A Guide to Le Marais, Paris

Travel with me to the 4th in Paris, and discover its many secrets…


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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Avatar of Hilary Rowland

A writer, artist, and designer since she was young enough to put pencil to paper, Hilary taught herself code and created Urbanette when she was a teenager. Currently, she lives in Monte Carlo, but spent the past decade living in NYC, still considers herself a New Yorker, and visits regularly. She's always traveling, looking for hot new topics, destinations, and life hacks to bring to Urbanette readers.

Reader Discussion: 69 Comments

  1. Avatar of ELSA


    Paris is beautiful. The Chinese tourists are not. I don’t know what reason they have for going there but they claimed the city their own. Spitting everywhere, being obnoxious like they own everything. Disgusting.

  2. Avatar of Helena Lowson

    Helena Lowson

    There are plenty of nice streets, great restaurants, amazing stores. All you need is to quit the tourist path and make your own. Paris is full of surprises, just find them!

  3. Avatar of Emily Foulkes

    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.

  4. Avatar of Daisy Clarke

    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.

  5. Avatar of Frances Seifert

    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.

  6. Avatar of Ayla Pennington

    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…

  7. Avatar of Deborah Henry

    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.

  8. Avatar of Catherine White

    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.

  9. Avatar of Leah Helms

    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. 🙂

  10. Avatar of Melissa Princeton

    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.

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