Schloss Bellevue, residence of the German Presiden
Schloss Bellevue, residence of the German President

Parismarais Newsletter
Issue 71 august 2011



Le Marais is a village within the big city of Paris. During my travels  this summer in Switzerland, Austria, the Czech Republic and Germany, I rented a lovely appartment in the chic West Berlin area of Schoneberg near Victoria-Luiz Platz for two weeks and dicovered the Marais of Berlin just 1000 Kms north east of Paris.

According to historians, Otto III of Brandenburg founded this small village in the 13th century. In 1751, Bohemian weavers founded the district of Neu-Schoneberg also known as Bohmisch-Schoneberg. It was largely destroyed by a fire due to a joint attack by both The Habsburg and Russian troops during the Seven Years’ War of 1760. Old and New Schoneberg did not officially become one town until 1874, receiving town privileges only in 1898. In 1899, it became an independent Prussian city. Many of the former peasants sold their land to the settlement companies of growing Berlin and built luxurious mansions on the main street, becoming wealthy in the process. The impressive town hall (Rathaus) was completed in 1914 and in 1920, Schoneberg became a part of greater Berlin.

Only 70% of Schoneberg was destroyed during the 2nd World War. Many other districts were razed to the ground. Schoneberg Rathaus served as the city hall of Greater Berlin until the reunification in 1991, at which time it moved back to the «Red Rathaus» in Mitte, situated near the main cathedral. Schoneberg today is a bohemian-bourgeois area, a fabulous shopping district as well as the gay village of west Berlin. A Berliner Jewish community has also cropped up in this area recently, however the original Jewish quarter was in fact in Oranienburgstrasse, in Mitte. In terms of tourism, Berlin is the third most visited city in Europe after Paris and London. It is also the world’s cheapest capital for everything including real estate, which is approximately three times cheaper than Paris! 100,000 French citizens have already moved there to enjoy the creativity and low cost of life in this fun, booming metropolis.
Enjoy this report on the twin areas of Le Marais and Schoneberg in the German Capital, You’ll realise that Berlin is wonderful, however nothing compares to Paris !

Pascal Fonquernie



1 Paris – Le Marais

2 Visit Alsace region and stay in Strasbourg or Colmar

3 Go straight to Berlin with the free A2 german motorway

4 Go to Prague and make a stop in Dresden on the way

5 Keep on going south east and enjoy the thermal city of Budapest

6 Go down to Vienna, beautiful capital of Austria

7 Visit Salzburg, city of Mozart

8 Go south and stay in the prestigious city of Venice

9 Cross italy and stay in Milano, apital of fashion

10 Cross again the Alps Under The Mont Blanc tunnel and go to Lyon, second city of France and capital of Gastronomy

11 Go Up France direction Loire Valley

12 Go back to Paris and may be stay there forever …


hotel map

Motorways are free in Germany and Austria but you must pay a 50 cents fee to go to the toilets!



Gigantic statues on The Spree River in Treptow area

"Biergarten", along the Spree

Back to the 18th century



The most romantic way is to take the extremely luxurious German sleeper coaches with large cabins including shower, air-conditioning, and old- style breakfast served either in the restaurant car or in your cabin… it isn’t the Orient-Express but still quite comfortable ; it also allows you to save time once you are there by arriving early in the morning and leaving late in the evening.
The  Paris- Berlin leaves gare du nord train station each evening at 21:00 and brings you to Berlin Hauptbanhof (the new central station with an extraordinary design) at 8:00 in the morning.

Otherwise, with Air France or Lufthansa flights, choose the airport of Tegel ; it is  much closer to the center, The other airport of SCHÖNEFELD is easily accesible by public transport: The S-Bahn (Airport Express) brings you directly to Ostbahnhof, Hauptbahnhof and Bahnhof Zoo train stations.

And depending on where you want to go, a taxi into the city  is not necessarily more expensive than a taxi from Tegel. Also Schönefeld-Orly is just a great and cheap connection with Easyjet.

Central Tempelhof Airport built in the 30's now definitely closed


By car, consult the online Michelin guide.
The distance between Paris and Berlin is 1050 km, the same as between Paris and Nice. Take the north motorway (A1) to Lille, then pass by Liege in Belgium and the A2 to Germany, free and with no speed limit. I went up to 200 km/h with my fabulous new Renault Megane Convertible without breaking a sweat !
rent your own at Renault Republique when you are in Paris :


Fabulous new architecture In Mitte area

2000's architecture in Mitte



Adlon *****: mythical hotel at Porte de Brandebourg, the traditional deluxe hotel was  entirely and identically rebuilt in 1995.

Grand Hotel Esplanade *****: more central, in Bauhaus style, just in front of the Bauhaus museum and  the Tiergarten park, the Berlinian hyde park (in low season it is the same price as an Ibis in France- 79€, one should not deprive oneself) The most fabulous buffet breakfast in town. The suites with terraces on the park are extraordinary, the prices absolutely reasonable, there is a spa, a swimming pool, and a fitness center

Out of the city center, Germany ultimate spa resort in the direction of Dresden :
Zur Bleiche Ressort & Spa. ***** Live in a luxury farmhouse out of the times. From 170€ for a double room.

Hotel Axel Berlin ****
Berlin Luxury Gay Hotel in the heart of Schoneberg
Lietzenburger Straße, 13/15, 10789, Schöneberg, Berlin |
Tel. (+49) 30 2100 28 93
Mention you are recommanded by SMB organisation to get the best rate.


View on the Spree from east end of Berlin

Typical Schoneberg building from 1910

View on typical 1880 Schoneberg buildings




Near the vestiges of the old central station (of which only one section of wall remains), a unique place with spa, restaurant, solarium, and a bunker style design. It also has a black, round, sea- water swimming pool lit by colored lights, with the sound of whales, subaqueous new age music or classical music soirées  according to the day, fixed price day at only 29€, no equivalent in Paris, not to miss.


French Boutique called Kaviar Gauche - Luxury lefties

Beautiful Art Deco Top Floor in Neukoln area



Ka De Wee: the biggest luxury department store in continental Europe.
The food section on the 6th floor and the panoramic cafeteria are impressive and comparable with the food hall of Harrods in London.
A German speciality for children of all ages, the miniature electric train section is exceptional (95% of the miniature market is German, one can even find a copy of the ultra- kitch « neo louis 14 » of King Ludwig 2 of Bavaria train there ( the real one beeing exposed in Nuremberg at the Deutch Bahn Museum )

Slimline" cakes at Ka De We food hall

King Ludvig II Train

Museum of technics, also worth visiting

Outside decoration from King Ludwig II train



Pergamon, the equivalent of the Louvre

The museum of GDR, to give an idea of the ost- germany sixties look

The Bauhaus Museum (in front of the Hotel Esplanade)

The open air Wall Museum


Mixture of old squated building and luxury new housing

Street art at its best

The Museun Island where is the Pergamon

The Trabant, symbolic car of the former East Germany



Under den linden (the champs élysées of east Berlin)

The New Parliament

Monumental deco on an administrative building

Great example of 1910's building

The remains of Berlin Central station destroyed in 1945



the chic/upper- class district of Prenzlauerberg and all Berlin’s districts with EXBERLINER, the English newspaper about Berlin daily life


Party Boat on a Canal



Gigantic, in an old electric power station

Kit Kat Club

Trashy and diabolical: anything goes, even the public orgies don’t bother anyone there: the return to Twenties Berlin

Hustlaball at Kit Kat Club,THE sexiest  party in Berlin, promoting the best porn stars in the world. A fabulous dance floor, sexy show, VIP rooms, and 3000 outrageously dressed clubbers. Organised by SMB, one of Berlin’s most dynamic gay-friendly night-club organisations

Alltes Zollhaus restaurant

Berliner Weisse is a tradionnal light beer with a delicious green sirup



Try the Turkish restaurants in the Kreuzberg district. Otherwise, very chic, near the Hotel Esplanade


Paris - Moskow
The most unusual: in an old unused station of the Paris- Moskow line

Dine either in a beautiful courtyard or Inside a typical early 20th century berliner style mansion – Menu starting at 42€, incredible value for money, this would cost triple in NYC !
Yorckstrasse 83
Tel 030 780 988 09

The gay restaurant in Schoneberg
Incredible lunch « plat du jour » at only 5,50 € Nice trendy deco and fantastic viennese schnitzle ( escalope viennoise ) for only 17€

Altes Zollhaus
Carl-Hertz-Ufer 39 – 10961 Berlin
Franco-german creative cuisine with an impeccable service in a romantic half-timbered house  overlooking a gorgeous canal. Daily Menu at only 38€. Equivalent to a parisian gastronomic restaurant.

In a future issue, we’ ll tell you more about Berlin Real Estate and give you opportunities to invest in incredible projects at affordable prices…


Restaurant ETA Hoffman.




To prepare for your trip to Paris, you can download the exclusive Parismarais map of le Marais for free! Be sure to print out both sides A and B of the map by clicking on the following links:

You can also visit the following page where you will find more maps of Paris and le Marais as well as selected places to visit - photos and addresses will “pop up” as soon as you click on the colored dots. Fabulous, n'est-ce pas ?


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Parismarais Newsletter, august 2011

Many Thanks to Harriett Wolf, Journalist for Geo Magazine Gernany, that made me discover the alternative side of Berlin.

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