My Paris Project: A Marais Day
One of my goals while spending seven months (I’m officially 3.5 months in!) in France is to get to know France outside of Paris. That said, Paris will always have my heart, so knowing Paris more intimately is also near the top of my list. I’m fortunate to live about 90 miles north of the city of light and love, so I get to take advantage of many mid-week and weekend day trips. In fact, this January I will be spending every single Saturday in Paris. Quelle joie! To better focus my visits, I decided to choose one or two arrondissements each time. My first solo day in Paris this past October was all about le Marais, the 3rd and 4th arrondissements known for their narrow medieval streets, the most famous Jewish quarter in Paris where rainbow crosswalks celebrate a neighborhood that truly has something for everyone.
*Note: This is a recap of my day in the Marais to get you started, but I know you will discover many shops and restaurants along the way. I remember texting Tony and telling him that as I walked these streets, one store front was more appealing than the last. There is so much to explore!
Start at Place de le République and head south on Boulevard du Temple (which eventually turns into Boulevard Beaumarchais). Along this route, you can visit one of my favorite stores in all of Paris, Merci. Here you will find everything from toothbrushes, to notebooks, to clothing, to furniture. Each time I visit with Tony, we pick up something new to add to our home (this last time we grabbed this platter with these cups). Need a petit pause? Grab a coffee at Merci’s used book café just next door!
Turn right on Rue du Pas de la Mule. Here you might pop into Joséphine Vannier for a chocolate (this was my friend Cheryl’s wonderful recommendation) on your way to Place des Vosges. You must visit La Maison de Victor Hugo and enjoy the stunning views of the square he enjoyed while working on classics such as Les Misérables. It’s a bit of a splurge, but you won’t be disappointed if you sit down for an afternoon treat at Carette. The views of the square from your rattan chair tucked under the covered walkway will be savored just as much as your éclair or tarte aux pommes.
As you zig zag your way through these medieval streets, turn southwest onto Rue Charlot. Maybe you’ll make a stop just off this street at the Marché des Enfants Rouges or hang a left at Rue du Perche to enjoy the Musée Picasso. (Truth, these are both still on my Paris bucket list.)
Be sure not to miss Rue Vieille du Temple. In my opinion, no visit to the Marais is complete without it. When I visited Paris with Tony in 2017 (and we got engaged!!!), our first stop was Au Petit Fer à Cheval where we enjoyed a lovely lunch of jambon beurre and fromage at the marble horseshoe shaped counter. We also made it our last stop, toasting champagne in celebration of our engagement. (Post cover photo of Au Petit Fer à Cheval by Tony)
Turn right when you hit Rue de Rivoli, a shopper’s paradise! BHV is my personal favorite (especially the bookstore & stationary department), plus just across the street you can enjoy the beautiful Hôtel de Ville before heading towards the river Seine.
Still in the 4th: part of Île de la Cité and all of Île Saint-Louis. Notre Dame de Paris is always magical, and if you cross Pont Saint-Louis just behind the cathedral you will run into Le Saint-Régis . If it’s time for dinner, get the steak au poivre with fries - absolutely divine!
Other Marais favorites…
Big Love - Incredible pasta and gluten free pizzas! Tip: Big Love opens at 7:00 for dinner. Arrive between 6:15-6:30 and wait in line by the door to be sure and grab a seat! If you do have to wait, there are plenty of lovely places nearby to grab a quick kir until they call and tell you your table is ready.
Pour le café:
Loustic - So cozy! I can’t wait to go back with a good book and spend a slow afternoon sipping my coffee.
Le Peloton - A great place to go if you are looking to speak English. There were people from the U.S., Australia, and Scotland when I visited, and the small size of the café encourages conversation.
Pour la beauté:
Oh My Cream! - Several locations throughout Paris and a great option if you are interested in healthy cosmetics
Couleur Caramel Caffè - Beautiful selection of sustainable, natural, organic cosmetics
Merci for exploring the Marais with me! I hope by sharing my favorites I give you some new ideas, and I always love to hear about your favorites, too! Next up for my Paris Project: I’m exploring the 1st and 2nd arrondissements this weekend for my 28th birthday! I will be sure to share what I discover!
Warm wishes from me to you!