Fhp’s Guide to the Marais District
If you’ve ever been to Paris, you’ve undoubtedly experienced the hipster goodness radiating out of the 4th arrondissement. The unofficial home to both the city’s Jewish and gay populations, the Marais benefits from its resident’s eclectic interests, numerous boutiques and super central location. And while the opening of several high-end chains over the last few years have arguably changed the feel of Marais, the overall atmosphere remains lively, trip-worthy and decidedly indie.
With fhp’s latest rebrand in the works, we decided to try our hand at curating something other than your weekly music playlists. The result is this, the first (and perhaps last) in a series of international neighborhood guides focused on bringing you the best shops, eateries, and experiences these cities have to offer. With each guide, we’ll tell you where we’d spend our time, our cash and what we’d be listening to while doing it! While by no means exhaustive, each guide should give you the bones for a solid indie fhp experience.
So, without further ado, welcome to fhp’s guide to the Marais, Paris.
Metro Stop: St. Paul – Line 1
You actually have a choice of metro stops when getting to the Marais including Bastille, Hotel de Ville and Rambuteau . All are fine, but I tend to prefer St. Paul as its centrally located and not as busy as some of the other stations. Plus it spits you out right across the street from our first stop…
Starbucks – Rue de Rivoli
Ok, I know you’re thinking, “What the fuck Alex? Starbucks?!? I don’t even go to the one in my hometown let alone one in Paris!” Now before you click over to Pitchfork and swear off fhp for life, hear me out. I understand that in a city where you can literally throw a rock in any direction and hit 2.38 cafes (math is estimated, don’t hold me to that number), visiting a Starbucks seems sacrilegious. Fair enough, but if you would just control your anger for a minute Luke and listen (Yoda was right, you’re too damn angry or old or whatever…), I would tell you that in a city of bite-sized cafes, Starbucks Marais is downright huge with plenty of seating and electrical sockets for the hordes of fhp readers sure to be stampeding through the doors after reading this article. That aside, the store is conveniently located right across from the St. Paul metro exit and is one of the few places providing take away cups for those who have mastered the ability to walk, drink and shop. Congratulations.
Freep Star – Rue de Rivoli
This ones for the ladies guys. A vintage clothes store right down the street from Starbucks that features a variety of womens’ wardrobe staples. Be sure to peep the €1 boxes for last chance steals. Pro tip: The Kilo Shop is right across the street and definitely worth a look if you have a bit more to spend.
Hippy Market – 21 Rue du Temple
Another vintage clothier albeit in a much bigger space with something for everyone. I loved the assortment of 80’s sports wear and vintage Hermes ties, but ended up buying an old blue and white stripped sailor top that I’m guessing the GF will wear as a dress. Also worth mentioning, the in-store music here was the best of my trip hands down.
Bagelstein – 2 Rue de la Verrerie
Bagelstein features…well, bagels obviously and does so in a bright, lively space. A bagel with plain cream cheese will run you €2.80 although they also do sandwiches and desserts. While the food was good, It doesn’t hurt that the staff are easy on the eyes or that the outdoor seating is perfect for people watching on sunny days.
Factory’s-3 rue de Sainte-Croix de la Bretonnerie
A little bit of SoCal in the heart of the Marais. When I popped in, they were featuring a selection of colorful beach-print button ups and jeans-cut khakis. A band like Cayucas would be right at home here.
La Fausse Botique – 19 Rue des Ecouffes
The place for accessories and esoteric shoe brands. I was instantly drawn to the tribal print sweatshirts and wooden bow ties (you read that right, bow ties made from wood), but this place had everything from t-shirts to travel bags to an incredible pair of Portuguese made suede kicks – easily my favorite find of the trip.
Don’s – 5 Rue des Ecouffes
It kind of makes sense that a restaurant specializing in Japanese staples like Goyza, Karrage chicken and Bento boxes would be one of the tiniest shops in this guide. Kawaii cute with tasty food to boot makes this a great place to grab lunch or even an early dinner. And because they seem to think it’s important enough to point out with a big sign, they speak English too.
El Ganso – 7 Rue de Rosiers
This place has to be a mecca of sorts for preppy bros worldwide. In fact, I’m willing to bet that right now, some preppy hipster frat boys named Colt and Blaine are kneeling shoulder to shoulder, facing towards Paris, thanking their blue blazers and multi-colored socks that El Ganso exists. You should too.
Lavage (Laundromat) –
Ok, it’s not really a store or restaurant, but I’m going to tell you to visit a laundromat none-the-less. Why? Well, It’s a warm respite for those cold, rainy Paris days, open 24/7 and if you do stop by perhaps you’ll also come across a woman rocking sweatpants, bath slippers and a full length fur coat that would make even this guy jelly. Shut your mouth.
Places to Avoid
Hermes, Marc Jacobs, etc.
Far be it for me to pan the continuing influx of high-end retailers opening up in the Marais, but I’m going to guess that if you’re a regular reader of flowerhousepodcast.com you’re probably not dropping $400 on a t-shirt or attending trunk shows during Paris’ fashion week. That said, I certainly don’t want to alienate that particular demographic because we’ll need their deep-pockets when we open that chain of flowerhouse vinyl/convenience stores in Hanoi someday.
Look I know what I just wrote, but come on…it’s a damn Starbucks in Paris! Have you no shame?