palace in marais paris with gardens and pathway

What to Do in Le Marais Paris

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! The Marais district just so happens to be one of my favourites, and I visit it every time I return to Paris (8 times, and counting).

Straddling the 3rd and 4th arrondissements on the right bank of Paris, the Marais area feels more like a village in the middle of the bustling city of Paris.

It’s the heart of historical Paris where many 16th to 17th-century private mansions have been protected and preserved. Come here for a leisurely stroll, relax in a quiet hidden garden tucked off the beaten path, and admire the grandest architecture of the city. One of the best things to do in Le Marais is the wander through the shops and galleries and enjoy a delicious meal.

Consider this your ultimate Le Marais Paris Guide, where I will share all of my tips on what to see, do and stay. Ready? Let’s get exploring!

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What to do in Le Marais Paris

Place des Vosges

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

The oldest square in Paris just so happens to be in the Marais neighbourhood. 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 or restaurant. There’s always a hive of activity at Place des Vosges.

A popular thing to do in Le Marais is to visit the private home of the famous French writer at Maison Victor Hugo. He lived on the second floor of the mansion from 1832 to 1848 writing some of his most popular works like Les Misérables. (Address: 6, Place des Vosges | Free)

Gardens and Squares in Le Marais

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 really no bad time to visit these hidden gardens or squares in the Marais district.

Le Marais tips: here are a few of my favourite ones:

  • Jardin de Musée Carnavalet – a small elegant garden of mostly boxwoods against the backdrop of a beautiful mansion (Address: 23 Rue de Sévigné | Free)
  • 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 (Address: 8 Rue Payenne | Free)
  • Rosiers Joseph Migneret Garden – tucked off the busy rue Rosiers is an intimate garden nestled between impressive townhomes (Address: 10 Rue des Rosiers | Free)
  • 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 (Address: 5 Pl. des Vosges | Free)
  • 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

Art Galleries in Le Marais

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.

For art lovers, the 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 best-known sights in Paris. (Address: Place Georges-Pompidou | Lobby is free, exhibits are €12-15)

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.

Best Streets in Le Marais

red door, people walking , bike leaning on building

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. Victor Hugo said he got ideas for his books by chance, in the streets of Paris. Get inspired by some of the beautiful streets and one of the best things to do in 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, be sure to check out my favourites in this 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 soak up the lively atmosphere. The most famous place to eat here is L’As du Fallafel (yes, and expect a long line).
  • Rue des Tournelles – the street that forms part of the Place des Vosges is one of the most incredible squares in Paris. 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 street home to antique shops and art galleries 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, rue Debelleyme to rue Vieille du Temple to rue du Perche.
building with open courtyard in marais paris

Rue de Bretagne Paris – the street that offers a little something for everyone

man on scooter in front of cheese shop on busy street in paris

If there’s one street in the Marais 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.

Visit 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.

Right across the street 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, the oldest covered food market in Paris. 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.

Hôtel de Ville

The Hotel de Ville serves as the city hall since 1357. The current building of neo-Renaissance style was built in 1871, due to two devasting fires in the 15th and 16th centuries.

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. (Address: Entrance at 5 rue Lobeau or at 29 rue de Rivoli | Free | Pre-booking up to 2 months in advance with the Protocol Department).

For most travellers, simply walking the perimeter and admiring the grandness is good enough. Come Christmas, this is the site of one of the best Christmas Markets and outdoor light displays in Paris.

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. Add these addresses to your itinerary, as you won’t want to miss seeing these historical houses.

  • 11 & 13, rue François Miron
  • 12, rue des Barres
  • 3, rue Volta – 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 liked the medieval architecture
  • 5, rue de Braque

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. (Address: 51 rue de Montmorency)

oldest house in Le Marais Paris

Marché des Enfants Rouges

people eating in Le Marais Paris

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. A popular lunch spot is The Butcher of Paris which serves up a delicious charcuterie board with a glass of wine. Don’t pass up the opportunity to visit this Parisian foodie heaven. (Address: 39 Rue de Bretagne | Free (except if you buy something)

The Jewish Quarter

Le Marais is home to one of the oldest Jewish communities in Europe, and you can explore the Jewish Quarter to get a sense of the history and culture of this neighbourhood.

The top things to see and do include:

  • Synagogues – visit the historic synagogues for the beautiful architecture and to learn about the Jewish history of the area (Addresses: 21 rue des Tournelles Synagogue and 10 Rue Pavée Synagogue
  • 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 (Address: 17 rue Geoffroy l’Asnier | Free | Opening hours: Every day except Saturdays 10 am-6 pm, Thursdays until 10 pm)
  • Museum of Jewish Art and History – dedicated to the history and culture of the Jewish community (Address: 71 rue du Temple | Opening hours: Tuesday, Thursday, Friday 11 am-6 pm, Wednesday 11 am-9 pm, Saturday-Sunday 11 am-7 pm)

What to See in Le Marais: the Marais Museums

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. There’s no better way to see some exhibits while admiring the elaborate architectural details of Paris nobility.

Join locals on a Sunday and leisurely stroll through some of the top museums in Le Marais:

  • 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 (Address: 5 rue de Thorigny | €11–14 | Tuesday to Friday 10:30 am-6 pm, Saturday-Sunday 9:30 am-6 pm)
  • Musee Cognacq-Jay – is located in the grand Hotel de Donon and contains a collection of artwork, jewellery and furniture from the 18th century (Address: 8 rue Elzévir | Free admission | Opening hours Tuesday to Sunday 10 am-6 pm)
  • Musee Carnavalet – dedicated to the history of Paris, with exhibits on the city’s architecture, art, and culture in the impressive Hotel des Ligneris is known for its Renaissance architecture (23 Rue de Sévigné | Free | Tuesday to Sunday 10 am-6 pm)
  • 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 (Address: 60 rue Réaumur | €9-12 | Opening hours: Tuesday to Sunday 10 am-6 pm)
  • Maison Européenne de la Photographie: is a museum dedicated to photography and features a diverse collection of works by both established and emerging photographers (Address: 5/7 rue de Fourcy | €8 | Opening hours: Wednesday, Friday 11 am-8 pm, Thursday 11 am-9 pm, Saturday- Sunday 10 am-8 pm)
  • Musée des Archives Nationales – in the impressive Hôtel de Soubise, one of the most impressive private mansions in Le Marais that is dedicated to French history (Address: 60 Rue des Francs Bourgeois | Free first Sunday of the month or €5-8 depending on exhibit | Opening hours Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday: 10 am-5:30 pm, Saturday-Sunday 2 pm-5:30 pm
red box with papers in museum in Le Marais Paris

Guided Tours in Le Marais

  • Le Marais Guided Walking Tour. Promises to bring you to the most important sights, and lesser-known places. Check out this guided 2.5-hour walking tour here.
  • Le Marais Walking Food Tour with Cheese, Wine and Delicacies. Indulge in aesthetic and culinary delight with a local tour guide in Paris’ beautiful neighbourhood. Check out this 3-hour tour making 8-10 stops.
  • Pompidou Centre Private Guided Tour. Discover the world’s largest collection of contemporary art on a 2-hour tour. Get your tickets in advance and skip the long lines so you can immediately enjoy diverse artists such as Pollock, Picasso, Dix, and Duchamp.

Shopping in Le Marais

The Popular and Well-Known Shops

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

Boutique shops featuring internationally well-known brands can also be found in Le Marais:

  • Maje (Address: 22 rue des Francs Bourgeois)
  • Zadig & Voltaire (Address: 42 rue des Francs Bourgeois)
  • Sandro (Address: 47 rue des Francs Bourgeois)

Shop at the Best Vintage Boutique

It’s impossible to list all of the best shops you’ll find in the 3rd and 4th arrondissements, but there is one hidden gem that is definitely worth sharing with you, La Boutique de Cara. This is just not any average consignment shop, it’s a beautiful boutique full of only the best designers like Chanel, Dior, Celine, and Chloé. Address: 80 rue de Turenne

red car in Le Marais Paris

Another iconic boutique shop is Merci. 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. Inside you’ll find everything from linens and ceramic dishes to jewelry, shoes, books, and clothes. Address: 111 Boulevard Beaumarchais

Restaurants in Le Marais

The Marais neighbourhood has no shortage of great dining, and for all budgets.

There are a lot of cafes in the Marais district 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.

  • 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. Fika meaning a light, friendly morning or afternoon snack is exactly what you’ll find at this Swedish-inspired cafe. (Address: 11 rue Payenne – right across the street from Square Georges Cain)
  • Les Jardins d’Olympe sits in the courtyard of the beautiful Carnavalet Museum and is only open in fair weather (Address: 16 rue des Francs-Bourgeois)
store front in Le Marais Paris
cafe in paris with table and chairs and couple with waiter

Here are the recommended restaurants to try when in the Marais district.

  1. Carette – one of the best instagrammable cafés in Paris where the food is just as good
  2. Crêperie Breizh – go for the savoury Breton galettes and buckwheat crêpes made with buckwheat flour (Address: 109 rue Vieille du Temple)
  3. 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 (Address: 66 Quai de l’Hôtel de Ville)
  4. 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 (Address: 64 rue Vieille du Temple)
  5. Maison Pralus – indulge your sweet tooth known for its buttery brioche called La Praluline and its bean-to-bar chocolates…divine (Address: 35 rue Rambuteau)
  6. Carboni – a delicious Italian restaurant, afterwards tucked away at the back of the restaurant is Bar Sotto, one of Paris’ tiniest bars serving classic cocktails (Address: 45 rue de Poitou)
  7. L’Ambroisie – a Michelin 3-star restaurant in an elegant setting makes this a perfect choice for that special dinner in Paris (Address: 9 Place des Vosges)
  8. 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 (Address: 37 Rue Sainte-Croix de la Bretonnerie)
  9. Big Love – vegetarians (and even non-vegetarians) will love this pasta and pizza menu, along with the cool vibe of this tiny restaurant (Address: 30 rue Debelleyme)
  10. 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 (Address: 28 rue Vieille du Temple)
  11. 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 (Address: 25 rue Beautreillis)

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. (Le Marais tips: only open in fair weather seasons)

For cocktail lovers, the best crafted mixed drinks in uber cool places, visit Little Red DoorLe Mary Celeste, or Andy Wahloo.

Places to Stay in Le Marais

rooftop in Paris

Indulge and stay at Le Pavillon de la Reine which sits discreetly off Place des Vosges. This lux 17th-century hotel is loaded with history. Even if you’re not a guest, take a peek at the courtyard garden or better yet enjoy a cocktail at happy hour from the Michelin-star restaurant. Read all about my stay at this elegant hotel.

Or, if you prefer to stay in a rented apartment giving you that home away from home experience, read about my stay at this lovely 1-bedroom apartment in the heart of the Marais neighbourhood.


What is the meaning of Le Marais?

Le Marais in English means ‘the marsh’ and was originally a marshy area located outside of the city’s walls

How old is the Marais district?

The Marais district began to be developed in the 12th century, and by the 14th century, it had become a fashionable residential area for the city’s wealthy residents.

What is the history of the Marais district?

During the French Revolution, many of the grand houses in Le Marais were seized and turned into government buildings. In the 19th and 20th centuries, Le Marais became a working-class neighbourhood and those elegant homes were divided into apartments.

Is Le Marais the Jewish Quarter in Paris?

Yes, Le Marais became known for its Jewish community in the 19th and 20th centuries. You can find a high concentration of Jewish bakeries, restaurants and Jewish boutiques.

What is the Marais in Paris known for?

Le Marais is known for its charming narrow streets, historic buildings, trendy boutiques, and vibrant nightlife. It’s also known for its large LGBTQ+ community with many LGBTQ+ bars and clubs in the area.

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 still 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 one perfect 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 is generally considered to be a safe area to visit in Paris 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 accommodations options from boutique hotels to apartment rentals.

Paris Travel Resources

To help with your Paris trip inspiration and planning, check out some of my other articles of things to do.

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As a holidaymaker

Whether you spend a couple of hours or one perfect day hopefully this list of what to do in Le Marais Paris will help you experience this historic area.

As one of the richest architectural areas in Paris, full of interesting museums, boutique shops and galleries, and restaurants it’s no wonder the Marais neighbourhood is everyone’s favourite.

Go, enjoy your leisurely stroll and relax in one of the pretty hidden gardens that the 3rd and 4th arrondissements are so famous for.

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