Located in Paris’ 3rd arrondissement, the Marais neighborhood is a mix of Jewish restaurants, trendy art galleries, delectable cafes and quirky shops. Paris’ wide boulevards give way to narrow cobblestone alleys and you feel transported back to another era. Within blocks of each other, you’ll find the Pompidou Centre – Paris’ famous modern art museum – and gritty falafel shops promising you “the best falafel in the world.” Yes, they all really do promise you “the best falafel in the world.”
Our first stop was the Jewish Museum where I surreptitiously took photos with my iPhone even though it was clearly forbidden. The security guard was not happy with me. So much for being surreptitious. But seriously – what’s the point of going to a museum if you can’t take pictures of all the really old stuff?
We made our way through the mess of narrow pathways, considering our dinner options and admiring the history. Because we couldn’t possibly pass up “the best falafel in the world,” we settled on L’as Du Fallafel and picked up a bunch of pastries and snacks for later at some of the most amazing smelling bakeries I have encountered in my life.
Finally, we wound our way to the Pompidou Centre. Some people think the inside-out architecture is an eyesore on Paris’ aristocratic skyline, but I think it’s awesome. Even though it was already 7 p.m., the lines were at least 20-30 minutes long. We managed to find a back entrance through the library without a line at all, so if you have the Pompidou Centre on your bucket list, take note.
In addition to the art exhibits, Pompidou has great views of the city from its top floor and a funky modern restaurant and bar area. If you’re not congenitally allergic to modern art and/or falafel, I recommend a visit to Pompidou and Marais.