A Local’s Guide to Le Marais, Paris
Originally written by Jordan in Feb 2020; updated by Natalie in June 2021 and Farah in February 2022
What do you know about Le Marais neighborhood in Paris? Not much? That’s pretty normal because the Marais neighborhood is the place Parisians keep for themselves. This neighborhood is their favorite!
There is the finest architecture; fun, nice and cheap bars, an eccentric and hip crowd, great food and amazing fashion stores. Le Marais neighborhood has a lot to show you. Wanna see and find out more about real the Parisian lifestyle? Let’s take a walk in the Marais neighborhood!
Discover the Charm of Le Marais Neighborhood
In Paris, as in every city, there is a kind of small competition between all the districts within the city. That’s why, as I live in Le Marais, I would like you to have a walk here. A nice walk just for you so you can discover why it is actually the most convivial district to live in Paris.
While walking in Le Marais, you get to mix with a lot of communities. Here, you can find the Jewish community, the Chinese community, and the LBGTQ+ community. Le Marais has been a trendy place for about twenty years now. I remember when I was a young child that many buildings in the Marais were dilapidated. Since then, they’ve all been renovated and the district has lots of beautiful ‘hotel particuliers’ (French for ‘town house’) today.
You’ll notice that the architecture is very different from what we are used to seeing in Paris with the Haussmannian buildings and all. That’s precisely what is enjoyable in le Marais neighborhood: You have the feeling of being in a traditional secret place, a hidden Parisian gem.
How to get to the Marais
The best thing you can do in Le Marais is to stroll down the streets of Le Marais to enjoy the specific atmosphere of the neighborhood! Start from the metro station Hotel de Ville on the metro line 1 and from there you can read the neighbourhood easily. You will be in the nicest part of the Marais this way. The best plan would be meet your friends here or start your day at this metro station. Then, you can explore the streets leisurely, grab some grub to eat in one of the restaurants mentioned below. Don’t forget to take a break in one of the many gardens of the Marais in between exploring!
Alternatively, you can take a taxi from Hotel de Ville for 2 kms to Reu Vielle du Temple, opposite the tranquil garden Jardin des Archives nationales (National Archives Garden). You can also take a bus to Archives-Rambuteau.
Accommodation in Le Marais
There are plenty of options in Le Marais for all budgets. Most hotels have a 5-star to 3-star ratings in this area.
Not far from the city’s oldest square, called Place des Voges, you’ve got the posh 5-star hotel Le Pavillon de la Reine which has a spa, a fitness centre and an elegant hotel bar. Nearby you’ve also got the Cour Des Vosges, a relatively new hotel overlooking the Place des Vosges. This grand hotel is housed in a 17th-century building and is in an amazing location! Alternatively, you can try the 4-star or 3-star hotels, such as the Hotel de JoBo, Les Tournelles and Hôtel Charles V. For cheaper options, such as youth hostels, you’ve got the Auberge de jeunesse Fourcy – MIJE Marais with simple rooms and dorms.
Experience the unique atmosphere of Le Marais
The last thing you need to know before having a walk in the Marais neighborhood is that, on Sundays, because the classic cobblestone streets of Le Marais are closed to cars and opened to pedestrians, it can get very crowded. That’s why, if you want to see what Le Marais looks like when its peaceful, you should definitely try to go during the week. However, I think that if you do this, you will miss my favorite thing about the Marais, which is the fact that it’s dynamic and crowded!
Shopping streets in Le Marais
The first thing to do to see the Marais is to leave the main street rue de Rivoli and head for one of the two the parallel streets, which are rue Francois Miron or Rue du Roi de Sicile. These are some of the city’s most popular shopping streets, and you’ll find a bit of everything here. From fashion for men women and kids to perfume shops, designer boutiques and trendy home wares.
Because le Marais is a very trendy area in Paris, you will also have to go to the rue des Francs Bourgeois. In this street, you can see a lot of hipsters and fashion lovers walking in the streets, looking for the best clothes in the shops. This street is where you can find the very typical Parisian style. The most iconic brands of this style are Sandro, Maje and Comptoir des Cotonniers. The clothes they sell are expensive, but I can assure you that the quality is excellent. A true fashion lover shops in the district of Le Marais!
You can find a map of the journeys that I have recommended for you at the end of this article.
You’ll also see that there are a lot of clothes shops or thrift shops. Actually, there is no specific place that you must see in le Marais, because all the charm of this neighborhood is while walking the streets. You will quickly understand that the best thing in Le Marais is also to go inside the small shops.
Art & Culture in Le Marais
Museums in Le Marais neighborhood
I think that visiting Le Marais should be a restful moment while you stay in Paris. Otherwise, if you absolutely want to go to museums in Le Marais, you can find many beautiful museums such as the house of Victor Hugo, the Musée Carnavalet focused on the History of Paris, or the exhibitions at the Hotel de Ville.
I really love to walk in the Marais because not only are there some great museums, but there’s free art as well. Le Marais is one neighborhood in Paris where you can find some of the best street art. Huge murals are intermixed with smaller pieces, so keep an eye out! Pay attention to the walls in the streets near the Centre Pompidou as you will likely see some street art work on there.
Discover the Jewish part of Le Marais
But after a one-hour slow pace walk in the Marais, you should enter the Jewish district at rue des Rosiers. There, you can find the fallafels, a typical middle eastern food. It’s at the 34 rue des Rosiers that you can find the best fallafels in Paris. The restaurant is called l’As du Fallafel and you can’t miss it because there is always a short line of people waiting to get their fallafels. You will find there the best fallafels ever!
l’as du fallafel – 34 Rue des Rosiers, 75004 Paris
open sunday – thursday 11AM//12AM open fridays 11AM//3PM
metro station: saint paul
Where to relax in Le Marais
Then, when you have walked and shopped for two hours in the Marais, you can find a garden in the district. The most famous one is Place des Vosges: it’s also the oldest square in Paris. This garden is one of the only gardens in Paris where you can sit on the grass. It’s a very typical French garden, everything is tidy and the buildings all around are harmonious. This is the place where all the locals come to relax and sunbathe when it’s sunny!
Best Places to Eat in le Marais
L’As du Fallafel in le Marais
There are many falafel options to choose from in le Marais, particularly on the historic Rue de Rosiers. L’As du Fallafel is an institution to Paris, and part of the soul of le Marais. It became well known after Lenny Kravitz at here a few years ago and loved it so much he went on to personally endorse it.
Objectively, this is the best falafel in the district, and arguably in all of Paris. Don’t be surprised to find a queue outside of the shop day and night. It’s all part of the experience!
OPENING HOURS: MONDAY TO SUNDAY — 12PM TO 11PM
ADDRESS: 32-34 RUE DES ROSIERS, 75004 PARIS, FRANCE
METRO STATION: SAINT-PAUL
Tamarind Thai Restaurant in Le Marais
Le Marais is not known for an abundance of Thai food, but this spot is a hidden gem and a welcome change of pace to the typical cuisines in the area.
On a cold, rainy day in Paris this is where you want to enjoy your dinner. In my opinion Thai food is best enjoyed solely vegetarian. While Tamarind offers a delicious meaty menu as well, their vegetarian one trumps it every time. My favorite thing on the menu is their green curry served with fragrant rice. Go with this or ask the chef to whip you up a special traditional Pad Thai — prepare to have your world spun.
OPENING HOURS: Call for Hours
ADDRESS: 33 RUE FRANÇOIS MIRON
METRO STATION: SAINT-PAUL
Chilam Gastrobar in le Marais
Le Marais hasn’t always had Mexican food options, so the emergence of this popular spot has been a welcome addition to the neighborhood. As far as Mexican food in France goes, this is as wonderfully authentic as it gets.
The tacos are prepared with homemade tortillas using imported masa harina from Mexico. You won’t find a hard shell taco anywhere in Chilam Gastrobar. This spot is traditional through and through. Please keep in mind that if you intend to eat here on a weekend, it’s absolutely necessary to book.
OPENING HOURS: TUESDAY TO SATURDAY — 7PM TO 11PM
ADDRESS: 4 RUE DE BRISSAC, 75004 PARIS, FRANCE
METRO STATION: QUAI DE LA RAPÉE
Keïli in le Marais
If you’re not partial to gluten, then this is where you want to eat whilst in le Marais. They have burgers, sandwiches, tacos and all the lunch foods you usually have to avoid because of the gluten threat. There are also great salads and take-away meals for anyone on the go.
Gluten or not, this is a cafe worth trying. The food is consistently good and always leaves me feeling like the picture of health.
OPENING HOURS: MONDAY TO FRIDAY — 12PM TO 5AM
ADDRESS: 106 RUE AMELOT, 75011 PARIS, FRANCE
METRO STATION: OBERKAMPF
How long does it take to walk the Marais?
According to Google, you have one hour of pure walk to cover the journey I recommended but I know that if you walk slowly and enjoy the neighborhood, or if you enjoy your freedom and go into small streets on your own, you could easily take one and a half hour.
Here are some of the walks I recommend if you want to enjoy the neighborhood while getting to some of the highlights I’ve suggested! Or, if you’d prefer, join me on a free 90 minute guided walking tour of Le Marais, where I can tell you all of the fascinating details of this beautiful neighborhood, and point you to some of the best places to see.
From the metro station to the restaurant l’As des Falafels::
From the As du Falafel to Place des Vosges::
I hope you’ve enjoyed my article about a walk in le Marais neighborhood! And I hope I’ll see you around the Marais! À bientôt! Read more about Discover Walks walking tours here!