January 21, 2023

8 Things to do in the Marais

When it comes to Paris, biting off more than you can chew on a trip is a recipe for disaster. I’ve been to Paris several times, and I have definitely toured around most of the central arrondissements, but I have chosen to get to know some more than others. Le Marais is one of the neighborhoods I think is worthy of several days of your time. I’ll tell you 8 things to do in the Marais that I’ve discovered and done myself. This list is an insider scoop on one of the best neighborhoods in Paris.

The Oldest House in Paris

1. Take a Walking Tour with The Earful Tower

I like taking a walking tour when I travel. A two hour tour on the front end of the trip does the trick for general information about the area or city. It also gives insight to little things in a city or area you would definitely walk by without giving a second look. We toured with a gal named…Paris...from The Earful Tower. Oliver, the owner of this wonderful enterprise (along with his wife - but mostly he) have dedicated their careers to highlighting Paris from an expat perspective. He started off with a radio show, but for years it’s been a blossoming podcast about Paris. He’s written a fantastic memoir, children’s books, and now has added walking tours in many of the areas. I am a huge fan of his (and support the podcast by being a Patreon member), so naturally I chose his company to do the tour. Our guide showed us several things I hadn’t seen in my favorite neighborhood, and was absolutely lovely when we asked to take more time or stop into different places. This tour is a must-do in Le Marais, and you might even get Oliver himself if you’re lucky.

Coffee at Le Peloton Cafe

2. Grab a Coffee at Le Peloton Cafe

The Earful Tower tour met across from Le Peloton Cafe, and because it was freezing outside when we did the tour, our group decided to end there with a hot cup of coffee. Paul, the owner, is from New Zealand. He is delightful and friendly, and speaks English! His coffee was some of the best I’ve had, and his cafe is one of the most unique I’ve ever been to. It’s tight quarters, but everyone is friendly and generous. We crammed ourselves in there and had wonderful conversations with very interesting people. Don’t miss this quirky coffee shop while completing your list of things to do in the Marais.

My Trash from Fred - Because I ate it Before a Picture

3. Eat One of Everything at Aux Merveilleux de Fred

I can’t begin to tell you how divine every single thing was from this shop. Warm brioche with chocolate chips, pain au ganache, and little dome desserts called merveilleux. The good news is that these shops are scattered around Paris. I had my first one in the 7th, and the next day I got more in the 3rd. One thing to note is how difficult it is to travel with them, so pig out while you’re in Paris because you likely won’t be getting anything back with you. At least not without destroying it. My stomach is growling just thinking about these baked goods now. Take me back to Paris!

Our Group at Le Colimaçon

4. Make a Dinner Reservation at Le Colimaçon

Hands down this has been the best dinner I’ve had in Le Marais. Le Colimaçon is a small restaurant so you must make reservations, and it’s completely worth it. Our group sat upstairs, and it was lively without being loud, and quiet enough to have a conversation. The food was delicious, and the wine was outstanding. It took me a year to get to that restaurant (I had tried to go the year before when I was in Paris but they were booked) and I’m glad I remembered it to book for us on this trip. The group I was with declared it to be their favorite meal as well. Parfait. I did well on that one.

Eating at Carette

5. Sip Hot Chocolate & Eat a Macaron at Carette in Place des Vosges

Place des Vosges is so dreamy. It’s a small square (for Paris) with a lot of history, as it was the first planned square for royalty in the early 1600s. There are many shops and restaurants along the square, and one of my favorites is Carette. I’ve had a cheese plate, wine, hot chocolate with fresh whipped cream, crepe, and a macaron sandwich there. Everything was lovely. The place itself is beautiful and old, with a true feeling of being in a Parisian cafe. You can sit inside or on the terrace. I’ve done both. Each is a delightful experience. The hot chocolate alone is worth a return trip.

6. Buy Funky Socks from Tabio

Socks are an accessory that I could never have enough of. I love buying socks and tights when I go to Paris. They have some fun and funky designs. Tabio was one that I discovered on this trip so I gave it a whirl. The Japanese-made socks are just what I was hoping for. I found some that will be perfect for our Mardi Gras celebrations in New Orleans, and some that will elevate the look of my loafers. I also got some cute tights with cherries on them. If you’re the fun and funky type, definitely buy yourself a pair from Tabio. They have a few locations throughout Paris, and I shopped at the one in Le Marais.

7. Take a Break from French Food and Dine at Miznon Marais

Oh.Em.Gee. Paul, from Le Peloton, gave me exactly ONE recommendation for a lunch spot, and it was Miznon Cafe. I am pretty sure we all got hooked on lamb that day. And cauliflower. The counter-order restaurant was perfect. Order, and they bring out the food as it’s ready. I got a cauliflower pita, and I drizzled tahini sauce all over it. We also got a whole cauliflower that was roasted and falling off the stem (or whatever the bottom is called). The lamb was also to die for, and I think we all could’ve eaten there a second time if we had had the time to do so. Don’t miss this crazy and chaotic little joint. And definitely order the whole cauliflower.

8. Walk Along the Seine

I know this is pretty obvious, but Le Marais borders the Seine so it’s worth a mention. There are the street vendors called bouquinistes that sell all kinds of classic Parisian items. You can buy photos, prints, books, and bags. My favorite thing to do is watch the boats pass by, and I love photographing the islands (Île Saint Louis and Île de la Cité). Notre Dame sits on the island of Cité, and while she is still under construction, she is still worthy of being photographed like the dame she is. Walking along the Seine is a classic Parisian activity, and it costs you exactly nothing to do it.

If You Do These 8 Things, You’ll Love the Marais!

I don’t claim to be an expert on Paris in any way. However, with my continued trips there, I have discovered with intent some really great things. I love sharing my adventures with people, as I take so much time to prepare my trips. I have had some flops, but those don’t make it into the recommendation list. It’s magical when you have great experiences when you travel. Each moment is so precious, and it’s hard when you don’t have a good meal here, a great macaron there, or even a lame tour. I can assure you that this list was made from multiple trips to Paris, and my affection for Le Marais is the reason I wrote this curated list. I hope you enjoy reading this and experiencing these 8 things to do in the Marais. À bientôt!
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