'Getting lost' in Le Marais
’Getting lost’ in Paris: Le Marais
I’ve always loved getting lost in the streets of Paris. I used to cycle around and later drive my Vespa, but when I go back to my hometown, as I did last week, I just jump on the Métro, get off somewhere and wander around the surrounding area.
Victor Hugo will surprise you
Métro Saint Paul: This is where I get off when I feel like soaking up the vibrant atmosphere of Le Marais, in the 3rd and 4th arrondissements, and finishing off for dinner at the impossibly cool restaurant 404.
First, I head for the Place des Vosges: it’s a tiny little loop to the right as in Eastwards, but you just can’t go to the Marais and not stop and admire of Paris’ most beautiful squares. If you want to enjoy it to its full glory, then visit Victor Hugo’s house: one of France’s literary gods. Remember ‘Les Misérables’? I cannot recommend it more. It is by far one of the most beautiful, astonishing and personal places you will see in Paris.
Like today’s multi-platform creators, his genius covers many areas and his skills at interior decorating are seldom mentioned. Go! Warning though: even if you’re dying of thirst and hunger: do not stop at any of the few cafés around the Place des Vosges: we Parisians never do. The service, the food, the drinks and the prices are hideous.
Jewish delis are hot
If you really are hungry however, you can pick up a delicious sandwich from the Jewish quarter. I’m not sure if it's the hype about New York bagels and delis or the fact that cars are banned from the area, but people queue up for food everywhere. The Marais was the site of the first Jewish settlement in Paris but, despite still being the hub of the orthodox jews today, the famous rue des Rosiers, with its small boutiques, restaurants, bookshops and kosher delis has a definite touristic feel to it since it was pedestrianised in the 90’s. Get your food and walk on.
The history of Paris all in one place
One of my favourite places in Paris is the Musée Carnavalet. It houses permanent collections and many exhibitions around the history of Paris. No museum will inform you better on the most beautiful city in the world. Of course you could spend ages in there, but if you only have a few days, you need to prioritise. Just walk around its aristocratic and impeccably ’French’ garden. You will appreciate how quiet it is. Right in the middle of busy Paris. I simply adore it.
On my way to the surprisingly cool Musée de la Chasse et de la Nature (Natur & Jakt museet), I always pop into the Musée Picasso’s gardens. They are amazing and so lovingly kept. The visit of the museum itself takes at least an entire day and loads of energy as Picasso was one of the most prolific artists of the XXth century and the curation of his art is shown on five vast floors.
Trophies like no others
The Musée de la Chasse et de la Nature is a Parisian well-kept secret. I promise you, you will not be disappointed by my tip. I’d hate to spoil it for you but I can guarantee you will smile in delight and sometimes maybe even scream at the sight of the unusual trophies, objets, master paintings, old and contemporary, the architecture of the house, inside and out and the amazing furniture. In fact, like me, you might imagine yourself living there.
If you’re not lost yet, try again
I don’t like to give precise directions, it’s much more fun to get lost: you get to see people and places you wouldn’t if you were following a precise itinerary.
One address though:
The 404 restaurant at No 69 rue des Gravilliers, in the 3rd Arrondissement (Tlf: +33 1 42 74 57 81) Book a table before leaving Norway, otherwise you’ll never get in: Parisians adore North African cuisine. When you arrive, go straight to the loo, refresh your make-up and be prepared. The place is suitably dark, mysterious and cosy with loads of dimmly-lit Marroccan chandeliers, but it’s also full of über cool Parisian women. The food, served in very basic dishes, and the really friendly service will make you want to book your next trip to Marrakesh, but that’s another story.
Feel free to share this letter with your friends if you think they might enjoy a taste of my very secret Paris. And of course follow me on Instagram for my fun snapshots.