Europe

Paris Neighborhoods Explained: Where To Visit and Avoid! [2022]

Updated on:  
May 10, 2022
Reading Time:  
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 minutes
Miriam Jaffe
Miriam Jaffe
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Are Paris neighborhoods (arrondissements) confusing you? Are you wondering which Paris neighborhoods to stay in and which to avoid? Here's an explanation of the neighborhoods of Paris, including the areas you should and shouldn't visit.

We’ve talked about the best places to stay in Paris, but what about the best places to visit? When you visit Paris, you’ll get to experience the 20 arrondissements that make up the city. Some of them are super touristy and perfect for visiting, while others are more residential, and less interesting if you’re trying to visit Paris. Curious which ones are which? Read on to learn more!

paris street view of buildings
Photo by Jeff Frenette on Unsplash

Paris neighborhoods explained.

Although Paris is divided into 20 arrondissements, those are further divided into quartiers. As such, there are several distinct neighborhoods and areas in Paris.

Here’s a brief overview of some of the most well-known quartiers before we dive into our recommendations!

Le Marais

Spread across the 3rd and 4th arrondissements, this neighborhood is well known for being home to the gay district in Paris, and for its shopping. It’s trendy and hip. You’ll also find several hopping bars and clubs to get your party on at night. Le Marais is also home to Place des Vosges, and the Musée Picasso. This is a must-visit, especially for first-timers in Paris. 

Montmartre

Home to Sacre Coeur, this is the neighborhood that reflects the ambiance so many envision when they think of Paris. With its steep hills, cobblestone streets, and picturesque views, you’ll find a romantic vibe that screams Paris. This is the perfect quartier to be slightly away from the action but to still have the picturesque sights. Montmartre is in the 18th arrondissement.

Latin Quarter (Quartier Latin)

Located on the Left bank of the Seine (in the 5th arrondissement), this centrally located neighborhood is home to Shakespeare & Co, as well as the Sorbonne University. As such, this is a great quartier for students and young travelers. It’s also one of the most central quartiers! Since it’s frequented by students, here you’ll find bars and cafés perfect for budget travelers, but also clubs and nightlife activities. 

Saint-Germain-des-Prés

If you’re looking for luxury, look no further than the sixth arrondissement. It’s one of the more expensive neighborhoods in Paris to stay, but its luxury boutiques and five-star hotels explain it. Here you’ll find Café Flor (famous for more than just being in Emily in Paris), along with the Jardin Luxembourg.

Pigalle

On the border between the 9th and the 18th arrondissement, here you’ll find the quartier that houses the Moulin Rouge. This is the nightlife neighborhood, also dubbed as the Red Light District of Paris (something to keep in mind if you like doing evening strolls). 

a map of paris neighborhoods arrondissements
Image Courtesy: Tripsavvy

Best neighborhoods to visit

It’s impossible to pick the best quartiers/arrondissements/neighborhoods to visit. However, depending on what you’re trying to visit, some will better suit your vibe than others. 

Take a look at what the best Paris neighborhoods to visit for different travel styles here:

  • For shopping: head to the 8th arrondissement, where you’ll find the Champs - Elysées, and all the luxury stores along with it
  • For partying: head to Le Marais in the fourth arrondissement, or Montmartre/Pigalle in the 18th arrondissement
  • For bars and jazz: head to the Latin Quarter in the fifth arrondissement
  • For the center of the action: head to the first arrondissement
  • For iconic landmarks: head to the seventh arrondissement, home to the Eiffel Tower
  • For families: head to Montparnasse in the 14th arrondissement
  • For picturesque streets: head to Saint-Germain-des-Prés in the sixth arrondissement

Top tip: if you’re ever curious about what Paris arrondissement you’re in, look at the street signs! There will be a number (it might be a roman numeral) that will indicate the number of the arrondissement.

Paris street sign of champs elysees
Photo by Antoine Demare on Unsplash

Areas in Paris to avoid 

While traveling through the districts of Paris seems great, is Paris safe for tourists? Safety is the number one concern of most travelers, which is especially more important with solo travelers. So just how safe is the city of Paris?

Paris is, on the whole, a safe city to visit. It’s tourist-friendly, and while you should always be aware of your surroundings, it’s not dangerous (although be aware of any protests, or grèves during your visit). That being said, there are areas, and quartiers, that as a tourist you should be mindful of if you decide to visit. 

While there aren’t any entire quartiers that you should avoid, here are some areas where you should exercise caution, especially if you can easily be spotted as a tourist, and certainly after the sun has set:

  • Gare du Nord / Gare de l’Est area in the evening (located in the 10th arrondissement)
  • Châtelet les Halles in the evening (located in the first arrondissement)
  • Northern 19th arrondissement in the evening
  • Porte de Montreuil after dark (in the 20th arrondissement)
  • Bois de Boulogne (in the 16th arrondissement) during the evening

While there is so much to do in Paris at night, it is always a good idea to be extra aware of your surroundings and know where you’re going at night (although, keep doing this during the day, too)! For navigating your way around the city, Citymapper is an excellent app to have on hand. 

gare du nord
Photo by Paul Fleury on Unsplash

What to see in each Paris arrondissement

Every Parisian arrondissement has something to offer, and different sights to see. You could decide to follow the clockwise spiral of the numbering system to visit them all or target the ones that interest you. If you’re in the latter category, here’s a list of some of the highlights in each arrondissement so you can plan accordingly!

  • 1er arrondissement: Louvre, Jardin des Tuileries, Les Halles, Île de la Cité
  • 2eme arrondissement: Bourse, Passages Couverts
  • 3eme arrondissement: Picasso Museum, get a glimpse of medieval Paris
  • 4eme arrondissement: Île de la Cité, Notre Dame, Sainte Chapelle, Place des Vosges, Le Marais
  • 5eme arrondissement: Pantheon, Jardin des Plantes, Musée Cluny, Latin Quarter
  • 6eme arrondissement: Saint Germain des Prés, Jardin Luxembourg
  • 7eme arrondissement: Eiffel Tower, Musée d’Orsay, Les Invalides, Champs de Mars
  • 8eme arrondissement: Champs-Elysees, Arc de Triomphe, Place de la Concorde
  • 9eme arrondissement: Opera Garnier, Galeries Lafayette (luxury department store)
  • 10eme arrondissement: Canal Saint Martin, Place de la République
  • 11eme arrondissement: Place de la Bastille, Oberkampf quartier
  • 14eme arrondissement: Catacombs
  • 15th arrondissement: Montparnasse Tower
  • 16eme arrondissement: Bois de Boulogne, Trocadéro, Paris Aquarium (this is the most affluent arrondissement)
  • 18eme arrondissement: Montmartre, Sacré Coeur, Moulin Rouge
  • 20eme arrondissement: Pere Lachaise Cemetery

If it’s your first visit to Paris, be sure to focus on the first, third-ninth arrondissements, Trocadero in the 16th, and Montmartre in the 18th to see all the highlights! If you're pressed on time, make sure you check out our recommendations of the things you can do in Paris under three days.

Paris Arrondissements and Neighborhoods aerial view.
Photo by Chris Linnett on Unsplash

Best Parisian neighborhoods for food

You can’t come to France and not expect to eat well! While you can indulge in French cuisine in Paris in just about any neighborhood, some particular neighborhoods truly have the best restaurants. If you want to treat your inner foodie self while in Paris, here are the neighborhoods to check out:

  • Saint-Germain-des-Prés (6th arrondissement)
  • Canal Saint-Martin (10th arrondissement)
  • Latin Quarter (5th arrondissement) - perfect combination of affordable and delicious given that it's frequented by students!
  • Le Marais (ample bars) (4th arrondissement)
  • Oberkampf for coffee shops (11th arrondissement)
cafe brasserie in paris
Photo by Camille Brodard on Unsplash

Explore more of Paris!

There’s a reason Paris is such a popular city to visit in Europe, and you’re sure to discover it all while you’re there. Even though every neighborhood offers something different, they all make up the Paris we know and love, and exploring them all will only make your trip more exciting. 

To make your trip to Paris the best it can possibly be, we’ve compiled a list of helpful resources. Read about the day trips from Paris you can take, the souvenirs to buy whilst in Paris, and even top tips for navigating the CDG airport! If you know where you want to stay but aren’t sure what hostel is best for you, we’ve got you covered. 

Plan your trip to Paris

Now that you've gotten all the Paris neighborhoods sorted out, it's time to start planning your trip. Why not give Pilot a try?

Pilot is your brand new travel planner that helps you discover and build travel itineraries connecting you to resources everywhere. Make the planning experience more fun by collaborating with your travel buddies! Pilot makes it fun and easy to share and relive your favorite travel memories with many useful features!

Did we mention that it's completely free? Try it out now!

Originally published on:  
August 17, 2021

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