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A few days in le Marais packs in the very best of Paris. Hip food, fashion and nightlife have transformed the city’s historic and most gay-friendly district into a not-to-be-missed adult playground. The best way to explore? Ask a local. Louise from our team in Paris shares her insider’s guide to the neighbourhood, from the top spots for falafel to the coolest art galleries and the best place to stay. Allons-y!

    • Settle in with an apéro

      Check in to Les Jardins du Marais. Its pretty hidden courtyard hosts seasonal pop-ups; the cocktails in the Insta-worthy bar aren’t bad, either. Or wander over to La Belle Hortense: pick a tome from the bookshelf, hoist yourself on a barstool and order something fruity from the excellent wine list. Need a bit of a lift? La Résistance is all about French spirits, cheerily mixed into interesting but unpretentious concoctions.

    • Get your culture fix

      Colourful tubes and exposed mechanics encase the Museum of Modern Art at the Pompidou Centre. Don’t miss the faithful reconstruction of Brancusi’s workshop. In elegant Hôtel Salé, the Musée Picasso collection spans his many coloured periods, plus sketchbooks and objets d’art. For cutting edge contemporary art, browse Galerie Karsten Greve’s collection of post-war works.

    • Rue des Rosiers

      In the heart of the Jewish Quarter, tough competition plays out between the neighbourhood’s kitchens. Take sides in the falafel wars with extensive sampling at Chez Hanna and L’As du Fallafel. Or stock up on fresh bagels and other traditional pastries at Sacha Finkelsztajn and Murciano instead.

    • Déjeuner spots

      Stop by Nanashi, a breezy, no-nonsense spot for salmon chirashi, creative bento boxes and fresh juices. Pint-sized D Noodles serves cockle-warming Chongqing noodles. Punters sit facing the wall, but who needs chat when you’re slurping? The food stalls at the Marché des Enfants Rouges get mobbed at weekends: try Lebanese galettes, rosti and creole black pudding.

    • Afternoon stops

      Carette’s dinky tarts and luscious éclairs are just the thing to nibble on in pretty Place des Vosges. Soak up Swedish culture at Institut Suédois and grab a sweet-scented cinnamon roll from the charming café. Or perch on a stool at Boot Café – this tiny cobbler-turned-coffee shop serves properly good brews.

    • Dinner

      Nab a terrace table at Au Petit Fer à Cheval for the best people-watching in town and dishes so old-school they’re cool. At Israeli joint Miznon, tuck into pitas stuffed with melting ratatouille, spiced and breaded fish, or off-piste tatin apples. 

    • Last-minute shopping

      There’s much to be thankful for in Merci, Paris’s most beloved general store: madcap interiors, hard-to-find labels… and the café’s irresistible crumble. Shop guilt-free at Faguo, a fashion brand actively supporting reforestation projects. Wallet-friendly concept store The Frankie Shop has a New York vibe. Stock up on minimalist knickers and eco-friendly denim wash.

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Image credits: © Shutterstock; © Shutterstock; © Les Jardins du Marais; © Puxan; © Puxan; © Puxan; © Puxan; © Merci; © Eurostar; © Shutterstock; © Shutterstock