We consider the Beaubourg district as part of the Marais even if not in the Marais itself. The Centre Georges Pompidou separates the vivacious Les Halles district from the Marais. The typology of the population also changes radically. More working-class, this area is more animated, albeit perhaps more stressful. The more one penetrates into the narrow streets of the Marais, the more one feels safe from the Parisian metropolis, as if actually in a town in the Loire Valley instead.
Crossing rue du Renard towards the square in front of the Beaubourg, you enter a different universe. Once you pass Beaubourg, you enter "Gayland". The rue Sainte Croix de la Bretonnerie is certainly the safest place for unaccompanied women, including those with flawless physical attributes. Strolling through the narrow streets and alleys in this relaxed atmophere will make you feel as if in a village, despite being right in the heart of the city.
Continuing further west, beyond the Pompidou Center, the atmosphere changes and you are more connected to the "Big City". Hundreds of thousands of commuters and Parisians take the metro and RER daily. The station Châtelet - Les Halles is one of the largest in Europe. The center of Paris is safe, however as in any metropolis it is always best to keep anwatchful eye on your belongings.
The Pompidou Center is a "must" not to be missed, hosting one of the most fabulous modern and contemporary art collections in Europe. Even if you are not an art aficionado, you can still appreciate the absolutely amazing view of Paris from the top of this building with its striking architecture by having a drink at the very chic designer café- restaurant Georges.
The area around the Hôtel de Ville is very popular with tourists. We recommend you plan your visit outside of peak hours to avoid long queues at restaurants or at the Pompidou Center, which is open daily until 10pm except Tuesdays. Evening visits are very pleasant for enjoying the sunset over Paris and Nôtre Dame.
The streets around the Pompidou Center are full of cultural venues such as the Saint Merry Church. Built in the 15th century in Gothic style, this church offers free concerts every Saturday night from 8pm. The musicians, often amateurs, never disappoint their audience and we encourage you to spend an relaxing evening there with music by Mozart, Bach or Handel.
Following the concert, there is no shortage of restaurants in the nearby narrow streets, notably the rue des Lombards or rue Quincampoix. Stroll along rue Quincampoix, one of the oldest in Paris.
If you are looking for something more contemporary for your next visit, we recommend the superb 4 star designer Hotel Duo. Ideally located in rue du Temple, it also has a very pleasant lounge bar suitable for for business appointments where you can avoid midday noise as well as enjoy a large choice of delicious cocktails. For more information about this hotel, please refer to the hotel pages of our site.
BHV, Bazar Hotel de Ville, the ultimate department store of the Marais, was created in the late 19th century. Situated between rue du Temple and rue des Archives, it is now part of the Lafayette Group. Its basement is particularly known and appreciated by all DIY enthusiasts as well as by professional decorators and designers. If you've just purchased your pied-à-terre in Paris or are considering such an acquisition, the BHV Deco spaces are a must.
For groups of ten or more, it is possible to arrange a visit to the Renaissance-style salons of the Hotel de Ville as well as to its ballroom. The latter is comparable to the Hall of Mirrors at Versailles although its eclectic style dating from the 19th century reflects more the iconography and decoration of the Opera Garnier. With a bit of luck, you may also be able to gain acces to the congressional hall, where the Paris council meets to vote on municipal projects.
If you go to Paris in July or August, a visit to Paris Plage is a must. This urban initiative is reinstalled each year along the Seine for the summer season. Cars are prohibited, the traffic replaced by sandy beaches lined with lounge chairs. An unforgettable experience. One more reason to visit Paris in August, also allowing you to obtain the best rates in hotels and guesthouses. Contrary to most tourist destinations, low season is July 15 to August 25 in Paris. Take this opportunity to rent an apartment or luxury hotel at incredible discounts.