Paris Neighborhood Guide: Le Marais

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Paris Neighborhood Guide:

Le Marais

Although each district of Paris exudes a different feel, Le Marais is one that really stands out from them all. Often referred to as “Old Paris,” Le Marais has an old-world charm to it and is, in fact, the oldest neighborhood in Paris, dating back to the 12th century. It is the closest you will get to the feel of medieval Paris with many buildings built before the revolution.

I was told that Sunday is the Marais day. The day the roads are blocked off from cars and thousands of people roam the cobblestone alleys, and luckily enough, it worked out that we were visiting on a Sunday. If I can tell you anything, it would be to try and visit on a Sunday too! It really comes alive, particularly in the summer. It felt as though the whole of Paris was there!

Le Marais is where you’ll find the Jewish quarter of Paris, once the largest of Europe, and the LGBTQ community. You could easily spend your whole afternoon strolling the streets, browsing vintage stores, indulging in crepes, people watching and eating fallafel. All you have to do is walk through to see why it’s the most celebrated area of Paris.

It is a very Parisian and village-like neighborhood. There are hundreds of places to eat, drink and shop, so I’ve put together this guide to help you find your way, should you ever find yourself in this charming district.

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What to See & Do

The best way to really experience the Marais neighborhood is to get lost in it! It is essentially a labyrinth of small crooked medieval lanes with bars, restaurants, hotels, fashion boutiques, old fashioned bakeries, art galleries and museums all crammed into one small area. That being said, if you would like some direction and things to tick off your list, here’s a few places to see that I would recommend.

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Place des Vosges

The Place des Vosges is the oldest square in Paris, dating back to around 1605, and possibly the most beautiful in the city. Some will say it is the crown jewel of the district that is not lacking in attractions. It would be a shame to visit Le Marais and not see this much adored square!

Picasso Museum

Located inside the 17th-century Hôtel Salé, an exquisite private mansion, showcases an impressive art museum devoted to Spanish artist, Pablo Picasso. It’s an extrodinary collection with more than 5000 works and was recently redeveloped.

National Archives

A little bit of a hidden gem in the Marais is the Musée des Archives Nationales, otherwise known as the National Archives. It’s a relaxing courtyard where you may sit, read a book or just escape some of the crowds for a while!

Rue des Rosiers

The Rue des Rosiers is a street in the Marais that was once the largest Jewish community in Europe. Today the street is packed with delis, bakeries, old hamams, and East European Jewish restaurants. It’s definitely a street you shouldn’t miss walking through but just take note to avoid Saturdays as it’s the Jews worship day, therefore the street becomes a little too quiet.

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Eat & Drink

L’As Du Fallafel

Although you will find many places serving falafel in the Marais, L’As Du Fallafel is the place in Paris. You’ll spot a queue lining up outside it’s infamous green facade just about any time of the week, but I promise it’s worth the wait. I didn’t even know I loved fallafel as much as I did until I tried it from here… beyond words, really. It would be a sin to visit the Marais and not try one!

Carette

When most people think of Carette, they think of their macarons, often dubbed the best in the city. What most people don’t know is that it’s actually one of the best places for brunch too! Soft and flaky croissants (my personal favourite), fluffy eggs, homemade sandwiches and other delicious pastries. And of course don’t forget to grab a macaron on your way out!

Amorino

I was so excited to finally find Amorino, a gelateria that serves gelato in cones with beautiful flower creations, as I’d seen them previously all over instagram! So basic, I know, but can you really blame me. There’s endless options of flavours and they’re the perfect thing on a warm and sunny day strolling the streets of the Marais!

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Breizh Cafe

There are too many crêperies to even count in Paris, but Breizh Cafe is very well known for making some of the best in the city, and certainly the best in the neighborhood. Be prepared to queue, especially on a Sunday, but I assure you it is worth the wait. Whichever you decide on, savory or sweet (or both, in my case), you can’t really go wrong. Their crepes are exceptional with flavours ranging from traditional to unconventional, so there’s something for everyone.

Le Mary Céleste

A hotspot in the Marais known for it’s fashionable, well-mixed cocktails and oysters. Although quite pricey, everything is absolutely phenomenal – from the food, to the drinks and service. Just note you must reserve to eat as this place gets incredibly popular.

 

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Where to Stay

Hôtel Bourg Tibourg

As a favourite of VOGUE Paris, and of course myself, I couldn’t possibly write a guide to the Marais and not include Hôtel Bourg Tibourg. Often compared to stepping into an Audrey Hepburn movie,  the aim of this hotel is to take you back in time, to the old Paris, which is quite fitting given the district. It’s not grand in size, with rooms a smaller size than average, but it exudes a feel of sophistication and romance. An almost invisible gem in the heart of the Marais.

Hôtel de JoBo

Rose Tascher de la Pagerie, nicknamed Josephine by Napoleon Bonaparte and known as JoBo to her closest friends, inspired this eternally contemporary Parisian venue. She was scandalous, with a boundless curiosity and unconditional love for beauty. Stepping into Hotel JoBo is made to feel like stepping into her dreamworld. It is a boutique hotel with 24 rooms spread over four floors, arranged around a flamboyant courtyard. The hotel occupies a 17th-century convent, taking the decor and style codes of the Napoleonic period, as well as JoBo’s love of roses. It also has a fabulous cocktail bar and tea room, all in a cosy and funky atmosphere.

Hôtel Villa Mazarin

This hotel will be closed from end of July 2016 for a year to undergo renovations. It will be open for next Summer so I thought I’d still include it here as a viable option. It is one of my favourites and it’s reopening is said to make it one of the best hotels in the district. The bedrooms are huge, which is a luxury in a place like Europe, let alone Paris. Upgraded rooms have sitting areas, while suites have separate living rooms with some on a mezzanine level. Although there is no real theme, the decor is traditional and very Parisian. An exceptional find in the centre of Paris.

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Shop the post

Exact pieces have been sold out, but I’ve linked similar items!

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Have you ever visited Le Marais in Paris? If you have any tips or recommendations, I would love to know! Otherwise, is it somewhere that appeals to you or you’d consider visiting?
  • Ashley Christabelle

    Lovely, lovely guide! This is making me miss Paris so much. <3

    http://www.ashrealasitgets.blogspot.com

    • Thank you!! You and me both xx

  • You have been to some beautiful places recently! Me and my friend really want to visit Paris soon and I think this will have to go onto the list of places to see, looks amazing and beautiful photography :) also gorgeous trench coat, I have been lusting over the Burberry trench coats for so so long!

    elwillmer.blogspot.co.uk
    xx

    • Paris is certainly a favourite :) thanks so much!! xx

  • Wow this district in Paris looks gorgeous! Look at all the Parisian buildings! Who knew a flafel place could be so popular look at that queue! But to be fair it looks super delicious so i don’t blame everyone!
    http://www.pagesfrombeth.blogspot.co.uk

    • It is stunning! Falafel is SO popular in Paris, especially in the Marais. It’s so delicious! xx

  • le marais is my favorite place in paris!! definitely love this guide and i would suggest the photography museum which is still in the area! worth seeing!(:

    xx from Brighton
    Cate ღ kate/idoscope

    • Yay!! Thanks so much Kate :) I must check it out next time xx

    • Thank you Millie! :) xx

  • Lovely post! I love the Marais, it’s one of my favorites in Paris!

    • So beautiful isn’t it?! Thankyou Darina! xx

  • I have never been to Paris but it has been the top of my list for some time, and you have just reinforced why! Look lovely also!

    http://www.whynotblog.co.uk

    • I hope you get to visit some time soon! Thanks sooo much Megan! xx

  • Such amazing photos! I’ve never been to Paris, so its really nice to be able to see it through your post.
    Ps: love the trench :-)

    • I hope I was able to capture it well :) Thank you SO much!! xx

  • I love Le Marais. Every time we go to Paris, we have to wander its streets.