Once a swamp, Le Marais has changed dramatically over the years. The neighborhood, which was once synonymous with Judaism in Paris, became a hub for LGBT Parisians from the 1980s. Today, the area is one of the most popular places to live and shop. Visit Le Marais to experience its unique combination of fashion, food and culture.
This museum tackles the ambitious task of charting Paris’ history from Lutetia to Napoleon and beyond. Using paintings, articles of clothing, scale models and more, the museum guides visitors through the dense and complex history of the city. The museum has more than a hundred rooms; so set aside the better part of an afternoon before attempting to delve into Paris’ past. The landscaping in the museum’s gardens adds to the atmosphere, it’s as if visitors have stepped into another time.
This beloved art museum reopened in 2014 after a five-year renovation. Located in a 17th-century hôtel particulier, the museum features approximately 5,000 works by artist Pablo Picasso. The museum also showcases artwork from Picasso’s personal collection, including works by Paul Cézanne, Edgar Degas and Henri Matisse. Tourists flock to this museum, so be sure to reserve a ticket online ahead of time.
Paroisse Saint Paul- Saint Louis
Built in 1627 by Jesuits, this visually stunning church is just steps away from the Saint Paul metro station. As the first Jesuit church in Paris, Église Saint-Paul-Saint-Louis shaped the local Jesuit community. Today, the church is still active. It is free to visit, so step through the distinctive red doors, to marvel at the sweeping stone interior lit by hanging chandeliers.
The Institut Suédois offers a glimpse into Swedish life and culture. The cultural center houses a café, theatre, art museum and artist studios. During the summer, spend the afternoon in the institute’s back garden, where an outdoor café serves coffee, tea, smoothies, bagels and cakes. Order a thick slice of homemade carrot cake and people watch from a bench, or recline on a striped beach chair and lose yourself in a book. Fans of all-things-Swedish can even take language lessons at the institute.
Le Carreau du Temple
In the last decade, the City of Paris transformed this run-down clothing market into a lively recreation center. The space, which houses a boutique, bar, restaurant, gym and more, has become a hub of activity in the neighborhood. The Carreau du Temple also regularly hosts events, like September’s highly anticipated Street Food Temple, a food festival featuring food trucks, workshops for children and concerts.
Galerie des Bibliothèques de la Ville de Paris
This gallery space features rotating exhibitions showcasing photographs, books, posters, audio and video from Paris’s library collections. The gallery’s most recent exhibit, ‘Cinéma Premiers Crimes’, delved into the fascinating history of French crime and horror films. Past exhibits have focused on daily life in France during World War I and Paris as described in songs. The gallery hosts three to four exhibitions per year and remains closed when there is no exhibition occurring. Anglophones should be aware that the exhibits are entirely in French.
Rue des Rosiers
Rue des Rosiers is a historic street at the heart of Paris’s Jewish quarter. The street is home to a variety of Jewish restaurants as well as both high-end and vintage clothing stores. Weave through tourists as you window shop, stopping to chow down on a pastrami sandwich from an American-style deli or snack on hamantaschen at a Jewish bakery. The street’s most popular place to eat is L’As du Fallafel, which serves hefty pita sandwiches filled with falafel balls and smoked eggplant. Overall, the Rue des Rosiers reflects the neighborhood’s Jewish heritage and newly trendy reputation, making it a must-see in Le Marais.
Jardin Anne Frank
This spacious garden named after Anne Frank is at the end of a picturesque side street. Quiet and secluded, the garden offers a perfect escape from Le Marais’s small, crowded streets. Read a book under the garden’s beautiful trellis walkway, or enjoy lunch beside the fountain. A playground offers the perfect distraction for children. The garden is next to the charming Musée de la Poupée, a doll museum that is also worth a visit if you’re in the area.
Place des Vosges
Place des Vosges is the oldest planned square in Paris. This expansive square is the ideal place to recuperate after wandering Le Marais. Rows of trim trees enclose the square, which features four large fountains and a bronze statue of Louis XIII. The surrounding buildings house shops, galleries, restaurants, and most notably, the Maison de Victor Hugo, where the author lived and wrote for many years. Visit the small museum to see mementos from Hugo’s childhood as well as the rooms where he wrote ‘Les Miserables‘.
Musée des Arts et Métiers
The Musée des Arts et Métiers is a science and technology museum housed in an old abbey. The museum traces the evolution of machines and modes of transportation, proving to be both entertaining and educational. Temporary exhibits add to the experience. The museum’s engrossing ‘Invention / Design’ exhibit features a collection of innovative and unconventional bicycles as well as a cotton candy machine that produces polyfloss, a type of plastic.