75003: Not to be missed – lively, energetic historic – 3rd arrondissement, Paris
Created in 1859, the 3rd arrondissement of Paris officially named ‘arrondissement du Temple‘ can be found on the right-bank of the Seine river, quite centrally located and easy to access from any part of town. Lively and energetic, this area comprises the northern part of the famous Marais neighborhood (the Haut-Marais), where numerous bars, restaurants, trendy shops and unique boutiques attract tourists and Parisians alike daily. The third features narrow streets and Medieval and Renaissance architectural styles.
If history, museums and architecture are among your top interests, this arrondissement will undoubtedly enchant you and feed your curiosity and thirst for culture. However there is soooo much more!
Historical sites and Museums
Archives nationales museum
To dive into the official French past, pay a visit to the Archives nationales museum, located in the stunning Hôtel de Soubise. The Archives nationales is a body that centralizes documents and records produced by the French administration.
As mentioned on their website, here are the objectives or the museum: “providing visitors with “a summary of events of the history of France” via the “written monuments of the motherland” (to use Laborde’s words), and introducing visitors to how writing, media, and diplomatic conventions have changed over time”.
The permanent exhibition and the temporary ones offer a rich entry into the history of the nation.
After this visit, head to the Musée Carnavalet located not too far away. This beautiful museum opened in 1880 traces back the history of the city of Paris.
Closed for the last few years, it will reopen in the spring of 2020 to the delight of many.
Two hôtels particuliers (there are plenty in the arrondissement) host the museum: Hôtel Carnavalet and the Hôtel Le Peletier de Saint-Fargeau. There you can encounter a vast collection made up of different departments such as archeology, paintings, furniture, photography, shield, sculpture and more.
For a more contemporary cultural offering, you might be interested in the Musée Picasso. Over 5000 pieces of art and more than ten thousand archives from the illustrious Spanish painter’s collection, (who lived in France most of his life) are displayed in the Hôtel Salé, the hôtel particulier hosting the museum. Both permanent and temporary exhibitions can be visited and enjoyed. From early to later works, from drawings to sculptures, this museum represents an incredible offer for those who love Picasso or those who desire to discover the artist.
Musée des Arts et métiers
Another spot you might want to stop by while strolling in the area is the Musée des Arts et métiers. Established in 1794 and located in the priory of Saint-Martin-des-Champs, this unique place is dedicated to technological innovation. Thousands and thousands of objects and drawings divided into seven categories (scientific instruments, Materials, Energy, Mechanics, Construction, Communication, and Transport) make this museum one of the most important of its kind worldwide. Science, culture, and history all in one place!
Musée d’art et d’Histoire du Judaïsme
Le Marais, is to be found in the fourth and part of the third arrondissement (“le troisième” as locals call it) is tied to Jewish history. In fact, Jewish population has been present in the neighborhood since the Middle Ages. To learn more about the topic, you can visit the Musée d’art et d’Histoire du Judaïsme.
In addition to this activity, you can indulge in delicious Jewish cuisine, easily found in the arrondissement!
Where to eat: le troisième
Are you looking for a place to eat? You have great options to choose from in this neighborhood! Here are but a few… Here you’ll find many many more to choose from.
Elmer is a great address where to have a fine gastronomic diner, where the quality is guaranteed. On the same street, the owners hold an épicerie/ cave à manger as well.
If you enjoy seafood (oysters, bulots, and shrimp, to name a few), ISTR will be a great choice! They serve meat and other vegetarian meals too. The restaurant is also a cozy cocktail bar where you can sip on one of their succulent drinks. America and French regional tradition meat in this cool, beautiful and creative place opened by three friends!
Looking for a nice café, always busy, always filled with Parisians and visitors chatting on the terrace, sharing a meal and enjoying the bustling life of the Marais? Head to Café Charlot, a true, authentic and delightful Paris bistrot!
For the gourmets and gourmands, head to Bontemps Pâtisserie pastry shop and tea room. This lovely place serves great brunches and makes succulent cakes and other desserts in a charming décor (the terrace!).
Another gem of the Haut Marais is the Institut Suédois near the gorgeous Place des Vosges. Swedish culture is highlighted through conferences, art exhibitions and movie screenings, while you can enjoy some Scandinavian food at the Café Suédois.
Incontournables – unmissable
Hôtel du Petit Moulin
Boutique hotels are everywhere in this trendy and elegant neighborhood. The choice is vast, but you might be interested in the Hôtel du Petit Moulin, a luxury spot whose interiors are designed by the great French designer Christian Lacroix!
Cool and original, Ofr is at once a bookstore, a gallery, a publisher and a studio. Photo exhibitions, fanzines, art books, for new discoveries and art lovers, this address is perfect!
This market is ‘a must’ when visiting the third arrondissement. The covered market is the oldest in Paris and there you can walk among the numerous stands (a lot of choices), eat some food, buy some souvenirs or just walk around. You can buy a meal and go or seat at a table in the market.
Don’t miss the gardens – well known & otherwise
There are so many well-known and hidden gardens in this densely populated historic quarter. Take some time and seek them out… Here are but a few tips for the curious.
What else? The list is endless!
The list could go on as there are a vast array of restaurants, cafés and bars in the district. In addition, the troisième is packed with interesting fashion. Many small independent brands: local and international.
Do not forget to wander, as the architecture is beautiful and the Marais and other parts of the troisième are very lively neighborhoods. Hope you will love it and come back. The third arrondissement is always a good idea!
How well do you know the 3rd arrondissement? Do you have any tips or places to add to Melissa’s recommendations?
Québécoise and Spaniard, I grew up in Montreal. From writing to teaching and from studying in Paris to attending grad school in Brussels, French is at the heart of my life. I love acting, traveling, reading, chocolate, the sea, Serge Gainsbourg, Leonard Cohen, Marguerite Duras and thunderstorms.
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