The St. Paul Village is a veritable village in the heart of the Marais, a haven of peace and tranquility. This group of buildings is accessible by a pedestrian maze of small passages under the arches, close to Saint Paul's Church, between the two bustling arteries of rue de Rivoli and that bordering the Seine.
The St. Paul Village is the ideal place to search for and discover unusual objects among the 200 antique dealers and designers present who open their doors to the public every day including Sunday. From Pieces of the Middle Ages to 70's Design, there's something for everyone. Feel free to negotiate prices and to initiate discussions with exhibitors who will be delighted to show you their treasures; perhaps you can come back with a unique piece that will find its place in your home.
Near the St. Paul Village, you will most certainly be intrigued by the presence of a long wall with towers. These are the only remains of the walls of Philippe Auguste. In the 11th and 12th century, Paris was completely surrounded by a protective enclosure whose total area was the equivalent of the first 6 districts of the city today.
Close to the Seine, you will discover the Hôtel de Sens, former property of the archbishop of the city of Sens. Its Renaissance-inspired architecture and medieval remains draw inspiration more from the châteaux of the Loire Valley than classic Parisian residences. Today this building is home to the famous Forney library, which is dedicated to graphic art and advertising, as well as hosting temporary exhibitions on famous poster artists.
Crossing the bridge you will reach the Ile Saint Louis, which is particularly popular with Americans. It is around 20,000 euros per square meter in this area and impossible to park. The Ile Saint Louis is somewhat unaffordable but embodies a certain French lifestyle, representing the image of the City of Light. Of course, a visit to the Ile Saint Louis is not complete without tasting the famous Berthillon ice-cream, which you can find in several local shops. When warm weather arrives, much patience will be necessary to buy this famous treat. The Ile Saint Louis also offers some good restaurants, rather touristy however worth the trip, such as for example the restaurant "Mon Vieil Ami" and the lovely bistro Le Saint Regis with its terrace and view of the back of Notre-Dame.
You then continue to the Ile de la Cité and the striking Notre-Dame Cathedral, a 12th century Gothic masterpiece. Notre-Dame was heavily remodeled in the 19th century by the famous architect Viollet le Duc, and beautifully renovated again by architect Bernard Fonquernie beginning in 1992. You will also discover the memorial in remembrance of World War II victims erected at the eastern tip of the island.
Notre Dame has recently been cleaned, helping to highlight its architectural richness and the color of its stone. In the Middle Ages, the facades were painted in bright colors. These color traces have disappeared except for some still visible in the Sainte Chapelle, whose stained glass windows and decorations are beautiful. The Holy Chapel, recently restored, is located in the courthouse.
Retracing your steps towards the Marais, do not miss the fabulous flower market which brings together more than 50 florists and offering a wide selection of potted plants. From geraniums to the most delicate orchids, you'll find the friendly flora that will pleasantly decorate your balcony or home.