The Marais is generally known for falafel snacks, gay bars and trendy stores, but it also has a great architectural heritage: many aristocrats lived there in the 17th Century, before the Court moved to Versailles. During the French Revolution, aristocrats were beheaded or exiled, their residences were turned public and now many of these host museums, libraries, or archives (when not hosting the new Parisian aristocracy…).
One such palace is “Hôtel Carnavalet” (funny name coming from a mispronunciation of the Briton name ‘de Kernevenoy’, once the owners of the palace), which now hosts a museum dedicated to the history of Paris.
In this museum, you won’t find big names or famous masterpieces, but many paintings showing how Paris was throughout the different ages of its history, which is very interesting if you have already gone all over modern city’s streets and squares.
The collections (paintings, but also pieces of furniture and signs of old shops) are also of great interest for history enthusiasts, and displays the most important events of French history (many of which occurred in Paris), notably the Revolutions (from 1789 to the Commune, passing by 1830 and 1848).
Like other museums run by the municipality, the visit to the collections is free, though you might be charged for some temporary exhibitions. And even if you’re not a museum addict, the place is worth a visit for its gorgeous courtyard, freely accessible from rue des Francs Bourgeois.
Current exhibition: photos about the Liberation of Paris (until 08th February 2015)