Place des Vosges, Notre Dame, Centre Pompidou
ABOUT THE NEIGHBORHOOD . . .
This district shares many important landmarks with its neighbor, the Third, but it definitely has its own personality and a wealth of architectural riches. A part of the Île de la Cité’s original settlement falls in the Fourth, as does an important segment of the Marais, the historic Jewish district turned upscale neighborhood. If you want to see swank Paris living, visit the historic and elegant Place des Vosges, built by Henri IV between 1605 and 1612. The vast square’s art galleries and restaurants are a tourist attraction, but the red brick and white stone buildings make up the grand apartments where the affluent Parisians reside. The Maison de Victor Hugo on the square is testament to the long tradition of celebrities in residence. The Fourth also hosts the Notre Dame, which just celebrated its 950th anniversary and the Hôtel de Ville, Paris’ city hall, which often hosts fascinating photo exhibits. The Fourth is a focus of art with many trendy galleries spreading out from the Centre Pompidou, a pipe and steel-bar model of late 20th century “brutalist” architecture and has at it’s rooftop restaurant, Georges, one of the best views of all of Paris. The area around the Pompidou is always lively with children chasing giant soap bubbles or playing in the art-filled Stravinsky Fountain young people canoodling in the many cafes and tourists shopping for posters, t-shirts and souvenirs.