Rue des Francs Bourgeois
Start your day at the corner of rue des Archives. Stop at the Hotel de Soubise, the seat of the national archives and aspiring future spot for the Museum of the History of France. This building dates in part from the Middle Ages, with a complete structure by the 17th century. Do not miss the indoor garden, ideal for a short break between shopping sessions.
Continuing your walk towards the Place des Vosges, you will pass the "Chez Ma Tante" pawn shop, also known as municipal credit, at 55 rue des Francs-Bourgeois. This is a public institution which lends cash in exchange for items such as jewelry, works of art, or furniture. Once the loan is repaid, the property is returned to the borrower. In French society, it has always been seen as a little bit embarassing to borrow money, therefore this public institution took its name from the French expression that "we got some money from my aunt" .
Continuing your walk, you pass a secret door that leads to the Blancs-Manteaux (White Coats) church, in which classical concerts are held every Sunday. The other door you see allows you access to the rue des Blancs-Manteaux, known for its multipurpose «cafés-theaters».
This neighborhood is home to many beauty institutes for men and women such as the Carita spa in the sublime Hotel Le Pavillon de la Reine. Feel free to view the beauty and shopping part of our site.
Shopaholics and fashion aficionados alike will find plenty to enjoy, with a wide selection of top fashion boutiques and designers here as well as in the "Haut Marais" area, especially around rue Charlot and rue Poitou.
Passing in front of the Musée Carnavalet, you will see a wonderful French Garden hidden behind the beautiful wrought iron gates of a mansion that once belonged to Madame de Sévigné, mistress of Louis XIV ; today it houses the museum of the history of Paris.
Other nearby historical sites such as the Cognac-Jay museum located in the Hotel Donon (8, rue Elzevir) or the Maison de Victor Hugo (6 Place des Vosges) are also open to the public free of charge ; only the temporary exhibitions are paying. Municipal museums are open daily from 9 am to 18 pm every day except Monday.
At the corner of the rue des Francs-Bourgeois and rue Pavee, you will notice a small turret called "Echauguette". It is part of the Hotel Lamoignon, which houses the Paris bookshop of architecture. There you'will discover books on the history of Paris and reproductions of old city maps at very reasonable prices.
Leaving the Carnavalet Museum by the Rue de Sevigné, take time to stroll. This street is home to many unique shops such as the Parfumeur « Senteurs de Fées », not to mention the oldest fire station in Paris, which is located in the Hotel de Chavigny. Deemed to be the « sexiest firefighters in Paris », they open their doors to the public on the 13th and 14th of July every year for the memorable and fun « Firemen’s Ball ». The barracks are located in a mansion designed by François Mansart, architect for Louis XIV, who also participated in the realization of Versailles and many other lavish Marais mansions.
Continuing your walk, you reach the Rue de Turenne where you can take a well- earned break on the terrace of either café Baci or Royal Turenne to enjoy a snack, unless you prefer one of the many terraces on Place des Vosges such as Chez Carette, famous for its macaroons or, on the south side of the square, at the restaurant La Place Royale.