bohemian, artistic and one of the most lively and cosmopolitan areas in the French capital.

Spreading along the right bank of the Seine, Le Marais is the perfect setting for a getaway: with galleries and museums, pavement artists decorating the streets outside the bustling cafes and restaurants, with craft and antique shops and vintage clothing stores, and, of course, some of the finest architecture in the city of lights. Following the Rue des Francs-Bourgeois will lead you to the symbolic centre of the district: la Place des Vosges, a perfectly symmetrical gem of a square which is one of the most beautiful spots in Paris. Here you can browse around the antique shops and, of course, make the obligatory stop at the pavement cafe Ma Bourgogne, among the city's most famous. For tourism there are many fine city mansions or palaces – known in French as 'hotels', Victor Hugo's house, the elegant Hotel de Sully and the Picasso Museum, in the magnificent Hotel Sale.

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