Ah, the Marais. Ancient buildings meet modern culture. There’s a lively Jewish district close to the city’s gay district, there are fascinating relics from an 800-year-old wall, and there is the most beautiful island in Europe: the Ile Saint-Louis.
We spend a day in the district as part of our Paris Countdown series. Here’s what we found.
The Earful Tower podcast episode
This podcast episode on the 4th district of Paris also includes an interiview with Paul Barron from Le Peloton Cafe, and our final score of the disrict out of 100.
Video guide to the 4th arrondissement
The Earful Tower’s guide to the 4th arrondissement
Find peace in the Place des Vosges
This beautiful 400-year-old square is a tranquil oasis in the middle of a busy city. Find a bench, sit down, and watch Paris go by. Note: A stroll around the arcade perimeter is a must! Address: Pl. des Vosges, 75004
Discover the breathtaking Hotel de Sully
The Hotel de Sully is the most beautiful shortcut in Paris. Head through through this magical courtyard-bookshop-garden on the way to Place des Vosges and marvel at ancient Paris at its best. Address: 62 Rue Saint-Antoine, 75004
Explore Victor Hugo’s home
While you’re at the Places des Vosges, pop into the Maison de Victor Hugo. This was the home of perhaps France’s most well-known writer – and it’s free to enter. Don’t miss the brand new cafe and its spacious courtyard on the way out. Address: 6 Pl. des Vosges, 75004
Be a flâneur on Île Saint-Louis
Incredible architecture, history dating back thousands of years, and a rich little community. This is the ideal way to see Paris if you only have one hour. If you want a taste of the island’s flavour, here’s my interview with a local resident. If you really want a taste… get the local ice cream (see below).
Wander down Rue des Rosiers
One of the most beautiful and happening streets in the Marais, where kebab shops and fashion boutiques elbow each other for attention.
Find traces of the Philippe Auguste Wall
OK we all know I’m obsessed with these vestiges, and if you want to find some great examples of the Philippe Auguste Wall, the fourth is your best bet in Paris.
Especially at the Saint-Paul Basketball court Address: 14 Rue des Jardins Saint-Paul, 75004
Chill out in the hidden garden
Jardin des Rosiers Joseph Migneret not only features a big chunk of the Philippe Auguste Wall, but it’s a perfectly secluded place to escape the city’s bustle. Long time podcast listeners will no doubt remember the time a prolific Paris writer told me to meet him under the fig tree in this park. Address: 10 Rue des Rosiers, 75004
Check in on Notre Dame
It will still be a while before the Notre Dame is ready for tourists, but while you’re in the fourth arrondissement you may as well check in on the progress. Address: 6 Parvis Notre-Dame – Pl. Jean-Paul II, 75004
Visit the Centre Pompidou
This museum of modern art is a must – but don’t try rocking up an hour before they close. That’s the mistake we made, so we could only visit the viewpoint at the top floor, but that was a piece of art in itself. @centrepompidou Address: Place Georges-Pompidou, 75004
Enjoy a coffee at the friendliest cafe in town
Le Peloton Café is a very dear location to many, including all of us here at The Earful Tower. One of the owners, Paul Barron, featured on this week’s podcast talking about his cafe and the district itself, be sure to say hi from us if you make it in. @lepelotoncafe Address: 17 Rue du Pont Louis-Philippe, 75004
Places to eat in the 4th arrondissement
Have the best pita in Paris
A midday stroll in the Marais is incomplete without a pita from Miznon. We recommend the cauliflower or lamb fillings, best eaten on the go or at a nearby hidden park. @miznonparis Address: 22 Rue des Ecouffes, 75004
People watch at Le Saint-Regis
A classic Paris cafe/restaurant on the Ile Saint Louis. A healthy mix of tourists and locals, a beautiful interior, and the kind of Paris dining experience that feels incredibly authentic. @le_saint_regis_paris Address: 6 Rue Jean du Bellay, 75004
Dine in a Belle Époque paradise
Bofinger might sound like a James Bond-themed restaurant, but it isn’t! It’s a charming French diner with traditional food (lots of seafood especially) and a very photographable interior. @brasserie_bofinger Address: 5-7 Rue de la Bastille, 75004
Taste the best ice cream in Pairs
Berthillon makes the city’s best ice cream and there’s no doubt about it. You can find their delicious goods all over the Ile Saint-Louis. @berthillon_officiel Address: 31 rue saint louis en l’île, 75004
Great bars in the 4th arrondissement
Maria Loca offers unpretentious rum-based cocktails as a specialty, heaven help you if you order anything with vodka. Friendly staff, low key vibe, serious cocktails. @marialocaparis Address: 31 Bd Henri IV, 75004
Le 1905: This is kinda like a speakeasy, go up the steps behind the fairly innocent-looking entryway, and find yourself in a bar from yesteryear. Tiny little outdoor terrace, very charming interior with leather couches and cosy corners. @1905paris Address: 25 Rue Beautreillis, 75004
That will do for now! Next week we’ll be taking you to the 3rd arrondissement as part of this Paris Countdown series, where we’re spending a day in each Paris district. A big thanks to Augusta Sagnelli for the photos and Charlotte Pleasants for the additional reporting.
Here’s the podcast episode again in case you missed it, new episodes every Monday – next time, the 3rd arrondissement.
Do you want to support this work? Buy one of our books below, or even better, become a Patreon member and unlock loads of Paris bonus content, including regular PDF itinerary guides to the city.