Le Marais is one of those areas in Paris that you will just never be able to get enough of. I love it because of its complicated and juxtaposing history where it started out as a marshland that was then built up to house the aristocracy around Place des Vosges and then it morphed into the Jewish neighborhood in Paris and then, all of a sudden in the 1970s it was the center of homosexuality.
Today, as I walk down the old cobblestone streets, all of these contrasting histories pop out at me with the old synagogue on Rue Pavée and the rainbow flags on Rue de la Saint Croix de la Brettonerie, the elegant and royal architecture of Place des Vosges and now all of the trendy boutiques and restaurants that make Le Marais what it is today.
The area is packed to the gills with exciting doors to pop into, however, below I am sharing a selection of my personal Marais favorites:
Starting with the delicious delicacies of the quartier: I could simply spend all day eating my way though Le Marais. There are tons of great lunch spots including the quick eats in the northern Marais like bento boxes at Nanashi 2 (57 rue Charlot), tartes salees at Tartes Kluger (6 rue du Forez), Argentinean empanadas at Clasico Argentino (56 rue de Saintonge), and you can’t forget the delicious stands in the Marche des Enfants Rouge (39 Rue de Bretagne), an entire covered market filled with a wide variety of lunch choices to enjoy on the outdoor picnic tables.
One can’t wander through the tiny cobblestone streets of the marais without doing a little shopping. This area is perfect for some vintage shopping with shops like Odetta Vintage (76 rue des Tournelles), a well-curated and carefully presented collection of top name labels for women’s cutting-edge fashion, 25 Janvier (97 rue Vieille du Temple), an elegant boutique selling designer Yukiko’s hand-picked collection of vintage accessories as well as her own ready-to-wear line, and, of course, Vintage Desir (32 rue des Rosiers) where you can shuffle through racks of dirt-cheap vintage clothing and accessories; the perfect location for costume party shopping! Another recently discovered top vintage location of mine is Photographie Vintage (35-37 rue Charlot) where you can flip through thousands of vintage photographs and find some real gems.
Le Marais is filled with specialty shops like Moustaches (31 rue des Archives), which is the place to go for all of your high-end pet supplies if you have a dog or a cat in Paris, or Bonjour (7 rue Froissart), a tiny new shop selling to-go food items as well as a great collection of hand-picked kitchen supplies. My favorite tea shop in all of Paris is Le Palais des Thés (64 rue Vieille du Temple) where you can smell and buy teas from all over the world. It is impossible to go to Le Marais without spending some time wandering through my favorite concept store, Merci (111 blvd du Beaumarchais); my go-to spot for gifts or to have a café crème in their Used Book Café.
You should also take the time to walk down Rue des Francs-Bourgeois where you will find all of the mainstream stores as well as some French staples like Fragonard (51 rue des Francs-Bourgeoiis), where you can find delicious perfumes and bathroom accessories, and Autour du Monde (8 rue des Francs-Bourgeois), fashion designer Serge Bensimon’s home furnishings concept store that also sells his entire line. There is a second, more clothing-centered, boutique a few doors up at number 12. Just off Francs-Bourgeois on Rue Pavée you will find Mona Lisait (17 Rue Pavée), a fabulous French book store located in a covered passage and courtyard of a building.
Grab an afternoon pick-me-up at one of my all time favorite places, Le Loire dans La Theiere (3 Rue des Rosiers) where you can get a pot of tea and the most amazing lemon meringue tarte you have ever seen while relaxing on one of the old leather sofas. If you are looking for more of a quick sweet-fix, stop by Sacha Finkelsztajn (27 rue des Rosiers) for a homemade sweet kosher treat (or even one of their amazing sandwiches), or pick up some of Paris’ best gelato at Pozzetto (39 rue de roi de Sicile). If you are really going for the gold, however, the made-to-order mille-feuille at Jacques Genin (133 Rue de Turenne) is the place to go.
For a nice evening meal, dress up and reserve a table under the atrium dome at the classic Le Dome du Marais (53 bis Rue des Francs-Bourgeois) or explore the many rooms, delicious cocktails and secret surprises of Derriere (69 Rue des Gravilliers) on the edge of the 3rd arrondissement. Finish off your night with my favorite northern Marais cocktail spot, Candelaria (52 rue de Saintonge) where you can grab a delicious taco from the taco joint in the front of the bar on the way out.
Do you have any favorites in Le Marais that you think we should add? Share below: