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POPULAR TIMESSummer; weekends
RESERVE IN ADVANCENo
WAIT TIME WITHOUT RESERVATIONNone
HIGHLIGHTSCobbled medieval streets; Place des Vosges; falafel stands and Jewish delis
METROPont Marie; Hotel de Ville; Saint Paul; Bastille; Chemin Vert; Rambuteau
Once a favorite royal hangout and the traditional Jewish quarter of Paris, this picturesque medieval neighborhood built on a swamp (marais is French for bog) fell into disrepair once the king started hanging out at the Louvre and Versailles, and it wasn’t until the second half of the 20th century that it started to bounce back. These days, gentrification is in full swing, and its cute cobbled streets are lined with posh boutiques, gourmet cafés, falafel stands and kosher delis, and funky galleries. The area is packed with museums, too, including the Jewish History Museum, the Musée Carnavalet (which gives a historic overview of Paris, particularly during the Revolution), the Musée Picasso, and the Centre Pompidou.
GO HERE WITH
A date; friends; family
WHY WE LIKE IT
It’s like a funky little village within the city. We love the higgledy-piggledy medieval streets (this is one of the few places in Paris where they still remain) and the artsy-boho vibes. It’s the perfect spot for an afternoon of shopping and museum hopping or a laidback evening on the town. (And we’re also partial to the delish falafel that the vendors around Rue des Rosiers serve up.) Be sure not to miss a walk around the grassy courtyard of Place des Vosges.
WHAT WE WOULD CHANGE
As gentrification takes hold, many of the artsy types who made this area so cool in the first place are being pushed out.
GOOD TO KNOW
The two centers of the neighborhood are Place des Vosges (which was once a royal palace) and Rue des Rosiers (which was the heart of the Jewish quarter). It’s worth getting a map of the area because the medieval street plan here is more chaotic than around the tidy Haussmannian boulevards elsewhere in the city. Since the 1980s, le Marais has become a center of the gay community in Paris.
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