Welcome to Paris’ hottest — or Paris’ most ruined — neighborhood, depending on who you ask. Its local nickname is Le Haut-Marais (upper Marais) and it’s where hipsters who actually have money live. But right before becoming hip, it was working-class and, when you find and appreciate the old joints that reveal its blue-collar past, that when you know you’re a tourist (ahem, visitor) in-the-know. Baron Haussmann unintentionally, depending on the version of fake news you believe, spared the Third from demolition when he created his big boulevards, as with the Fourth and part of the Fifth in the 1860s. And that’s great because his move (or lack thereof) has allowed us all to continue to swoon over wobbling medieval façades on narrow cobbled streets, manicured gardens, courtyards hidden behind massive ornate wood doors and former hôtels particuliers (that’s French for fancy private mansions from the 1600s) turned into sick-as-hell art museums and smart galleries.
Trendy shops, boutique hotels, posh galeries, worth-your-time museums like Le Musée Picasso, Le Musée Carnavalet, Le Musée de la Chasse et de la Nature (the Museum of Hunting and Nature—much, much cooler than it sounds, trust me), tiny and charming restaurants and bistros, gorgeous architecture and parks; le Haut-Marais has it all. The busy streets are Rue Vieille du Temple, Rue de Bretagne, and Rue de Turenne. But wander the smaller streets, instead. They’re filled with surprises, and almost no cars.