3rd Arrondissement Paris: Guide to the Haut Marais
Fabulous museums, a diverse food scene, and an old-school Parisian feel. The 3rd arrondissement of Paris has it all, and although it’s not in every guidebook as a must-see, it’s definitely worth a visit. This laid back quarter (also called the Haut Marais, or upper Marais), has an authentically French vibe with a hip, young influence.
Where is the Haut Marais?
Paris’s 3rd arrondissement is located just right of the city center on the Right Bank of the Seine River. It is bound by five main roads: Boulevard du Temple, Boulevard Saint-Martin, Boulevard de Sebastopol, Rue des Francs Bourgeois, and Rue Rambuteau. It is the second smallest arrondissement in Paris.
History of the Haut Marais
“Le Marais” translates to “the marsh” in French, which makes sense because this neighborhood used to be uninhabited marshland before the aristocracy moved here during the medieval period. During the French Revolution, the aristocracy was forced out, and the Marais became the main Jewish community in Paris. This Jewish influence is still visible today, most notably in the Marais food scene. After World War 2, this area became a working-class neighborhood, and later, the main location for the Parisian LGBT community. Today, the Marais is a trendy neighborhood, filled with art galleries, cool shops, and diverse restaurants.
Points of Interest in the 3rd Arrondissement
The 3rd arrondissement is full of amazing attractions, including some of the best museums in Paris! The Haut Marais is quieter and less touristy than other parts of Paris, so it’s a great place to get away from the crowds of the 1st arrondissement.
Square du Temple
This garden, located in the Haut Marais, is a beautiful green space with a Jewish memorial. This is a great place to enjoy a morning croissant and coffee!
Marché des Enfants Rouges
This food market opened during the 1600s, making it one of the oldest covered markets in Paris! This market has lots of international food stalls where you can grab some food to take away. It also has stalls selling standard market foods like produce, meat, and cheese! This is a great place to grab a quick, cheap lunch or supplies for a picnic! The Marche des Enfants Rouges is open Tuesday-Sunday! Check the official website for hours!
Hôtels of the 3rd Arrondissement
If you look at a map of the Haut Marais, you’ll notice lots of landmarks called “Hôtel” [name]. These aren’t hotels where you can stay; they’re actually former aristocratic homes from the days when the French nobility lived in the Marais. As you walk through the 3rd arrondissement, you can admire these beautiful, stately homes.
Le Carreau du Temple
This building once housed a large clothing market, but it was renovated a few years ago. Now, it is a multipurpose space where you can see art exhibitions and other events.
Museums in the Haut Marais
There are so many museums in the 3rd arrondissement! Here are some must-visit museums in the Haut Marais! Remember: every museum closes for a day during the week, so check ahead of time to be sure it will be open when you intend to visit.
Musée National Picasso
The National Picasso Museum is one of my favorite museums in this neighborhood. Built in an old, aristocratic home, this museum houses a large collection of Pablo Picasso’s works. This museum is much smaller than popular museums like the d’Orsay, so you can enjoy the art without so many tourists.
Musée de la Chasse et de la Nature
The Musée de la Chasse et de la Nature (or the Museum of Hunting and Nature in English) is another popular museum in the 3rd arrondissement. The collection includes antique hunting weapons, taxidermied animals, and other nature-related artwork. This collection is housed in a beautiful old home, and it’s one of the most unique museums in Paris!
The Carnavalet Museum is yet another popular 3rd arrondissement site located in an old aristocratic home. This museum, founded in the late 1800s, tells the history of Paris (dating back to the Roman occupation in 52 AD). The collection has paintings, furniture, and other knick-knacks from the major periods of Parisian history, from ancient times to the 20th century.
This museum features art, furniture, and other decorations from the collection of Théodore-Ernest Cognacq and Marie-Louise Jay, his wife. This couple founded a department store in Paris called La Samartaine. This museum is free to visit.
Musée des Archives Nationales
The National Archives Museum features significant documents from the French Government’s archives. The collection includes a document that dates back to the 600s and Marie Antoinette’s last letter.
Musée d’art et d’histoire du Judaïsme
This museum, known in English as the Museum of Art and History of Judaism, is located on the edge of the 3rd arrondissement. Its location in the Marais makes sense, as this neighborhood was the center of Jewish life and culture in Paris for many years. This museum was founded in the late 1900s, and it is housed in a beautiful old mansion. The Museum of Jewish Art and History has artifacts and art from European and African Jewish culture. The Anne Frank garden is located behind the museum.
3rd Arrondissement in One Day: Model Itinerary
Morning: Head to one of the many museums in the Haut Marais after enjoying a coffee and croissant at one of the public gardens, like the Square du Temple. I personally love the Picasso Museum!
Lunch: Grab a quick lunch at the Marché des Enfants Rouges (any day except Monday, when it’s closed).
Afternoon: Stroll around the neighborhood and admire the beautiful, old homes while shopping at the many trendy chains and boutique stores. Visit another museum, like the Museum of Hunting and Nature, for a unique experience.
Guide to the Haut Marais: Visiting the 3rd Arrondissement
Because of its local feel and fewer tourists, the 3rd arrondissement is a great place to stay, especially if you want to avoid the crowds of the nearby 1st arrondissement. The interesting history of the Haut Marais has created a diverse and interesting neighborhood, dotted with historically significant buildings and great museums. You could spend days exploring all the museums in this neighborhood! Even if you don’t stay here, the 3rd arrondissement is certainly worth a stop during your time in Paris!