Hôtel de Sully

Le Marais, Ménilmontant & Belleville

In the southwestern corner of place des Vosges, duck beneath the arch to find two beautifully decorated, late-Renaissance courtyards festooned with allegorical reliefs of the seasons and the elements. It's the back entrance to the aristocratic mansion Hôtel de Sully, built between 1624 and 1630. Since 1967 it has housed the headquarters of the Centre des Monuments Nationaux, responsible for many of France's historical monuments, and is normally closed to the public, but check the website for occasional guided tours.

In the northern courtyard look to the southern side for spring (flowers and a bird in hand) and summer (wheat sheaves); in the southern courtyard turn to the northern side for autumn (grapes) and winter, with a symbol representing both the end of the year and the end of life. In the second courtyard are symbols for the elements: on the western side 'air' on the left and 'fire' on the right, and on the eastern side 'earth' on the left and 'water' on the right.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Le Marais, Ménilmontant & Belleville attractions

1. Building Where Jim Morrison Died

0.07 MILES

Devout fans of rock star Jim Morrison can admire the elegant Hausmannian building at 17 rue Beautreillis, where the singer lived in an apartment on the…

2. Place du Marché Ste-Catherine

0.09 MILES

Clad with benches and shaded by trees, this pretty pedestrian square is framed on three sides by atmospheric cafe pavement terraces that are perfect for…

3. Maison de Victor Hugo


Between 1832 and 1848 the celebrated novelist and poet Victor Hugo lived in an apartment in Hôtel de Rohan-Guéménée, a townhouse overlooking one of Paris'…

4. Place des Vosges

0.11 MILES

Inaugurated in 1612 as place Royale and thus Paris' oldest square, place des Vosges is a strikingly elegant ensemble of 36 symmetrical houses with ground…

5. Musée de la Magie

0.15 MILES

The ancient arts of magic, optical illusion and sleight of hand are explored in this museum, in the 16th-century caves (cellars) of the Marquis de Sade’s…

6. Musée Carnavalet

0.19 MILES

Paris' history museum, spanning Gallo-Roman times onwards, rambles over a pair of remarkable hôtels particuliers (private mansions), the 1560-built Hôtel…

7. Art Nouveau Synagogue


At the heart of the Jewish quarter of Pletzl lies this art nouveau synagogue, designed in 1913 by Hector Guimard, who was also responsible for the city's…

8. Maison Européenne de la Photographie

0.23 MILES

The European House of Photography, housed in the overly renovated Hôtel Hénault de Cantobre (dating – believe it or not – from the early 18th century),…