You may be surprised to know that my favourite area in Paris isn’t the Eiffel Tower, or Notre Dame, or even The Louvre… In fact, whenever I want to spend an afternoon wandering around and enjoying the Parisian way of life, I like to head to Le Marais.
Le Marais, for me, feels like a jumble of everything I love about London and Paris. It has the diversity, quirkiness, and general ‘coolness’ of London, but still with that underlying beauty and elegance which makes Paris so memorable.
As one of the older parts of the city, this is really the closest you’ll find yourself to medieval Paris. A maze of winding, narrow streets lined with cosy cafes and vintage shops, I could happily get lost here every weekend…
If you’re heading to Paris and fancy doing some shopping and mingling a little more with the locals, I definitely recommend heading here.
I would advise taking the metro to Bastille where you’ll find yourself next to the Bastille Opera and a very large, hectic roundabout. From there, head towards Place des Vosges; a gorgeous little square surrounded by houses which were once the homes of Paris’s aristocrats (the house of Victor Hugo, the writer of Les Mis and The Hunchback of Notre Dame, can be found there). Take a little pause here if the weather’s nice and enjoy some people-watching.
Next, keep heading inwards towards Rue des Rosiers and the depths of The Marais. This is now what would be considered ‘The Jewish Quarter‘ – where many Jews once chose to settle and form their own community. Although the vast majority were sadly driven out or killed during the Holocaust, their history still remains and there are plenty of delis, libraries, cafes and bakeries selling delicacies to keep the culture alive. The Museum of Jewish Art and History is also in this area if you want to learn more about this fascinating history.
Finally, if the swanky air of the Champs Elysees isn’t really your thing, you absolutely must try the shopping here.
As well as your standard recognisable brands such as Zara, All Saints and Karen Millen, you’ll also find loads of little independent stores in which to find one-of-a-kind pieces. Plus, for any beauty lovers, there’s an entire road of makeup and skincare stores including Kiehl’s, Bobbi Brown, MAC, and Makeup Forever. It’s probably best I don’t live here or I’d be far too tempted!
Where To Eat?
If you’re anything like me, you’re always going to be thinking about your next meal in some form or another… I’m a massive foodie and I love trying new places and new cuisines. I’ve only been able to try a few places so far in The Marais area, but each one has been fantastic so I thought I’d share them with you all.
If you’re in the mood for a classic French bistro meal… Equinox
My parents and I had lunch here when they came to visit. It’s your classic bistro with a daily specials menu. You can expect the usual French dishes, such as a Burger, steak tartare, onion soup, and a ‘fish du jour’.
The food was really delicious and the service very pleasant (a rarity in France, trust me!).
If you’re in the mood for a casual dinner with friends… Casa San Pablo
This Spanish tapas restaurant is just outside the main Marais area, just opposite Eglise de Saint Paul. It’s the perfect place to go with a group of friends for jugs of sangria and sharing plates of tapas (I regularly find myself craving the patatas aioli). I actually wrote a whole post on this restaurant which you can check out here if you want to read more.
It’s very popular, so if you’re planning to go peak time, I would recommend making a reservation.
If you’re in the mood for a quick snack… La Droguerie
If you find yourself in the Jewish Quarter, you won’t be able to miss this creperie with its blue walls and a queue halfway down the street. I love that you can see them actually making the crepes in the window and they hand them to you in a paper bag.
In my view, a crepe is the ultimate French snack and these are some of the nicest I’ve tried in Paris so far.
I hope you guys enjoyed this post and getting a little insight into my favourite part of Paris! Let me know if you’d like to see more of these types of posts and don’t forget to check out my recent vlogs where I’ve been documenting plenty of what I’ve been up to 🙂
Have you ever visited the Marais area of Paris? What would you recommend to do, see or eat? Check back in on Sunday for my May Favourites!
Thanks for reading! Joanna xxxxx