If you’re searching for the best neighborhoods to stay in while visiting Paris, France, you might just start to spin your wheels given all of the options! In my opinion, just like with neighborhoods in any major city like New York or Miami, every neighborhood will have something to offer. What we can help with is a breakdown of each neighborhood – or Arrondissement – as they are sometimes referred to in Paris, as well as offer the best neighborhoods to call your home during your travel stay based on what you’re looking to accomplish.
Just like visiting New York City, transportation is key. And if you’re looking to see as many sights as possible, stay within close proximity of a metro station. While some neighborhoods offer plenty to see within walking distance, to cover ground and see the best of the best, a metro ride will come in handy!
Getting Your Bearings in Paris
Paris is divided into the Right Bank, which is the north side of the River Seine, and the Left Bank, which is south of the River Seine. Beyond that division, as mentioned above, Paris is divided into 20 arrondissements. Paris arrondissements are numbered 1-20, staring north of the River Seine, and increase in numeral clockwise. Arrondissements 1 through 7 are the most centrally located, and higher numbers are further outside central Paris. Think of it like a hurricane: the eye of the hurricane is the center of Paris and the bands of rain with less wind are the higher numbered arrondissements.
What does ‘Paris Arrondissement’ mean?
The City of Paris comprises twenty administrative districts. Parisians call them “arrondissements”. Paris was first divided into arrondissements back in 1795 although back then there were only 12, nine on the right bank and three on the left. Today, they have 20!
Best Neighborhood or Arrondissement in Paris for Sightseeing
Arrondissement 1, being the most centrally located, is definitely the best neighborhood in Paris for sightseeing. In arrondissement 1 you can find some of the most famous attractions in Paris including the Louvre, the Sainte-Chapelle, Tuileries Garden, and many other sights along the Palais Royale. In arrondissement 1, you are within a short walking distance of Notre Dame Cathedral, Centre Pompidou, Champs-Elyses, Musee D’Orsay, and Saint Germain just to name a few. The 1st arrondissement is close to popular metro stops that can easily bring you to the Eiffel Tower. And most importantly, arrondissement 1 is very safe. As with many tourist districts, petty crime can be found easily, so best to use your instincts as you would in your own hometown.
Best Neighborhood or Arrondissement in Paris for Foodies
If you’re into some of the best food and wine in Paris, arrondissement 11 is your best bet. Because this neighborhood is further out from central Paris and is home to more of a local crowd, you’ll find some of the best food in Paris in the 11th.
Best Neighborhood or Arrondissement in Paris for Nightlife
Nightlife can be found in any arrondissement in Paris depending on your mood or tastes. For plenty of bar options, Le Marais in the 4th arrondissement. Here you’ll find a healthy mix of every type of bar and lounge. From local bars with a low-key vibe, to trendy speakeasies, to cocktail and wine bars. If you’re looking for something a little bit more exciting, maybe you want to check out shows like Moulin Rouge around Pigalle. As with all arrondissements in Paris, the further you venture outside of the city center the more of a local vibe you’ll get.
Speaking of Local Vibe in Paris
If you head out to the 11th arrondissement you’ll really get an idea of local Paris. Just like in most major cities around the world, less touristy typically equals less expensive too! In the 11th arrondissement, you’ll be please to find local bistros, cafes, wine bars, plenty of shopping, art galleries, and plenty of local vibes.
Best Neighborhood in Paris for a First Time Visitor
When my wife and I first visited Paris, we stayed in the 7th arrondissement. In my opinion, this is the best mix of classic Paris with just the right amount of touristy attractions while being slightly outside central Paris and arrondissement 1. Inside arrondissement 7 you can find Musee d’Orsay, the Eiffel Tower, Rue Cler, as well as some of the best dining Paris has to offer. The 7th offers easy access to the metro in the event you want to venture into central Paris.
Best Neighborhood or Arrondissement in Paris for Romance
In the hills of the 18th arrondissement, you’ll find Montmartre, one of the most authentic, and romantic villages in all of Paris. Montmartre is perfect for honeymooners or anyone looking for the perfect Parisian village with cobbled streets, a stunning Basilica, art galleries, bistros, and more. Montmartre is full of charm.
Best Neighborhood in Paris for Families
In arrondissement 6 you’ll find Saint-Germain., best known for literary and artistic celebrities of the late 19th century and early 20th century. Here, there’s plenty to do if you’re traveling with your family. Consider stopping at the National Museum of Eugene Delacroix, Les Deux Magots for breakfast, Cafe de Flore when thirsty, marvel over mentions of Église Saint-Sulpice in The da Vinci Code, and plenty more.
Best Neighborhood in Paris When Traveling Alone
Just like arrondissement 7 is perfect for those traveling to Paris for the first time, it’s also perfect if you’re traveling alone. Being so close to sights like the Eiffel Tower just seems like the perfect fit for the solo traveler. Other options include Marais District, which offers a great local vibe perfect for those that will not hesitate to strike up a conversation with other solo travelers.
Here’s what you can find in the 20 arrondissements of Paris:
Paris Arrondissement 1: Louvre
The Louvre is a museum in Paris, France. It is widely considered one of the most famous museums in the world for its art and architecture. The main building, which houses the “Louvre Pyramid,” was initially built as a fortress by King Francis I of France in 1546–1547 to protect Paris from foreign attacks.
Paris Arrondissement 2: Bourse
The Bourse is a historic Parisian financial district. The current building is best known for housing the Paris Stock Exchange and the Palais Brongniart, built-in 1810.
Paris Arrondissement 3: Temple
The Temple is a historic district in the 2nd arrondissement of Paris, France. It has been home to many famous Parisians, including Victor Hugo, Alexandre Dumas, and Émile Zola. The area’s most prominent feature is the “Temple de la Gloire,” also known as the “Temple of Glory.”
Paris Arrondissement 4: Hôtel de Ville
The Hôtel de Ville is the City Hall of Paris. It is located in the 4th arrondissement, between the Place de l’Hôtel-de-Ville and Rue du Faubourg-Saint-Antoine. Attractions include the Tour Montparnasse and the Tour de la Bourse.
Paris Arrondissement 5: The Latin Quarter
The Latin Quarter of Paris is a neighborhood of the 5th arrondissement, located between Rue Saint-Michel and Rue Saint-Jacques. It is home to the University of Paris, the Sorbonne, and the famous Sorbonne library.
Paris Arrondissement 6: Saint-Germain-des-Prés
Saint-Germain-des-Prés is best known for its bookshops and cafes. It is a neighborhood in the 4th arrondissement of Paris. It is home to the Institut de France, France’s most prestigious cultural institution.
Paris Arrondissement 7: The Eiffel Tower District
Here is the area of Paris where the Eiffel Tower is located. The Eiffel Tower, or Tour Eiffel, is a wrought iron lattice tower on the Champ de Mars in Paris, France. It is named after the engineer Gustave Eiffel, whose company designed and built the building.
Paris Arrondissement 8: Elysée Montmartre
Elysée Montmartre is a neighborhood in the 18th arrondissement of Paris. It is famous for its many cafés, restaurants, and nightclubs. The name Elysée Montmartre comes from the fact that it was built on top of a hill that used to be called Montmartre, meaning “Mount of Martyrs.”
Paris Arrondissement 9: Opéra
The Opéra Garnier is a Parisian opera house built between 1864 and 1875. It has been the site of many famous musical performances, including the first performances of the Romantic composers Wagner and Tchaikovsky.
Paris Arrondissement 10: Canal Saint-Martin
The Canal Saint-Martin is a canal in Paris that connects the Seine to the River Marne. It is named after Martin, the patron saint of Paris. The channel is 3.2 km long, and it runs along with the Rue de Castiglione, which was built in 1779 by Louis de Geôlelle and opened in 1801.
Paris Arrondissement 11: République
République is a neighborhood in the 11th arrondissement of Paris. It is best known for its many bookstores and cafés. République comes from the French Revolution, which was called the “Revolution of the People.”
Paris Arrondissement 12: Reuilly
Reuilly is a neighborhood in the 20th arrondissement of Paris. It is a popular destination for tourists because of its many boutiques and restaurants. The name Reuilly comes from a 2nd-century Roman procurator, who was called “Lucius Valerius Regius.”
Paris Arrondissement 13: Butte-aux-Cailles
The Butte aux Cailles or “Buche de la Vache” is a hill in the 9th arrondissement of Paris. It plays an essential role in the history of Paris because it was here that the French Revolution began.
Paris Arrondissement 14: Montparnasse
Since then, Montparnasse was built in the late 18th century and has been a popular destination for tourists. The name Montparnasse comes from French architect Paul-Jacques-Aimé Lecoq de Boisbaudran, who designed the buildings in this area.
Paris Arrondissement 15: Vaugirard – Grenelle
The Vaugirard – Grenelle district is one of the 17 districts of Paris. It is named after the two main streets that cross through it: Avenue de la Motte-Piquet, Avenue de la Grande Chaussée. The area includes the main street, La Grande Rue, which crosses through Vaugirard and Grenelle.
Paris Arrondissement 16: Chaillot -Auteuil – Passy
It is best known for the Montparnasse Tower. The name “Chaillot” comes from the small hamlet that used to be there, called “la Charlotte.” The term “Auteuil” comes from a small hamlet that used to be there, called “Auteuil.”
Paris Arrondissement 17: Batignoles – Monceau
Here you will find the Butte aux Cailles, a hill constructed in 1776. “Batignolles” comes from a 3rd-century Roman general called “Tiberius Claudius Batavia.”
Paris Arrondissement 18: Montmartre
Attractions in montmartre include the Basilica of the Sacré-Cœur, the Sacré-Cœur itself, the Moulin Rouge and Montmartre Cemetery. The name “Montmartre” comes from “Mont Maurs”, which means “Mountain of Mars”.
Paris Arrondissement 19: Buttes-Chaumont
The Buttes-Chaumont is a park located in the 19th arrondissement of Paris. It is located in the Butte-aux-Cailles neighborhood, and it has been a popular place for tourists since the 17th century.
Paris Arrondissement 20: Bellevilliers
In this district you will find the Bastille and the place de la Bastille, as well as the Église Saint-Louis-des-Invalides. The name “Bellevilliers” comes from a small hamlet that used to be there called “Belleville.”