Best Things to Do in Le Marais, Paris

About Le Marais, Paris

On the right bank of Paris, Le Marais is one of the historic neighborhoods in Paris. Le Marais is located between the right bank of the Seine River in the south and Rue de Bretagne in the north, and it occupies part of the current Third and Fourth Arrondissements of Paris.

A stroll around Le Marais is one of the musts of any first trip to Paris. You will find the finest architecture, interesting museums, lovely secluded gardens, cheap and hip bars, pretty cafés, and amazing fashion stores. This beautiful neighborhood is also home to different communities, like the Jewish community, the Chinese community, and the LBGTQ+ community. With such an interesting blend, it is hard to be bored in Le Marais!

Le Marais is the perfect neighborhood in Paris for flâner – wandering aimlessly around the city to experience it. Check out this list of the best things to do in Le Marais, Paris, complete with the best places to eat and sleep.

Are You Planning a Trip to Paris Last Minute?

If you are booking a last-minute trip to Paris, I’ve got you covered! Below are our must-guides, top tours, hotels, and more:

» Plan: Paris Travel Planner; Paris Arrondissements Guide; Check out the best Paris Metro tickets for tourists

» Book your flight tickets with Omio; book your train tickets with Omio

Book your transfer from the airport to the city with Welcome Pickups.

» Where to Stay: Best Districts to Stay in Paris

  1. Le Pavillon de la Reine (historical 5-star hotel in Le Marais)
  2. Hotel La Comtesse (mid-range hotel with Eiffel Tower view from all the rooms!)
  3. Hotel Ducs de Bourgogne (super central 4-star hotel near the Louvre)

» Top-Rated Paris Tours & Tickets:

  1. Louvre Museum Skip-the-Line Ticket
  2. Eiffel Tower Summit Access Ticket
  3. Seine River Night Cruise
  4. Catacombs Skip-the-line tour with VIP access to restricted areas

Want skip-the-line access at museums & attractions in Paris? Get your hands on a Paris Museum Pass!

» Don’t leave without travel insurance! Safety Wing works well for long and short trips (starting with a minimum of 5 days). SafetyWing covers COVID-19 for new policies purchased, and unplanned quarantine is covered, too.

Le Marais Practical Information

How to Get to Le Marais, Paris?

There are several metro lines with metro stations within Le Marais: Sully-Morland and Pont Marie (line 7); Saint-Paul (line 1); Temple and Rambuteau (line 11); Filles du Calvaire (line 8); République (lines 3, 5, 8, 9, 11). Line 1 is the automatic line so even if there’s a transportation strike you are covered!

Where to Eat & Sleep in Le Marais?

What to Do in Le Marais, Paris

Gay District Paris

Le Marais means “marsh” in French, and in Medieval times it was just this, a marshland. Things changed in the 14th century when King Charles V drained the marshlands, included this area inside the new walls that protected the City, and built a new Royal Palace where he and his court settled. Soon, nobles and wealthy men moved to Le Marais to be close to the King and built beautiful private mansions that we can still see today.

If you are wondering what to do in Le Marais, here’s a good list with something for every kind of traveler.

TIP: Guided tours with a local are a great way to explore this historical neighborhood. This Marais Walking Tour and this Marais Pastry and Chocolate Tour always get great reviews!

1. Hotel de Ville

Hôtel de Ville-Paris

Our list of what to see in Le Marais starts at Hotel de Ville. The Hôtel de Ville is one of the most famous buildings in Paris and has been the seat of the Paris Council since 1357. This building is the political center in Paris and is also home to many cultural and festive events.

This imposing Neo-Renaissance construction was built in the 19th century to replace the former Hôtel de Ville burnt down during the Paris Commune in 1871. The Function Room was created as a replica of the Hall of Mirrors in the Château of Versailles!

The Hôtel de Ville offers great temporary exhibitions, usually about topics or artists related to Paris, and they are always free. The entrance to the exhibitions is on Rue de Lobau.

2. Musée Carnavalet

Musée Carnevalet - Paris

The Carnavalet Museum is a must on any first trip to Paris. Nestled in two beautiful private mansions of the 16th and 17th centuries, this beautiful museum is dedicated to the History of Paris, from its origins to the present day. I especially like the rooms underground dedicated to Roman and Medieval Paris and the rooms dedicated to the French Revolution.

After many years of renovation work, the Musée Carnavalet is back in Paris’ cultural program, and you cannot miss it! The permanent collections of the Museum are free to visit.

Address: 23 Rue de Sévigné, Paris 3. Closed on Mondays.

TIP: Musée Carnavalet’s courtyards are occupied by Les Jardins de L’Olympe, a beautiful restaurant and ideal meeting place during the summer. Book your table in advance through their website (

3. Place des Vosges

Place des Vosges - Paris

Place des Vosges is one of the Royal Squares in Paris. It is also the oldest (1605) and the most elegant square in Paris.

A perfect square of 140 m x 140 m, Place des Vosges embodied the first European program of royal city planning. Made of 36 identical elegant buildings connected by a continuous arcade with cafés and shops, only the Pavillon du Roi (Saint-Antoine side) and the Pavillon de la Reine (opposite) are different. Le Pavillon de la Reine is today one of the best hotels in Le Marais, Paris.

Place des Vosges is an exclusive place to live, but it is also a place for a stroll or to meet some friends. You can also enjoy a Parisian picnic in the shade of the trees in the landscaped garden.

4. Village Saint Paul

Village Saint Paul - Le Marais

The hidden squares between Rue Saint-Antoine and the Seine River form a little village of antique dealers in the heart of Le Marais.

Here, the atmosphere is totally different, and you have more than 80 designers, antique dealers, and gallerists offering original, quality shopping for your home.

5. Hôtel Salé – Musée Picasso

Picasso Museum - Paris

This beautiful private mansion typical of Le Marais was commissioned by Pierre Aubert, lord of Fontenay. The hotel was built between 1656 and 1659, between a private courtyard and a lovely garden. As Aubert was responsible for collecting the gabelle (the tax on salt), the hotel was nicknamed by Parisians “Hotel Salé” to make fun of this new rich.

Listed as a historical monument, the Hotel Salé belongs today to the City of Paris, and it hosts the Musée Picasso, dedicated to the life and work of one of the best artists of the XXth century. It also hosts temporary exhibitions about Picasso’s friends.

The Musée Picasso in Paris is the most important Picasso Museum in the world, followed by the Picasso Museum in Barcelona (which specializes in Picasso’s early years) and the Picasso Museum in Málaga (where he was born) – Click here to buy your tickets

Address: 5 Rue de Thorigny, Paris 3. Closed on Mondays.

6. Tour Saint-Jacques

Built in flamboyant Gothic style, the Tour Saint-Jacques is the only remaining vestige of the Eglise Saint-Jacques-de-la-Boucherie destroyed in 1797. This church was one of the pilgrims’ meeting points along the Via Toronensis (or Tours route) to Santiago de Compostela in Spain.

On the northwest corner, a statue of Saint Jacques le Majeur dominates the tower, while the sculpted symbols of the four evangelists (the lion, bull, eagle, and man) appear on the corners. The rest of the decoration is completed with some gargoyles and statues of saints.

Access to the top (54 m) is via a narrow staircase of 300 steps. After the effort, you will be rewarded with one of the best views of Paris!

Address: Square de Saint-Jacques, Paris 4

7. Rue des Barres

Le Marais - Paris

This lovely street located between St Gervais-et-Saint-Protais Church and the tiny Square Couperin is one of the oldest streets in Le Marais, Paris.

The name of Rue des Barres is already mentioned in 1152, and it refers either to the 11th-century wall barriers or the barriers located near the Seine River.  

Rue des Barres is one of the most beautiful streets of Medieval Paris. There’s the Church, which dates back to the 7th century, and some of the few half-timbered houses left in Paris. The restaurant l’Ebouillanté has a lovely terrace perfect for a coffee or a quick lunch in the sun.

8. Musée des Arts et Métiers

Arts et Metiers Museum - Paris

The Musée des Arts et Métiers is a science and technology museum, part of the National Conservatory of Arts and Crafts.

Housed in the former Abbaye de Saint-Martin-des-Champs (11th century), the Musée des Arts et Métiers has an interesting collection of machines, models, and drawings used in the 19th and 20th centuries by the Conservatory to train technicians and engineers.

Here, you can admire two of the Statue of Liberty in Paris and other interesting artifacts like the quirky Avion nº3 by Clément Ader – Click here to buy your tickets

Address: 60 Rue Reaumur, Paris 3. Closed on Mondays.

TIP: Le Marais is a home to exceptional musums. In addition to the Musée des Arts et Métiers, Musée Carnavalet, Musée Picasso, and the Centre Georges Pompidou, described in this article, there’s the Maison Européenne de la Photographie (MEP), Fondation Henri Cartier-Bresson, Musée de la Chasse et la Nature, Mémorial de la Shoah, Gaîté Lyrique, Maison de Victor Hugo, Musée Cognac-Jay, and many more!

9. Rue des Archives

streets of Le Marais

Rue des Archives, located between the Seine River and Rue Bretagne, is one of the most important streets in Le Marais, Paris. It represents the layout of five medieval streets merged into today’s Rue des Archives.

A walk through this street, with beautiful private mansions, is like a step back in time. For example, you can see on number 58 the medieval door and two beautiful turrets of the Hôtel Clisson. On 22-26 of this street, there’s the Billettes Church, whose cloister, in a flamboyant style, is the only cloister from Medieval times that remains in Paris.

On the street’s lower part, there’s the epicenter of gay life in Paris. The Bar Cox (15 Rue des Archives), for example, is a real institution of homosexual emancipation in Paris.

11. Cloître des Billettes (Medieval Cloister)

Cloître des Billettes - Paris

In Medieval times, 22-26 Rue des Archives was a very popular place of pilgrimage honoring a miracle that is said to have occurred there. In the 13th century, King Philippe Le Bel installed the Hospitaller Brothers of Charity Notre-Dame (also called “Billettes”) in this spot.

At the beginning of the 15th century, the former church and the cloister were rebuilt in a Flamboyant Gothic style. Today, the Cloître des Billettes is the only Medieval cloister still existing in Paris.

A Gothic vault made up of simple ribs covers each bay with the exception of the corner bays. For the corner bays, the vault is formed by two triangular vaults with three ribbed branches. You can also see some carved keystones.

Although the church can be visited for free, its cloister only opens for temporary exhibitions, generally highlighting young artists.

Address: 20-26 Rue des Archives, Paris 4.

12. Square du Temple

This beautiful English-style garden was built on the site of the Commandry of the Knights of the Order of the Temple (13th century). This square became the scene of bloody repressions when the Templars were considered heretics by the King of France.

From here, you can see the Carreau du Temple, a beautiful glass and metal structure that was a former cloth market and today hosts interesting exhibitions and events. There’s also the Mairie (City Hall) of the 3rd Arrondissement of Paris, a magnificent 19th-century building.

THE LAST REMAINS OF THE TEMPLE. Curious visitors will notice some strange blue lines on the pavement and sidewalk just in front of the Mairie. In fact, this is the exact layout of the Old Temple’s Keep, the prison where King Louis XVI and Marie-Antoinette spent the last years before their execution. At that time, the Keep was the only Medieval vestige of the Old Temple, and it was completely razed in 1810 by the order of Napoleon I to avoid any memory or place of worship dedicated to the Monarchy.

13. Rue des Rosiers and the Pletzl

Rue des Rosiers - Paris

Rue des Rosiers is the beating heart of one of the oldest Jewish communities in Paris. This area is home to a synagogue with a beautiful Art Nouveau façade, specialized Jewish bookstores, and shops selling typical Jewish food and sweets.

Here, you can also eat the best falafels in Paris (L’As du Falafel but also Le Roi du Falafel). At number 10, there’s a beautiful secluded garden (Jardin des Rosiers) where you can eat your takeaway falafel.

Discover the historic center of the Jewish community in Paris, in the Le Marais district, with this top-rated walking tour and learn about the history and the rich legacy of Jewish culture in Paris.

14. Marché des Enfants Rouges

The Marché des Enfants Rouges is Paris’ oldest food market, created in 1615. Its name (Red Children’s Market) comes from the Hospice des Enfants Rouges located nearby. The orphaned children were all dressed in red, a symbol of Christian charity.

This Food Tour in Le Marais is a great way to discover the Marché des Enfants Rouges and the wonders of Paris’ food in general. Soak up the beauty and charm of this medieval part of town while sampling a selection of culinary delights.

Exploring the food stalls of this colorful covered market is one of the best things to do in Le Marais, Paris. You can buy fresh produce and there’s also the possibility to eat on-site all kinds of cuisines in a canteen-type atmosphere.

Address: 39 Rue de Bretagne, Paris 3. Closed on Mondays.

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15. Hotel de Soubisse – Archives Nationales

The Hôtel de Soubise is one of the most beautiful private mansions in Paris, with reception rooms decorated by Germain Boffrand and paintings by Boucher, Van Loo, and Trémolière. This spectacular hôtel particulier or private mansion is the result of the merging of two oldest private mansions (XIV century): Hôtel de Clisson and Hôtel de Guise.

The Hôtel de Soubise is the seat of the Musée des Archives Nationales (formerly known as Musée de l’Histoire de France) and the Armoire de Fer (the Iron Cabinet), containing some of France’s most important historical documents, which can be visited on rare occasions.

The Hôtel de Soubise is surrounded by a beautiful secluded garden, which is ideal for a short break in the shade.

Address: 60 Rue des Francs-Bourgeois, Paris 3. Closed on Tuesdays.

16. Place Sainte-Cathérine

This lovely square is one of the hidden gems in Paris. Place Sainte Cathérine owes its name to a market set up in 1784 on the site of the former priory of Sainte Cathérine du Val des Escoliers (13th century).

Far from the city’s hustle and bustle, Place Sainte-Cathérine is calm and very picturesque, and it has some benches in the shade and pretty cafés perfect for a break during your wanderings around Le Marais district.

If you are wondering where to go in Le Marais to eat good food in a lovely atmosphere, Place Sainte-Cathérine has some bistros with outdoor terraces which are good and inexpensive.

17. Centre Georges Pompidou (Beaubourg)

Centre Poñpidou Paris 4

Designed by the famous architects Renzo Piano and Richard Rogers, the Centre Pompidou is home to the National Museum of Modern Art, with important collections from the 20th and 21st centuries. This museum also covers contemporary art, and it usually proposes interesting temporary exhibitions – Click here to buy your tickets

Before visiting the museum, don’t miss the Stravinsky fountain and the street performances in Place Beaubourg.

Address: 19 Rue Beaubourg, Paris 4. Closed on Tuesdays.

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Quirky Parisian explorer with a preference for lesser-known sights, I am continuously looking for new ideas and tips to bring you the best of the City of Light! Read more about me.