Looking to discover hidden gems in the city of love this summer? Founder Susie Marquis heads to Paris to explore the cultural hotspots and must-visit places and exhibitions, as well as her expert recommendations on where to stay…
We have just returned from a wonderful 5 days of walking around Paris in the sunshine, dining in some of our favourite local restaurants, as well as visiting some great new art exhibitions. Staying again in the Marais area with its small cobblestone streets, all lined with tempting restaurants and a great choice of independent fashion boutiques, contemporary art galleries, and museums, is always a great choice.
Unmissable highlights to visit here include the beautiful Place des Vosges, the oldest planned square in Paris, built upon a commission by Henri IV between 1605 and 1612. The square is also renowned as the home of the celebrated French writer Victor Hugo, who lived there at 6 Place des Vosges from 1832 to 1848. It is now a museum displaying his work, including the rooms where he wrote most of Les Misérables.
Within a short walk of around 8 minutes from the Place des Vosges, is the Musée Picasso at 5 Rue de Thorigny, a beautiful 17th Century building displaying more than 5000 art works by Pablo Picasso. From 7 March to 27 August 2023, to celebrate the anniversary of Picasso’s death in 1973, the Musée National Picasso-Paris is offering an exhibition curated by British fashion designer Paul Smith, inviting visitors to revisit the most emblematic moments and subjects in Picasso’s work.
Paul Smith’s love of colours have been used on the walls, including patterned wallpaper and stripes as a background, inviting the public to view Picasso’s works in a relevant yet contemporary way.
Within an easy walk is Le Centre Pompidou, which dates back to 1969, where President Georges Pompidou decided to provide France with a Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, but unfortunately died in 1974 before the Centre Pompidou could be completed. The museum was built with an international dimension, including a large public library, a modern art gallery and a centre for musical research.
We visited the Library, which is currently exhibiting manuscripts by the popular French singer-songwriter, actor, composer and director Serge Gainsbourg from his residence in the Rue Verneuil in Paris, as well as books from his library. There is also a video of him singing – so definitely worth seeing if you are a fan. The exhibition is on until 3rd September, every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, as well as every Saturday and Sunday, on Level 2, in the Library BPl.
La Samaritaine, Le Marais
If you love shopping, there are plenty of boutiques to discover in Le Marais, as well as discovering lifestyle shops like Merci in the Boulevard Beaumarchais, offering clothes, accessories, and furniture. Set between a courtyard and a garden, the large shop is on three levels, with high ceilings and a glass roof, offering plenty of light. As well as both women’s and men’s fashion, furniture and homeware, there is also a used-book café, and a cinema café, Merci is worth visiting, and is also open every day.
For a larger department store, the BHV store on the Rue de Rivoli is also worth exploring. A short walk along the Rue de Rivoli will also take you to the restored and beautifully spacious La Samaritaine department store. You can’t miss the huge sculpture of Yayoi Kusama has been erected on Rue du Pont Neuf, between the headquarters of Louis Vuitton and the Samaritaine.
Recommended Current Art Exhibitions- Musée d’Orsay
As well as Le Centre Pompidou, we loved the Manet/Degas – Musée d’Orsay exhibition, available from March 28th to July 23rd 2023.
A wonderful exhibition and highly recommended, but make sure you book in advance, as this exhibition is very popular (and crowded).
A wonderful exhibition of Basquiat’s work with pop art pioneer Andy Warhol, open until 28th August. Between 1984 and 1985 especially, Basquiat and Warhol created around 160 paintings together, including some of the largest works of their respective careers.
The exhibition also features are individual works by Basquiat and Warhol, as well as other artists from the downtown New York art scene of the mid-1980s.
Local Le Marais restaurants we enjoyed during our stay:
L’Ange 20: A typical French bistro located in the heart of the Marais, just steps from the Place des Vosges, has a friendly atmosphere with fresh products and a wide selection of French wines.
Camille: A classic restaurant serving traditional cuisine with a modern twist. We enjoyed delicious fresh fish and Chardonnay here, in a friendly and welcoming vibe.
Chez Hanna: Located in the heart of the Marais in rue des Rosiers, Chez Hanna offers falafel and shawarma to be enjoyed on the spot or to take away, perfect for those wanting a quick lunch.
Robert and Louise Restaurant: One of our favourites, Robert et Louise is situated in Vieille du Temple and offers excellent food, including delicious steaks.
Some Recommended Marais Apartments:
Located in a classic Haussmannian building in Rue Réaumur in the Marais, this spacious apartment offers contemporary elegance with all the modern comforts. Guests can enjoy its cerntrally-placed location and close proximity to the main sights, while relaxing in this luxury accommodation.
In a very desirable location in the heart of the Marais area, this apartment is just a short walk from both the Musée Picasso and the Musée Carnavalet, and also within an easy walk of the Ile St Louis and the Notre Dame Cathedral.
Moreover, the apartment has been renovated throughout and offers modern, stylish and very spacious accommodation.
Situated on the fourth floor of a period building with lift, this apartment is very bright with full-length French windows and overlooking a quiet courtyard. Situated in a very central and charming part of the historic Marais district, just off a pedestrian square, the neighbourhood has a delightful village-like atmosphere with cafés, shops, monuments and galleries.
Situated in a 17th century building in a quiet street at the heart of the Marais, the apartment is situated close to the Place des Vosges, and again, an easy walk from the Musée Carnavelet and the Picasso museum. Within Rue du Bourg Tibourg and the surrounding streets you will find a good choice of cafés, restaurants and stylish boutiques.
The apartment is on the third floor with lift access, parquet floor, high ceilings and well decorated and furnished throughout.
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