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4th Arrondissement : Unveiling the Charm of Paris

History and evolution

Paris’s 4th arrondissement is among the City of Lights’ oldest neighborhoods, dating back to its first inhabitants in the 1st century BC. This Renaissance-era district is characterized by many monuments but is particularly referred to by the square Hotel-de-Ville, a significant location during the French Revolution and considered a part of Le Marais. This vibrant and historical neighborhood, nestled along the right bank (Rive Droite) of the Seine, remains one of the most popular arrondissements in which to live and thrive.

Notable monuments and sites

The City of Lights is known for many infamous monuments, museums, and art, and many of these attractions are in the 4th arrondissement. Explore the rich past of Paris with some of these must-see landmarks.

Place des Vosges: One of the oldest and most known parks in Paris, this garden is surrounded by beautiful red brick arches and facades home to some of the most renowned restaurants (such as Carette) and various sites from art galleries to museums, including the home of Victor Hugo, available for tours and visits. Even for an afternoon stroll, this square is sure to amaze.

Pompidou Center: Housing temporary and permanent art collections, Pompidou Center is a versatile place to get work done, visit their library, or have an outing that appeals to all ages. Blending modernity with Parisian architecture, Pompidou boasts an impressive contemporary art collection encouraging visitors to dive into the versatility of Paris and how the beautiful City of Light has evolved throughout the centuries.

Notre Dame de Paris: It has already been a year since the devastating fire claimed part of Notre Dame, and its reconstruction has begun. Despite this tragedy, the Cathedral remains one of the most famous and respected worldwide, attracting thousands of tourists annually. While visitors are not permitted entry to ensure a fast reconstruction, the site’s magnificent beauty can still be enjoyed externally.

Place de la Bastille: This important landmark stands with pride, representing the storming of the Bastille in 1789. Place de la Bastille is an essential site for history lovers who wish to immerse themselves in Paris’s rich and inspirational past. The city’s vibrant and buzzing energy can be felt in the hustle and bustle as people commute the roundabout to work or meet their friends at a nearby cafe.

Cultural Activities

Le BHV Marais: Initially constructed in 1856, Le BHV Marais has been a shopping destination for locals and tourists alike. The shopping center offers over 2,000 luxury brands in men’s and women’s fashion, home decor, and more. Shop til you drop after seeing the sites and enjoy the view of the Seine from the many cafes surrounding Le BHV Marais.

Azzedine Alaïa Foundation: Also found in the 4th arrondissement is the Azzedine Alaïa Foundation. Located in the heart of the Marais district, the building was restored in 1988 from the former BHV warehouse and bought by the couturier himself. It now serves as a museum, exhibition space, and research center.

As a Franco-Tunisian couturier, Alaïa wanted a special place to display his works and those he admired and collected. His work is mainly recognized for using luxurious materials, intricate draping techniques, and fitting silhouettes.  In 2007, the original association became a foundation with the ambition to present the archives and the hopes of giving back to the community with scholarships to young designers. It was established with the help of Christoph Von Weyhe, a German painter and gallery owner, Carla Sazzani.

Some of the most famous of the more than 35,000 fashion pieces are of designers like Coco Chanel, Paul Poiret, Martin Margiela, Jean-Paul Gaultier, and Cristóbal Balenciaga. Recently, in 2019, the foundation partnered with Parsons Paris School of Art and Design to offer students the opportunity to conduct their research on the Foundation. Following that, the foundation has been recognized by the French Ministry of Interior as an establishment of public utility.

Hôtel de Sully: Hotel de Sully is a mansion built in the 17th century with the help of French architect Jean Androuet du Cerceau. In the Marais, this mansion is considered one of the most extravagant in the district, showcasing the French Renaissance architecture and Baroque style. Starting in 1625, the construction of the building and the garden in Orangerie began.

The original owner, Gallet, was forced to sell after he lost his fortune. The Hotel went through multiple noble owners when 1630, Neufbourg completed the work. In 1660, the Duke of Sully (hence the name) bought it and expanded it by adding a wing to the west of the building. After the French Revolution, the hotel was turned into the Special School of Business and Industry, and in the 19th century, apartments and shops. Finally, in 1944, the French State acquired the hotel and turned it into a museum of the French Demeure.

Now, it hosts numerous art exhibitions, cultural events, and occasional guided tours for visitors. The gardens are a perfect place to peacefully stroll and admire the serene atmosphere, taking a break from the buzzing city of Paris. Hotel de Sully depicts and symbolizes the French cultural heritage, its history and artistic achievements, and the importance of preserving the legacy of historic buildings for the French State.

Nightlife and Gastronomy

Carette: With multiple locations around Paris, Carette is one of Paris’s most famous restaurants and cafes, boasting the best hot chocolate and delicacies. Check out their first location on the Place du Trocadéro and Place des Vosges, constructed in 1927.

Berthillon: Known for its luxury ice cream, Berthillon has been open since 1954, when it first ran out of the Hotel Le Bourgogne. It grew in popularity after Gault Millau, a respected gastronomy guide, published a review about a “hidden gem” on the Ile Saint-Louis. Berthillon will surely deliver and is a must-see for your sweet tooth cravings.

La Cafeotheque: Nestled in the 4th arrondissement, this cafe is a coffee lovers paradise. La Cafeotheque has some of the highest quality coffee in Paris and features a coffee library and educational space where fellow coffee lovers can dive into their passion.

Bonnie: Bonnie is one of the best restaurant rooftops in the city, with the view of Paris beaming back at you. Its fine dining caters to fresh produce and ingredients that reflect the seasons and fixed menu options. A chic Parisian brasserie. If your plan involves just going out to grab a drink, the bar at Bonnie with a luxurious tabletop is the spot. On the 16th floor, from Thursday to Saturday, the night becomes lively with vibrant electro-disco rhythm and various seating, allowing bigger parties to enjoy the night.

La Mangerie is an elevated canteen specializing in tapas and wine. Not only is the restaurant very aesthetically pleasing, but the kitchen is also a combined effort of head chef Filip, of Portuguese origin, and sous-chef Caroline, of Cambodian origin. The attention to quality ingredients is an essential priority for Serge, the owner. La Mangerie works with a cheese and charcuterie producer to pair their local tapas of South America. Enjoy your time with Serge’s extensive menu of signature cocktails to add spice to your night!

Connections and Accessibility

Overall, the 4th arrondissement, with its very central location, is quickly accessible by metro and bus. The metro stations that are found within are Bastille (1,5,8), Châtelet (1,4,7,11,14, RER A, B, D), Cité (4), Hôtel de Ville (1,11), Pont Marie (7), Rambuteau(11), Saint Paul(1) and Sully Morland (7).


In conclusion, Paris’s 4th arrondissement is a testament to the city’s rich history and evolution over centuries. From its ancient roots dating back to the 1st century BC to its pivotal role in the French Revolution, this Renaissance-era district continues to charm residents and visitors alike. With iconic landmarks like Place des Vosges, the Pompidou Center, Notre Dame de Paris, and Place de la Bastille, the neighborhood offers a captivating journey through Parisian heritage. Moreover, the 4th arrondissement is not only steeped in history but also pulsates with cultural activities, from the luxury shopping experience at Le BHV Marais to the artistic marvels housed in the Azzedine Alaïa Foundation and the historical significance of Hôtel de Sully. Additionally, the vibrant nightlife and gastronomic delights, ranging from renowned establishments like Carette and Berthillon to hidden gems like La Cafeotheque and Bonnie, offer an immersive experience of the Parisian lifestyle.

Furthermore, with its central location and excellent accessibility via metro and bus networks, the 4th arrondissement serves as a bustling hub that effortlessly connects visitors to the heart of Paris. In essence, whether one seeks to explore history, indulge in culture, savor culinary delights, or simply soak in the vibrant atmosphere, the 4th arrondissement of Paris stands as an enduring symbol of the city’s timeless allure and dynamism.

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