The 4th is a good chunk of what used to be medieval Paris, and you’ll find a lot left from that time on both islands and in the narrow streets of the lower Marais. Meanwhile there’s lots that’s contemporary to look at especially at the Centre Georges Pompidou where you’ll find a lot of the very best contemporary art.
At night the 4th has several of the most active bar scenes most travellers will have ever seen, including the lower Marais district which is sometimes known as gay Paris although there are no shortage of bars catering to straight singles or a mixed crowd, or, in the early evening, families.
The 4th has the eastern end of the Axe historique, which extends westwards to La Défense.Notre Dame Cathedral before the 15 April 2019 fire
The 4th is a central arrondissement, right between the Châtelet and Bastille areas, two of Paris’ main transportation (metro, RER and bus) hubs.
Hôtel de Ville 1 11 (La Defense/Chateau de Vincennes, and Chatelet/Mairie des Lilas respectively) – Access from near the junction of Rue de Renard and Rue de Rivoli.
Cité 4 (Porte d’Orleans (General Leclerc)/Porte de Clignancourt) – Access off the Boulevard du Palais (infront of Palais de Justice on the Ile de Cité).
St. Paul 1 (La Defense/Chateau de Vincennes) – Access off the Rue de Rivoli.
Rambuteau 11 (Chatelet/Mairie des Lilas) – Access from near the junction of Rue de Renard and Rue Rambuteau.
Pt. Marie 7 (Villejuif – Louis Aragon / Mairie d’Ivry/La Courneuve – 8 mai 1945) – Access from Quai de l’Hotel de Ville
Sully Morland 7 (Villejuif – Louis Aragon / Mairie d’Ivry/La Courneuve – 8 mai 1945) – Access near the junction of Boulevard de Henri IV and Quai des Celestins.
Unlike the metro, buses can be a great way of moving around and seeing the city’s landscape, although you risk being caught in traffic. The most useful lines are 70, 72 and 74, which stop at the Hôtel de Ville, and lines 75 and 76, which run through Rue de Rivoli.
The neighbouring Châtelet and Bastille stations are also served by the Noctilian (night bus), running from 00:30 to 05:30. Lines 33, 34 and 132 run between these two stations with no intermediate stops, but there are many others arriving and leaving from both to several destinations around town.
Walk, walk and walk! This arrondissement is compact enough to be explored on foot and that’s probably just what you’ll want to do anyway. Otherwise, the metro may be not be too useful for covering short distances, but you may still want to use the bus line 76 for the Châtelet-Bastille itinerary or line 67 for Châtelet – Île St. Louis, especially if you have a card for multiple trips or a Carte Orange.
The RATP network has bicycles (vélos) for rent next to the Bastille station:
Maison Roue Libre, 37, bd Bourdon, ☏ +33 1 54 54 97 10. 09:00-19:00. €10-15 per day. edit
Rue des Rosiers. The Jewish quarter, with many small delis and shops. Lively on most days except for Saturdays.
Notre-Dame de Paris (Notre Dame Cathedral), Ile de la Cité 6, Place du Parvis Notre Dame (Cité 4 or Saint-Michel-Notre Dame B C ), ☏ +33 1 42 34 56 10, fax: +33 1 40 51 70 98, ✉ info@cathedraleDeParis.com. Closed indefinitely due to the fire that occurred on 15 April 2019. The early Gothic Cathédrale de Notre Dame (Our Lady) has a 12th century design but wasn’t completed until the 14th. Still it is a good example of the development of the style, though the west or main portal is a bit unusual in its rigidity. The April 2019 fire caused severe damage, but the main structure of Notre Dame, and its two towers, have been saved. The area around the remains of the building will be unsafe and off limits for an undetermined period.
Hôtel de Ville (Town Hall), Place de la Hôtel de Ville (Metro: Hôtel de Ville). Many feel that this, Paris’ town hall, is one of the loveliest buildings in the city. The building is lavishly, and some would say heavy-handedly, decorated both inside and out, and finished in an arrestingly white stone, similar to that used for the even more eye-catching Sacre-Coeur basilica.
Tour St Jacques, Rue de Rivoli (Métro: Chatelet). A Gothic church tower in a square 150m to the west of the Hôtel de Ville was restored by Ballu, is all that remains of Eglise Saint-Jacques-de-la-Boucherie, which was the meeting place in Paris for pilgrims heading to Santiago de Compestela. As such it is included on the UNESCO World Heritage List as part of the Routes of Santiago de Compostela in France.
La Bastille (Metro: Bastille 1 5 8 ). Enter Bastille station through any entrance or on any train and then make your way to the Bobigny/Pablo Picasso-bound platform. All that’s left of the fortress whose front steps used to lead up from place de la Bastille are some foundation stones which you can see while waiting for a north bound train on this metro platform. There are maps and explanations showing where the fortress used to be relative the place and surroundings
Mémorial de la Shoah (The Holocaust Memorial), 17, rue Geoffroy l’Asnier (Pont Marie 7 ), ☏ +33 1 42 77 44 72. Su-W,F 10:00-18:00; Th 10:00-22:00. Opened in January 2005, the Holocaust Memorial comprises a major documentation centre and a wall bearing 76,000 names of Jews deported from France to the Nazi camps between 1942-1944. Includes an archive of a million artefacts, including 55,000 photographs. Excursions are run from the memorial to French internment camp sites such as Drancy. Admission free.
Museums and Galleries
Centre Georges Pompidou, Place George Pompidou (Metro: Rambuteau 11 ). W-M, 11:00-22:00. Those who are unfamiliar with conceptual art sometimes don’t know quite what to expect, or how to approach it. Such travellers should rest assured that the curators at the Pompidou Centre have assembled a marvellous introduction consisting of mostly approachable works which delight, amuse, and entertain. The art is far from the only reason for a visit, as the building also contains a vast public library and a fine restaurant (run by the Costes brothers) on the roof. In fact the place is literally surrounded by some of the nicest pavement cafés in the city, in its superb location between the car-free above ground part of Forum Les Halles and the Marais art district. €8-10.
Maison de Victor Hugo, 6, Place des Vosges (Metro: Saint-Paul or Bastille, Bus 20, 29, 65, 69, 96), ☏ +33 1 42 72 10 16, fax: +33 01 41 72 06 64. Daily 10:00-18:00. The house in which the famous French novelist Victor Hugo once lived.
Hôtel de Sully, 62 rue Saint-Antoine (Metro: Saint-Paul or Bastille, Bus 69, 76, 96). Daily 09:00-19:00. Built in 1625, the Hotel de Sully is an interesting house with some sculptures in a beautiful courtyard. The house features special exhibitions, so check listings when in Paris.
Over the last decade, the rue des Francs-Bourgeois has become a shopping destination for clothes and accessories. Go during the July or January soldes (sales) and pick up some Anne-Fontaine outfits, Camper shoes, or trendy men’s clothing at Melchoir at bargain basement prices.
For dinner or a sit-down lunch there are over a thousand restaurants in the 4th catering to all tastes – many more deserve to be listed than this or any other guide has space for. There are nice places, trendy or traditional throughout the district, but most of the really fancy bistros are clustered around the NW corner of Place de Bastille. You’ll really enjoy walking around and checking out the menus, especially during the week when only the most exclusive places require a reservation. That said, here are some ideas:
If you are looking for a snack or a quick lunch you could do a lot worse than any one of the kosher falafel stands along the rue des Rosiers near Place des Vosges. If you are on the île de la Cité though, a closer choice is just to hop across the little pedestrian bridge to the île Saint-Louis for lunch at any one of the many charming cafés.
Chez Marianne, 2, Rue des Hospitalières-Saint Gervais (Metro: Saint-Paul), ☏ +33 1 88 64 15 22. At the corner of rue des Hospitalières-Saint Gervais, and the rue Rosiers, Chez Marianne—like the many falafel stands in the Pletzle—serves excellent sandwiches out of a walk up window, but unlike some of the others also has an attractive dining room and a truly lovely terrace where you can enjoy a full range of Jewish/middle-eastern dishes.
La Perla, 26 rue François Miron (Metro: Hôtel de Ville), ☏ +33 1 42 77 59 40. Daily 11:00-14:00. Good Mexican food to be had within a stone’s throw of the Ile de St. Louis. They mix a decent margarita too!
Flunch, 21 Rue de Beaubourg (Metro Rambuteau), ☏ +33 1 40290978, ✉ email@example.com. 08:00-22:00. Self-service restaurant, right next to the Pompidou centre. Steaks etc. are cooked fresh when ordered, other food is pre-cooked and there is a microwave in the table area should you need to heat anything up. A chance to try authentic French food at cheap prices. Just one minus – there is a free water and ice dispender next to the microwave, in the table area, AFTER you’ve paid and probably bought another drink!
O Corcovado Marais, 7, rue Simon-Lefranc (Metro: Rambuteau), ☏ +33 6 60 40 08 58, ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Tu-Su 19:00-. This Brazilian restaurant serves authentic food.
Creperie Beaubourg, 2 Rue Brisemiche (Métro: Hotel de Ville), ☏ +33 1 42 77 63 62. 11:30-23:00. The restaurant serves salty “galette” and sweet “crepes” with cider for a reasonable price. In summertime one can sit nicely outdoor.
Le Coude Fou, 12, rue du Bourg-Tibourg (Metro Hotel de Ville), ☏ +33 1 42 77 15 16. Daily until midnight. This place is a jewel. It is a real local neighbourhood bistro in the middle of the high rent Marais. The food is good, and the wine selection is great.
Le Loir dans la Théière, 3, rue des Rosiers (Metro: Saint Paul), ☏ +33 1 42 72 90 61. 09:00-19:30. A highly recommended and quaint little tea shop, well worth a visit especially for brunch, which at €15.50 is a great value for the quantity, quality, and ambience. The cakes are huge, but if one is too late they might already be gone.
Pain Vin Fromages, 3, rue Geoffrey l’Angevin (Métro Rambuteau), ☏ +33 1 42 74 07 52. It’s all about cheese, with a selection of Swiss dishes, and others.
Le Colimaçon, 44 Rue Vieille du Temple (Métro Hôtel de Ville), ☏ +33 1 48 87 12 01. 6:30PM – 10:45PM; Sunday Brunch from 12:30PM – 2:30PM. Cozy, charming space. Attentive service. French cuisine with daily specials.
L’Ambroisie, 9, place des Vosges (Métro: Sain Paul), ☏ +33 1 42 78 51 45. Tu-Sa 12:00-13:15, 20:00-22:00. In the aristocratic décors of the 18th century the chef Bernard Pacaud and his son prepare modern and refined food. The “tarte au chocolat” is surreal.
Brasserie Bofinger, 3, rue de la Bastille (Metro: Bastille), ☏ +33 1 42 72 87 82. A beautiful, historical décor in the Art Nouveau style (see the ceiling upstairs); good Alsatian cuisine : choucroute, kuglopf, etc, plus good classic cuisine de brasserie.
11 Le Georges, 19 rue Beaubourg, ☏ +33 1 44 78 47 99. On the top floor of the Centre Georges Pompidou, the restaurant Georges offers a panoramic view of Paris. Serves modern French food with classic desserts like “blancs en neige”. M 11:00-24:00, W-Su 11:00-02:00.
French ice cream is famous for its sorbet and there are excellent ice cream parlours to choose from:
Amorino, 47, rue Saint Louis en l’Ile, ☏ +33 1 42 78 07 75, ✉ email@example.com. The oldest of the many boutiques operated by this gelato (Italian ice cream) maker.
Glacier Berthillon, 31 Rue Saint-Louis en l’Île (Métro: Pont Marie), ☏ +33 1 43 54 31 61. W-Su 10:00-20:00. The most renowned French sorbet has his little tea shop since 1954. The wait in the queue is definitely worth it, also with some luck the queue isn’t that big. On the corner, the queue for takeaway is usually bigger but, of course, faster. Taking the ice to the Seine is, of course. a possible option.
Pozetto, 39 Rue du Roi de Sicile (Métro: Hotel de Ville), ☏ +33 1 42 77 08 64. M-Th 12:15–23:45, F Sa 12:15-00:45, Su 12:15–23:45. Little shop that’s both a café and sells Italian ice cream. The ice cream flavours vary according to the season.
In the 4th it’s really hard to say whether a given place is somewhere to Eat or somewhere to Drink. Most of the places on this list serve dinner, and some serve lunch as well.
There are tons of hotels, hostels, furnished apartments and guest houses in the 4th. Even still you should book ahead if possible as there is also tons of demand.
MIJE, 6, rue de Fourcy, 12 rue des Barres, and 11 rue du Fauconnier (Metro: St. Paul), ☏ +33 1 42 74 23 45. Consistently given the highest possible ratings this organization actually runs three hostels in the Marais. The only possible drawback is that they have an afternoon lockout for cleaning. The MIJE Maubuisson on rue des Barres gets the nod of the three for being in an historic Tudor-style building. Dorm-room beds start at €32 at all three places. Single rooms are €52.
Hôtel Rivoli, 44, rue Rivoli (Metro: Hotel de Ville), ☏ +33 1 42 72 08 41. In the heart of the city with cheap doubles. Terrific view from 5th floor single room. €30+.
Grand Hôtel du Loiret, 8, rue des Mauvais Garçons (Metro: Hôtel-de-Ville), ☏ +33 1 48 87 77 00. A good value for the price and location. €45, or €60 with a shower.
Grand Hôtel Jeanne-d’Arc, 3, rue de Jarente (Metro: Saint-Paul), ☏ +33 1 48 87 62 11. In the calmer part of the Marais, not far from Place de Bastille and Place des Vosges, this little hotel fills up well in advance, so you’ll need to book ahead. €57 for a basic room.
Hôtel du Septième Art, 20 rue Saint-Paul (Metro: Saint-Paul), ☏ +33 1 44 54 85 00, fax: +33 1 42 77 69 10. A little place done up in all black and white in homage to the cinema, the 7th Art offers a good value on comfortable rooms, and polite, quality service. Single rooms include air conditioning, WC, and shower. A 5-min promenade to the Rue de Rivoli. €75+.
Hôtel Hospitel, 1, Place du Parvis Notre Dame-Galerie B2, 6F (Metro: Cité), ☏ +33 1 44 32 01 00. You can’t beat the location of this no-star but mid-range offering on the Ile de la Cité located on the 6th floor of the Hospital Hôtel-Dieu a functioning hospital which is also classified as an official historical monument. Hôspitel offers quite a bit of service and comfort. Single €88.50, double €99.50.
Hôtel Bastille Speria, 1, rue de la Bastille (Metro: Bastille), ☏ +33 1 42 72 04 01, fax: +33 1 42 72 56 38. This lovely little three-star is at the far end of the 4th bumped right up against Place de Bastille. The place is inviting and the rooms are quite comfy and air conditioned. The location is good especially if you are interested in fine dining, as the place is surrounded by some of the better bistros on the right bank. €95 for a single.
Hotel Caron de Beaumarchais, 12, rue Vieille-du-Temple (Metro: Saint-Paul or Hôtel-de-Ville), ☏ +33 1 42 72 34 12. These are of the expected (small) size for Paris though elegantly appointed in 18th-century style. Equipment includes air conditioning. Tea and coffee at the reception. The courtyard is a two-by-two metre light shaft, so rooms facing it have no view, and are quite dark on the ground and first floors. A simple request to avoid them on booking will suffice. The staff speak English well. Single for €137.
Hôtel de Lutece, 65, rue Saint-Louis-en-l’Ile (Metro: Pont-Marie), ☏ +33 1 43 26 23 52. €158.
Hotel Notre Dame, 19, rue Maître Alberte, ☏ +33 9 77 19 84 17. On a typical and quiet little street, looking out on the Seine and facing Notre Dame Cathedral. Every room is uniquely styled and decorated and equipped with a complete, marble bathroom.
Jardins de Paris Marais-Bastille, 14, rue Neuve-Saint-Pierre (Metro: Bastille), ☏ +33 1 44 59 28 50. Singles for €120, doubles for €135.
Hôtel Central, 5, rue saint Paul (Metro: Hôtel de Ville), ☏ +33 6 71 24 76 98.
Hôtel de la Place des Vosges, 12 rue de Birague (Metro: Bastille or Saint-Paul), ☏ +33 9 77 21 78 62, fax: +33 1 42 72 02 64. The rooms are tiny, as is the staircase, but they are also pristine, some of the rooms have shiny marble bathrooms. The staff also gets high marks for professionalism and for general helpfulness. €101-140.
Hôtel de Nice, 42bis, rue de Rivoli (Metro: Hôtel de Ville). Just two blocks from the Ile de St. Louis, the Hôtel de Nice offers tiny but lovely rooms. Ask for one with a balcony, some of which have a view of Notre Dame. The furniture is hand-painted with a floral theme which continues throughout the room. The area can be a little loud though, so if you want peace and quiet look elsewhere. €60+.
Hôtel Rivoli, 44 rue de Rivoli (Metro: Hôtel de Ville), ☏ +33 1 42 72 08 41. Great location. Can be noisy if you have a room which faces the street. Double for €48.