PLACE DES VOSGES/Marais district

Our group of students/teachers will be departing for France next weekend. While in Paris (our first stop) I'd like to take the subway to the Marais area around the Place des Vosges as I hear the shops/restaurants etc..are very nice and not so touristy as some of the other spots closer to the center. Have any of you been there and do you agree??? THANKS!

Posted by David
Seattle, WA, USA
1414 posts

Its been 10 years since I was in that neighborhood, and while I liked it just fine, I would not expect it to be "not touristy". There will be plenty of tourists there - hard to get away from tourists in Paris. I believe the Marais in general is pretty trendy these days (maybe it appeals to a higher class of tourist - hipsters?). Place des Vosges is delightful and pretty "real" but it's not exactly a quiet, undiscovered corner. Great place for a picnic or a short break watching Parisians (and tourists) do their thing.

Posted by Kira
Seattle, WA, USA
956 posts

The Marais in general, and the Place des Vosges in particular, are as touristy as the rest of Paris. Which is not say that they are not delightful to visit! Here's a nice webpage with some basic info: http://www.aparisguide.com/lemarais/ And David is right in pointing out that the Marais is "hipster-y" and trendy/spendy these days. Lots of yup-scale boutiques. Lots of very fashionable people. That said, I love the Marais. You should have a blast there. Depending on where your hotel is, I'd skip the Metro and take the bus. If you are staying at all close to the Marais you'll be able to sight-see while bussing there. The Metro is fast - and would be great if you have a longer journey - but it's a big-city subway system, underground, with no views. Here's a guide to taking the #69 bus - which stops about a block from the Place des Vosges! http://www.parisperfect.com/blog/2012/09/the-69-bus-see-all-the-top-sights-in-paris/

Posted by Brenda
Jasper
91 posts

Love the Marais area and look forward to going back in a couple of weeks. So much history there! May I ask if the students will be taught about the Jewish roots in that part of the city, and how they were treated and deported during WWII? It was an eye-opener and real learning opportunity for me last time, and is one thing I want to do better justice to this time. Touristy? Of course! But also very colorful and not to be missed. Lucky kids.

Posted by Susan
Sausalito, California
3205 posts

Of the many times I've spent time at Place des Vosges it was not touristy at all. Maybe I was always just lucky. The only people I saw there were Parisians having lunch on the grass and children playing. I also have never found the Marais, in general, to be touristy. Sounds like others have had a different experience than I have.

Posted by Nancy
Corvallis OR
969 posts

I agree with Susan. I stayed in the Marais for a month last summer and walked to the Place des Vosges 3 or 4 times and never found it overly touristy. Had my own picnic lunch there twice and watched the kids at play.

Posted by Rose
NYC
922 posts

I wouldn't use the word 'touristy' to describe the Place des Vosges, at least not the times I've been there. It's elegant and architecturally refined, with beautifully symmetrical arcades. I really enjoyed visiting the 'Maison de Victor Hugo' at No. 6 Place des Vosges, where the great writer and intellectual lived for 16 years. In the Marais in general, yes, there are touristy sections, but wander just a little into the back streets and you will discover peaceful small parks entirely empty of tourists, interesting shops, beautiful residential architecture, etc. Always one of my favorite areas of Paris.

Posted by Chani
Tel Aviv
3509 posts

I've stayed in the area 2 or 3 times, for a week or more. It is more residential than touristy. The shops are mainly upscale boutiques, fun to window-shop. It seems like there are always students and little kids on the lawn in the Place des Vosges. Some of the restaurants on the Place are touristy, but there are several nice neighborly ones on the side streets. On the weekends, many of the streets are closed to vehicles and it gets rather crowded, but mostly with Parisians. One of my favorite places is the Carnavalet Museum (and it's free).

Posted by Nigel
East Midlands, England
8755 posts

I love the Place des Vosges. One of my favourite parts of Paris. I've not noticed overwhelming hordes of tourists there. It is used as the start or finish of a Deux Chevaux tour however. A really nice part of the town, and nearby stuff pretty cool too.

Posted by Karen
Fort Wayne, IN, USA
1520 posts

I saw zombies in the Place des Vosges. Well, I'm pretty sure they were just young folk dressed as zombies, because there was no eating of flesh. But still. Zombies in the Place des Vosges.

Posted by Diane
New York, NY, USA
60 posts

We stayed 2 blocks from the Place Des Vosges and it was not touristy. You can combine a walk thru the Marais from Place de Vosges to the Pompidou Center - which is an amazing museum experience. We got off the 1 line at Bastille - though there are stops closer to the museum. Also -if you are looking for non-touristy things the market on Blvd Richard Lenoir on Thursday and Sunday mornings is lovely. Also at the Bastille stop.
Have your students use money belts and be mindful of pickpockets- not necessarily at these locations but esp at Eiffel tower and on train

Posted by Swan
Napa, CA
2858 posts

Place des Vosges is a good picnic spot. Load up with supplies at the nearby Monoprix. There are benches or you can sit on the grass.