I spent a week of my honeymoon in Le Marais, in a little studio apartment on the Rue des Rosiers. Every morning I headed out on a solo walk to buy baguettes and croissants for the day, exploring a new part of the neighborhood each time. With its unique mix of ancient streets, quirky shops, Jewish restaurants, and gay bars, it’s no surprise that I quickly fell in love with this part of the city.
This trip I am traveling solo, post-divorce, and I needed to know – is the Marais still “mine,” or would I simply feel sad? There was only one way to find out, so I checked my map and headed off on foot to the Rue de Rosiers.
To my great relief, the only thing I found was a rush of happy memories. Many of my favorite bakeries are still there, like Sacha Finkelstajn’s bright yellow storefront where I found the most amazing latkes, and Aux Desirs de Manon, which had a beautiful pear croissant I still dream about. Sadly, neither item was on their shelves today, so I guess I’ll just have to go back.
Some areas are far more “bobo,” as the French would say, than I remembered. High-end designers mix with the funky, eclectic shops now, creating a mix of bourgeois-bohemian that draws people in.
I ended up turning a 1 mile walk into an 8 mile ramble, choosing streets randomly and criss-crossing the neighborhood. Along the way, I found some new favorites.
The Musée Cognacq-Jay was a delightful find, full of 18th century art and antiques in a period setting. Even better, it’s free to visit the museum.
The Jardin des Rosiers was a pleasant and quiet spot to stop and rest a while. I have a weakness for gardens that combine beauty with practicality, so the mix of flowers, espaliered trees, and edible plants was right up my alley.
Like everywhere else in Paris, it’s also a great place to find unique and colorful doors.
The turrets and angles of the Bibliothèque Historique de la Ville de Paris also caught my eye. It’s a gorgeous building that houses a collection of documents stretching back to the 16th century. It’s open to the public, which I wish I’d known, but now it’s on my list of places to visit in the future.
I ended the day by going out of my comfort zone and stopping at a café for espresso and some people watching. While at home I’d be reaching for the protection of a book, somehow in Paris it feels right to do nothing but sit and enjoy. I’m so happy that this is still one of my favorite neighborhoods, and I’ll definitely be back.