When visiting a cultural treasure trove the size of Paris, it’s helpful to have a good place to begin, and someone to begin with. Le Marais is a great starting point, and a local should alway be your guide.
With the best of both local and iconic Paris, and a rich heritage of history, art, fashion and some of the best eateries in the world, it should come as good news that Hilton (with BHV) now offers a wonderfully curated walking tour, replete with local guide.
Naturally, the landmark of the BHV Marais department store was our starting point.
Traditionally le Marais (french meaning swamp) was a jewish neighbourhood–which explains the amazing food. The tour visits la Rue de Rosier. Make sure to try the Falafel, it might be the best you have ever had. Grab one to go from L’as du Falafel or at Chez Marianne, for a truly family run experience.
The houses around the historic park of la Place des Vosges were actually symbolic of the aristocratic wealth at the time, built by Henri IV as secondary residences where they never lived. The architecture is stunning.
As an art hub, you can find La Maison de Victor hugo here, one of the lesser known museums that has a free entrance and windows overlooking the Park. The world renowned art institution, Centre Pompidou is also here. The garish exterior was once considered scandalous, now iconic, make sure you catch the view from the top of the centre. Musee Picasso is also in the vicinity.
Street art fans, rejoice – there are Space Invaders everywhere! Those who appreciate the artform will love Marais, there is a splash of colour and genius on every corner. For the uninitiated, the tour is great exposure to the guerilla expression, now widely recognised.
The wonderful advantage of taking a tour is bookmarking all the nooks and crannies and venues to revisit over the coming days. You can’t go wrong with a restaurant like Chez Janou; drinks at La Perle or pastries at Carette–not to mention coffee at Fragments. Look out for them.
And as a shopping haven, you’ll be happy to know that le Marais is one of the few areas that’s open on a Sunday, so enjoy weekend shopping at some of the high street Parisian brands like Zadig, Voltaire, Maje and Sandro.
The walk is locally curated and lasts approx. 2 hours, but it felt shorter as it’s so interactive, with so much to discover, not to mention, all the photos being taken. The group size wasn’t too large, so there’s an opportunity to build a camaraderie while discovering more of Paris.
You can book your Marais Tour with the Hilton here.