It’s been a year ago since I’ve last traveled to Paris, although it feels like I’ve returned home yesterday I miss the city like it’s been ages ago. Paris is my all-time favorite city, and no future travels can top a citytrip like one to Paris. Today I wanted to break down Paris by arrondissement, so you can learn more about the city, her highlights and most importantly what you should visit when you are planning your Paris trip!
The 1st arrondissement is the center of Paris, where you’ll probably find the most tourists (with exception of the Eifel Tower), the most to-do’s and the highest hotel prices. The 1st arrondisement is also the home of Musée du Louvre, Musée de l’Orangerie, the Jardin des Tuileries, shopping center Les Halles and a marvelous view of the Seine, the Eifel Tower and the typical Parisian Architecture. Yes.. we love this neighborhood!
Marked as the smallest one of Paris, but definitely worth a visit. While a lot of visitors skip this part of Paris I definitely think you should ignore the rules and go of a stroll through this part of Paris. My two absolute favorite streets of the second arrondissement are Rue Montorgueil and Etienne Marsel where you find tons of cafes and small boutiques. In the second you’ll also find a couple of theaters, which are as beautiful on the outside as the inside – be sure to check their calendars!
The 3rd arrondissement is also known as Le Marais (partly also the 4th) which is the best part of town according to locals I have met in the past. This arrondissement has something for everybody – from markets and antique stores to luxury and designer boutiques. This neighborhood is also the home of a couple of museums like Musée des Archives Nationales, Musée de la Chasse et de la Nature and the Musée National Picasso. Another great hotspot? Les Archives de la Presse – where you’ll find dozens of old magazines (like ELLE and VOGUE) you can look into!
The other part of Le Marais, as well as the more touristic part of Le Marais. Partly because of places like Centre Pompidou and Place des Vosges. But also because Île de la Cité (the small island in the Seine and the home of Le Notre-Dame) is a part of the 4th arrondissement. Next to the fact that this arrondissement probably is one of the prettiest, liveliest and most cultural experiences in Paris this is also one of the most expensive neighborhoods in Paris. So booking a hotel here might be somewhat overdone.
The fifth arrondissement is also known as the Latin Quartier, the neighborhood where a lot of students have found their homes. In previous blogposts I have written much about the Latin Quartier, basically because I find it to be one of the best quarters to visit! The 5th arrondissement has a bursting energy, with lots of restaurants, cafes, street artists and markets. I advise you to spend at least one evening at the 5th arrondissement – dining and enjoying. However, booking a hotel at the fifth isn’t a bad idea either: prices are fairly cheap for Paris, and you’ll be guaranteed of having great nights!
The 6th arrondissement has left a special place in many hearts due to her special streets, and of course Le Jardin du luxembourg – a beautiful, tranquil spot were both locals as tourists hang out and come to relax. The 6th is situated next to a beautiful piece of the Seine, where you’ll find the Pont des Arts and Pont Neuf and a couple of market stands selling artwork and photographs.
The most iconic area AND the home of the Eiffel Tower. It is the 7th arrondissement where you’ll truly realize you are in Paris. The 7th will give you a dozen of priceless views upon the Eiffel Tower and the Parisian streets. You’ll also find the Musée d’Orsay in this neighborhood, one of the most remarkable museums of Paris. The 7th arrondissement is a very classic and stylish, and therefor also pretty expensive.
The 8th arrondissement equals shopping. Just saying. The Champs-Élysées draws a perfect line through this area, separating the Grand Palais, the Petit Palais and the Seine from an area filled with the most expensive stores you have ever laid eyes on. Not to mention the restaurants and cafes that will be over the budget of the average traveler. However if you are lucky enough to afford it you should definitely stay here. Of course, the 8th also equals the Arc the Triomphe, which marks the end (or beginning) of the Champs Élysées.
The 9th is more of a ‘normal’ neighborhood, with cheaper priced and lesser known stores, with cheaper hotels and with lots of barbershops, nail salons and residential buildings. However, while this area screams Galleries Lafayette, Printemps and fun lively streets you should also be more careful around this arrondissement due to some less safe streets.
The 10th arrondissement is an area which for many travelers will be the first area they see in Paris as here you’ll find two big train stations: Gare du Nord and Gare de l’Est. The 10th arrondissement is comparable to the 9th arrondissement: you’ll find lots of fun and small streets with cheaper priced hotels (like this one) and local stores. You’ll find lots of good restaurants and lunchrooms around Rue Saint Denis and with a bit of imagination you can act like you’re in Venice when walking over one of the bridges of Canal Saint-Martin.
The 11th arrondissement for me means just one thing: finding hotspots. Filled with good restaurants, small cafés and bars, but also hotspots like the Musée Édith Piaf and the many small gardens and parks the 11th has something special for the traveler who is looking for ‘more’. In between the old typical Parisian buildings you’ll find new build apartments and younger looking buildings, which makes it a fun, modern / old mix and a bit of a quirky neighborhood.
The 12th is a beautiful and tranquil area in Paris. It also has a lot of history as here you’ll find the Place de la Bastille and the Place de la Nation. Some more ‘fun’ places you should look into are Bercy Village (especially during Christmas period) which is an outdoor ‘shopping village’, Bercy Park which is an absolutely, absolutely beautiful park and Bois de Vincennes which is another beautiful park known as the lungs of Paris.
You can’t put your finger on the 13th arrondissement. From Chinatown (around Avenue de Choisy) to colorful and cute looking houses (à la Notting Hill, London) around Rue Dieulafoy and national prides like the beautiful National Library close to the Seine. The 13th has her charms, and while not exactly being the home of must-visit tourist spots you should visit it anyway – just to wander around.
The 14th arrondissement is mostly a residential area, where the small streets are filled with tall buildings where the Parisian life takes place. However, very notable you’ll also find the Tour Montparnasse in the fourteenth. Which is a glass building of 210 meters, and thereby the largest tower of France. You can enter the Tour Montparnasse, where you’ll find restaurants, giftshops but most importantly: the Panoramic floor that offers you one of the best views of Paris, looking over the Seine, The Eifel Tower and the Sacre Coeur!
The fifteenth has some great aspects. If your budget allows it you can shop around the charming street of Rue du Commerce, where you’ll find a ton of stores, both international as France or you could go to Beaugrenelle – a modern shopping center close to the Seine. The 15th also has a lot of good hotspots and restaurants – fairly priced. The 15th also offers an amazing view on the Eiffel Tower – you can for example go to the rooftop bar of the Novotel Paris Vaugirard Montparnasse and enjoy an amazing view over Paris.
The 16th arrondissement is a very classy, safe and tranquil neighborhood. While the half of the 16th exists out of lovely Parisian streets and museums (like the Musée Clemenceau, Maison de Balzac, Musée Marmottan Monet and Musee d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris) the other half is completely colored green by the Bois du Boulogne. A massive park giving you the ‘Central Park, NYC’ vibes. Of course here you’ll also find the Jardins du Trocadéro where you’ll get a wonderful view of the Eiffel Tower from across the river.
While the 17th doesn’t have ‘outstanding’ tourist attractions it is a fun neighborhood to walk around and to wander. In this neighborhood you’ll find a lot of street and food markets, a couple of parks and some lovely cafés.
While I think you should avoid one part of the 18th (around the Boulevard Barbès and the train stations) you should love the other part of it: Montmartre. Montmartre is the fun, quirky and artistic home of Paris where you’ll find lots of street artists, unique restaurants and a lot of art galleries. Of course we can’t forget the center of Montmartre: the Sacre Coeur – a beautiful basilica on the top of a hill in Montmartre. In the 18th you’ll also find the famous Moulin Rouge.
Again: if I were you I would stay away from the parts close to the train station for your own safety. A highlight of the 19th is the Buttes-Chaumont park, which is a beautiful spot in Paris, where you will not find many other tourists. You’ll also find a lot of markets around the 19th arrondissement, for example the Marché Joinville and the marché Jean-Jaurès.
Everyone knows the 20th arrondissement by the famous Cimetière Père-Lachaise where you’ll find the tombes of Jim Morrison, Edith Piaf and Chopin. Further than that the area is mostly forgotten about by tourists. Belleville is a small area in this area where you should pay attention: prostitution is getting a bigger and bigger problem around this area and especially at night you have to wonder if you would like to spend your time there. However Belleville DOES have a lot of cool and small hotspots and restaurants, lovely street art, a beautiful park and fun small alleys to wander through!
This article is part of a collaboration with Expedia. The content, opinions and choice of links however, are as always my own.