Desserts Rule at Le Loir dans la Theiere in the Marais

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The amazing Le Loir dans la Theiere in the Marais is among my very favorite dessert spots in all of the City of Light. This funky, gay-friendly tea room offers a daily changing menu of homemade tarts and cakes, usually with five or six choices available for €8.50 and discounted to just €6.50 after 4 p.m.—if any are left. There’s usually at least a couple of desserts remaining, but if you don’t want to take a chance on missing out, show up around lunchtime when the selection is abundant. Delicious! Continue Reading →

Breton Cuisine, Funky Art at Page 35 Restaurant

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In the heart of the Marais lies a wonderful Breton restaurant that’s as popular for its food as it is for the rotating exhibitions of artwork by a cadre of international graphic artists that line its colorful walls. Page 35, located just opposite the quaint Square Louis Achille, is a hugely popular neighborhood destination for locals, including many families with children in tow. It’s also a hit with Paris’s LGBT community, often drawing a large crowd of trendy gays and lesbians attracted to Page 35’s funky, contemporary vibe and artistic atmosphere. And despite its prime location near several prominentsight-seeing destinations (the Picasso museum, Place des Vosges, the Musee Carnavalet and the many trendy boutiques on the Rue des Francs-Bourgeois, to name a few), the restaurant is rarely visited by tourists. So if you’re hoping to experience Paris as a local, you’ve definitely come to the right place at Page 35. You’re also in luck if you’re a history buff, as the gorgeous 17th century building that houses the restaurant is steeped in French history. Continue Reading →

Hotel de Sens: A Marvelous Medieval Marais Mansion

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Paris is nirvana for lovers of art and architecture. It seems like every new street corner unveils another marvel, some totally unexpected. This is one of the true joys of visiting the City of Light—suddenly stumbling upon a beautiful old building, statue, park or street art that warms the heart and sparks the spirit. One of the best of these surprises is when wandering the streets of the Marais near the Seine and suddenly catching a glimpse of the gorgeous stone mansion Hotel de Sens—what can only be described as a stately medieval castle, complete with turrets, spires and grand stone arches. And it is accurate to depict the Hotel de Sens as medieval, as its construction as a private mansion began in 1475, the tail end of the Middle Ages. In fact, the Hotel de Sens is one of only three medieval residences remaining in all of Paris. Continue Reading →

Old-World and Jewish Goodies at Sacha Finkelsztajn

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Prior to World War II, the Marais was the center of Jewish life in Paris and the Rue des Rosiers (Street of the Rose Bushes) was the heart of this Jewish enclave. But much has changed in the old Jewish quarter over the past 70 years. The street now boasts considerably more trendy and overpriced boutiques (even a number of international chain stores) than Jewish businesses. But there are still remnants of Paris’s once-thriving Jewish district along the five block-long street and its adjacent lanes: the Agudath Hakehilot orthodox synagogue, Judaica bookstores Librairie Bibliophane and Diasporama, and a number of kosher restaurants and delis. A must-stop destination among these is Sacha Finkelsztajn, a bakery and delicatessen dubbed by locals as La Boutique Jaune (the yellow shop)—so-named because of its bright yellow facade—that’s been operated by the same family for nearly 60 years. Continue Reading →

Marais Institution Makes Europe’s Best Falafel

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If you’ve ever visited the Marais—specifically the Jewish neighborhood along the Rue des Rosiers—you’ve undoubtedly seen the long lines at Middle Eastern restaurant L’As du Fallafel. And virtually everyone orders the falafel pita—deep-fried balls of ground chickpeas seasoned with garlic and other spices and covered with fried eggplant, pickled red cabbage, hummus, hot sauce, cucumbers and tahini. This house specialty even led to the restaurant’s slogan “Toujours imite, jamais egale (Always imitated, never equaled)”—and draws raves from both locals and tourists who say the falafel is the best in Europe. Continue Reading →

Was ‘La Jeune Rue’ a Swindle From the Start?

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A proposed “epicurean street” in Paris, dubbed La Jeune Rue, that was supposed to bring together artisanal craftsmen, top food producers, high-end restaurants and designer fashion shops to completely rejuvenate a nondescript area along the Rue du Vertbois in the Marais has turned out to be the nightmare many predicted. The grandiose plans and guarantees of financial support for all those involved with the project—from construction workers and contractors to the chefs, foodmakers and craftsmen who gave up lucrative shops elsewhere to relocate to the planned zone—have completely fallen apart, according to media reports. Continue Reading →

Paris Rooftop Photos Shown at Marais Gallery

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As anyone who has ever rented a Parisian apartment—even for just a short stay in the City of Light—knows, one of the true pleasures of non-hotel living in Paris is the views over the city’s iconic rooftops. The hundreds of tiny clay chimneys. The ornate sloping roofs adorning ancient stone buildings. The skylights and wrought-iron balconies peering out over the entire scene. It’s magical. And now, a photo exhibit staged at Paris’s La Galerie Particuliere, located in the artsy Marais, celebrates those picturesque canopies through the images of renowned photographer Michael Wolf.
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Picasso Museum Set for Reopening. Again

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Paris’s famed Picasso Museum is set to reopen on Saturday, October 25, after a planned two-year renovation project stretched to more than five years in length and resulted in cost overruns nearly doubling the initial eight-figure budget. The museum, established when Picasso’s family members donated hundreds of pieces of art to the French government in lieu of estate taxes when the artist passed away, shut in August 2009 for a planned two-year, $40 million renovation. Numerous times since, the museum’s administration announced additional delays and more expenditures. In fact, just this spring the renovation team announced a June reopening. Obviously, that never happened. So will Saturday’s reopening actually occur? There’s every indication that this time it’s done deal. Continue Reading →

Marcel Duchamp Show Opens at the Pompidou Center

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Opening today at the Musee d’Art Moderne in Paris’s Pompidou Center is a fantastic new show highlighting works by French/American artist Marcel Duchamp titled “Marcel Duchamp. La Peinture, Meme.” Duchamp, who lived from 1887 to 1968, has been described as both the father of contemporary art and one of the most influential artists of the 20th century. However, the artist and his works are less well known in France than in other countries (particularly in America), and the new Paris show aims to introduce Duchamp to both the French and to international tourists visiting the City of Light. Continue Reading →

Does Paris Need ‘Epicurean Street’ La Jeune Rue?

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There’s a bit of a controversy brewing over plans by a wealthy French entrepreneur to turn a largely nondescript area along the Rue du Vertbois in the Marais into an upscale epicurean “village” called La Jeune Rue. Some say the initiative is the next big advance in urban gentrification, while others claim it merely turns the Paris neighborhood into a sort of Disneyland for the well-to-do. What do you think? Continue Reading →