Chez Marianne restaurant in the Marais district. Le Marais was one of the first parts of Paris to be preserved and restored after World War II and is now a chic neighborhood, with many art galleries and a large gay community, home to many fashionable shops, restaurants and clubs.
TRVL Neighborhoods

A day in... Le Marais, Paris

Photo by Jochem Wijnands

TRVL Neighborhoods A day in... Le Marais, Paris

Le Marais is one of the most atmospheric neighborhoods in the whole of Paris and, by extension, the world. You could easily spend an entire weekend or more exploring its cobbled streets and tucked away courtyards, but what if you only had one day?

James Hiam
James Hiam Editor

If you wake up somewhere like the four-star Hôtel du Petit Moulin – which in a former life was a bakery that counted none other than Victor Hugo among its patrons – then you might have breakfast already taken care of. If not, just follow your nose and sniff out Le Marais' nearest bakery, where you'll join a line of locals waiting for their freshly baked croissants and baguettes.

Once you've finished and brushed the flaky bits of pastry off your coat, think about checking out the newly expanded and reopened Musée Picasso. The museum's collection boasts more than 5,000 of Picasso's paintings, sculptures, and ceramics, so you could easily spend your whole morning here. For lunch, it goes without saying that you're spoiled for choice. Options include picking up a snack from the Marché des Enfants Rouges – Paris's oldest market – or buying a falafel wrap from L'As du Fallafel on Rue des Rosiers. Hand over your euros at this legendary falafel joint – which sits at the center of the city's Jewish Quarter – and then wander around the corner and find a bench in the Jardin des Rosiers. This sunny, peaceful spot is the perfect place to enjoy your lunch alongside the locals.

For yet more modern and contemporary art, you might want to visit the Centre Georges Pompidou or, at the very least, walk around this impressive building and soak in the lively, street atmosphere. For something a little less touristy, consider setting off for Place des Vosges: the oldest planned square in Paris. The aforementioned Victor Hugo lived here between 1832 and 1848, and you can explore most of his former house without having to pay an admission charge. That might come in handy, as you'll be wanting to save those pennies for your evening out!

For dinner, have a look at the menus of the rustic bistros and trendy restaurants dotted all over Le Marais, and especially the streets leading off from the Rue de Rivoli; the three-course set menus are always a good bet. After dinner, you can take your pick from any one of the neighborhood's effortlessly cool watering holes. Trendy cocktail spots, Chilean rum joints, traditional wine bars – drinking in Le Marais is one of the city’s great experiences.

Want to spend a day in Le Marais or, better yet, stay overnight? Check out our TRVL Truly Wonderful hotels in Le Marais!

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