How To Spend a Perfect Day in The Marais
Vibrant and bustling, Paris is, in every sense of the word, monumental. Paris is also arguably the most beautiful city in the world. With two World Heritage sites, 141 museums, over 450 parks and gardens and at least 170 places of worship, it comes as no surprise that Paris tops most every traveler’s list.
Truth: The first time I came to Paris, I was overwhelmed. The Eiffel Tower, the Arc de Triomphe, Notre-Dame and the Louvre were all great places to start! But, because each new neighborhood also came with new, exciting discoveries, I left Paris that first time feeling sad that I ran out of time to explore deeper.
Fast forward 20-something years. Countless returns later, I’ve grown to truly love this city. Each neighborhood has some seriously amazing things to do and see — and eat! And, depending on your interests, you will certainly find the one (or three!) arrondissements that speak to your soul. (Aside from Le Maris, I also love Sentier and Montmartre.)
Incredibly, my favorite arrondissement in Paris began its life as a swampy mass of land. (Literally translated, ‘marais’ is the French word for ‘marsh’.) In fact, I love the neighborhood so much that I got an apartment here. Le Marias has A L L the things — cafes, markets, bars, shopping, art, fashion — in one very walkable, extremely gorgeous package.
How To Spend a Perfect Day in The Marais
1. Rise and shine. Start your day in The Marias with a cappuccino at Fringe. Calm and compact with a bit of an Asian vibe, owner Jeff Hargrove has fused his twin passions of coffee and photography to create this charming little cafe. If you’re craving something sweet, pair your coffee with Jeff’s scratch-made cardamom buns. To D I E! 106 Rue de Turenne, 75003.
Feeling like a crepe? Whether you’re craving sweet or savory (or both!), head over to Breizh Cafe. Pricey but worth it. Everything is delicious and made to order. Tip: Try the ‘Complete’: Sunny-side-up or scrambled organic egg, artisanal cheese, fresh spinach and ham. Yum! 109 Rue Vieille du Temple, 75003.
2. Fall in love with Pablo. After grabbing cappuccino, head over to Musee National Picasso & Librairie-Boutique. A pillar of the art world, Picasso needs no introduction. Spend the next hour-ish scoping out his masterpieces and some seriously insane views of the city. 4-5 Rue de Thorigny, 75003.
Take in the masterpieces and some insane city views at the Picasso Museum.
3. Refuel at Enfants-Rouges. Dating back to 1615, Paris’ oldest food market is situated in the heart of Le Marias. The cool, friendly vibe makes it the perfect spot to grab a quick lunch or a late brunch or just pick up some snacks for later. Among the hot meal offerings are an Italian deli, a Lebanese caterer, a Japanese snack bar and, my personal favorite, Burger des Enfants Rouges. (Tell Pierre I sent you.) Tip: The Blue Cheese Burger is my favorite. 39 Rue de Bretagne, 75003.
4. Indulge in some retail therapy. The streets of Marais are jam-packed with some of the most exquisite boutiques I’ve ever seen in my life. Of particular note is La male D’effeenne. Edgy and stunning, this concept store is located at 22 Rue Saint Paul, 75003. Merci is a cool, quirky stop, too. And certainly don’t miss the iconic Le BHV Marais. Tip: After dark, head up to their rooftop bar for cocktails and views. 52 Rue de Rivoli, 75004
5. Go for the fallafel! Even if you’re not starving, head over to the Jewish Quarter. There, you’ll find L’as du Fallafel, which is, in my opinion, the best fallafel in Paris. Tip: Grab a wrapper of fallafel balls and stand outside and people watch. Closed on Saturdays. 34 Rue des Rosiers, 75004.
6. Head over to Hugo’s. Situated in the prestigious Place de Vosges in the heart of The Marais is the private home of the famous French writer Victor Hugo. Hugo was 30 when he moved into the second floor of the mansion with his wife Adele where they resided from 1832 to 1848, during which time he wrote some of his major works, including ‘Les Miserables’. Open 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday. Closed on Mondays. 6 Place des Vosges, 75004.
6 Place des Vosges, 75004.
7. But, first, tea. Brothers Henri and Edouard Mariage founded Mariage Freres Tea Company in Paris in 1854. Purveyors of more than 500 teas from the most prestigious tea estates on earth, Mariage Freres is legend. If you love tea, just go. Tip: Try Marco Polo Blue. During the Christmas season, stock up on Christmas Pudding, Christmas Song and Noel.
8. Supper at AI Bento’s. Affordable, hip, cozy and chopsticks. What’s not to love! Everything on the menu is made to order and delicious, but their sesame chicken bowl is to D I E. Try it with their loose leaf jasmine tea. Open 12:00 to 3:00 p.m. for lunch and 7:00 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. for supper. Closed on Sundays. 71 Rue des Gravilliers, 75003.
9. Cheers to you! The perfect ending to your perfect day in The Marais can be found at Sherry Butt. Tucked away on a little side street behind a discreet facade, this cozy, casual cocktail bar is one of my absolute favorites. Serving some of the best cocktails in Paris, Sherry Butt is comprised of two spacious long rooms filled with all the industrial upcycled vibes: Comfy, overstuffed leather sofas, edgy tables and huge mirrors. The attentive service puts this place over the top for me. The cocktail list is short but oh so very sweet. My go-to is and always will be the Coconut Cardamom Khalassi. Ooh la la! 20 Rue Beautreillis, 75004.
Please keep in mind that there is no wrong way to do The Marais. The possibilities are endless and no two experiences will be alike.
Overall, I encourage you to have an adventurous approach. This collection of sites and bites is but an outline in the hopes of providing you an authentic glimpse into Parisian life in The Marias. I sincerely hope these recommendations will serve as a wonderful inspiration to you during your next trip to Paris. x Sandy