Place des Vosges: An insider's guide

Check out the Parisian hangouts around Paris's most sumptuous royal square...



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Place des Vosges, separating Bastille from the Marais, is the perfect example of how Paris unabashedly mixes residential zones with tourist districts. Here, you're just as likely to meet a well-heeled local popping out for a baguette as you are a coachload of American teenagers. The reason, of course, is that Place des Vosges is pure eye-candy – a 17th-century peach stone beauty that was built for Henri IV, with shop-filled arcades and a stately park that  lets you lounge on the grass – a rarity in Paris. Needless to say, on sunny days the square is awash with tourists, so you might want to try our selection of authentically local attractions, cafés, restaurants and bars.

For shopping, head northwards to the boutiques around nearby Rue Charlot, Paris's hottest new shopping district, where a plethora of emerging designers flaunt their wares in stately 18th-century buildings. Click here for details.

For more information on Place des Vosges, click here.

Around Place des Vosges...

Museum: Musée Cognacq-Jay

This cosy museum north of Place des Vosges houses a collection put together in the early 1900s by La Samaritaine founder Ernest Cognacq and his wife Marie-Louise Jay. They stuck mainly to

  1. Hôtel Donon, 8 rue Elzévir, 3e
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Restaurant: Chez Hanna

By noon on a Sunday there is a queue outside every falafel shop along rue des Rosiers. The long-established L'As du Fallafel, a little further up the street, still reigns supreme, whereas Hanna

  1. 54 rue des Rosiers, 4e
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Restaurant: Cru

Opening a raw-food restaurant is a gamble, so the owners of Cru bend the rules here and there, offering root vegetable 'chips' and a few plancha dishes. Still, the extensive menu has plenty for the

  1. 7 rue Charlemagne, 4e
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Café: L'Etoile Manquante

The hippest of Xavier Denamur's merry Marais bars. Cocktails are punchy, traditional tipples just as good, and the salads and snacks are reasonably priced and tasty - but it's the design and buzz

  1. 34 rue Vieille du Temple, 4e
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Wine Bar: Le Temps des Cérises

Not to be confused with several other cafés of the same name, this one-room bistro à vins has changed very little over the years. Faded net curtains, Duralex tumblers behind the zinc bar and prices

  1. 31 rue de la Cerisaie, 4e
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Bar: Tape Bar

To get away from the overloaded Rue de Lappe in the Bastille quarter, frequented by students and tourists, follow the Rue de la Roquette to a little bar that’s close by but a world away. Tape Bar

  1. 21 rue de la Roquette, 11e
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Pub: Stolly's

Don’t know what to do on Paddy’s day in Paris? Stolly’s is a good bet, a full throttle Irish pub in the middle of the Marais. Here, foreigners and the French mix freely, with plenty of laughter

  1. 16 rue Cloche-Perce, 4e
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Theatre: Café de la Gare

If your French is up the scratch and you fancy a Gailic giggle, try the Café de la Gare. Running since 1968, the most famous fringe theatre in Paris has 300 stage-hugging seats and hosts quality

  1. 41 rue du Temple, 4e
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