Spread across Paris’s third and fourth arrondissements, on the right bank of the river Seine, the Marais was for many centuries the aristocratic heart of Paris, until the French Revolution shaped it into the more diverse neighborhood that it is today (it is the beating heart of the city’s Jewish community and is renowned for its celebration of LGBTQI culture). A thriving arts hub, thanks to its array of museums and galleries, the district is also a haven for lovers of both vintage and designer
WHERE TO STAY
Take up residence for the weekend at Le Pavillon de la Reine, situated on what must be Paris’s most picturesque square, the Place des
WHAT TO SEE
You could happily while away an afternoon simply strolling around the Marais’s lovely streets, but if you’re after a more cultural day out (or the weather isn’t in your favor), there are plenty of museums and galleries to choose from. The Musée Picasso is currently showing its ‘Picasso 1932: Année érotique’ exhibition, organized in partnership with Tate Modern, which chronicles a year in the life of the Spanish painter. Also worth a visit is the Musée des Arts et Métiers, Europe’s oldest science museum, with its collection of objects and machines ranging from barometers to airplanes.
WHERE TO DINE
The Marais comes to life at the weekend, when hordes of locals descend on the cafés for brunch (which, for the French, appears to translate as any kind of daytime dining experience, be it 11 in the morning or 4 in the afternoon). Make like a true Parisian and squeeze onto one of the outdoor tables on the crowded pavements; perfect people-watching spots include Le Voltigeur on the Rue des Francs-Bourgeois (the selection of quiches is superb) and the Café des Musées on Rue de Turenne, which serves traditional French cuisine. For dinner, Le Petit Commines is a wine specialist offering creative twists on the classics: think snails with pickled beetroot, ox hearts with a red-wine sauce and brioche “pain perdu” with caramel.
WHERE TO SHOP
Many of the leading French designers have a base in the Marais, including Isabel Marant and Azzedine Alaïa, but there’s a whole host of vintage stores too, such as Violette & Léonie and Noir Kennedy. For interiors addicts, there are some beautiful homeware boutiques; try Fleuxfor furniture, lighting, kitchenware and more. If you’re looking for treats to take back to family and friends, make a pitstop at Chocolat de Neuville for prettily packaged chocolates or visit the master of macarons, Pierre Hermé.
This story originally appeared on Townandcountrymag.co.uk.
* Minor edits have been made by the Townandcountry.ph editors.