Place des Vosges is one of the oldest square in Paris and is located in one of the most charming quarters of the capital city: Le Marais. All around Place des Vosges, you will discover the finest french architecture Paris has, in addition to this, Marais is the most cherished Parisian neighborhood for this is where the best designers and art galleries of Paris are located. Finally if you walk around you’ll meet the Jewish community, the gay community and the Parisian hipsters, so one advice, go in Le Marais, sit down and simply do people watching, you’ll have the time of your life. Here are things to do near Place des Vosges.
Place du marché Sainte Catherine
This is a lovely and peaceful square that makes you escape from busy Paris. There are many French restaurants with an outdoor terrace in summer, which propose menus for a reasonable price. My favorite is “Le Marché”, where the chef prepares excellent dishes with fresh products every day.
Le Marais is a historical Jewish quarter. This is why you will find lots of restaurants and pastry shops. Let me give you two good addresses:
- L’as du falafel, 34 rue des Rosiers: this shop has a name of circumstance. It means “The expert in falafel”, and this is well and truly the best sandwich that you can have in the quarter. The dish is plentiful, with fresh vegetables and tasty meat.
- Le train de vie, 14 rue des Ecouffes: a delicious Ashkenazi cuisine. The restaurant offers copious dishes and a delicious apple strudel.
Carnavalet museum is actually one my favorite in Paris. It is about the capital city’s history, from prehistory to this day. This is a very instructive and interactive visit, even for children. I would recommend you to visit the rooms which are inspired by Louis XV’s and Louis XVI’s style. Moreover, one of the most famous piece is Le Serment du jeu de Paume from Jacques-Louis David which is an emblematic mark of the French Revolution time.
Unfortunately, this museum is currently closed, but will reopen in January 2014. So if you come in Paris next year, go and visit this museum which depicts Picasso’s life and artwork and also has his personal art collection. By the way after the renovation, five hundred artworks will be presented. His most famous (Guernica, Les Demoiselles d’Avignon…), and which are not the museum’s property will also be on display, and I think it will be interesting to see less known paintings from Picasso.
Second hand clothes shops
Le Marais’ quarter is famous for all the second-hand clothes shops where many Parisian girls (and even boys!) go looking for a good deal. Here are my good addresses:
- Kiloshop, 69 rue de la Verrerie: you pay for your clothes the same way you would pay your potatoes! For each sort of article you have a price per kilo.
- Free’p’n star, 8 rue Sainte Croix de la Bretonnerie: probably one of most famous shops in the quarter. Be careful, during the weekend the place is often crowded, and you have to be patient to find what you want. But the time you spend there will be well deserved!
- Rag & Vertiges, 83 rue Saint Martin: two excellent shops if you are looking for vintage dresses or shoes such as Doc Martens.
This hotel was built in the 17th century and represents the transition between the baroque and the classical periods. Indeed, the façade of the building shows lots of decorations, masks and antique figures. On the contrary, the gardens are typically classical, with straight lines and carefully trimmed hedges. You cannot visit the hotel, but the gardens are a perfect place to have a rest after an exhausting shopping afternoon.
Hotel de Ville
The Hotel de Ville is the central institution of the city and one of the biggest administration buildings in Europe, and if you book in advance you can visit it for free. I really love its facade because it’s one of the only Renaissance buildings in Paris. Besides the architecture and the 600 luxurious rooms and salons in it, there are often exhibitions and other cultural events that are organized.