What to Do in Le Marais Paris: 23 Amazing Things

Le Marais is everyone’s favourite hip, historic Paris neighbourhood. Wondering why, and more importantly what to do in Le Marais Paris? Well, you’re in luck!

As a frequent visitor to Paris, I’ve made this neighbourhood my home on many occasions. I’ve discovered its hidden gems and vibrant culture. Paris holds a special place in my heart, and amidst its captivating neighbourhoods, Le Marais stands as my favourite.

Stroll its winding streets adorned with elegant old mansions and delightful shops and galleries. Enjoy the many inviting cafes, and quaint coffee shops nestled here. Be sure not to miss the oldest and, perhaps, the most stunning public square in all of Paris. Visiting le Marais district will be without a doubt a highlight of your trip to Paris.

Let this be your ultimate guide to unlocking the 25 best things to do in Le Marais.

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About Le Marais Paris: where it is and its history

red door, people walking, bike leaning on building in what to do in le marais paris

What I love the most is that the Marais area feels more like a village in the middle of the bustling city of Paris.

Straddling the 3rd and 4th arrondissements on the right bank of Paris it’s the heart of historical Paris. It’s where many 16th to 17th-century private mansions have been protected and preserved.

Despite being originally a marshy area, the name “Le Marais” translates to “The Marsh” in French, reflecting its early roots in having a swampy landscape.

The Marais district began to be developed in the 12th century, and by the 17th century, it had become a fashionable residential area for the city’s wealthy residents. The construction of the iconic Place des Vosges and the nobility built grand mansions, known as hôtel particular.

It survived the architectural transformations of Baron Haussmann in the 19th century and many of those gorgeous mansions, house museums and cultural institutions you can visit today.

With a rich Jewish heritage and a history as an LGBTQ+ haven, Le Marais offers a unique blend of cultural diversity.

Today, its narrow streets, hidden courtyards, and lively ambiance make Le Marais a must-visit area for those seeking to immerse themselves in the soulful essence of Parisian history.

Come here for a stroll, relax in a quiet hidden garden tucked off the beaten path, and admire the grandest architecture of the city. The best way to experience Le Marais is from a local. Join a small guided walking tour bringing you to all the secret spots.

What to Do in Le Marais Paris: The Musts

1. Picnic in Place des Vosges

people on lawn with fountain and building in background a popular thing to do in Marais Paris

No visit to Le Marais is complete until you hang out in the oldest square in Paris.

Places des Vosges, from 1612, is the ultimate elegant Parisian square. A ground-floor arcade leads you to 36 symmetrical houses with large dormer windows surrounding a large lawn with 4 identical fountains in each corner.

On fair weather days, locals come here to picnic on the lawn. Couples come here to take a romantic stroll through the arcade popping into the upscale boutiques and galleries. Friends meet at a cafe. There’s always a hive of activity at Place des Vosges. I like to grab an ice cream from the nearby Amorino Gelato and people-watch from a bench.

One of the stand-out hotels, Le Pavillon de la Reine, sits discreetly off Place des Vosges. I once stayed in this luxury 17th-century hotel and even if you’re not a guest, you can enjoy a cocktail at happy hour from the Michelin-star restaurant.

📍Pl. des Vosges, 75004 Paris, France

2. Stroll Le Marais Streets

Almost every street in the Marais neighbourhood is charming and picturesque. The winding, cobblestone streets here are meant for leisure walks- with no real purpose other than slowly soaking up every last detail. A term the French call, Flâneur.

Victor Hugo said he got ideas for his books “by chance, in the streets of Paris“. Getting inspired by some of the most beautiful streets is one of the best things to do Le Marais.

There are two popular Paris streets running perpendicular in Le Marais to visit – rue des Francs-Bourgeois and rue Vieille du Temple. Beyond these main streets, these are my favourites in the area:

  • Rue des Rosiers – a famous street that begins at rue Malher and ends at rue Vieille du Temple in the heart of the Jewish Quarter in Paris. Don’t let the large crowds stop you from wandering this long street, full of food and a lively atmosphere. The most famous place to eat here is L’As du Fallafel (my tip: expect a long line, that moves quickly).
  • Rue des Tournelles – the street that forms part of the Place des Vosges. Stroll through the arcade and turn right on rue de Turenee. Next, take a left on rue Parc Royal to rue Payenee which meets up again with rue des Tournelles.
  • Rue de Sévigné – a popular, lively street named after famed Madame Sévigné, a famous French letter writer of the 17th century, who lived on this street.
  • Rue Charlot – a street full of boutiques and galleries that’s worth strolling. Along with the connecting streets of rue de Poitou and from rue Debelleyme to rue Vieille du Temple to rue du Perche.

Things to Do in Le Marais: Museums & Galleries

museum with artwork in what to do in Le Marais Paris

One of the best ways to see some of the most elegant Renaissance architecture is to visit a museum. Many of the museums in the 3rd and 4th arrondissements are housed in the most beautiful private mansions and aristocratic palaces.

3. Maison Victor Hugo

After exploring Place des Vosges make your way to the private home of the famous French writer at Maison Victor Hugo. He lived on the mansion’s second floor from 1832 to 1848, writing some of his most popular works like Les Misérables.

Tour his home and see the recreation of what it would have looked like when he lived and worked there.

  • 📍Place des Vosges, 6 | Free admission
  • 🕥Daily from 10 am to 6 pm
  • Tip: expect long lines for this museum, especially during peak tourist season

4. Musée Carnavalet

Another one of my favourite Le Marais things to do is a visit to this history museum. Housed in two historic mansions called Hotel des Ligneris dating back to the Renaissance, the museum showcases exhibits spanning from the Middle Ages to the 20th century.

Its extensive collection includes artifacts, paintings, and memorabilia, offering a comprehensive overview of Parisian life and culture.

A couple of hidden gems include the Jardin de Musée Carnavalet. I’m not referring to the impressive one leading up to the museum, but the one off to the side of the museum. Hardly anyone knows it’s there, so it’s our little secret.

Another favourite of mine and an insider’s tip is the cafe called Les Jardins d’Olympe nestled between the two buildings in an inner courtyard. This exclusive restaurant is only open in fair weather and does require a reservation.

  • 📍Rue de Sévigné, 23 | Free admission
  • 🕥Tuesday to Sunday 10 am-6 pm
  • My tip: if you enjoyed this one, check out the free Musee Cognacq-Jay, located in the grand Hotel de Donon, which contains a collection of artwork, jewellery and furniture from the 18th century at rue Elzévir, 8

5. Musee National Picasso

Housed in the elegant Hôtel Sale where displays from Pablo Picasso’s collection span over 5000 drawings, paintings and sculptures.

Avoid those long lines to enter the grand mansion by pre-booking and reserving your spot online.

  • 📍5 rue de Thorigny | Admission: €11–14
  • 🕥Tuesday to Friday 10:30 am-6 pm, Saturday-Sunday 9:30 am-6 pm

6. Musee des Arts et Metiers

The arts and trades museum is Europe’s oldest science museum founded in 1794. It’s housed in the former Benedictine priory of St-Martin-des-Champs.

  • 📍rue Réaumur, 60 | Admission is €9-12
  • 🕥Tuesday to Sunday 10 am-6 pm

7. Musée des Archives Nationales

red box with papers in museum as one of the things to do in le marais

Housed in the impressive Hôtel de Soubise, one of the most impressive private mansions in Le Marais, this museum is dedicated to French history.

  • 📍rue des Francs Bourgeois, 60 | Admission is €5-8 depending on the exhibit (Free on the first Sunday of the month)
  • 🕥Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday: 10 am-5:30 pm, Saturday-Sunday 2 pm-5:30 pm

8. Centre Pompidou

For art lovers, a must-visit is Centre Pompidou. You can’t miss the primary colours and exposed pipes and air ducts that make Centre Pompidou one of the most unique and best-known sights in Paris.

For serious art enthusiasts take the Pompidou Centre private guided tour to hear more about the contemporary artists such as Pollock, Picasso, Dix, and Duchamp and see their greatest pieces.

  • 📍Place Georges-Pompidou | Lobby is free, exhibits are €12-15
  • 🕥Monday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday 11 am-9 pm, Thursday 11 am-11 pm

9. Art Galleries in Le Marais

straircase in museum in things to do in le marais paris

Despite being the historical centre of Paris, the Marais neighbourhood is also the mecca for modern art galleries. There are well-established galleries of the Places des Vosges and contemporary galleries near the Picasso Museum.

Walk down the streets of rue Vieille du Temple, rue de Turenne, and rue Charlot and they’re abundant. From pop-up galleries to well-established ones like Galerie Xippas and Galerie Anne-Sarah Beneichou.

What to See in Le Marais Paris: The Landmarks & Gardens

10. Hôtel de Ville

tall city hall building in what to see in le marais paris

Hotel de Ville, the city’s famous City Hall and historic landmark, has served as the seat of Paris Council since 1357.

I just love the impressive Neo-Renaissance architecture, always catching my eye even from the banks of the Seine River.

Visits to the town hall are possible through a guided tour by reservation only. The tour includes a visit to the Function Room, created as a replica of the Hall of Mirrors at Versailles.

Hotel de Ville is a focal point for most of the city’s cultural and festive events like a Paris Christmas market and the countdown to Paris playing host for the 2024 Olympics.

📍Entrance at 5 rue Lobeau or at 29 rue de Rivoli | Free admission (pre-booking up to 2 months in advance with the Protocol Department)

11. Half-Timbered Houses in Le Marais

The only remaining half-timbered houses in Paris can be found in Le Marais. These narrow gabled houses with protruding sides are a fairytale vision.

A little fun fact I learned is that the half-timbered house found at rue Volta, 3 was once thought to be the oldest house in Paris dating back to 1300. But actually, it was constructed in the mid-17th century for a family who simply liked medieval architecture.

For the real deal, add these addresses to your itinerary as the most historical houses:

📍rue François Miron, 11 & 13, rue des Barres, 12, and rue de Braque, 5

12. Flamel House

oldest house in Le Marais Paris as one of the things to do in le marais

The oldest stone house in Paris, designed by French alchemist Nicolas Flamel, can be found in Le Marais.

Inscribed in stone above the doorway is the year the house was completed, 1407. Although Nicolas and his wife never lived in it, that doesn’t stop Harry Potter fans from visiting the Flamel House.

📍rue de Montmorency, 51

13. Gardens and Squares in Le Marais

what to do in le marais paris is a garden - here is a statue with people sitting at park bench

One of the most wonderful things about the 3rd and 4th arrondissements are the small, intimate hidden gardens and squares, tucked away and off the beaten path.

Visit in springtime and you’ll be treated to a sea of pink during cherry blossom season. Or the beautiful roses in the summer. Even into late autumn when the leafy trees turn a bright golden colour, there is no bad time to visit these hidden gardens or squares in the Marais district.

Here are a few of my favourite ones to add to your Le Marais itinerary:

  • Square Georges Cain – this round garden with a bronze statue of a nude woman in the middle of a rose bed is one of my favourites 📍Rue Payenne, 8
  • Rosiers Joseph Migneret Garden – tucked off the busy rue Rosiers is an intimate garden nestled between impressive townhomes 📍Rue des Rosiers, 10
  • Jardin de l’Hôtel de Sully – a large courtyard garden with formal hedging against the backdrop of an elegant mansion. Book lovers- be sure to go inside as in the grand lower hall you’ll have access to a bookshop while you admire the impressive interior 📍Pl. des Vosges, 5
  • Place Sainte-Catherine – tucked between the lively streets of the Marais lies a quiet cobblestone square that’s a little off the beaten path and hidden from most tourists. It’s the perfect spot for a long leisurely lunch in one of the restaurants lining the square 📍between rue de Sevigne and rue de Turenne
  • Square du Temple – Elie Wiesel – a neighbourhood park with a children’s playground, pond and towering trees, along with a historic monument honouring holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel 📍rue de Bretagne

14. The Jewish Quarter

Le Marais is home to one of the oldest Jewish communities in Europe, which makes this a reason to visit here.

You can explore the Jewish Quarter to get a sense of the history and culture of this neighbourhood. Here’s what I recommend in exploring:

  • Synagogues – visit the historic synagogues for the beautiful architecture and to learn about the Jewish history of the area 📍21 rue des Tournelles Synagogue, 21 and Rue Pavée Synagogue, 10
  • Rue des Rosiers – the lively street known as ‘Pietzl’ is full of Jewish stores, bakeries and restaurants
  • Shoah Memorial and Wall of Names – a site that honours those who gave their lives in WWII as well as the genocide committed against the Jewish people 📍rue Geoffroy l’Asnier,17
  • Museum of Jewish Art and History – dedicated to the history and culture of the Jewish community 📍rue du Temple, 71 | Opening hours: Tuesday, Thursday, Friday 11 am-6 pm, Wednesday 11 am-9 pm, Saturday-Sunday 11 am-7 pm)

15. Tour Saint-Jacques

Is a Gothic tower that once belonged to a church. Built in the 16th century, it stands as a solitary remnant of the Church of Saint-Jacques-la-Boucherie, which was demolished during the French Revolution.

The tower rises 52 meters high and surrounding it is a garden. This spot isn’t particularly serene, as you have the very busy rue de Rivoli running alongside it. Most use this park as a way to crisscross to reach le Marais neighbourhood from the Seine River.

Insider’s tip, if you visit Paris during August go to the nearby Paris Plages where the riverbank is transformed into a pop-up beach.

Le Marais Things to Do: Dining & Shopping

16. Marché des Enfants Rouges

people eating in Le Marais things to do

The oldest market in Paris can be found in the Marais neighbourhood. This covered market from 1615 is exactly what you expect to find- vendors selling lots of fresh produce, flowers, and cheese.

Every Le Marais Paris guide will tell you to visit Marche des Enfants Rouge on an empty stomach. There’s an Italian deli, Japanese, and Lebanese food to name a few.

My personal favourite is the popular lunch spot, The Butcher of Paris, which serves up a delicious charcuterie board (you can request vegetarian only too) with a glass of wine.

Don’t pass up the opportunity to visit this Parisian foodie heaven, and if you want to do a food tour in Paris, no doubt this will be one of the stops!

📍Rue de Bretagne, 39

17. Rue de Bretagne Paris – the foodie, shopping street

man on scooter in front of cheese shop on busy street in paris on what to do in le marais paris

If there’s one street in the Marais shopping district to get to know it’s rue de Bretagne. Start at where it meets rue Réaumur and work your way to rue Vieille du Temple.

Across the street from Square du Temple – Elie Wiesel is Bontemps La Pâtisserie, a pretty cafe perfect for indulging in a French pastry or delicious brunch. Next, walk by the impressive Mairie de Paris Centre, the city hall for the 4th arrondissement.

The next block is where you’ll find Marché des Enfants Rouges. This area of rue de Bretagne is chock-full of eateries, from the classic French bistro to Italian. I recommend the neighbourhood favourite, Pizzeria Lovine’s, for their wood fire pizzas.

Another reason why this street is so famous is Brocante de la Rue de Bretagne one of the largest flea markets in Paris. Twice a year, over 3 days in the spring and fall, up to 500 antique and vintage vendors fill the street with their treasure-hunting items.

18. Department Store in Le Marais

Le BHV Marais is one of the oldest department stores in Paris, created in 1856. This one-stop Marais Paris shopping features everything from household to jewellery and of course fashion- from well-known brands.

19. Boutique Shops

red car in courtyard in what to see in le marais paris

It’s impossible to list all of the best shops in Le Marais. The once-unknown little designers who are now highly recognizable Paris brands like Maje, Zadig & Voltaire and Sandro have shops in the Marais.

Let me share some of my favourites that I adore visiting every time I’m in the 3rd and 4th arrondissements. Here are the ones I recommend:

  • La Boutique de Cara – this is just not any average consignment shop, it’s a beautiful vintage boutique full of only the best designers like Chanel, Dior, Celine, and Chloé 📍rue de Turenne, 80
  • Merci – the iconic shop with the bright red Fiat parked outside this on-trend concept store is instantly recognizable from Instagram and is now one of the top things to do in Le Marais Paris. Inside you’ll find everything from linens and ceramic dishes to jewelry, shoes, books, and clothes 📍Boulevard Beaumarchais, 111

20. Antique Shops

For treasure hunters, the must-visit area is Le Village Saint-Paul known for its art galleries and fine antiques.

Be sure to tuck into the Passage Saint Paul, there are even more boutiques, eateries and galleries secretly hidden away off the beaten path of rue Saint-Paul.

I’ve bought a couple of things from the antique shops in Saint Paul over the years. An antique brass candle stick holder (yes only 1, the prices are steep) and 2 black iron hooks that are in my bedroom. It’s these small little treasures that I love having in my home as reminders of my many trips to Paris.

21. Best Cafes in Le Marais Paris

There are a lot of cafes in the Marais district of Paris and some of the best ones are a little off the beaten path. I’m always discovering new ones, and here are a few for you to try that I recommend.

  • Griffon is tucked away in the courtyard off Rue des Francs Bourgeois. Catch a glimpse of the ancient Tower Philippe Auguste and the remains of a medieval wall of Paris built in the 13th century
  • Café FIKA sits in the courtyard of Institut Tessin right across from Square Georges Cain. Fika meaning a light, friendly morning or afternoon snack is exactly what you’ll find at this Swedish-inspired cafe.
  • Carette is one of the best instagrammable cafés in Paris where the food is just as good, but this Place des Vosges cafe is extremely popular
  • Maison Pralus is best known for its buttery brioche called La Praluline and its bean-to-bar chocolates…divine

22. Best Restaurants in Le Marais Paris

cafe in paris with table and chairs and couple with waiter as one of the things to do in le marais paris

What makes this area so sought after is the dining! The Marais neighbourhood has no shortage of great dining and for all budgets. I’ve tried many of the best restaurants in this area when staying a week at this lovely 1-bedroom Le Marais rental apartment.

Here are my favourites for either a delicious lunch or a cozy late-night dinner:

  • Crêperie Breizh – go for the savoury Breton galettes and buckwheat crêpes made with buckwheat flour
  • Cafe Louis Philippe – any restaurant that has been around since 1810 you know is worth dining at! Snag a terrace table as the views are pretty incredible of Île Saint-Louis, or go upstairs for a view of Notre Dame
  • Robert et Louise – an unassuming bistro with red gingham curtains, mismatched tables and chairs, and copper pots hanging from shelves (you get the picture, right?) serving classic French dishes
  • L’Ambroisie – a Michelin 3-star restaurant in an elegant setting makes this a perfect choice for that special dinner in Paris
  • Eately – the familiar and much-loved Italian specialty store/eatery can be found in Le Marais – choose from multiple market counters based on your craving, visit the largest wine cellar in Paris and shop from all the imported products from Italy
  • Big Love – vegetarians (and even non-vegetarians) will love this pasta and pizza menu, along with the cool vibe of this tiny restaurant
  • Les Philosophes – your quintessential Parisian brasserie offering all the French classics in one of the best locations, especially for busy people watching from the terrace

23. What to Do in Le Marais at Night

For a great view of Paris at night, go to the rooftop of the BHV department store and head to Le Perchoir, a terrace bar with views of the Eiffel Tower.

For cocktail lovers, the best-crafted mixed drinks in uber cool places in the Marais include Little Red DoorLe Mary Celeste, and Andy Wahloo.

If you like late-night dining that then turns into a great place to have a drink, I recommend:

  • Vins Des Pyrénées – this tiny restaurant is perfect for a date night – French classics with a modern twist and a great cocktail bar that allows you to linger after dinner and enjoy some drinks
  • Carboni – a delicious Italian restaurant, tucked away at the back of the restaurant is Bar Sotto, one of Paris’ tiniest bars serving classic cocktails

FAQ About What to Do in Le Marais Paris

building with open courtyard in what to see in le marais paris

How do I get to Le Marais?

Le Marais is located in the 4th and 3rd arrondissements and is served by several metro stations, including Saint-Paul (line 1), Hôtel de Ville (lines 1 and 11), and Rambuteau (line 11).

Is Le Marais touristy?

Yes, Le Marais is a popular area to visit in Paris. Yet, it maintains a charming and authentic atmosphere due to its independent boutiques, art galleries, and cafes, giving the area a unique character.

How do I spend a day in Marais Paris?

Spend a day in Le Marais by strolling the cobblestone streets, discovering a hidden garden, visiting a museum or gallery, enjoying a delicious meal and popping into some boutique shops.

Is Le Marais safe?

Le Marais in Paris is generally considered to be a safe area to visit with a mix of residential and commercial areas. It is safe to walk around at night as the streets are generally busy with people well into the night.

Is Marais a good place to stay?

Le Marais is a great place to stay if you’re looking for a central location in Paris with an authentic atmosphere full of history, charm, culture and good dining. There are a variety of accommodation options from boutique hotels to apartment rentals.

As a Holidaymaker

Whether you spend a couple of hours or one perfect day hopefully this list of what to do in Marais has inspired you.

To help you further with planning your trip to Paris, check out a couple of my guides:

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