The louvre

See art in Paris, not just at the Louvre

In the 3rd arrondissement, the small streets that run from the Picasso Museum to the Place de la République form the golden triangle of the coolest designer district in Paris, the Haut Marais. The transformation actually began in the middle of the 13th century, when Charles I, brother of Louis IX, built his residence at what is now 7 rue de Sévigné. French nobles quickly erected limestone mansions, which were eventually converted into museums when that same nobility was swept away (Hotel Salé became the Picasso Museum and Hotel Carnavalet became the Carnavalet Museum). Despite the claim of these two museums, the district was for a long time a working-class district without exception. But in 2009, everything changed when Marie-France Cohen transformed an old wallpaper factory into her fashion and decoration boutique, Merci. Since then, the NoMa, as the Haut Marais is known, has exploded with sophisticated bistros, Made in Paris designer boutiques and contemporary art galleries. Thaddaeus Ropac, a friend of Warhol and Basquiat, opened his open space gallery on rue Debelleyme in 1990 and now represents 60 artists there. Galerie de l’Instant is all about photography and is known for its cool temporary exhibitions. Be sure to stop by the vintage decoration boutique, Les Fées Mélanc(h)olia. It’s not a gallery, but the objects are worth a look.