I'm torn. Have located two hotels, Champs de Mars (RS) and Hotel St. Louis-Marais, opposite sites. One near Effiel Tower the other closer to Ille de Cite. I have mapped out my intended visits and transportation needs and both seem equal in terms of access and proximity of where I want to go. We love to spend the day sight seeing, come back for a rest and then spend the evening in our chosen neighborhood. I know it is personal preference but looking for any tidbits to help decide.
Two years ago my daughter and I were in Paris. We stayed closer to Le Marais at a hotel called Des Carmes.
It was a nice but basic hotel about 4 blocks from the Notre Dame.
We took a walking tour of the Jewish history of Le Marais (https://sightseekersdelight.com/tours/jewish-history-of-le-marais/) and ate falafel and got an almond cigar from a bakery close to the famous falafel restaurant. I have so wanted to go back to that area so I vote Le Marais. The Notre Dame is close by, too.
We ate at a restaurant called Beaurepaire our first night with the Notre Dame in view. Great memories.
I haven't stayed at either of these, but I would much prefer the Marais. To me that is a livelier area at night.
I say this as I spent time in Rue Cler before RS made it “the” neighborhood to stay in. That was in the 90’s. Returned to the Hotel Muguet 3 times since. Last trip was 7 years ago.
As much as I appreciate Mr Steves touting travel to Europe and opening the collective eyes of Americans to do so, this once delightful French neighborhood is now Americanized. Reminds me of Disneyland’s Main Street.
That’s my 2 cents.
Rue Cler or Marias = RS Americanized Paris or Parisian Paris
If you want to be around lots of other Americans carrying blue and gold guidebooks go to Rue Cler.
If you want to stay in an area where Parisians actually go, stay in the Marais.
I join the crowds of Marais lovers. If you are up to a little more bohemian area, consider the 10th Arrondissement near the Canal St. Martin, which is located near the Marais.
I stayed in the Marais and I visited the Rue Cler area a couple of times during my stay. I much preferred the Marais neighborhood but that is a matter of taste so obviously many others will disagree and prefer Rue Cler. I found the Marais much more convenient for the sights I wanted to visit. While most areas of Paris are convenient because of the metro access, I felt the Marais area was more convenient for walking to sights and for walking around in the evening enjoying the ambience. One thing I will say is that some areas of the Marais can be a bit active late into the evening so if you prefer a quiet neighborhood after about 10 pm, then maybe Rue Cler would suit better. That is not to say that some areas of Marais are not quiet and peaceful, they are, it just depends on where your hotel is located and where in the hotel your room is.
Strong opinions and thank you. I did not know RS has heavily influenced the Rue Cler with his guide book. I have experienced how is recommendations are a two sided sword. I am embarrassed to say (pretty much a French history major here) I was not familiar with the Marais area until researching for our trip. Marais, here we come!
Thank you all.
Marais. Better bus and Metro service, more things to walk to.
About noise- I find the bigger issue is the early morning trash pickup. They're out there beeping and making big truck noises by 6 am. It makes sense to get that done before morning rush hour. If I go to sleep with the windows open, I shut them when I wake up for my 3 am pee. Most hotels have good soundproofing windows.
Hands down, Le Marais is our choice. We stayed at Hotel Marais Paris Caron de Beaumarchais. Lovely upper floor with balcony, well appointed. Quiet at night. Delicious ample breakfast. Short walking distance to main sights and restaurants. As previously mentioned, we also took the amazing Marais Jewish Walking Tour with Karen, www.sightseekersdelight.com. We also highly recommend their incredible Montmarte Walking Tour. Both tours were the highlights of our 5 nights in Paris!
The Marais for sure. The location is so much better and while it is entirely a tourist area now, it is one of the most beautiful areas of Paris. It is sad that the lovely old butcher shops are now boutiques though. It is a quick stroll to the center -- Hotel DeVille and Notre Dame and easy stroll to the Louvre, Luxembourg Gardens, d'Orsay, Orangerie, Tuilleries etc etc. Rue Cler is not central and while it is a perfectly ok market street, it has nothing particularly special to offer. Steves pushes it because he apparently thinks staying on a market street will be interesting to American new travelers. There are a dozen other market streets at least in Paris many of them more interesting, but it is hard to showcase a dozen.
Marais! I spent 10 days in Paris with my brother, sister-in-law and niece at a hotel about a block from the river right before Christmas in 2015. Was reasonably priced and definitely felt more Parisian with locals instead of Americans. Hôtel Victoria Châtelet. Very close to the Metro also.
Instead of Hotel St. Louis-Marais I'd look at Hôtel Saint-Louis en l´Isle. I've stayed in Rue Cler and the Marais and while you can't go wrong with either....Île Saint-Louis is really great in the evening.
As for the RS effect on Rue Cler...There is something to be said for being able to compare mutual experiences with fellow travelers while sitting at a sidewalk cafe. I've had many memorable conversations with fellow travelers and it's very easy to strike up a conversation sitting at Café Du Marché. ......and the people chain smoking nearby are definitely French.
I don’t like being surrounded by Americans speaking loud American-English when i’m in Paris as i have been every time i go to rue Cler. And i got food poisoning eating at Café du Marche. Just sayin..,
I personally do not see the appeal of Rue Cler. I went over there to check it out when I spent a month in Paris this summer because I thought I was missing out on something - I wasn't really impressed. It's fairly out of the way to the heart of the city and the street itself is not terribly interesting...IMHO.
The Marais is much nicer, has far more character, and flows into other interesting neighborhoods, the Seine, parks, and museums. It's what you picture Paris to be and you'll have a more authentic experience there. Great places to go in the evening for drinks, meals, and an evening walk.
Wonderful,clear responses.Thank you all!
We stay in the 13th at a friend's place and our best friends in Paris have a place in Montmartre, so we often meet for drinks in the Marais at Place St. Opportune which is one of the exits of Chatelet metro (there are 20+ exits of that metro station). An ordinary square in the Marais but it is just gorgeous to watch sunset on the diverse buildings with the charming metro exit in the center. The Marais is filled with little treasures like this.
The Rue Cler area is good for an enjoyable one hour stroll but it is not convenient for most of the tourist attractions in Paris, especially if you want to walk. We really enjoy staying in the 5th because we can walk almost everywhere from that area.
I'm surprised none of the Rue Cler partisans have spoken up yet, but I'm just here to reaffirm your decision, OP: from a purely practical standpoint, the Marais is far more convenient than Rue Cler. It also happens to be my favorite neighborhood in Paris. It is somewhat touristy (most convenient places in Paris are) but less so than Rue Cler. And I really love the mix of the Jewish area and the LGTBQ scene. It's just a delightful area that happens to be great for walking to major sites/public transit as well.
I stayed in the Marais once and would pick Rue Cler over the Marais. I just found the Marais too congested with tourists.
That said the 14th is my favorite so I probably wouldn't pick either of these as a first choice :)
(However, I won't ever stay at Champs de Mars again. One time with the rude front desk was more than enough. Plus it's overpriced for what it offers IMHO )
Both neighborhoods have Starbucks, but only the Marais has Breakfast in America! I'm joking a little, but both neighborhoods have plenty of tourists, plenty of hotels, plenty of restaurants, great bakeries, and good public transportation. If you want to walk almost everywhere, choose the Marais.
Marais is very conveniently located. It's an easy walk from many of the sights in the center, my personal favorite location.
I've never stayed around Rue Cler. I stayed in Montmarte once and felt isolated, like doing anything required additional effort and planning. In Marais, it always feels like you can just walk out the door and find activities (eating, drinking, shopping, parks, people watching, sights).
Question. We are also trying to decide btw Rue Cler and Marais. We like a quieter area when we stay in a big city. We're not interested i night life at all. Would people still prefer Marais?
I've stayed in both Rue Cler and the Latin quarter. I liked the Rue Cler area, but found that the Latin Quarter was closer to what I was doing. The things people find appealing in Rue Cler (bakeries, market, etc.) are also found in the Latin Quarter. Rue Cler was close to Invalides, the Eiffel tower, the market, but not the Louvre, Notre Dame, etc.
We're not interested i night life at all. Would people still prefer Marais?
Personally, yes. I'm not a big 'night life' person when I travel, mostly because I'm a senior and travel solo. But I loved the Marais area and liked the fact that there were lots of people around late into the evening, especially when walking back to my apt from the Metro. If you need quiet in the evening, the thing you need to do is research the locations of possible hotels/apts thoroughly - some area of Marais are quiet and some are very busy.
What is meant by 'night life'? Are you in bed by 9 pm? Or you are thinking of loud night clubs or something? Paris is a beautiful evening city we enjoy strolling by the river or sitting at cafe in the evening -- but we don't do clubs either. The Marais is gorgeous and full of life. I didn't notice noisy 'night life' but then I wasn't looking for it.
I would recommend staying near the Luxembourg Gardens RER station so you can easily take the RER B train from CDG into Paris and then walk to your hotel. It's quick and EASY.
We did this a few months ago and LOVED the neighborhood for many reasons including because it wasn't "Americanized" by a travel book.
Jane, we are usually sitting in bed with books or ipad by 9:30, although I noticed sunset is 9:30ish while we are there so we will probably be out later. We are in our 60s. Not interested in clubs at all except one night we might go see a Japanese Punk band we like. Thanks for the advice. Hard to decide where to stay.
You can stay in the 7th near Rue Cler without actually being right on it/next to it. I've stayed off of Rue Saint- Dominique and saw plenty of locals wandering around. I was also there in the winter, so that may have something to do with it. I've only been to Marais during the day, and liked it, but cannot comment on what it's like to be in a hotel there.