Like most of Europe, many places are closed Sundays in Paris. (It’s apparently illegal to work on Sundays in Switzerland. You’re not even allowed to do laundry! I’ve lost count the number of times I’ve run out of groceries in Basel and had to trek to the train station and fight the crowd at the “express” grocery store open on Sundays … lest pay $36 for a ridiculously unworthy meal).
But if you find yourself in Paris over a Sunday, check out Le Marais area. It is historically the Jewish area, so more places are closed Saturdays than Sundays.
A famous establishment is L’As du Fallafel. Super tasty. Falafel was not over fried/dry. You won’t miss the meat with this generous vegetarian meal. Sandwich was about $6 USD. Here’s a more in-depth review from the Times. L’As was definitely good, but I wouldn’t give it as “OMG” of a review.
These things were massive!
On a Marais note, we love living locally when traveling, and the Marais is a favorite area to stay. Most Parisians I know live in this neighborhood. Reminds me a bit of NYC’s Gramercy (Places des Vosges = Gramercy Park + Madison Square Park). Super convenient to sights, architecture is gorgeous, and as long as you’re not near the Pompidou Center, it does not seem very touristy.
My sisters and I tend to rent apartments vs. hotels. It’s a great way to save money (more for food!) and get an authentic feel for a city. You have to be willing to give up amenities though, like housekeeping, and concierge services (which we rarely use anyway, and neither should you now that you have this blog? ;-)). Right or wrong, I never trust concierge restaurant recommendations because I assume they’re getting kick-backs.
We stayed at one of the apartments managed by the brothers of Paris Best Lodge (specifically the Charles V). Apartments are in great locations and reasonably priced (800 Euros/week), and the interactions with the brothers were prompt and professional. I originally found the company on VRBO.com (Vacation Rentals By Owner). Airbnb.com is another option.
Recently, some friends and I stayed at a boutique hotel, Les Jardins du Marais, about 15 minutes on direct bus from Gare de Lyon train station. We booked only four days in advance and our rate was $345 USD for a triple-occupancy via hotels.com. I was a tad nervous given mixed reviews, but I would stay there again. Hotel was cute and service courteous. Room worked out perfectly – two twins (next to one another) and sofa bed – and everything seemed new (this may not be the case for all units). There was even a mini kitchen (hot plate, dishwasher, sink), useful for guests doing extended stay. The hotel is surprisingly large with 300+ rooms in a collection of buildings, all connected to a beautiful courtyard.
I have heard St. Germain and the Latin Quarter are also great areas to stay. Do you have thoughts or other suggestions?
L’As du Fallafel – 34 rue des Rosiers; Tel: +33 1 48 87 63 60; closed Saturday
Hotel Les Jardins du Marais – 74 Rue Amelot 75011 Paris, France; Tel: +33 1 40 21 20 00