le marais area of paris courtyard in paris things to do in paris

Le Marais Area of Paris: Best Things to Do & Eat in the 3rd

The Marais area of Paris is a vibrant neighborhood blending history, charm, and trendy vibes—and it’s one of my absolute favorites in all of Paris. This comprehensive guide reveals my top 10 experiences, from picnicking at Place des Vosges to exploring museums like Musée Picasso. Plus, find out about my favorite local markets, galleries, shops, and restaurants in the Marais!

*This post contains affiliate links, and I will earn a small commission if you shop through the links on my page. To read more, please see my affiliate disclosure.

Odds are that whether you plan to or not, you’ll find yourself in the Le Marais area of Paris at some point on your trip. It’s a fantastic, central neighborhood of Paris that’s full of history, charm, and culture—and it’s pretty trendy too!

On one of my very first visits to the city I stayed in Le Marais, Paris. And even though nowadays I usually choose a more local-feeling neighborhood, I make a point to spend ample time in the Le Marais area of Paris every time I visit.

Some of my absolute favorite bars, restaurants, and shops are in Le Marais, so I’m really excited to be able to bring all my past experiences in the Marais together for you in this post!

Oh, and if you’re feeling like this chic neighborhood might be a perfect place to base yourself for your visit to Paris (which would probably be true!), stick around until the end for some of my favorite boutique hotels in the Marais.

Delve into France

My 10 Favorite Things to Do in the Marais, Paris

1. Picnic at Place des Vosges 

Place des Vosges garden for a picnic in le marais area of paris fun things to do in Paris

Place des Vosges is the oldest planned square in Paris, and it just so happens to be nicely located in the Le Marais area of Paris! It’s a beautifully manicured space where, unlike many of the other famous gardens in the city, you’re allowed to sit on the grass. 

That’s why I like to recommend people come here for a picnic! It’s a nice local experience in the heart of Le Marais, because many other tourists will opt for one of the more obvious parks to lounge in.

Honestly, hanging out in parks and gardens is one of my favorite things to do while traveling anyway, because it can get tiring to walk around as much as you do when exploring a new place! 

If you want to have a little picnic in the park you can head to either the Monoxprix, or Marché Bastille, both of which are nearby, and grab some wine, other drinks, and snacks to really elevate the experience. 

Or, if you can’t be bothered to organize a picnic for yourself (…mood), why not book a pre-organized Place des Vosges picnic with a local?!

P.S. When you book using my links, you help support Rachel IRL at no extra cost to you. It’s a win-win!

2. Musée Picasso 

picasso museum in le marais area of paris from the street

For such a small neighborhood, the Marais actually holds several impressive museums!

The Musée Picasso is ideal for true Picasso enthusiasts. It holds over 5000 works from Picasso, which is more than any other museum in the world, and it’s quite easy to get lost in there!

The museum is located in the stunning 17th-century Hôtel Salé, an architectural masterpiece in the Marais, and is open every day but Monday.

You can also take advantage of the lovely rooftop cafe to enjoy after your time in the museum.

Skip the queue and book your priority entrance ticket here!

3. Musée d’art et d’histoire du Judaïsme

Museum of the Art and History of Judaism (Musée d'art et d'histoire du Judaïsme) le marais area of paris

Musée d’art et d’histoire du Judaïsme, or The Museum of Art and History of Judaism (MAHJ) is a hub of Jewish heritage and culture in the heart of the Marais in Paris. 

Located in the beautiful Hôtel de Saint-Aignan, it inherited the collection of the Museum of Jewish Art, which was founded by Holocaust survivors in 1948. 

The museum’s collection, which has more than 12,000 works, includes pieces from the national museum of the Middle Ages. The main goal of the museum is to showcase 2000 years of Jewish life and culture in France, and showcase artistic projects relating to Jewish identity.

It’s open every day aside from Monday, and is next to the very lovely Anne Frank city garden.

4. Musée Carnavalet

Musée Carnavalet history of le marais area of paris museums close up of the building

Le Marais area of Paris is also home to The Musée Carnavalet, which is Paris’s oldest museum, and also one of the more overlooked ones! It’s located right in the thick of the Marais, so it’s very convenient to visit.

The permanent collection takes a look at the history of Paris through furniture, signage, artwork and more. The museum covers 450 years of history and holds over 618,000 items in its collection. You’ll also find rotating exhibitions of art and photography that focus on more specific time periods. 

If you’re interested in the history of Paris, it’s definitely worth the visit. It’s open every day aside from Monday.

5. Centre Pompidou 

centre pompidou is a modern art museum in central le marais area of paris is a great thing to do in paris

The Centre Pompidou, is technically just outside of the Le Marais area of Paris, but it’s pretty critical to the neighborhood, so I’m of course going to cover it! 

It sticks out a bit—okay a lot—from the quaint, historical look of The Marais with its external air ducts and super modern façade, so you really can’t miss it. The museum houses Europe’s largest modern art collection. It’s rivaled only by MoMA in New York.

Inside you can expect to see an extensive collection of modern art, including works by artists like Picasso and Matisse. Plus, the rooftop offers a great view of the city, which is honestly always a vibe in Paris.

It’s open every day except for Tuesday, and I highly recommend booking tickets in advance to get a specific time slot, as this is one of the most popular Paris museums.

6. Marché couvert des Enfants Rouges

le marais area of paris enfant rouge market

The Marché des Enfants Rouges is definitely one of my favorite places to grab a quick bite to eat in Le Marais area of Paris. Dating back to 1615, it’s actually Paris’s oldest food market, which is pretty cool.

The market has a pretty diverse selection of food options, including Moroccan, Lebanese, Italian, and crepes. There are also stands for seafood and fresh produce, and it definitely picks up around lunchtime—but that’s also the best time to get the full experience!

My favorite stand, Chez Alain Miam Miam was actually so popular that it’s now it’s own shop just around the block, so you’ll have to tell me what you try when you go! The Moroccan stand is always packed, so I know I’m going to give that a try next time.

If exploring a giant market sounds a bit overwhelming, this guided food tour of the market will ease you in (and it comes extremely well recommended by past participants)!

7. Victor Hugo House 

victor hugo huse le marais area of paris

Sitting just on the corner of the Place des Vosges, the Maison de Victor Hugo is the perfect place if you want to get a unique glimpse into the life and career of Victor Hugo.

The museum is inside the building where Hugo lived from 1832 to 1848, and where he crafted some of his most famous works, including a large portion of ‘Les Misérables.’ 

The space is filled with Hugo’s personal items and furniture, and temporary exhibitions often include his drawings and literary work illustrations. 

It’s certainly a more niche museum, but I think if you’re interested in his work, it’s worth the visit! Like most museums, it’s open every day but Monday.

8. Take a walking tour

walking tour le marais area of paris

A walking tour is such a basic—but often overlooked—option for things to do in Paris. 

Although I’m (obviously) a huge fan of wandering aimlessly, a tour can also be a great way to situate yourself on your trip. It’ll help you get your bearings, set the tone for the rest of your days in Paris, and maybe even give you a push to flâneur with confidence later.

I usually like to do walking tours that either have a food slant to them or a specific history component, depending on my interests or the location. These are my top picks for Le Marais area of Paris:

9. Shop ’til you drop!

vintage and thrift shop in le marais area of paris - things to do in paris

Le Marais is also a great option for anyone looking to do a little retail therapy! The whole neighborhood is home to some seriously cute independent boutiques and shops. 

Merci is probably the number one most recommended shop to visit for anyone who wants to be on-trend. It showcases current trends in real-life settings, and has a lot of vintage furniture on offer too. As a bonus, there’s a book cafe.

Some other stars of the neighborhood are The Broken Arm, which is mostly a fashion boutique, but also partially a coffee shop. Ateliers Auguste is perfect for leather goods, and Le Village Saint-Paul is also full of antique shops and galleries.

I’m also obsessed with Officine Universelle Buly 1803, which is a very cool perfume shop and overall apothecary. If perfumes are your thing, I also recommend checking out Dover Street Parfums Market.

Le Marais area of Paris also has a great selection of vintage shops. Thanx God I’m a V.I.P. is a vintage market that has a reputation for having hidden gems and incredible designer pieces. Vintage Désir is a cramped shop with a gorgeous old wooden facade that always yields a treasure or two if you’re willing to look. 

Vintage by Ramin, Vintage System, and The Parisian Vintage are also great. And finally, BIS Boutique Solidaire is spacious, on-trend, and carries good (elevated) brands!

There’s a ton more vintage in Le Marais area of Paris too, but I don’t want to inundate you with information overload!

art gallery le marais area of paris

Le Marais also has tons of contemporary art galleries which are a great thing to do if you want a totally different and off the beaten track look at the art scene in Paris. 

Some of the most notable ones you should check out are Galerie Perrotin, a 2-floor gallery that focuses mostly on works by French & Asian artists and Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac, a bright space with contemporary temporary exhibitions by both established and emerging artists.

Galerie Xippas and Marian Goodman Gallery are also worth a visit!

le marais area of paris quaint street corner

Where to eat 

The issue with deciding on the best restaurants in le Marais Paris is that you’re utterly spoiled for choice. There’s about 100 incredible restaurants per block, and most of them are pretty good. This list is a combination of Le Marais restaurants I’ve personally gone and loved, and places my dear friends who live in Paris keep telling me I need to go.

I’ve divided up my list by category, though I’ve noted when things span multiple categories. Also, I’ve linked each one to Google Maps, which is one of my ride or die travel resources.

le marais area of paris boulangerie 2

For Breakfast 

Boot Café – coffee shop

I.O Café – coffee shop & cafe

Ob-la-Di Café – coffee shop and pastries

Typica – specialty coffee shop

Fringe – specialty coffee shop

le marais area of paris falafel

For Lunch 

BigLove – Italian, popular for brunch

Candelaria – trendy Mexican (lunch or dinner)

Chez Alain Miam Miam – Standalone shop of former market stall, incredible sandwiches 

Breizh Café – one of the best crepes I’ve ever had

Derrière – upscale food in a unique apartment setting (lunch and dinner)

le marais area of paris boulangerie la belle hortense onion soup

For Dinner 

Robert et Louise – traditional French, cozy atmosphere 

L’Ambroisie – fancy (and pricey!!) French (lunch and dinner)

Au Passage – small plates and natural wine 

La Belle Hortense – traditional French food, wine bar and book shop 

Capitaine – natural wine and seasonal dishes (lunch and dinner)

le marais area of paris chez janou

For Anytime 

Chez Janou – very popular, traditional French. Go by to try to get a reservation, lunch may be easier, but dinner is best!

Glou – great terrace, upscale food 

Les Philosophes – classic French bistro 

Café Charlot – cozy and casual French cafe 

le marais area of paris ivy house (2)

For Everything Else 

38’Rivoli – Jazz club

Perchoir – cocktails, roof bar with great views

Little Red Door – cozy cocktail bar

Le Mary Celeste – neighborhood bar, also serves food (lunch until late)

Andy Wahloo – creative cocktails in a nice space

Le Barav – wine bar

Copperbay – elevated cocktail bar

Le 1905 – trendy vintage inspired cocktail bar

Where to Stay: Best Hotels in The Marais Paris

The best boutique hotels in the Marais might be expensive, but wow are they special! If you’re splashing out on a big trip or a honeymoon, you’ll find the trendiest, most unique hotels Paris has to offer in this neighborhood.

Even if you’re on a bit more of a budget, though, it is 100% worth staying in the Marais. Here are my picks for cute, independent hotels in the Marais at every price point, if this post has convinced you that you need to stay in this neighborhood on your next trip!

Check out my full list of the best boutique Paris hotels in other neighborhoods!

affordable luxury Hôtel Sookie in the Marais, Paris

Hôtel Sookie

€€ | 4 Star | Earthy Elegance | All Day“Coffe Shop” Onsite

If there’s one thing that really does it for me with hotel design, it’s careful attention to detail with materials. And let me tell you, Hôtel Sookie doesn’t disappoint in that department. Mixing gorgeous textiles, stone, bamboo, and textured carpets, this hotel embraces an earthy modernism that genuinely feels like a one-of-a-kind point of view. If budget’s on the mind but you’re dead set on a Marais stay, this is the place for you.

Photo: Booking.com

Boutique Paris hotel Maison Saintonge in the Marais

Maison Saintonge

€€€ | 4 Star | Traditional Charm | Quirky Onsite Candy Shop

A left turn from many of the other hotels on this list, Maison Saintonge takes its design inspiration from the South of France. Furnished with one-of-a-kind pieces from all over France and featuring exposed beam ceilings, this place will have you living your cottage core fantasies right in the heart of the Marais.

Photo: Booking.com

Le Grand Mazarin in the Marais, luxury boutique hotel in Paris

Le Grand Mazarin

€€€€ | 5 Star | 17th Century Chic | Stunning Underground Pool

I think the tapestries suspended as bed canopies sort of speak for themselves, no? At Le Grand Mazarin, you’ll be transported to a fantastical world where France’s Grand Siècle (the 17th century) and updated whimsical opulence à la Bridgerton collide. Check out the full Booking.com listing below to peep the gorgeous fresco barrel vault ceiling over the pool. Add a chic restaurant and two bars (one no-phones-allowed), and this place is cultivating vibes left and right!

Photo: Booking.com

Sinner Paris, trendy boutique 5 star Paris hotel in the Marais

Sinner Paris

€€€€ | 5 Star | Concept-Driven | Elaborate Touches

For those who vibe with a darker, more mysterious energy, Sinner Paris will definitely keep you on your toes. With rooms inspired by the medieval religious history of France (think Knights Templar) this hotel spares nothing by way of amenities: in-room vinyl and novels to peruse, a Roman baths-inspired spa, and the mysterious “Crypt” concept store (good luck discovering anything about it before you visit) all await to quite literally tingle your every sense.

Photo: Booking.com

FAQs about the Marais in Paris

What is the Marais in Paris known for?

The Marais in Paris is known for a number of things, but mainly it’s well known for being a very trendy, central, and popular area in Paris to stay, eat, and hang out.

The Marais Paris almost gives off a bit of a village-like feeling, with its smaller cobblestone streets and slightly off kilter buildings. It certainly has a lot of history—Victor Hugo lived here while writing Les Miserables, and it’s home to the oldest market in Paris—and you can really feel that while you explore the area.

Le Marais area of Paris is also well known for being the historically Jewish area of the city, and you can see this reflected in the many Jewish businesses and restaurants. Not only that, but there are still synagogues there, and a memorial to the Holocaust.

The Marais is also quite well known for being home to the LGBTQ area of Paris. You’ll find a lot of gay bars and queer signage in some parts of the neighborhood, and the queer scene has been flourishing since the 1980s.

paris neighborhoods golden hour in le marais area of paris

Is Le Marais a nice area in Paris?

Yes, Le Marais is a nice area in Paris! In fact, I would go so far as to say that it’s one of the nicest areas of Paris.

Le Marais is quaint, trendy, central, and quite safe. It’s one of my top recommendations for where to stay in Paris, especially those coming to Paris for a celebration or who don’t mind splurging. Hotels here don’t come cheap! 

That said, whether you stay or just visit for a day, Le Marais area of Paris has you covered for a wide range of potential interests, including contemporary art, history, shopping, or cool vibes. I think Le Marais is a must see Paris area.

le marais area of paris courtyard in paris things to do in paris

Is Le Marais expensive?

I mean, there’s no point in sugar coating it really: yes, Le Marais is expensive. Much like every other trendy and central neighborhood of any other major city, the Le Marais paris neighborhood is going to cost you a bit more than some other areas. 

That being said, if you’re not overly concerned with keeping costs low, Le Marais Paris can be a great place to splurge a little. The location is ideal, managing to be both trendy and historic, without feeling like a tourist trap. Plus, Le Marais area of Paris still manages to be walkable to tons of main attractions. So yes, it’s expensive—but sometimes you get what you pay for!

le marais area of paris golden hour

Is Le Marais too touristy?

Personally, I don’t think Le Marais is too touristy. I’ve spent time in Le Marais area of Paris every time I visit Paris, as recently as September 2023, and as a whole I don’t really think it’s too touristy. 

That being said, there are definitely more touristy parts of the Marais than others. 

For example, if you stay mostly east, towards the Place des Vosges and Bastille, or further north, by Marché des Enfants Rouges, it feels much less touristy. However, if you’re more central, such as near the Centre Pompidou, things will feel much more touristy.

Is it worth it to go to the Marais?

Yes, it’s most definitely worth it to go to the Marais. There’s something there for everyone!

It’s a neighborhood full of history, culture, shops, and restaurants.

Whether you want to explore some museums, enjoy the LGBTQ scene, vintage shop, or eat to your heart’s content, the Marais is perfect for you!

P.S. When you book using my links, you help support Rachel IRL at no extra cost to you. It’s a win-win!

Ready to explore the Le Marais area of Paris?

I hope this post has made you super inspired and excited to visit the Le Marais area of Paris!! I know it made me sad that I’m not there right now.

If you have any questions, comments, or think I might have missed something, feel free to leave a comment or shoot me an email! 

And if you’re still planning, be sure to check out all my other posts about Paris so you can have the best trip ever.

You can also always find me on Instagram, Pinterest, Youtube, and my newsletter.

Happy traveling!

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