Are you planning to visit Paris? So you are reading the right article! A trip to Paris is not complete without having visited the beautiful old cobbled streets of Le Marais. Set on the right bank, what used to be a swamp is the most ancient neighborhood in Paris but it’s also a paradise for shoppers, art lovers, and foodies! Believe me, we lived there for 5 years before moving to Dubai and I have to say I wouldn’t have lived anywhere else in Paris!
So here is a 24 hours itinerary that I have created with all my favorite addresses around Le Marais! Of course exploring Paris on foot is the best way to understand its atmosphere so put your most comfortable shoes on, keep your eyes wide open and enjoy the most poetic, the most fascinating, the most vibrant neighborhood in Paris!
8.00 AM: breakfast at Les Philosophes, 28 rue Vieille du Temple
How about a nice hot chocolate and croissant to start the day? Comfortably sitting on the terrace of this French bistro, watch Paris waking up… What I like about this place, besides the fact that I used to hang out there because I lived next door, is that everything is homemade and you can actually see on the menu where all the things that you are eating come from!
9.00 AM: let’s discover some of the oldest buildings, stroll down cobbled stone streets and be thrown back in time in this fascinating part of the city (and also burn the breakfast calories!!!)
Walk towards Rue Francois Miron and at no 11-13, admire two buildings made of wooden beams and known as some of the oldest medieval buildings (built in the 14th century) and thus classified as Historical Monuments.
Continue on Rue des Barres which is a pedestrian street with a nice village feel. Look around: the setting is just delicious for the eyes! In the corner of this street and Rue du Grenier sur l’eau, you can’t miss another medieval house that is now a youth hostel.
Next stop: Hotel de Sens, 1 Rue du Figuier. This is the oldest mansion in Le Marais and it is now home to the Forney library specialized in decorative arts. Built in the 15th century, it used to be the most luxurious private mansion of its time! Do not hesitate to enter and feed your eyes with the magnificent courtyard, the archways, and the manicured garden.
Note that the architecture is very different from the rest of the city because it was untouched by the Haussmann renovations.
12.00 AM: lunch at Le Marché des Enfants Rouges, 39 Rue de Bretagne
Enter the oldest covered market in Paris and enjoy the Parisians’ best foodie spot! You can buy fresh fruits, vegetables, fish or flowers but the main interest is that it’s full of stalls featuring different types of cuisine from around the world. My favorite is the Moroccan restaurant. Their vendors are super friendly, their tagines and couscous are divine and it’s great value for money! Sit down, feel the Parisian atmosphere around you and of course bon appétit!
1.00 to 4.00 PM: shopping time!
1) If you want to shop for home decor, I would definitively recommend:
. Merci, a very inviting concept store with a cozy ambiance and lots of homeware, furniture, and fashion design pieces. 111 Boulevard Beaumarchais
. Fleux, my very favorite boutique in Paris (there are actually four on the same street). As a design enthusiast, I have never left this place empty-handed! This museum store has a great variety of quirky, fun and unique furniture and items for the home. If you go there, walk a few more meters and check out Le Centre Pompidou and its very modern architecture. 39-52 Rue Sainte Croix de la Bretonnerie
. Home autour du Monde, a beautiful and colorful address set in Le Marais’ most vibrant shopping street. 8 Rue des Francs Bourgeois
2) if you want to shop for clothes:
. Claudine Pierlot‘s style is preppy, classic and elegant with a modern twist! 30 Rue des Francs Bourgeois
. A.P.C.‘s clothes are always well-cut, of extremely good quality and understatedly elegant! 112 Rue Vieille du Temple
. Abu D’Abi bazar offers a selection of clothes and accessories from more than 70 designers so it’s impossible not finding an item you want to take home! 125 Rue Vieille du Temple
. Sucrées is a small boutique with an exquisite selection of trendy casual chic pieces. 10 Rue du Roi de Sicile
3) If you want to shop for shoes:
. Mellow Yellow has a very cute and colorful collection of flat shoes, high heels, and boots as well as handbags that match your shoes! 43 Rue des Francs Bourgeois
. Jonak has a nice collection of leather shoes but there is always a subtle touch in their design that will make your feet look gorgeous. 38 Rue Saint Antoine
4) if you want to shop for kids:
. Bonton, the little brother of Bonpoint, is a kids concept store loved by fashion victim mummies. The boutique boasts 3 levels offering fashion, accessories, toys, furniture, home decoration all dedicated to the trendiest Parisian kids! 5 Boulevard des Filles du Calvaire
. Le petit souk is the cutest boutique. Designed as the Alladin’s cave, it’s a little heaven for home decor, toys, clothes, furniture shopping and much more. It has a very colorful and retro style collection that makes you want to be a kid again! 50 rue de la Verrerie
You want more shopping, Le BHV Marais will guarantee a wide selection of everything you dream of!
4.00 PM: discover a beautiful hidden garden in the Musee des Archives, 60 rue des Francs Bourgeois
Walk in the spectacular courtyard with its Roman columns and head towards the entrance of the museum. The door on your right will take you to four connected magnificent gardens. Sit on a bench and enjoy the peacefulness, contemplate the beautiful nature and architecture that unfolds in front of you. I used to play hide and seek with Adam there and he would always look for the little ducky in the pond 😉
4.30: tea o’clock at Le Dome du Marais, 53 bis Rue des Francs Bourgeois
I loved having tea time there with friends and family that were never disappointed by the beauty of the winter garden and its glass dome. Full of natural light, this very refined place is furnished with pieces found in antiques and flea markets which give the place a unique setting. Enjoy the great selection of tea surrounded by tropical plants and twittering birds…
5.30: Place des Vosges
You are now in the very first square built in Paris in the early 17th century. The architecture is very unique with its red brick buildings, symmetrical garden and fountains. Take a stroll around the arcades and their beautiful vaulted ceilings. You’ll walk past art galleries, cafes, the house of Victor Hugo that you can actually visit, and if you’re lucky enough, you’ll have the pleasure to hear the lyrical voice of a very talented opera singer that usually performs on weekends…
Then, sit on a bench or on the lawn if the weather allows it and enjoy this oasis!
7.00 PM: dinner Au Bourguignon du Marais, 52 Rue François Miron
Experience classic French cuisine from the Bourgogne region and try the snails, the onion soup, the boeuf Bourguignon and the smelly cheese: everything is delicious and the service is very professional.
9.30 PM: one last drink? Head to Le Perchoir on the rooftop of Le BHV Marais, 33 Rue de la Verrerie
Nestled on the rooftop of the Parisians’ favorite department store, this bar/restaurant offers good music, great drinks, a very friendly atmosphere but most importantly a stunning view of the city. What a nice way to end the day!
Midnight: spend the night at Le Pavillon de la Reine on Place des Vosges
The discreet entrance will take you to a sumptuous and tranquil hotel away from the hustle and bustle of the city. Have a good night sleep and when you wake up, enjoy the bijou garden and the spa before leaving this 17th-century residence that tastefully mixes classic and contemporary elegance.
If you can squeeze a visit to a museum in this busy day (for example by skipping the shopping part), I would go to the Musée Carnavalet, which is the museum of the city of Paris, or the Musée Picasso, both set in enchanting locations.
Voila! These are my favorite spots of Le Marais but to be honest there are so many other places that are worth visiting! The list is so long. But I hope this selection of places will make you want to discover this enchanting neighborhood…