When I first thought of the plan to go to Paris, I realized much of what I wanted to see was centered in the third and fourth arrondissements. At the very center of this area is the famous “Le Marais,” known for its numerous art galleries and design shops, the place where Parisians hang out often.
While I was there, I chose to live right near the Notre Dame de Paris, which is almost Le Marais. If you are not bound to a very tight schedule when you visit Paris, I highly recommend you set out for a day’s walk through Le Marais just like I did, for it is the best way to get a big dose of Paris in a rather short period of time, and I’m sure you will love it.
A glance at some of the beautiful buildings and houses indicates the wealthy status of former residents. The apartment I lived is an elegant Parisian apartment. Wood spiral staircase, super tiny elevator (only fits one person), French casement… The best foie gras shop in Paris is right across the street, Lafitte Foie Gras des Landes. When I asked my host what to bring back as souvenirs, he suggested their foie gras right away. It was my first time tasting the famous French foie gras, which are great great with baguettes!
Le Marais is the closest you will get to the feel of medieval Paris and has more intact pre-revolutionary buildings and streets than any other area in Paris. Here it is a bit like Soho in Manhattan: the high-end art tends to lean toward the more conceptual schools influenced by post-modernism. Interesting work appears from time to time.
For those of you who have a greater interest in the early twentieth century artists, the rue de Seine in St. Germain is a better spot to look.
Walking along the streets on Le Marais, it-girls are everywhere. No wonder this is where the most popular vintage shops are located. My friend and I spent a whole afternoon shopping at those lovely vintage stores, where you can find a pair of brand new MiuMiu or Prada shoes for price of 60 euro!
When taking a break from shopping, you will want to have afternoon tea just like every other women in Paris does. And yes we did! We chose to go Pierre Hermé—one of the most amazing Parisian pastry shops. We tried their signature Ispahan (7.50 euros) and I absolutely loved it! It looks so fabulous that you almost don’t want to eat it. When you finally convince yourself to take a bite, you can’t stop! And just for your information, Ispahan is a combination of litchi, rose, and raspberry.
Le Marais is such a great place I wish all of you could have a chance to visit and explore her beauty.
Thank you for reading my blog. See you next week! Au revoir!
Yicen Zhou is earning a master’s degree in business administration at San Diego State University. She is blogging from Nantes, France this fall.