Long a dead zone compared to the bustling gay district to the south, the renovation of the city's oldest covered food market and an influx of boutique stores has turned the northern Marais into destination hipster. Eat at Les Chineurs (55 Rue de Bretagne; +33-01-42-78-64-50) for its mismatched chairs and, in season, tender white asparagus . And while you can find designer threads at Surface to Air and Gaspard Yurkievich on nearby Rue Charlot, the earthier ambience of Rue de Bretagne is designed for tourists who would prefer not to be.
If it's France, it must be cheese. But it's something about the artfully haphazard way it's presented here that turns a humble Comt' or Gruy're into a work of art. Go native with a stinky Vieux Boulogne and a couple of oeufs d'oie -- goose eggs -- to go.
39 Rue de Bretagne; +33-01-42-78-52-61
March' des Enfants Rouges
Step through a small iron gate on the street into a foodie nirvana at the March' des Enfants Rouges, the oldest food market in Paris. Built in 1615, it has regional specialties delivered daily from the provinces and the best falafel in the city at Traiteur. There's a wine bar, too, so you won't go dry.
39 Rue de Bretagne
In a city cluttered with antique stores, Lieu Commun is an airy, modernist relief, specializing in electronic music, menswear, and contemporary design. Owned by Philippe Starck alum Matali Crasset, this is the place to pick up a Laguiole cake knife, a candle in the shape of a revolver, and a pair of organic Vega sneakers from Brazil. Just like you always wanted.
5 Rue des Filles du Calvaire; +33-01-44-54-08-30
Le Livre Penseur
This tiny bookstore opposite the March' des Enfants Rouges, stuffed with faded tomes of literature and philosophy by Rabelais and Montaigne, among others, won't be much use if you can't read French, but you can always pretend.
14 Rue de Bretagne; +33-01-44-61-00-77