Le Marais is a district in Paris located in the 3rd and 4th arrondissements. If you drew a triangle connecting Republique, Hotel de Ville, and Bastille, you would essentially create an outline for the borders of this neighborhood. There are countless reasons to check out this interesting district, but I’ll outline a few reasons to visit this historic and culturally significant neighborhood on your next trip to Paris!
- The history: Le Marais is a particularly interesting Parisian neighborhood because of its fascinating history. Before the French Revolution, the area was home to aristocratic families, and many of their gorgeous residences have been converted into art museums. Later, this neighborhood become the epicenter of Jewish life and culture in Paris, and today, it is also a hub for the gay community. These changes throughout history have created an architecturally and culturally diverse district that is filled with galleries, boutiques, and amazing food.
- The shopping: Le Marais is home to some of the best shopping in Paris. BHV is a great department store located near the Hotel de Ville that carries well-known brands for a range of price points. In Le Marais, you can also find a great mix of chain stores like Adidas and COS among smaller, local boutiques.
- The museums: Some of the best museums are located in Le Marais. Although they are smaller than the Louvre or d’Orsay, these museums have amazing art and history without the hoards of tourists that you might find at the more popular museums. The Musee National Picasso, Musee Carnavalet, and the Memorial de la Shoah are all remarkable museums that are well worth a visit.
- The food: The Jewish presence in Le Marais made a distinct mark on the food culture of this neighborhood. Falafel is the most popular street food in this area, and the famous L’as du Falafel almost always has a sprawling line of people waiting for its yummy falafels. Breizh Cafe is a very popular creperie located in Le Marais, but if you want to eat here, go early, because there is almost always a wait! If you have time, I highly recommend visiting Le Marais on a Sunday morning so you can visit the Bastille market, which features everything from fish and cheese to household items. Grab a baguette and some brie from local vendors and head to Place des Vosges for a perfectly Parisian picnic.
- The architecture: Many of the gorgeous buildings built by aristocratic families in the 1600s and 1700s still stand today in Le Marais. One of the most famous is Henri IV’s Place Royal, known today as the picturesque Place des Vosges. This is seriously one of the most beautiful spots in Paris, and it is famous for also being home to Victor Hugo.
I hope you visit this unique district the next time you visit Paris! Have you been to the Le Marais before? What did you think?