The Marais is hands down my favorite neighborhood in Paris. I lived there for two years and it’s still where my husband and I try to find an apartment each time we visit. The Marais, meaning marsh in French, includes the 3rd and 4th arrondissement and offers 17th century architecture, the city’s best street food and good shopping. The Marais is also one of the rare places in Paris that is lively on Sunday but know if you go then you will encounter large crowds. I recommend visiting midweek when shops are open, but it’s quieter. Here is a guide to what to see, do and eat in the Marais.

Travelproper tip: The Marais is home to the Jewish Quarter of Paris and because of this many of the restaurants along Rue des Rosiers are closed on Saturday.

 

Sights

Image of Place des Vosges in Paris at dusk
Place des Vosges at dusk.

Place des Vosges

King Henry IV built this symmetric public space in the early 1600s as a place for the aristocracy to live and shop. It incudes a park with manicured trees and fountains surrounded on fours sides by brick buildings with steeply-pitched roofs. The ground floors of the buildings have vaulted arcades lined with restaurants and art galleries. The light is beautiful in the park in the morning and at sunset. If you’re visiting Paris in the spring or summer, pick up provisions for a picnic at nearby Maison Plisson (93 Boulevard Beaumarchais, Paris 75003, +33 1 71 18 19 09)and take it to the park. The grassy areas are open during these seasons.

Image of writer Casey Hatfield-Chiotti and her son Wylie in Place des Vosges
Place des Vosges is one of the best places in Paris for family photos.

You can enter Place des Vosges from all four sides including the corner of Rue des Francs Bourgeois and Rue de Turenne to the east, from Rue du Pas de la Mule and Rue des Tournelles to the west, from Rue de Béarn to the north and from Rue de Birague to the south.

Travelproper tip: Place des Vosges is an excellent place to take photos. I think it’s best to go in the morning. The light is gorgeous and it’s usually quiet. It gets much busier from noon until the early evening.

Image of Hôtel Beauvais in the Marais
The bas relief on the right reportedly depicts Catherine Beauvais.

Hôtel de Beauvais

Due to the popularity of Place des Vosges, the well-heeled began building their mansions or hôtel particulier in the Marias during the 1600s and that continued until Louis XIV built Versailles drawing many of them out of the city. One of the most stunning examples is the Hôtel de Beauvais on rue François Miron. It was built for the chambermaid of Louis XIV’s mother Anne of Austria. Catherine Beauvais reportedly told the young king and queen mother many secrets about the court and they rewarded her handsomely. Now a government building, the interior only open on European Heritage Days, but it is usually possible to walk into the courtyard so you can examine the architecture and stone bas reliefs more closely if you ask the guards nicely and supply an ID card.

68 Rue François Miron

Paris, 75004

+33 01 58 28 90 00

 

Marché Bastille

This massive market near the Bastille takes place every Thursday and Sunday. Must visit vendors include the Chicken Lady for spatchcocked birds flavored with things like honey and ginger, the vegetarian falafel stand for tomato and herb wraps and any of the organic fruit and vegetable purveyors for excellent produce.

8 Boulevard Richard Lenoir

Paris, 75011

+33 01 43 24 74 39

 

Restaurants

 

L’As du Fallafel

When you visit Rue des Rosiers in the Marais you must get a falafel at this legendary spot. Don’t be put off by the carnival like atmosphere, on busy days you pay for a ticket and then wait in line, the food really is good. The vegetarian falafel comes filled with plump falafels, marinated eggplant, hummus, shredded carrot and cucumbers and tahini. L’As du Falafel is closed on Saturday and lines are longest on Sunday.

32-34 Rue des Rosiers

Paris, 75004

+33 01 48 87 63 60

Image of the Israeli restaurant Miznon in the Marais
Outside Miznon.

Miznon

This lively Israeli street food restaurant feels a bit like a party especially in summer when people waiting for to-go orders, or a table, spill out onto the street. It’s very casual. You order at the counter, but the food—a whole head of roasted cauliflower, sweet potatoes blistered in the oven and a delicious boeuf bourguignon pita with carrots and mustard is some of my favorite in Paris.

22 Rue des Ecouffes

Paris, 75004

+33 01 42 74 83 58

 

Shopping

 

American Vintage

American Vintage is my favorite place in Paris for basics like soft t-shirts, tank tops and high waisted shorts. Don’t let the name fool you. American Vintage is a French company and the clothes are made in Portugal. There are locations throughout Paris, including two in the Marais, one of Rue des Francs Bourgeois and one of Rue Vieille du Temple. The Rue Vieille du Temple is the slightly larger of the two.

113 Rue Vieille du Temple

Paris, 75003

+33 01 42 74 80 87

 

Isabel Marant

If you want the cool girl French look just go here. It’s a bit pricey but if you can catch it during the Soldes, the sales that happen in France in winter and early summer, it’s a bargain.

47 Rue de Saintonge

Paris, 75003

+33 01 42 78 19 24

 

Dessert

 

L’Éclair de Genie

Salted caramel, yuzu, and pistachio strawberry are just a few of the éclair flavors you’ll find at this creative patisserie in the Marais. There are L’Éclair de Genie’s throughout Paris, but this is the original.

14 Rue Pavée

Paris, 75004

+33 01 42 77 85 11

 

Hotels

 

Le Pavilion de la Reine

This luxury boutique hotel has a prime position just beyond the covered arcades of Place des Vosges. The discreet location makes it feel like a secret. It has a small sign and a glass door that then leads you to a tranquil private courtyard and the entrance to the hotel. Guestrooms are all unique and some offer wood beam ceilings. Le Pavilion de la Reine has a small spa and is known for having one of the most knowledgeable concierge’s in the city. From $380 a night.

28 Place des Vosges

Paris, 75004

+33 01 40 29 19 19

 

Jules & Jim

Also in the Upper Marais, Hotel Jules and Jim offers a much more contemporary ambience. That’s because, while the frame of the 18thcentury building remains, everything else is new construction. Guestrooms feature wooden bedframes, tile showers and crisp white sheets. There’s a nice surprise within the hotel, a courtyard with a vertical garden and an adjacent bar serving specialty cocktails and Veuve Clicquot Champagne. From $179 a night.

11 Rue des Gravilliers

Paris, 75003

+33 01 44 54 13 13

 

Hôtel de la Place des Vosges

This lovely locally owned hotel is just a stone’s throw from Place des Vosges. Rooms are small, but tidy with modern furnishings. They also serve a nice breakfast. From $130 a night.

12 Rue de Birague

Paris, 75004

+33 01 42 72 02 64

 

Bars

 

Au Petit Fer à Cheval

The pretty bistro tables outside this picturesque wine bar on rue Vieille de Temple are nearly always occupied. Inside you’ll find a pretty horse-shoe shaped bar and a small dining room in back. Go for a coffee or for a glass of wine like a mineral Sancerre. The owners also own the wine shop across the street.

30 Rue Vieille du Temple

Paris, 75004

+33 01 42 72 47 47

For a walking tour of the Marais that explains much of the neighborhood’s history go here. And for my full Paris guide go here for restaurants, sights and shopping and here for hotels, events and day trips.

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