Just north of the the Île de la Cité in Paris is the historic district of Marais. This neighborhood, with its street cafes, patisseries, gelato stands and funky squares is a perfect home base from which to discover Paris.
I have stayed in two different apartments that were within view of the Centre Georges Pompidou, the modern art museum that was designed inside out, and almost every time we left either apartment, we walked past the quirky Stravinsky Fountain.
Over multiple stays I have grown to love walking this neighborhood and discovered several favourite spots, but I also found that I appreciated the proximity of Marais to some of the other Paris highlights.
From the Georges Pompidou, you can easily walk to the Notre Dame (12 minutes), the Pont des Arts or Love Locks Bridge (18 minutes), the Louvre (20 minutes), the Musee D’Orsay (30 minutes) or even the Eiffel Tower (1 hour).
We walked all the way to the Eiffel Tower one day, taking our time and stopping often as we made our way up the Seine, but we spent the bulk of our time in Paris in the areas closer to Marais.
Paris’ two famous islands can be reached in ten minutes, and even though they are both small, we spent countless hours exploring their streets. On the Île de la Cité, after we saw the famous Notre-Dame, we walked to the eastern tip of the island, under the Pont Neuf, to stand and take in the views of the Pont des Arts and the grand buildings that line both sides of the Seine.
We returned most evenings to one of the bridges over the Seine to watch the sun setting over Paris.
My daughter fell in love with Paris in those moments by the Seine. She still says that walking or sitting by the river in Paris is her most favourite place to be in the world.
Some of my most fun photos from my last trip to Paris with my boys are from the smaller, quieter Île Saint-Louis. I let the boys run free around the walkways that circle the island, and we had the best macarons from a shop on the one main street that runs straight down the middle.
Also, we discovered that one of the yummiest gelato chains in Paris, Amorino, has a branch on Île Saint-Louis. Of course, there was also one around the corner from our apartment, but we found that there is really no such thing as too much gelato when you’re in Paris in the summertime with kids. Wouldn’t you agree?
We loved our Paris visits this summer and we hope to return again in many different seasons to the now familiar Marais district.
A Few Helpful Details
We stayed in two different apartments this summer with GowithOh in Marais.
The first apartment, for four people, was on the fourth floor above the most charming courtyard. We might have done about six photo shoots in this courtyard because the flowers + a bicycle = PRECIOUS.
We also appreciated having the space to have other friends around and to unwind at the end of each day.
The second apartment, which was just around the corner from the first, was super roomy and held eight people.
In both apartments, we loved the old staircases and throwing open our tall windows to hear the sounds of Paris. I always enjoy the space of an apartment over a hotel, and with kids it is so wonderful to have a kitchen to prepare a few of your own meals.
Funky staircase, shot from below.
Boulangeries, Patisseries & Chocoateries. Oh My.
We tried new ones every day and there is something delicious on every corner. Here are a few we loved.
Topaze Boulangerie, 149, rue Saint Martin
La Boulangerie Julien, 24, rue Saint Martin
Les Paris Gourmands, 15, rue des Archives
Chocolat de Neuville, 196, rue de Bercy
Amorino (for gelato), 119-121, rue Saint Martin (one of many locations!)