Also available in: Español
It’s no secret that Le Marais is one of Paris’ most popular neighborhoods. But long before all of the gorgeous museums, trendy boutiques, Instagram-worthy restaurants and cool cafés set up shop in the neighborhood, ‘Le Marais’ in Paris’ history was quite literally ‘the swamp’ of the city. It wasn’t always a chic part of town. Most of the nondescript buildings we see today that are tightly erected against one another are from the Middle Ages. However, we’re also treated to stunning architecture of places like Place des Vosges, LE BHV MARAIS and numerous noble residences called Hôtel Particuliers. Le Marais was the only area excluded from the extensive Haussmann renovation of Paris which is why we have this charming mix of high and low architecture from ancient times.
Its deeply-rooted history along with the city’s colorful LGBTQ+ community from the 90s has made Le Marais into the fun area it is today. This article will take you through a full day of different exciting activities that won’t require you to leave the neighborhood. This is your guide to enjoying Le Marais from day to night!
Spending the morning in Le Marais
Start with a solid breakfast
Kick your day off with a great breakfast at one of the cozy cafés in Le Marais. Café Marlette is tucked inside the stunning LE BHV Marais building. This sun-lit cafe is the perfect spot to grab an artisanal coffee and some avocado toast before hitting the streets of Le Marais. Or, hit up Poilâne boulangerie for some amazing pastries. Poilâne is a household name in France for their amazing rustic baguettes, croissants and pain au chocolat.
Beat the crowds at the museum
The best time to visit any museum in Paris is first thing in the morning. This is when you can take your time to enjoy the exhibitions without the crowds. No crowds also means you can take full advantage of the photo opportunities and snap some nice photos of the museum and its artwork. Musée de Cognac-Jay, Musée de la Chasse et de la Nature and the Archives Nationales are all conveniently located within Le Marais. The Cognac-Jay museum has an amazing collection of Romantic art and is one of the free museums in Paris. Musée de la Chasse et de la Nature features taxidermy animals and hunting artifacts while the Archives Nationales is decidedly the best place in the world to learn about French history.
shop for vintage clothing
Paris is home to some of the best vintage shopping in the world and Le Marais is home to the best vintages stores in Paris. Ergo, the best vintage shopping in the world might just be in Le Marais. Here you can find rare one-off pieces from French designers like Chanel, Yves St Laurent, and Thierry Mugler mixed with gems from lesser known brands and even a few homemade pieces—true treasure finds!
visit Le Marais’ most historic corners
If you want to get the feeling that you’ve stepped back in time, make a visit to Place des Vosges, a great place to people-watch that just happens to be the oldest square in Paris. Place des Vosges is also where you’ll find Maison Victor Hugo. Here you can take a walk through the apartment Hugo rented from 1832 to 1848 and learn all about the writer and his incredible life. There’s also rue des Rosiers, a street which was once at the heart of Paris’ Jewish quarter.
go window shopping
On rue Vieille du Temple and rue de Francs Bourgeois, you’ll find an assortment of shops from high-street fashion boutiques like APC, Eres, and Maje to cool art galleries and concept furniture stores. These streets are flooded with fashion influencers, designers and models during Paris Fashion Week. You can also freely visit a lot of fashion showrooms here during PFW. Here, you’ll also happen upon a ton of charming local restaurants and old buildings brought back to life in the form of cool new shops.
Break for lunch: the best choices in Le Marais
Eat, shop, and learn all about Italian cuisine at the newly-opened Eataly Paris in Le Marais. This dual restaurant and store serves dishes made with the best quality ingredients Italy has to offer. Classic risotto, truffle ravioli, and chicken pesto linguini are all local favorites. A multi-purpose market, Eataly takes you on a delicious tour through the history of Italian food. It’s a great lunch option if you’re planning on shopping at LE BHV MARAIS which is conveniently located right next door.
Le POD, which stands for “Parisian Omnivore District”, is LE BHV MARAIS’ outdoor food market situated in the heart of Le Marais. Crêpes, tacos, and Brazilian street food can all be found at this super cool outdoor market. Located at 14 rue du Temple, Le POD is a lively meeting spot in the heart of Le Marais where you can take an international culinary journey! The market has different food stalls like Onda that serves Brazilian vegetarian fare, Elo that serves delicious gluten-free crêpes, Chilam for tasty Mexican food. If you’re craving for something more exotic, Afrodisiac serves flavors from subsaharan Africa. Le POD is open Monday to Sunday from 11:30 to 6:00pm.
Marché des Enfants Rouges
Marché des Enfants Rouge is a popular eclectic food market that takes its name from the 16th-century orphanage that used to occupy the site. Since opening in 2000, Marché des Enfants Rouge has become one of the best outdoor food markets in Paris. Here, you’ll can sample your way through dozens of Italian, Lebanese, African, and Japanese food stalls. The market also has a covered terrace where you can sit with your snacks and enjoy a drink in an open, convivial setting.
Café La Perle
Café La Perle is a favorite of trendy Parisians. This open air cafe offers amazing coffee and delicious small-fare plates to satisfy every culinary predilection. Grab a seat on the terrace and enjoy a sandwich and a craft beer while you people watch. Located on rue Vieille du Temple in the heart of Le Marais, Café la Perle is the perfect place to watch Paris’ upper set go about their day.
For delectable handmade pasta made with organic flour, make your way over to Pasta Linea. Informal, authentic, family-style Italian eating is yours for the tasting at this charming corner bistro. This tiny, unassuming restaurant boasts some of the best Italian food in Paris. With a full gelato bar and an average meal price of 10€, it’s well worth the visit.
Afternoons at Le Marais
shopping at LE BHV MARAIS
If you’re planning on shopping in Paris, you absolutely must pay a visit to LE BHV MARAIS, known as the Parisian’s favorite department store. This lifestyle department store offers a range of great brands and designers for everything from home decor to the latest fashion. For Parisians, LE BHV MARAIS is also known as the best place in Paris to shop for home DIY tools, modern furniture, unique kitchen supplies, and elegant stationery. LE BHV MARAIS also carries exclusive brands like Anthropologie and Urban Outfitters from the US and a huge selection of independent European brands you won’t find anywhere else in Paris.
LE BHV MARAIS also offers great deals to make your visit even more special. All international clients can avail of a 10% discount regardless of how much you spend upon presenting your passport. But if you spend at least 170€, you’ll qualify for the Sweet Stop and Shop offer:
- get your shopping bags delivered to your accommodation in Paris and the suburbs of Hauts-de-Seine (92), Seine-Saint-Denis (93), and Val-de-Marne (94) for free
- receive a limited edition tote bag
- a free coffee and patisserie from Café Marlette on the 3rd floor of LE BHV MARAIS
How to activate the Sweet Stop and Shop offer?
- Have your LE BHV MARAIS voucher with you which you can only get from our new INSIDR Passport
- Pay for your purchase (there will be an automatic 10% discount for purchases amounting at least 170€)
- Head to the welcome desk on the ground floor and show your receipt
- Finally, get your voucher for your free treats at Café Marlette plus a 15% discount coupon for your next purchase!
Don’t forget that international clients also qualify for a tax refund for purchases over 175€. And from July 12, 2019, you can also get a free gourmet coffee from the new Petit Plisson café after spending 75€. For purchases over 175€, you can join a guided tour of Le Marais for free! To unlock these exciting offers from LE BHV MARAIS, all you need to do is download our new INSIDR Passport!
Grab some sweet treats
For a mid-afternoon pick-me-up, treat yourself to something sweet. At Carette, sample their famous palmier and macarons. You can also cool off with some gelato at Pozzetto or the much-loved Mövenpick Ice Cream. Luckily, both are just a few steps from LE BHV MARAIS and the rest of Le Marais.
Walk to Hôtel de Ville
Once you’re feeling refreshed, make your way to Hôtel de Ville, one of the most stunning examples of neo-renaissance architecture in Paris. The facades of this giant building are covered in 108 statues representing famous Parisians throughout the ages. Hôtel de Ville is also the largest municipal building in Europe. In the courtyard, you’ll find a 19th century carrousel, the perfect place for a photo in front of the hotel.
Find some quiet time
High walls surround Jardin Anne Frank and provide a welcome respite from the bustle of Le Marais. The 2,200 m² community garden dates back to the 17th century and even has its own orchard. Grab a bench and unwind among the young Parisian families who frequent the park daily. It’s the perfect place to catch your breath and give your kids a chance to run around.
catch the sunset
Just before sunset, make your way up to Le Perchoir Marais. Here you can enjoy one of the best views of Paris while enjoying a much needed apéro or a pre-dinner cocktail after a full day of exploring Le Marais. This is also the best place to get an aerial view of the Hotel de Ville which is just across the street. Watch the sunset, snap a photo, and enjoy a cocktail under the stars.
What to do at night in Le Marais
head out to dinner
In true French fashion, after your rooftop apéro comes dinner. Chez Omar is a hidden gem in Le Marais. In this cozy restaurant you can dine on authentic Algerian-Moroccan food in a lively atmosphere. Chez Omar is popular among locals for its great food and affordable prices. Rather than renovate, the restaurant preserved the decor of the traditional French cafe that used to occupy the building. Locals love the couscous and lamb dishes and you’ll find the restaurant packed on any given night.
enjoy some of Paris’ best cocktails
After dinner, head to one of Paris’ best hidden cocktail bars, Candelaria. Candelaria is one of Paris’ first authentic Mexican taqueria that also boasts a world-class cocktail bar. Entering Candelaria, you would think you’d stumbled into any old taco shop. But hidden behind a small door just after the kitchen is an uber-cool cocktail bar. Many refer to Candelaria as one of the best bars in Paris. And surprisingly, their menu is quite affordably-priced.
dance the night away
If you’re one who likes to go dancing, Le Marais also has just the place for you! Andy Wahloo is a fun cocktail bar inspired by the artists and influencers of Studio 58. As the evening progresses, the dance floor fills up and the night takes off in full swing. The bar keeps a rotating cast of DJ’s on hand so there’s always something new and fun to discover at this place!
or watch a film!
Luminor is a small charming theater in Le Marais that often has English films on their roster. Apart from its regular screenings, the theater hosts Lost in Frenchlation every so often. Lost in Frenchlation is an organization dedicated to screening a variety of French films with English subtitles to introduce French art and culture to non-French speakers. At their events, people arrive at the theater about an hour before the film to hang out and chat over a cocktail. Lost in Frenchlation also often gets renowned film directors to attend the event and answer questions from the audience. Make sure to check the events schedule of Lost in Frenchlation online.
or enjoy a romantic nighttime walk
To cap off your amazing day in Le Marais, take a romantic nighttime stroll from the center of Le Marais to the Seine. The walk will take you past Tour Saint-Jacques and Hotel de Ville. Walk along the river or cross Pont Neuf bridge and stroll through the winding streets of the Île de la Cité—two of the most magical and romantic places in Paris. Download our free INSIDR Le Marais map to enjoy strolling through the neighborhood on your own. Have fun!
Also available in: Español