A walk in the Marais neighborhood
What do you know about the Marais neighborhood in Paris? Not much? That’s pretty normal, 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. The Marais neighborhood has a lot to show you. Wanna see and find out more about the Parisian lifestyle? Let’s take a walk in the Marais neighborhood!
Walking in the 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 (read more about our free walking tour of le Marais).
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 LBGT 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 Le 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 (learn more about Parisian architecture) is very different from what we are used to seeing in Paris with the Haussmann buildings and all. That’s precisely what is enjoyable in Le Marais: You have the feeling of being in a secret place, a hidden Parisian gem.
The last thing you need to know before having a walk in the Marais neighborhood is that on Sundays because the 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 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 Le Marais, which is the fact that it’s dynamic and crowded.
You have to know that the idea is to stroll down the streets of Le Marais for you to be permeating with the specific atmosphere of Le Marais. The best thing to do is to go from the metro station Hotel de Ville on the 1st line and from there; you will go in the nicest part of Le Marais in one minute of walking. Meeting at around 11 am at this metro station is a good thing because then, you can walk slowly in the streets, eat in a restaurant and rest on the grass on one of the many gardens in Le Marais.
The first thing to do to see Le Marais is to leave the main street rue de Rivoli and head for one of the two the parallel streets (rue Francois Miron or Rue du Roi de Sicile). You can find a map of the journeys that I have recommended for you at the end of the article.
I really love to walk in Le Marais because there is also a lot of street art in the neighborhood. Pay attention to the walls in the streets, as you will likely see some street art work on there. 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 to go inside the small shops.
What to see in the 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.
But after a one-hour slow pace walk in Le Marais, you should enter the Jewish district at rue des Rosiers. There, you can find the falafels, a typical middle eastern food. It’s at the 34 rue des Rosiers that you can find the best falafels in Paris. The restaurant is called “l’As du Falafel” and you can’t miss it because there is always a short line of people waiting to get their falafels. You will find there the best falafels ever!
Because Le Marais is a very trendy place 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 Le Marais!
Then, when you have walked and shopped for 2 hours in Le Marais (Read more about Discover Walks walking tours), 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!
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 1 and a half hours. 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 the Marais neighborhood! And I hope I’ll see you around the Marais!
À bientôt! Read more about Discover Walks walking tours here.