Get to Know All 20 Paris Arrondissements: Captivating Journey Through the Essence of Paris

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Phelipe Cardoso Sekai

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  • Paris

  • France

  • City Travel

  • Arts & Culture

  • Local Culture

  • Local Food

  • Shopping

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Curator’s statement

The 20 arrondissements of Paris, the distinct administrative districts of this iconic city, offer a wonderful journey through their diverse neighborhoods, each brimming with its own unique character and charm. From the first to the 20th, spiraling outwards in a clockwise direction from the city center, let us guide you through all the Paris districts in a nutshell!

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Where to stay in Paris

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Hôtel Grand Powers

Glamorous property in a building from 1920 in the heart of Paris with posh rooms and suites.

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  • $100 food / beverage credit.

  • Breakfast daily.

  • Upgrade & extended check-in/out whenever possible.

Hôtel Vernet

A stylish, contemporary design hotel steps away from the Champs-Elysées.

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  • $100 food / beverage credit.

  • Breakfast daily.

  • VIP Amenity

  • Upgrade whenever possible.

Hotel Raphaël

In the heart of the 16th, this classic stay has a traditional style, best-in-class concierge and Arc de Triomphe views.

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  • $100 hotel / resort credit.

  • Breakfast daily.

  • Upgrade & extended check-in/out whenever possible.

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Things to do in Paris

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You've probably known that Paris is divided in arrondissements, districts or boroughs, and indeed, this is a central aspect of understanding and experiencing the city. These 20 arrondissements, or administrative districts, form a snail-shell pattern that spirals outwards from the 1st arrondissement at the historical heart of Paris, near the Louvre, to the outer edges of the city.

Instituted by Baron Haussmann in the 19th century, this unique arrangement not only aids in municipal governance but also paints a vivid picture of Paris’s diverse cultural landscape.

Each arrondissement has its own distinctive flavor, history and attractions, from the grand boulevards and iconic landmarks in the central districts to the quaint, village-like neighborhoods on the outskirts. This system encapsulates the very essence of Parisian life, with every district offering a different slice of the city’s rich tapestry. Whether it's the artistic charm of Montmartre in the 18th, the historic grandeur of the fifth with the Latin Quarter, or the bustling modernity of the business district in the eighth, the arrondissements provide a structured yet enchanting way to explore and appreciate the multifaceted nature of Paris.

Understanding this system is key to unlocking the secrets of Paris. Let us guide you through a journey that intertwines the city's glorious past with its vibrant present, highlighting each of these 20 unique neighborhoods:

First Arrondissement: The Historic and Cultural Heart

Highlights: This arrondissement is home to the world-famous Louvre Museum, housing thousands of works of art, including the Mona Lisa. The Tuileries Gardens offer a peaceful escape with beautifully manicured lawns, while the Palais Royal features a stunning courtyard with Daniel Buren's striped columns.

Character: As the historical center of Paris, it's characterized by its magnificent architecture and cultural significance. It's also a shopping haven with high-end boutiques and antique shops.

Tips: Plan to spend a full day at the Louvre as its vast and consider a guided tour to see the highlights. The gardens are perfect for a leisurely stroll or a picnic.

Second Arrondissement: The Bustling Business Hub

Highlights: The Bourse, the former stock exchange building, is a notable sight. The area's covered passages, like Passage des Panoramas, are filled with quaint shops and eateries.

Character: This is Paris’s smallest arrondissement but is densely packed with businesses, making it lively during weekdays. It also has a vibrant culinary scene with diverse dining options.

Tips: Explore the historic passages for unique shopping experiences and try some of the local bistros for lunch.

Third and Fourth Arrondissements: The Marais - A Blend of Old and New

Highlights: These arrondissements together form the Marais, known for its preserved pre-revolutionary architecture, trendy boutiques and vibrant nightlife. Notable sites include the Place des Vosges, the oldest planned square in Paris, and the Picasso Museum.

Character: The Marais is a fascinating blend of historic charm and contemporary culture. It's also known for its prominent Jewish community and LGBTQ-friendly atmosphere.

Tip: Spend time wandering through the narrow streets to discover hidden courtyards and gardens. The area is also great for shopping and dining, offering a mix of traditional and modern Parisian experiences.

Fifth Arrondissement: The Latin Quarter - A Scholarly Ambiance

Highlights: Famous for the Sorbonne University, the Panthéon, and the lively Rue Mouffetard market.

Character: Known as the Latin Quarter due to its historical association with Latin-speaking students, this area has a youthful, intellectual vibe. It's filled with bookshops, cafes, and cinemas.

Tip: Visit the Panthéon to see the resting place of many French luminaries and explore the Rue Mouffetard for its food market and quaint cafes.

Sixth Arrondissement: Saint-Germain-des-Prés - Chic and Artistic

Highlights: Famous for its literary history, cafes like Café de Flore and Les Deux Magots, and the beautiful Luxembourg Gardens.

Character: This area epitomizes Parisian chic and elegance. It's a favorite haunt of artists and writers and is known for its upscale boutiques and art galleries.

Tip: Enjoy a coffee at one of the historic cafes and spend an afternoon in the Luxembourg Gardens. The neighborhood is also great for art enthusiasts with its many galleries.

Seventh Arrondissement: Eiffel Tower and Refined Elegance

Highlights: Dominated by the Eiffel Tower, this arrondissement also hosts Les Invalides and the Musée d'Orsay.

Character: This area is characterized by grand boulevards and refined architecture. It’s a more residential and diplomatic area, exuding an air of sophistication.

Tips: Apart from visiting the Eiffel Tower, explore the Musée d'Orsay for an impressive collection of Impressionist art, and visit Les Invalides, the resting place of Napoleon Bonaparte.

Eighth Arrondissement: Elegance and Prestige

Highlights: Champs-Élysées, Arc de Triomphe, Place de la Concorde, Grand Palais, Petit Palais.

Character: This arrondissement is the epitome of Parisian elegance and grandeur. The famed Champs-Élysées, stretching from Place de la Concorde to the majestic Arc de Triomphe, is lined with luxury shops, theaters, and cafés. The Grand and Petit Palais serve as cultural beacons with their exhibitions and historic architecture. This area is a hub for high-end shopping, exquisite dining experiences, and significant historical sites.

Tip: Visit the Arc de Triomphe in the evening for a stunning view of the city.

Ninth Arrondissement: The Opera District

Highlights: Palais Garnier (Opera House), Galeries Lafayette, Printemps Department Store.

Character: Renowned for the opulent Palais Garnier, the ninth is a bustling district combining culture, shopping and business. The grand department stores Galeries Lafayette and Printemps are not just shopping destinations but also architectural marvels, famous for their dazzling window displays and rooftop views.

Tips: Attend a ballet performance at Palais Garnier for a truly unforgettable experience. Don’t miss the panoramic view of Paris from the rooftop terraces of its department stores.

10th Arrondissement: The Canal Saint-Martin

Highlights: Canal Saint-Martin, Gare du Nord, Gare de l'Est.

Character: This district is a blend of bustling urban life and bohemian charm, best exemplified by the Canal Saint-Martin area. The canal, with its iron footbridges and tree-lined quays, is a popular spot for picnics and leisurely strolls. The arrondissement is also home to two of Paris’s major train stations, bringing a diverse crowd and vibrant energy.

Tip: Enjoy a canal cruise or a leisurely walk along the Canal Saint-Martin and explore the array of trendy boutiques and cafes in the area.

11th Arrondissement: Trendy and Dynamic

Highlights: Bastille, Rue Oberkampf, Le Marais (southern part).

Character: The 11th arrondissement is known for its hip, youthful vibe, especially around the Bastille area. It’s a district full of trendy bars, restaurants, and nightclubs, making it a popular nightlife destination. The southern part edges into the historic Marais neighborhood, known for its vibrant street art, boutiques, and diverse cultural scene.

Tips: Experience the nightlife around Rue Oberkampf.
For history enthusiasts, explore the remnants of the Bastille fortress.

12th Arrondissement: A Mix of Greenery and Urbanity

Highlights: Bois de Vincennes, Opéra Bastille, Bercy Village, Promenade Plantée.

Character: This arrondissement offers a mix of expansive green spaces and modern development. The Bois de Vincennes is a vast park featuring a zoo and botanical garden. The modern Opéra Bastille stands as a symbol of contemporary architecture, while Bercy Village offers charming shops and eateries in converted wine warehouses.

Tips: Take a walk along the Promenade Plantée, an elevated park built on an old railway line. Visit the Bois de Vincennes for a peaceful escape from the city bustle.

13th Arrondissement: Paris’s Chinatown and Urban Art

Highlights: National Library of France, Chinatown, Butte-aux-Cailles.

Character: The 13th is known for its diverse cultural influences, notably hosting Paris's largest Chinatown. It's also home to the contemporary National Library and the charming Butte-aux-Cailles neighborhood, which contrasts the modernity with its village-like feel.

Tips: Explore the Asian restaurants and shops in Chinatown. Discover street art in the Butte-aux-Cailles area.

14th Arrondissement: Bohemian and Residential

Highlights: Catacombs of Paris, Montparnasse Tower, Parc Montsouris.

Character: This arrondissement is a blend of artistic history and residential calmness. The Catacombs present a unique and eerie attraction, while the Montparnasse area is famous for its artist studios and cafes that were frequented by famous writers and painters.

Tips: Visit the Catacombs early to avoid long queues. Enjoy the panoramic view of Paris from the Montparnasse Tower.

15th Arrondissement: Paris’s Largest District

Highlights: Parc André Citroën, Montparnasse district (southern part), Paris Expo Porte de Versailles.

Character: As the most populous arrondissement, it's primarily residential but offers attractions like the modern Parc André Citroën and the bustling convention center at Porte de Versailles.

Tips: Relax in the modern Parc André Citroën, especially appealing for its green spaces and water features.

16th Arrondissement: Prestige and Diplomacy

Highlights: Trocadéro, Palais de Tokyo, Maison de la Radio, Bois de Boulogne.

Character: Known for its affluent neighborhoods, diplomatic embassies, and prestigious museums, the 16th is synonymous with elegance and exclusivity. The Trocadéro offers the best Eiffel Tower views, while the Palais de Tokyo is a hub for contemporary art.

Tips: Visit the Trocadéro gardens for stunning Eiffel Tower views. Explore the museums and chic galleries around the area.

17th Arrondissement: Classic Parisian Charm

Highlights: Parc Monceau, Batignolles district.

Character: The 17th offers a taste of authentic Parisian life, with chic boutiques and cafes. The beautiful Parc Monceau is perfect for a leisurely stroll, and the Batignolles neighborhood has a village feel, with organic markets and artisan shops.

Tips: Spend a relaxing afternoon in Parc Monceau. Explore the Batignolles for its local, artisanal feel.

18th Arrondissement: Artistic Montmartre

Highlights: Basilica of the Sacré-Cœur, Montmartre, Place du Tertre.

Character: Famous for the historic Montmartre district, the 18th is a haven for artists and bohemians. The Sacré-Cœur Basilica offers panoramic views of Paris, and the nearby streets are filled with artists and performers.

Tips: Visit the Sacré-Cœur early in the morning to avoid crowds. Wander through the cobblestone streets of Montmartre and discover hidden art studios and cafes.

19th Arrondissement: Cultural Diversity and Parks

Highlights: Parc de la Villette, Cité de la Musique, Philharmonie de Paris.

Character: This arrondissement is known for its cultural diversity, large parks, and music venues. Parc de la Villette is home to the Cité des Sciences et de l'Industrie and music venues like the Philharmonie de Paris.

Tips: Explore the interactive exhibitions at the Cité des Sciences. Attend a concert at the Philharmonie de Paris.

20th Arrondissement: The Edgy and Historic East

Highlights: Père Lachaise Cemetery, Belleville neighborhood.

Character: The 20th arrondissement blends history with an edgy, artistic vibe. Père Lachaise Cemetery is known for its famous residents like Jim Morrison and Oscar Wilde. Belleville is a vibrant neighborhood with a strong artistic and multicultural presence.

Tips: Take a guided tour of Père Lachaise Cemetery to fully appreciate its history. Explore the multicultural streets of Belleville.

Places to eat and drink in Paris

A picture of an outdoor restaurant during the daytime
  • Le Jules Verne- Located in the Eiffel Tower
    Experience: For a truly iconic Parisian dining experience, Le Jules Verne offers exquisite French cuisine with a modern twist, all while you enjoy breathtaking views of Paris from the Eiffel Tower.
    Cuisine: Contemporary French.
    Perfect for a special occasion. Remember to book well in advance and dress smartly.

  • Bouillon Pigalle - 22 Boulevard de Clichy, 18th arrondissement.
    Experience: Bouillon Pigalle serves up traditional French comfort food in a vibrant, bustling atmosphere. It's great for experiencing authentic Parisian cuisine without breaking the bank.
    Cuisine: Classic French dishes like coq au vin, beef bourguignon, and escargot.
    Ideal for a casual yet authentic Parisian meal. Expect queues, but they usually move quickly.

  • L'As du Fallafel - 34 Rue des Rosiers, 4th arrondissement.
    Experience: Situated in the historic Jewish quarter in Le Marais, L'As du Fallafel is famous for its delicious and hearty falafel sandwiches, perfect for a quick and satisfying meal.
    Cuisine: Middle Eastern, particularly known for falafel and shawarma.
    Great for a budget-friendly yet delicious meal. It’s a popular spot, so be prepared for a bit of a wait.

  • Septime - 80 Rue de Charonne, 11th arrondissement
    Experience: For those seeking a modern and innovative dining experience, Septime offers a seasonal menu that's constantly changing, created with sustainable and locally sourced ingredients.
    Cuisine: Modern French with an emphasis on fresh, seasonal produce.
    Perfect for food enthusiasts. Reservations are a must and should be made well in advance.

  • Le Chateaubriand - 129 Avenue Parmentier, 11th arrondissement
    Experience: Le Chateaubriand blends the casual bistro feel with high-end culinary artistry. The set menu changes daily and features creative dishes that are a fusion of traditional French and avant-garde cuisine.
    Cuisine: Contemporary French with international influences.
    Tip: Arrive early or book in advance, as it’s very popular.

  • Au Petit Riche - 25 Rue Le Peletier, 9th arrondissement
    Experience: This classic Parisian bistro, with its vintage charm and Belle Époque décor, offers a step back in time. Known for its warm, inviting atmosphere, it's a great spot to experience traditional French hospitality.
    Cuisine: Classic French, with specialties like duck confit and sole meunière.
    Perfect for those seeking a traditional Parisian bistro experience. The set menus offer great value.

  • Frenchie - 5 Rue du Nil, 2nd arrondissement.
    Experience: Frenchie is a small, chic restaurant known for its innovative dishes, created by Chef Gregory Marchand. The intimate setting and exquisite plating make it a sought-after spot for food lovers.
    Cuisine: Contemporary French with a global twist.
    Reservations are essential, as this popular spot books up quickly. Also, try their wine bar across the street for a more casual experience with the same quality food.

  • Breizh Café - 109 Rue Vieille du Temple, 3rd arrondissement.
    Experience: For a taste of Brittany in Paris, Breizh Café serves some of the best crêpes and galettes in the city. This cozy café offers both sweet and savory options, made with quality ingredients.
    Cuisine: Specializes in Breton crêpes and galettes.
    Great for a casual lunch or snack. Pair your crêpe with artisanal cider for an authentic Breton experience.

  • Le Comptoir du Relais - 9 Carrefour de l'Odéon, 6th arrondissement
    Experience: Located in the bustling Saint-Germain-des-Prés neighborhood, this bistro offers a quintessential Parisian dining experience with its lively atmosphere and classic French dishes.
    Cuisine: Traditional French bistro fare with a modern touch.
    Excellent for both lunch and dinner. Try to arrive early or reserve a table, as it’s always in high demand.

Need to Know

Looking for more travel inspiration? Check out my guide, Rive Gauche in Paris: Our Favorite Hotels.

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Phelipe Cardoso Sekai

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