Paris is full of treasures, but the Marais is a jewel in the City of Light. Spanning the 3rd and 4th districts, this neighborhood has become one of the most popular in Paris. However, it was far...
Paris is full of treasures, but the Marais is a jewel in the City of Light. Spanning the 3rd and 4th districts, this neighborhood has become one of the most popular in Paris. However, it was far from being a gay area when it established its stronghold in the late 70s.
Take advantage of the public transport as the narrow streets are not ideal for motor traffic. To reach the Marais, get off at the metro stops Saint-Paul, Hôtel de Ville, Rambuteau or Arts et Métiers. Don’t wield a map or smartphone; just wander the cobbled streets stress-free and get a little lost. Let yourself be guided by the maze-like feel and take in the timeless architecture.
In strolling through Marais, you might ask yourself if you just left Paris! The neighborhood is a real breathe of fresh air: an escape from the hustle and bustle of the main city. Inded, the Marais has a palpable, cosmopolitan atmosphere. The gay community mixes with the Jewish community, as well as local artists, who also have a strong presence.
Shopping and culture in Marais
If you want to do some shopping, even the biggest fashionista will be happy in the Marais. The neighborhood offers a mix of specialty boutiques, luxury labels and thrift shops. For the pickiest, they are sure to find what they’re looking at BHV (36 Rue de la Verrerie) where everything needed for a man’s wardrobe is spread out over four floors.
Then walk to the numerous art galleries located throughout the Marais. Want some originality? Go and discover the evocative “DSK”, a specialty burger offered by Tata Burger (54 Rue Sainte-Croix de la Bretonnerie).
Or, if you enjoy watching guys walking down the street, then head to Des Gars Dans la Cuisine (72 rue Vieille du Temple, 3ème) where Gil and Jean-Jacques will be more than happy to welcome you to their restaurant. Once your stomach is full, finish up your shopping with some sexy underwear at Les Dessous d’Apollon (8 Rue de Moussy). You’ll find all your favorite brands, from Andrew Christian to Garçon Français.
The best gay bars in Paris
Now it’s time to immerse yourself in the nightlife the Marais has to offer! For an aperitif, start at one of the many wine bars such as Le Barav (6 Rue Charles-François Dupuis). To continue the adventure, head to the Cox, a pillar of the Marais, or Open Café for its happy hour. Just don’t expect to find a seat on the packed terrace...
Continue to Raidd Bar (23 Rue du Temple), where the shower and its performers have a certain reputation. For the ultimate viewing pleasure, go on a Thursday, where the guys keep their undies wet all night long. Be careful, though: you can only touch with your eyes! If singing is more your thing, head to L’Enchanteur (15 Rue Michel le Comte) and make it a night of karaoke.
After you’ve recovered from your night out, go to Marché des Enfants Rouges (Rue de Bretagne), the oldest outdoor food market in Paris. Now it’s time for brunch, a popular activity amongst Parisians.
L’Estaminet des Enfants Rouges (39 Rue de Bretagne), in the middle of the market, gives you the impression of being in a small village, a definite change of scenery. If the ambiance is too hipster, there’s Dôme du Marais (53 bis Rue des Francs-Bourgeois), known for its amazing décor, or the Who’s (14 Rue Saint-Merri).
To end your weekend on a cultural note, the Picasso National Museum contains over 5,000 pieces of work from the artist. Also, visit Place des Vosges, with its sculpted and lush gardens that attract the masses on sunny days. Take your shirt off, take a nap, and recharge for the evening.