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Like a Local Paris Arrondissements

Paris 3 Like a Local: Top Sights and Best Things to See & Do


Paris arrondissement map


Paris 3rd arrondissement is one of the most touristy districts in Paris, together with Paris 1 and Paris 4 of course! This is a district very appreciated for its quality of life. However Paris 3 has many faces, with three interesting areas which deserve a little detour . . .

Related:  Paris 1 Like a Local: Top Sights and Best Things to See & Do

In the 3rd arrondissment we can find half of le Marais  (the other half is in Paris 4). This is one of the most popular neighborhoods in Paris, especially known for its beautiful architecture, trendy and vintage boutiques and art galleries. Le Marais means “marsh” in French and long, long time ago it was just this, a marshland. Things changed in the XIV century when Charles V drained the marshlands and included this area inside the new ramparts surrounding the city. After some security incidents at Ile de Cité the king decided to move to Hôtel Saint Pol in the Marais. Consequently, all the important people followed the king, building beautiful residences (hôtels particuliers) around the new royal palace. Some of these hôtels particuliers host today interesting museums opened to the public.

The heart of this half le Marais is (in our opinion) Musée des Archives Nationales (at Hôtel Soubise), hosting the French Archives  from the Merovingians to 1958, AND Musée Carnevalet  (Hôtel de Sévigné) dedicated to the history of Paris.

Update !  Musée Carnevalet is currently closed for renovation works until end of 2019

The Historical Quarters of  Temple and Arts et Métiers

Paris 3rd arrondissement also includes the historical quarters of Temple and Arts et Métiers, today considered part of le Marais. The name “Temple” comes from the Knights of Templar, the religious and military order who by the XIVth century owned the land around le Marais. Many artisans and craftsmen established within the Templars’ walls, where the monarchy had no jurisdiction to collect taxes. Their wealth lasted until 1307, when king Philip IV imprisoned the Templars and confiscated their lands. Today the beautiful Musée des Arts et Métiers stands as a silent testimony of this arts & crafts past richness. Other remarkable buildings in this area are Carreau du Temple, a covered market occupying the former site of the Knights Templar’s medieval enclosure and Marché des Enfants Rouges, the oldest covered market in Paris, built in 1628.

Finally the 3rd arrondissrment is the home of the Wenzhou Chinese community which was the first Chinese community (there are 3 Chinatown in Paris!) to arrive to Paris as recruited laborers during WWI. This community is settled in the streets around colorful Rue au Mairie, a picturesque area which deserves some exploration.



No surprises here: you can find all these places on all the guidebooks about Paris so no article talking about the 3rd arrondissement would be complete without these Paris tourist places. If you are visiting Paris for the first time you will like to visit some of them, they are touristy but beautiful !

Archives Nationales Museum

Picasso Museum

Musée Carnavalet

Musée Cognacq-Jay

Arts et Métiers Museum

Musée d’Histoire et d’Art du Judaïsme  



Some of them are part of touristy sights, some of them are hidden gems. This is our personal list of best things to see in the 3rd arrondissement if you want to know le Marais like a local.

Nicolas Flamel’s house – built in the XVth century, this is the oldest house in Paris (51 Rue de Montmorency)

The Defender of Time – a giant (and eternally damaged) mechanical work of art in the form of a clock at Quartier de l’Horloge

The tallest caryatid in Paris – an intriguing 3 floors high sculpture at 57 rue Turbigo

Charming Passage de l’Ancre – a hidden gem only few locals know!

Quirky Avion #3 at Musée des Arts et Métiers –  this “flying machine” (1897) resisted few seconds in the air during its inauguration flight before crashing down!

Musée Lapidaire at Square Georges Caïn – salvaged sections of the old Tuileries Palace (destroyed by a big fire) and other stone curiosities

The Statue of Liberty’s original molding – at Musée des Arts et Métiers



If you want to walk around le Marais to soak up the atmosphere, we recommend to go in weekdays: le Marais on Saturday is very crowded! We like to go to the 3st arrondissement from time to time because there are always interesting photography exhibitions proposed by the district’s countless art galleries. But of course there are many other interesting things to do in Paris 3rd arrondissement. Here is our list of best things to do in the 3rd arrondissement if you want to know le Marais like a local.

Early morning tai-chi session – join the local Chinese community at Square du Temple

Get lost at Marais and admire its beautiful architecture – we especially love the hideous masks over the main doors

Book + some sun rays in one of the hôtels’s secluded gardens – our favorites are at Hôtel Cognac-Jay and Hôtel Soubise

Coffee + friends + people watching – enjoy Marais’ extraordinary cafe culture

Musée de la Poupée – a nice travel back in time to your childhood

Visit the Grands Dépôts at Musée des Archives Nationales – this is France’s most precious treasure !

Listen to the Afghan crickets’ singing at Arts et Metiers metro station – the metro’s temperature (27° to 34° at rush hour) is perfect for these clandestine crickets coming from Afghanistan

Give in and buy your favorite comic book at “Les Super Héros” – 175 Rue Saint-Martin

Thursday= vernissage night = free champagne! – in the endless number of art & photography galleries in the area



Le Marché des Enfants Rouges (39 Rue de Bretagne) is very popular, with interesting proposals at a reasonable price.

Asian food lovers will have a blast at rue au Mairie and surrounding streets. Real Chinese Restaurants (also some Vietnamese Restaurants) which are always full.

Check other proposals of best places to eat in Paris (by Paris arrondissement) on Yummy Paris. This is a living page which we are continuously “feeding” with our Parisian friends’ suggestions so we recommend you to come back from time to time to check the newest additions.



On Where to Stay in Paris section we always try to give 3 top options of best hotels in Paris in each price brackets. Have in mind that this is very trendy area and the prices are higher. For the same price you can have better quality in other districts. Because the budget proposals in the 3rd arrondissement do not convince us, we prefer to propose a luxury hotel and two mid range options instead. You can check all the hotel options for the 3rd arrondissement here


luxury hotels in paris 3


A luxury hotel & spa located at Place des Vosges in the Marais, Rooms are individually decorated and very spacious. Facilities include a spa, fitness centre and hammam. Its beautiful secluded garden is perfect to end your day with a drink.

Check the hotel’s latest offers

best hotels in Paris 3


Located at the heart of Marais and entirely designed by Christian Lacroix, it is impossible to have a better combination history + design. Guests can use complimentary bicycles and enjoy free access to the spa at Hotel Pavillon de la Reine, a 10-min walk away.

Check the hotel’s latest offers

best hotels in paris 3


A great little hotel with a lovely (and eclectic) decoration and unique ambiance. Very good location (close to Musée des Arts et Métiers). Nice staff, delicious breakfast and a cool vibe in the common areas.

Check the hotel’s latest offers



Related:  Paris 2 Like a Local: Top Sights and Our Must See's & Do's
Related:  Paris 4 Like a Local: Top Sights and Best Things to See & Do



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  • Reply
    Sandy N Vyjay
    06/10/2017 at 4:37 pm

    Paris 3 captures the essence and spirit of Paris and is so enchanting. When we were in Paris, we did not have time to look beyond the Eiffel Towers and Louvres of Paris. Hope to get there someday to explore Paris like a local and really soak in the spirit of Paris.

    • Reply
      06/19/2017 at 12:20 pm

      So still many things to explore in Paris for you. And this is good because Paris is always a good idea 😉

  • Reply
    Eli Ivanova
    05/30/2017 at 1:59 pm

    I have been 2 times in Paris till now. During my last visit several years ago, I thought I noticed The Statue of Liberty’s while I was traveling by train from Paris to Versailles.

    • Reply
      05/30/2017 at 7:43 pm

      Eli, there are many Statues of Liberty in Paris. I am talking about the ones located at Musée des Arts et Métiers in Paris 3. I think the one you saw is located on a small island on the Seine 😉

      • Reply
        Eli Ivanova
        05/31/2017 at 10:31 am

        Thanks for the answer. The one I saw was on the Seine. I didn’t know that there were a lot of Statues 🙂

  • Reply
    carla abanes
    05/24/2017 at 12:05 am

    Really love love love Paris! I would love to go back anytime soon! Thanks for sharing this list, I would love to check them out when I go back. Thanks for sharing this.

  • Reply
    Stacey Billingsley
    05/23/2017 at 7:35 pm

    These pictures are so beautiful! I love the architecture in this area. Maybe someday I will go.S

    • Reply
      06/10/2017 at 4:20 pm

      I hope so! Paris is very beautiful 🙂

  • Reply
    Shruti Prabhu
    05/23/2017 at 5:54 pm

    Lovely! Paris is such a dream destination. This post really simplifies things. As an artist, I would surely love to visit the art galleries and historic monuments in Paris. A visit to those cafes wouldn’t hurt either.

    • Reply
      06/05/2017 at 4:03 pm

      You can add a well deserved cafe break between gallery and gallery 🙂

  • Reply
    05/22/2017 at 4:39 pm

    I love this series Elisa. I’m bookmarking for the next time I go to Paris, and meantime my daughter is heading there in a few weeks, so I’ve forwarded the urls to her. Thanks so much.

    • Reply
      06/20/2017 at 9:58 am

      You are welcome Corinne. Hope you will discover some new sights through our mini guides 🙂

  • Reply
    Tamara Elliott
    05/22/2017 at 3:21 pm

    Wow, reading through your list it looks like I somehow skipped all of the third district when I was there! Darn- just means I’ll have to go back and check all these spots out 😉

    • Reply
      06/10/2017 at 4:19 pm

      Oh, no! Well, Paris is always a good idea and the fourth district is coming soon 😉

  • Reply
    Josh Skipworth
    05/22/2017 at 3:06 pm

    Wonderful! We spent Christmas in Paris and are saddened every day that we aren’t French citizens with a cute tiny apartment in Paris.

    • Reply
      06/20/2017 at 10:14 am

      Josh you won’t be to sad when you knew that cute apartments in Paris are veeeery small 🙂

  • Reply
    Castaway with Crystal
    05/22/2017 at 12:56 pm

    Bookmarking this for my trip to Paris. It looks amazing and I love your tips!

    • Reply
      06/20/2017 at 10:14 am

      Thanks for your nice comment, Crystal! 🙂

  • Reply
    Arimo | Arimo travels
    05/22/2017 at 12:05 pm

    I love your posts of different regions of Paris! When I get there next year, I’ll definitely look my accommodations surroundings from your blog to see what’s nearby 😉

  • Reply
    05/22/2017 at 5:17 am

    Great breakdown of what to do in Paris! When I finally go there, I’m going to be referring to this post + your other posts when I’m ready to start planning!

  • Reply
    05/22/2017 at 3:18 am

    Ah, Paris! It’s been way too long since I’ve visited this beautiful city. Great post, thanks for sharing!

  • Reply
    05/21/2017 at 9:46 pm

    I adore Paris! Next time I’ll have to take this post with me 😉

    • Reply
      05/21/2017 at 11:07 pm

      Only this post? :-O Take the whole blog! 😉

  • Reply
    05/21/2017 at 4:48 pm

    What a great comprehensive post. Paris is such a huge city so it’s really nice to break it down by area. I loved the Picasso museum here. One of my favourites.

  • Reply
    05/21/2017 at 2:36 pm

    I like your idea to write guides for Paris based on each district. It looks like Paris 3 is a ritzy place to visit, with all those fancy houses! Do you think it can be experienced in just one day, or would you recommend more?

  • Reply
    Bethanny Sudibyo
    05/20/2017 at 11:20 pm

    This is a really complete post! I hope I can find my way to Paris one day and actually visit all these places. I haven’t found myself in Europe yet, but one day for sure!

    • Reply
      05/21/2017 at 1:27 pm

      If this is your dream, keep on trying and you will make it 🙂

  • Reply
    Juergen | dare2go
    05/20/2017 at 10:04 pm

    What a comprehensive, but very well sorted list! If you want to see only half of it you will need to spend a week only in and around the 3rd arrondissement. It will leave just enough time to tick of a few of Paris’ other main sights.

    • Reply
      05/21/2017 at 1:28 pm

      Lol. Juergen MAYBE you are right. But how cool is it that there is so much to see and do in just one district? That’s why people never get tired of Paris!

  • Reply
    05/20/2017 at 8:21 pm

    I lived in France for a while so visited Paris regularly. I have very fond memories of a weekend there with my mother not so long before she died.

  • Reply
    Penny Sadler
    05/20/2017 at 3:23 pm

    I like the way you’ve broken this down into easy to read and understand pieces. Paris,,,, one day…

    • Reply
      05/20/2017 at 9:31 pm

      Thank you! 🙂

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