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Trendy Paris

Many of the trendiest areas are found in the heart of the historic centre of Paris. One will find, for instance, exceptional historical patrimony from the Place du Chatelet to the Place des Vosges, but it’s also in this quartier of the city where you are also most likely to find Paris’s trendiest denizens. Among the number of cultural institutions, such as the Pompidou and the charming streets of the Marais bursting with hip boutiques such as the Rue Vieille du Temple, you will be sure to find a cosmopolitan population of hipsters, artists and fashionistas. The Marais is delineated from West to East by the rue Beaubourg and the Boulevard Beaumarchais, the rue de Bretagne in the North and the Seine to the south.

A beautiful Cultural Patchwork

The 1980s right up to the end of the 1990s marked the golden age of the gay Marais. The first bar opened in 1978 on rue du Plâtre, which made way for the proliferation of similar bars and bookshops. A vibrant community soon took root in the streets around the rues Vieille-du-Temple, Sainte-Croix-de-la-Bretonnerie and rue des Archives. For more than 20 years this was the place for gays and lesbians to meet in Paris. The streets were often decorated from high by rainbow flags. Today the gay label attached to the area has become more and more symbolic due to the introduction of higher rents, designer shops, and lately a bourgeois population, with the arrival of wealthy families. You can, however, get a taste of the Marais’ past by taking a walk along the rue des Archives just near the BHV Department store where many of the bars are filled day and night with revellers and locals.

A Cosmopolitan Area Rich in History

The Marais was historically home to a large Jewish population from the 13th century onwards and accounted for at least 80% of its inhabitants during the 19th century. Sadly, the rue des Rosiers is all that testifies to this fascinating history. What remains is a cluster of restaurants and kosher food stores, as well as bookstores and bakeries giving a sense of the Marais’ Jewish past. The famous L’as du Falafel restaurant is well worth the detour for their delicious falafels. Jewish culture is also represented by the synagogues, the magnificent Musée d’Art et d’Histoire du Judaisme, and the poignant Mémorial de la Shoah (monument to the holocaust) found on rue Geoffroy l’Asnier.

The Marais is also home to a small Chinese quarter, in and around the rue du Temple. Its population are made up of immigrants from Whenzou. The l’Église Sainte Elisabeth of Hungary, Notre Dame de Pitié, and the Chinese church are worth a look at in this area, together with a large number of jewellers, and leather goods shop.

Trendy Shopping

The Marais and the Etienne Marcel areas represent the epicentre of Parisian on-trend shopping, it’s where the fashionistas flock to seek out a bargain in the vintage stores, or check out the newest styles at one of the top boutiques. You can almost find anything in the Marais, it’s certainly somewhere you don’t want to leave off the to do list. Taking a personal shopper with you is also worth it, if you want to cut this area down to size and find the hidden boutiques you might not necessarily find on your own.

Rue Montorgueil

For eating out rue Montorgueil is a recommended hunting ground for the trendy; with its small delis, specialist food stores, and its fair share of culinary stopovers, this area is brimming with charm at night as fashionable people take to the terraces that line this iconic Parisian street. Rue Montmartre and rue Etienne Marcel boasts an enviable selection of chic, ethical, and urbane boutiques, among which, you will discover Parisian standards like Thierry Mugler, Yoji Yamamoto, Kenzo and Bill Tornade. Stop off for some serious vintage finds at the hugely popular Kiliwatch.

For a much deserved coffee break stop-off at the Lézard Café at 32, rue Etienne Marcel. Art-works displayed on the walls of this famous watering hole are for sale.

Contemporary Art Hotspot

Not surprisingly this area is also a destination for art lovers − some of the capital’s most famous art galleries can be found in the Marais and Etienne Marcel. Evidently, the Pompidou Centre acts like magnet for culture, a whole gaggle of art book shops and galleries fan out into the surrounding areas and can be found on rue Quincampoix, in the Passage du Grand Cerf, the rues Vieille-du-Temple and the Blancs-Manteaux. Reputable galleries such as the famous Marion Goodman Gallery − which also has a sister gallery in New York − is a must-see for contemporary art lovers.

And when the night hits, it’s an ideal time to test some of the hip bars like La Perle, 78 rue Vieille du Temple or the Candelaria 52, rue de Saintonge.

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