#HilaryRowland

A Guide to Le Marais, Paris

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Hey, I want to tell you a secret about Paris. But before I do, just know this secret involves real life magic. And castles. And gargoyles. It involves gothic charm, haunted mansions, and seductive art. It’s a secret that dates back thousands of years. Before Chanel. Before the Eiffel Tower. And before the beautifully dark Mona Lisa. It’s a secret that hypnotized Napoleon. Hypnotized Leonardo Davinci. And hypnotized me. But the question is: do you want to be hypnotized by this secret? Are you ready to allow it to tug at your heart and whisper into your ear, as it has so many others? Then keep reading.

A Guide to Le Marais, Paris

As I arrived in Paris recently on a desperately needed she-cation, this secret kept teasing me, kept haunting me, “Hilary, you’ve been to Paris before, but why haven’t you come to see me? I’ve been waiting a very long time.”

“I know, I know,” I kept insisting, feeling guilty and giddy with anticipation as I peered out the window of my Uber on the way to my posh designer hotel.

A Guide to Le Marais, Paris

The exterior of my ultra-charming boutique hotel

Though I was full of anxious suspense, when I saw my boutique hotel for the first time I could no longer focus just on the secret that brought me there; all I could see was jaw-dropping beauty everywhere. Butterflies suddenly rushed into my stomach. The peach fuzz hair on the back of my neck immediately stood at attention. This is why they call Paris the “City of Lights,” I thought. It was no longer just a literal city of lights; this place became a symbol for expressing the highest form of beauty: namely, that light is love, and that love is any kind of beauty created from your heart. When I got to my hotel, I stepped out of reality and into a place created from somebody’s heart. And I fell love.

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A writer, artist and designer since she was young enough to put pencil to paper, Hilary spends most of her time in France, but still considers herself a New Yorker, and visits regularly. Hilary spent the past decade living in NYC and has traveled extensively around the world, looking for hot new topics, destinations, and brands to bring to Urbanette readers.

66 Comments

  1. Emily Foulkes

    Just stayed for a week – bustling, without too many tourists. Great area for walking, cafes, and the like. Interesting museums in the Marais or nearby. Definitely will stay in the area next time.

  2. Daisy Clarke

    I love this hip little area. We stayed in an old art gallery that had been converted to an apartment. There are tons of restaurants around and Centre Pompidou is right there. Lots of little clothing stores.

  3. Frances Seifert

    We stayed in a flat in Le Marais on vacation recently. I’ve been to Paris many times and never spent much time in this area. It’s a great location for a base of operations. Away from the noise and the crowds, a neighborhood full of locals.

  4. Ayla Pennington

    Hard to believe you have so much to discover in Paris ! Alone in the Marais, you should see the ‘Place des Vosges’ buily by Henri IV and one of the 8 museums to be found there, as well as fabulous fountains and old 17th century buildings and fabulous roofs and carpentry works with high ceilings…

  5. Deborah Henry

    Love it there! If you can’t afford the big names and want to see originality, Le Marais offers a variety of boutiques and stores at a fair value. There are a lot of discounters selling the flavor of yesterday, but dig deeper and find something a little different.

  6. Catherine White

    Let’s be honest – all of Paris, Haussmann re-designing or no, is atmospheric and full of romance. But the Marais, even as it becomes more upscale as it gentrifies, retains an old-fashioned Bohemian quality. Wandering the streets, stopping at a cafe, drinking it all in, that’s where it’s at.

  7. Leah Helms

    Le Marais helps you adjust your pace and regain a certain calm. It is a meeting with times gone by and it invites you to a tourism, which makes you see, really see and not only though the lens of the camera. 🙂

  8. Melissa Princeton

    We went to le Marais to see some of Paris as it was before the big changes under Napoleon III. Hidden gardens were great but so little else is left and the street is still wide. You get a better idea of it from Avignon or old Lyon, I think.

  9. Kimberly Thompson

    Le Marais is a must see neighborhood. It has alot of great shops . Close to notredame. There is a very nice department store mall there called BVS. I like it there. 🙂

  10. Sabrina Wellington

    It’s supposed to be a hip neighborhood of Paris. What a disappointment. The prices were very steep and the clothes were not that special. There are no cute streets there either. Not sure what the hype is about. Hubby did find a nice shoe store and bought two pairs of shoes so not a complete waste.

  11. Olivia Peterson

    What a great neighborhood to spend a morning or afternoon browsing! Le Marais is laden with shops lining from quaint to retro to antique which all contain art work, clothing, jewelry and more. Many cafes and restaurants line the streets and my daughter and I found ourselves sitting at a café for a lengthy period time sipping drinks and taking in the entire ‘vibe’ of this great Parisian neighborhood. It’s definitely worth a visit during your stay in Paris!

  12. Matilda Parker

    We stayed here for 5 days and loved visiting the different restaurants and shops. We sought out, off the beat places where only “locals” were eating – which was great.

  13. Lauren Gilson

    this section of town stole our hearts with its friendly residents who were more than willing to help. drinks every night here and some into the wee hours. 🙂

  14. Roberta Bennett

    We rented an apartment from some Paris Rentals. It was perfect. We traveled around the different neighborhoods and decided that Le Marais is with out a doubt the most fun

  15. Shelley Donalds

    I’ve been visiting Paris for years, and Le Marais is still my favorite quarter in Paris. It is vibrant, alive, buzzy and busy, trendy and artistic. Plenty of friendly bistrots and bars, shops selling design and kitsch.

  16. Carolyn Robertson

    Great to amble along the streets and fantastic for affordable shopping. All main shops there but lots of unique ones and some great independent bars and bistros.

  17. We LOVE this part of paris and all want to move here. This is what you belive Paris will be like from TV and Movies. Its so charming with small bistros and shops everywhere. We stayed in the area and can truly recommend this when travelling as a family.

  18. Brenda Nelson

    Nice area of Paris never visited before. Lots of shops and cosy little streets. Nice cafés as well. Not really a touristic place just a little walk from river Seine

  19. Christina Cavanaugh

    Hmmm I’d say with everything there is to do in Paris, this area should be skipped. Maximize your time by spending it elsewhere. Boring and more of the same architecture and activities you find all over Paris. Other areas are much more fun.

  20. Charleen Washington

    This is my favourite area in Paris. You can spend hours by just strolling the streets. This area has some quite good, inexpensive restaurants that have a bit more adventurous menus than restaurants in some other typical tourist areas. There are also some good museums, such as Musee de Picasso and Museum of Paris. There are still many Jewish restaurants and coffee shops in Rue de la Rosiere. Marais is also an area where many of the most popular gay bars in Paris are located.

  21. Kaitlyn Barrett

    The Marais has always been a very pleasant quarter to just stroll through: specialty shops, nice restaurants and some high quality museums. The Musee Picasso has reopened and is definitely worth a visit.

  22. Emma Blackwood

    The only in place in central Paris where Parisians are more relaxed and even (some of the careless ones) friendly! Very good cafes and restaurants, too.

  23. Irene Morales

    Despite the constant rain when I was there, I absolutely loved the Marais, and it’s the part of the city that I think back on most fondly and often. There are of course wonderful historic and cultural sites like the Place des Vosges and the Musee Carnavalet among many others, but I found it rewarding just to wander aimlessly through the streets. Next time I go to Paris, I’ll stay in this area!

  24. Evelyn Sandler

    Full of lovely buildings, character and atmosphere. Lots of cheaper cafes and shops too. We stayed in an apartment here and found it friendly. We walked the length of Paris, to the Arc de Triomphe from here nearly entirely on one road 🙂

  25. Colleen Frasier

    This is a nice area, maybe it has gotten more ‘ touristic’ than it used to be but it is still nice, you can find restaurants and cafes that are inexpensive compared to other parts of the city and the area is kind of cozy, you can walk for a while and just enjoy the streets and the views and you can also visit the Picasso museum while in here.

  26. Danielle Wilson

    A great area of Paris for shopping and wandering with lots of wonderful shops and cafes! Great area to she at night as there are a lot of outdoor performers to enjoy!! I also highly recommend this area of Paris!

  27. Emily Wentz

    Ohhhh this is indeed a great spot to walk around, visit hipster fashion shops and eat at delicious quaint cafes. 🙂

  28. Franny Pimms

    This is all so true! Love this guide! – It’s one of the livelier street scenes in Paris, especially on a Sunday. Crowds of tourists line up for one falafel shop after another. Baked goods, luxury stores, cafés all bustling with people enjoying life.

  29. Splendid piece. I love this neighbourhood. Dynamic, charming, full of hidden places, nice cafes. I agree with you that Le Marais is the best neighbourhood to stay if you like to discover new places.

  30. Debbie Jones

    One of my favorite neighborhoods (arrondissments) in Paris; exotic foods, fascinating history, a Jewish quartier of the city. Love the food, small hotels and great restaurants. Le Marais, Rive Droite of the city, is within a walking distance of Louvre, Commedie Francaise, Musee Victor Hugo and much more. If you like to shop, le Marais is just a moment away Rue Rivoli and its large stores and shopping centers. Mostly staying within le Marais is to experience history, intimacy and much more.

  31. Julia MacLean

    This is the neighbourhood to stay in Paris. Lot’s of ambiance, character, restauants, bars, shops. Very lively, but you always feel comfortable. 🙂

  32. Leslie Williams

    Amazing post!!!! – Lovely surrounding, the lovely part of Paris I think. From Place de Vosges with that le carre houses&park to Pompidou Centre you”ll find medieval houses and palaces,fine IXI and XX century buildings, museums, shops, coffee”s and restaurants.You will find everything here: Hammam, Yddish and oriental food, jewelery, really french food, art gallery….. and more. Le Marais is romantic and so french.

  33. Helena Stevens

    Truly my favourite place in Paris. Perfect to stroll around, pop into cute ice cream shops and “hipster” coffee shops… lol… Lots of trendy retail shops too! 🙂

  34. Lana Urie

    Love your tips! I agree Le Marais is a must visit when in Paris. This area is so great, with so many shops and the best falafel place there, too! This was my go-to place on a Sunday, since everything was open and it was so lively.

  35. Jae Medina

    This is such a great piece! I have always wondered about Le Marais. It’s good to know it’s recommended! I will keep this guide handy when I go to Paris!

  36. Winona Miller

    Great piece! I adore Paris. How I wish I was going to france this year. Have you ever been to Moliet et Maa or Hossegor in France? It’s amazing there and the best place for surfing. 🙂

  37. Couldn’t agree more with you, as someone who travels to Paris often because of work. The most artistic place to stay in Paris, isn’t it?!

  38. Fantastic guide about one of the best places in Paris with small and cute restaurants, beautiful by lanes. Nice to walk around and experience the local atmosphere. Thanks for bringing back some good memories, Hilary. Keep up the great work. 🙂

  39. Never been there, but would love to go. Really in love with the beautiful, historic streets as far I as see from the pictures. It must feel like visiting Paris in the 1900’s. And for literary geeks like me, seeing where Victor Hugo lived and found inspiration would be such a delightful expirement. I really need to go!

  40. Splendid place, isn’t it? People are really welcoming and friendly. The neighborhood is really clean and well maitained. Feel secure and would go again with my little baby girl.

  41. Lovely. 😊 I’m going to Paris on Monday, this article was well timed! Thanks Hilary.

  42. I love your travel posts. You always inspire me to be a little more adventurous everyday 🙂  I hope that someday I will get to travel as much as you do.

  43. I love this article! For those who are looking for looking for gay or gay friendly bars clubs restaurants then this is the place to be! Situated north of rue rivoli sandwiched between Bastille and Pompidou centre. 😉

  44. Wow! This brings tons of memories while I was on vacation in Paris and stayed in Le Marais area near Hotel D’ville.. Walkable distance to Notre Dame and the River Seine… Cool neighbourhood!

  45. Definitely agree with you!! One of the best places in Paris with small and cute restaurants, beautiful by lanes. Nice to walk around and experience the local atmosphere.

  46. Thanks for the awesome guide. I have a question: Arriving on Sunday, September 4th and rented an apartment on Bourg Tibourg in the Marais area. Will there be any grocery stores open on Sunday? We will need to pick up a few essentials for the apartment.

  47. Great piece, Hilary! We stayed a week there in this neighborhood. It’s a very nice and quaint neighborhood with a lot of shops and eateries. Palace de Voges is here which is very beautiful to see. 😊

  48. Lydie I. Merrell

    I never liked the idea of hypnotism, but this kind made me want more.

  49. Lulia Jan

    Amazing post Hilary! This list is exactly what I have been looking for my upcoming Paris vacation :).

  50. Ketty Ben

    Amazing article!! Visiting any major city can be a daunting task. Often you don’t really know much about the culture you’re dropping into, making it difficult to get around. Not knowing the language makes simply getting a coffee seem like a challenge, and asking locals for directions becomes downright frightening. Luckily most

  51. Chiara Hill

    I adore Paris. A walking tour in Paris is not mandatory to see how beautiful the city is, however if you want to make sure you’re not going to miss anything really important, that might be a good option. If you’re not coming to Paris every other year, you will regret it for sure! Check out the restaurant in the Opera — looks like you’re inside a spaceship. Very cool!

  52. Elia Scott

    Paris is not a huge city but there is quite a lot of amazing things to see there. Seeing all of those landmarks and museum can take a lifetime of course, for those who surprisingly doesn’t have that much time to spend in city, this article will help. I would Love to come this place.

  53. Jess Judd

    I think that you are incredible and I would love to come and give you a huge hug right now. Paris is a wonderful city with so much to do and see. Every building, statue has a story and meaning behind it. It was hard to fit everything into one week. Thank you for this great post and everything else. 🙂

  54. Doris Tate

    Hilary, I love this. Paris is always well worth a visit. With so many different things to do, Paris can be a great destination for a family. Thanks for the tips to help us make the most of it. Many many thanks for sharing!

  55. Fantastic! You just uncovered one of the many faces of Paris! I can think of Le Marais as one of the intimate districts, totally opposite the majestic Paris with wide avenues and grandiose shops. But you got me, I keep thinking what’s the secret you discovered?!

  56. A good friend of mine told me about Le Marais, Paris. She said that it is a cultural and historical district, now you’ve proven her claim because you also mentioned about museums. From your photos, it definitely looks like an elegant neighborhood.

  57. Thanks for sharing your secret… Now, I’m lost… at a lost for words, LOL!

    Seriously, I’m so impressed with your travel guide! I love the details and the photos. You gave me a feeling of discontentment. No, it’s not negative. But I’m discontented of just reading. I’d like to personally experience and see Le Marais.

  58. When I travel, I make sure to take a walk in the neighborhood and check out street art. I might sound biased but if I’m to give an award for best street art, I’d award it to NYC. Anyway, you’ve mentioned about streets with art galleries and museums, you made me wonder, are there street art in Le Marais?

  59. I won’t be ashamed to admit that I haven’t heard of Le Marais. I feel like it’s not the ordinary tourist destination in Paris. Thanks for exploring and writing about the unknown, this is a new discovery for me!

    Among the things you shared, I’m particularly intrigued by Luka Luna. I think it’s one of the places I’ll first visit when I have the chance (and financial means) to travel to Le Marais, Paris.

    • Like you, I’m thinking that Le Marais is not the usual Paris destination. I don’t know much about it too. It’s funny because I’m currently learning French language and yet here I am feeling odd about a place in Paris.

      Well, I think this place gives the feeling of being in a SECRET PLACE. But I wonder, does Le Marais have amazing fashion stores as well?

      • Pretty much everywhere in Paris has great fashion stores — especially the wealthier areas like Le Marais. 🙂

  60. Sarah Ubitel

    Wow, I’m totally hooked. I wanna jump on the next plane, like… now! Will have to wait until the fall though : (

  61. Great article! You perfectly described Le Marais that I felt like I personally visited. I’m amazed with the architecture! How I wish you’ve posted more photos.

  62. YES! Whenever I can, I treat myself to places that will make me feel special and beautiful! Fantastic travel guide, Hilary! You made me want to visit Le Marais! I’ve been to Paris a couple of times but haven’t visited this place.

  63. WOW! What can I say but you’re such a lucky woman! I agree that every modern woman “should| stay in a place made for a queen at least once in her life and that’s one of my goals. Yeah, for now, it’s just a goal. I still need to work and save to achieve it. I googled the hotel you mentioned in this article and… mmm… can’t afford yet!

    Great photos, thanks for sharing!

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