Our plan was a walking tour of Le Marais. Le Marais is an old area of Paris, maybe the oldest area! It's definitely one of the areas with preserved architecture from before the reconstruction of Paris, so there are many beautiful old streets and buildings. Even some narrow and crooked streets! Something that is actually quite rare in Paris we learned!
But before we set out on this tour, we stopped at a little cafe with our guide, Justine, for some café and some thé for Carol. During this time Justine showed us some maps of Paris, told us about the metro system, answered any questions we might have and even gave us a little guide book she had made up for us for when we returned after our river cruise. She wanted us to feel like we had a friend in her while we were there, someone we could call upon should we need her, and if she wasn't there, she wanted to be sure we had the information necessary to be comfortable in this city she loved so much! We spent about 45 minutes just chatting and getting to know one another. It was a nice way to relax and take it all in! When we were ready to set out on our day, we decided to take the bus rather than the metro so we could see the sites along the way! Off we went! The 91 bus towards Le Marais!
The ride was short, and when we stepped off the bus we immediately could tell this part of Paris was so different from where our hotel was. Justine told us about how in the 19th Century there was a reconstruction of the city. Chosen by Napoleon III, Haussmann redesigned Paris to be more uniform. This meant wider streets, a sewer system, and modern water among other things. This is why in Paris so many of the buildings all look the same! However this wasn't done in Le Marais. Here, where we were now, you still had the old, pre 19th century buildings. The narrow, crooked streets. It was quite charming!
One of the things I love about the cities in Europe are those giant doors that lead to amazing treasures! On the outside, the building just looks like any other along the street. But open some of those giant doors and it's as if you step into a hidden world! The first door we stepped through didn't disappoint! We walked into the courtyard of an old mansion. What a surprise that was!