Le Marais , what used to be Paris's jewish neighborhood, is now one of the hippest destinations.
The Marais includes the 3rd and the 4th arrondissements. It's an area that you'll want to visit every time you're in Paris. You'll find so many reasons to go : Centre Georges Pompidou, this amazing designed building with a lot more to offer than just a museum, la Maison Europeenne de la Photographie, a must for contemporary photos exhibits, la Place des Vosges, magnificent Renaissance square, le Musee Picasso, one of the largest Picasso collection in the world but also displayed in a beautiful 17th century building : l'hotel Sale, le Musee Carnavalet, ....
But as I live in the neighborhood I can tell you that the Marais is also and mainly a place to hang out choosing the right place to have a proper lunch, wandering around the narrow streets and peeking into private courtyard and private mansions ( Hotel Particulier). Sunday is probably when the Marais is at its liveliest as that's almost the only spot in Paris for Sunday shoppers!!!
The upper part of the Marais is becoming increasingly exciting for strolling.
There are a lot of hip boutiques. Here are some of my favorite ones :
Antik Batik, rue de Turenne,is taking you on a journey anywhere between Bombay, Marrakech and Rio de Janeiro; this is fashion without frontiers for urban women , a very sought after exotic-chic fashion brand of Paris.
Erotokritos, rue Vieille du temple, offers beautiful collections presented on steel fittings and cement blocks. This Greek designer is amazingly gifted when it comes to colour, don't miss it!!!
AB 33 et N 60, rue charlot, Agathe's boutiques, propose a selection of many essential labels such as Isabel Marrant, Christina Ti, Tocca....) and also find the hottest young talent before anyone else. Luckily for me it's in my neighborhood!!!!!
APC, rue Vieille du Temple, a fuss free boutique concept, simple fashion, minimalist and high quality.
Shopping for the kids in the Marais is also a must, sometimes expensive but so beautiful!!!!! you would buy everything for your lovely babies...Have you ever been to Zef, rue Debelleyme, Bonton , rue Vieille du temple, Le marchand d'etoile, rue de Turenne, Petit Bateau, rue de Sevigne???? you should, you'll love it...
We often walk around with my kids from the very charming Square du Temple, Upper part of the Marais to Place des Vosges. We sometimes grab something to go - could be a falafel and in that case L'as du Falafel, rue des Rosiers, is hands down the best one- and pic nic in one of the park, you may want to try the park across the street from Le centre culturel Suedois , rue Payenne; it's very very quiet and pleasant!
If it's not very sunny, which may happen in Paris!!! one of my favorite cafe in the neighborhood is Le Loir dans le Theiere, rue des rosiers, where you can sink into the sofas or armchairs and eat fabulous pastries. The food is always delicious , everyone that has ever worked there, Gilles, Philippe... is very professional, helpful and smiley and the owner, Paul, is the best!!!
I also like to sit and watch the world go by from Le Petit Fer a Cheval , a tiny bar on rue vielle du Temple, wher you eat a fabulous tarte tatin!!!.
Le Progres, rue de Bretagne, very traditional bar and cafe has a great terrasse and is so perfect for a coffee and croissant in the morning. I know we eat too much in France!!!!
I also highly recommend the wonderful "Marche des Enfants Rouges" located on rue de Bretagne, where you will find fabulous deli-type food as well as raw ingredients.
If you like japanese food, you cannot leave without trying this beautiful japanese deli in the Market
Try the salvage salmon from the fish shop inside the market , it's soooo good.
Le Cours des Halles just off the Market to the left on rue de bretagne offers the best selection of organic fruit and vegetables.