During our visit to Paris in June, I visited the Marais Quartier (neighborhood) of Paris for the first time. I’ve heard many people rave about that district but had never been. The Marais lived up to my expectations and was a lot of fun to explore. I even found quilts! I thought I’d share some of my highlights that you can either bookmark for a future visit to Paris, or just be inspired by the design eye-candy.
The Marais is one of the oldest districts in Paris full of smaller winding roads and tighter streets as opposed to the broad boulevards in the museum and Champs-Élysées districts of the iconic Haussmann renovated center of Paris.
In the Marias you’ll find great shopping and food, some amazing architecture, and a mix of a classic Parisian + a modern trendy vibe.
Here are some of the highlights I visited.
Shopping in the Marais
Below are a couple of shops that I found in the Marias. Some by plan and some by chance. They were lovely! As far as shopping goes, I’m more inspired by house goods, color palettes, and décor than I am by fashion and clothing, so I tend to gravitate to those kinds of shops. (As you know, Paris is reknowned for their fashion, but you will need to find another guide for that.)
As far as housewares, inspiring color palettes and décor go, here are a few of my discoveries and some of they eye-candy I found.
Merci is an iconic French shop with a curated collection of quality housewares and fashion. Merci is found at 111 blvd Beaumarchais 75003 Paris.
Merci is a blend of high-end-shop-meets-museum with changing “installations” and displays of on-trend goods. You can read more about Merci and see examples of previous installations here.
So you can imagine that I was tickled to find that one of the current installations was inspired by “Countryfication” – an exodus to the country and a life close to nature.
And the installation display included – you guessed it – quilts! Never have I felt so chic as a quilter in Paris. It’s like they knew I was coming. 😉
Here are more of the beautiful details and housewares at Merci. I was in love with the muted color palettes and the vintage inspired goods.
A gorgeous discovery during our wander was the Pompon Bazaar. They carried beautiful, unique house goods – including blankets, pillows and rugs. Pompon is found at 15 rue du Château d’Eau, 75010 Paris.
I was most intrigued by their fresh plants and dried floral arrangements and artwork. All of the designs in the framed artwork in the center photo were made of dried flowers and other plants. The workmanship was gorgeous – I was wishing I could bring them all home!
I think that my favorite shop we found was Fleux. Which is actually 6 different shops, divided by category including furniture, lighting, tableware, clothing, fashion accessories or high-tech.
I think my favorite was the baby/children shop. Oh my goodness – the most wonderful variety of goods for children that were both practical every-day objects, but beautifully designed and in gorgeous colors.
Fleux is another example of a large variety of curated objects with tasteful design. (More pressed/dried flower wall art!) Once again, SO many delightful objects that I wanted to take home with me!
The Fleux shops are found at 39, 40, 43, 52 rue Sainte-Croix de la Bretonnerie, 75004 Paris, not far from the Pompidou Center.
Architecture in the Marais
One of the most beautiful locations in the Marais is the Place des Vosges. Some call it the most beautiful square in Paris. This was my first ever visit and it did not disappoint!
Place des Vosges was commissioned by King Henry IV in 1605 and was the elite address to Paris’ aristocracy for centuries. 200 years later Victor Hugo lived in one of the houses while he wrote Les Misérables and The Hunchback of Notre Dame. Look for the house with the French Flag hanging outside. (There is a free museum in his home now. One of my biggest regrets of our trip is that I didn’t go in.)
Place des Vosges is a gorgeous spot to just sit and have a picnic and people watch.
Near Place des Vosges is the Carnavalet Museum. This museum is housed in two stunning mansions and tells the story of the history of the city of Paris.
The museum is excellent and it’s free and doesn’t require a timed booking. If you like French history or French design, this is an excellent stop. And because it’s free, you can spend as little or as long as you’d like. There is also a café in the gorgeous interior courtyard.
The museum contains historic objects, as well as furnished rooms from different periods of Parisian history – especially pre-Revolution. I was especially drawn to the historic, patterned windows throughout the house. I love geometric design – which is probably why I’m drawn to quilts too.
This incredible Art Nouveau masterpiece is the remnants of Georges Fouquet’s jewelry store in Paris, designed in detail by artist Alphons Mucha in the early 20th Century. The details were exquisite. You can read more about Fouquet and Mucha’s collaboration here.
Food in the Marais
The Marais neighborhood is famous for it’s trendy eateries as well as ethnic restaurants. We mostly ate food on the run, so I didn’t stop anywhere to sit down. But you can definitely google Best Restaurants in the Marais and find excellent lists.
We did stop for falafel and chicken shawarma on the Rue de Rosiers. The most famous falafel there is at L’As du Fallafel with a line to match. (So go early or budget a good wait if you’re interested). We ordered from the falafel stand across the street with less-long of a line and it was still the best falafel I’ve ever had. So there’s that option too.
The Marais is also the historic Jewish quarter of Paris and still has kosher shops and bakeries with beautiful loaves of Challah bread.
Sadly, there are also memorials in the Marais to the holocaust including the Anne Frank garden and a memorial at the Lycée Victor Hugo (School next to the Carnavalet museum) to the 11,000 French Jewish children who were deported and killed by the Nazi’s. More than 500 of these children lived in this neighborhood alone and attended the school.
The Pompidou Center
The Pompidou Center is the modern art museum in Paris. If you love modern art (or if you have the Paris Museum Pass – which is worth every penny when going to Paris) it’s worth the stop! We didn’t need to book a time entrance for this museum – as opposed to other museums like the Louvre and the Musée D’Orsay.
Even if you only have time for a quick visit, the view of Paris alone is worth the stop. Take the escalators up to Level 5. This floor has a terrace with the best unobstructed view (in my opinion).
Be aware: the Pompidou Centre is closing for four years from 2023 to 2027 for renovations.
We ran through the highlights of the modern art classics (also on Level 5) including Piet Mondrian’s New York City (one day I want to make a Mondrian-inspired quilt), Raoul Dufy’s La Rue Povoisee (with the flags) and a Frida Kahlo.
Sewing/Haberdashery Shops in the Marais
My other disappointment with my visit to the Marais was that I didn’t make to any of the haberdashery shops in that neighborhood. As I mentioned in my post about sewing shops in the St. Germain neighborhood, I was with my 2 daughters, 2 sisters and a niece (who don’t have sewing on their top priority – can you believe it?!) With only 3 days in the city, we only scratched the surface of Paris. I guess I’ll just have to go back. 😉
Here are some that I’d like to see:
La Mercerie Parisienne 8 Rue des Francs Bourgeois, 75003 Paris, France
Petit Pan 76 Rue François Miron, 75004 Paris, France
La Petite Epicerie 74 Rue de la Verrerie, 75004 Paris, France
La Droguerie 9-11 Rue du Jour, 75001 Paris, France
If you go, or know of any others, I’d love to hear your experience and recommendations!
The Marais is a fabulous Paris neighborhood to explore. For more ideas, check out this great list of 21 Things to do in the Marais here that I wish I’d read before I went!
You can read my other France recommendations including: