This East Paris neighborhood on the Right Bank of the Seine hosts two major shrines to the French Revolution: Bastille, a quartier that owes its name to the fortress stormed by Parisian rioters in 1789, effectively starting the Revolution; and the Place de la Nation, formerly called Place du Trône, where guillotines busily chopped off heads and where a massive allegorical statue, “Le Triomphe de la République”, stands today. Little remains from this turmoiled Revolutionary past, except maybe for the demonstrations that often take place between these two landmarks.
Belleville - Ménilmontant - Père Lachaise
At the eastern end of Paris, the Belleville-Ménilmontant neighborhood is among the most popular and lively in the city. One of the most affordable parts of town, the 20th arrondissement is a vibrant, diverse, and laid-back area with many unique boutiques, outdoor markets, and hip bars along the main avenues. The bustling boulevards around Belleville are covered with street art, but the neighborhood has a quieter, calmer side too. The Parc de Belleville offers stunning sunset views of Paris and you can visit the tombs of Chopin, Oscar Wilde, or Jim Morrison at the lovely Père Lachaise cemetery.
Bercy - Daumesnil
Going from the Gare de Lyon and extending east to the city limits, this left bank neighborhood is a (mostly) calm corner of Paris. Although it’s home to the Ministry for the Economy and Finance, the area isn’t all business, with one of Paris’s main concert venues and the Cinémathèque Française residing here as well. Behind the Bercy Park, the Bercy Village offers good shopping in a quaint environment. Further north, the elevated park La Coulée Verte leads you on a relaxing, greenery-filled walk back to Bastille or out to Vincennes.
Champs Elysées - Etoile - Ternes
The world-renowned Avenue des Champs Elysées, and beyond the Arc de Triomphe, the Avenue de la Grande Armée, is the spine of this busy neighborhood. The ‘most beautiful avenue in the world’, as it is often tagged, stretches on almost two kilometers between the Place de la Concorde and the Place de l’Etoile, where the Arc de Triomphe stands. The perfectly aligned path of monuments continues west to the Arche de la Défense, 3,5 kilometers down the line. While the Champs Elysées and surrounding streets offer lots of restaurants, luxury hotels and cafés for tourists and locals alike, the neighborhood around Ternes and the lovely Monceau park has a much more charming atmosphere.
Chatelet Les Halles - Montorgueil - Sentier
This Right Bank neighborhood is perhaps the busiest place in Paris. Home to the city’s main transportation hub and an enormous underground shopping center, Chatelet – Les Halles is always active. With a wide variety of boutiques, cafés, restaurants, and theaters, a true mix of styles and tastes, the area has something for everyone. Passing just in front of the Église Saint-Eustache, the Rue de Montorgueil leads north through the hip Montorgeuil area. Here, the small cobblestone streets are lined with more restaurants and traders than you can count, including many vegan spots.
La Villette - Buttes Chaumont
Rarely visited by tourists, but loved by locals, the northeast corner of Paris boasts two incredible parks, a mile-long canal, and plenty of bars, restaurants, and cultural venues. On the spot where the slaughterhouses of La Villette once stood, the expansive Parc de la Villette now offers sprawling greens, playgrounds, an exhibition hall, the Philharmonie de Paris, and the Cité des Sciences et de l’Industrie, to name a few. In the evenings, residents often line the nearby Bassin de la Villette for an apéro amongst friends or to play pétanque. And just a 15-minute walk from the canal lies one of the most beautiful parks in Paris, the Buttes Chaumont.
On the Right Bank of the Seine, the lively Le Marais district retains the charm of old cities with its old stones and crooked streets. Full of trendy bars and restaurants, this is also one of the best shopping areas in Paris. Fashionable shops, beautiful concept stores, and designers’ workshops are tucked into every corner of the neighborhood’s narrow streets. Le Marais also boasts interesting architecture, including the sumptuous Place des Vosges, and is home to several museums (Musée Picasso, Carnavalet, Archives Nationales).
Louvre - Palais Royal - Concorde
Extending from the Louvre and Palais Royal on the East to Concorde and La Madeleine church on the West, this central, monument-filled district could be called the Royal Neighborhood, as all its landmarks bear the sign of the Ancien Regime. Built under Louis XIV, The Louvre Palace now houses the world’s most-visited museum, featuring Da Vinci’s famous Mona Lisa, stunning Egyptian antiquities, and a rich collection of paintings, sculptures, and decorative arts. From the Louvre, the beautiful Tuileries Garden leads to the Place de la Concorde, the site of Louis XVI’s beheading. Napoleon’s neoclassical Église de la Madeleine looks on from the right.
Montmartre - Batignolles
Montmartre’s artistic and idyllic atmosphere attracts romantic souls from all over the world. Although in the past this Paris neighborhood was home to painters including Monet, Renoir, Picasso, and Van Gogh, today, the area is mostly inhabited by crowds of tourists, though it still retains its charm. The must-see Sacré Cœur Basilica resides atop the Butte Montmartre and the surrounding streets offer unbeatable views as well as plenty of cafés and restaurants. Just west of this famous hill lies Les Batignolles, an area with an exceptional park and calm café culture which was also home to several important artists including Manet, Verlaine, and Zola.
Montparnasse - Denfert Rochereau
Once the epicenter of a thriving artistic and literary scene in the “Années Folles” (the “Roaring Twenties”), Montparnasse is now a rather quiet residential neighborhood. The area has retained its cultural flair with many artist workshops and brasseries lining up around Vavin, leaving traces of its famous residents, Fitzgerald, Hemingway, Chagall, and Modigliani to name a few… Following the Boulevard Raspail south, you’ll pass by La Fondation Cartier, before ending up at Denfert-Rochereau. The square here is known for its gigantic lion statue, but perhaps most of all for the Paris Catacombs which attract thousands of tourists seeking a macabre sightseeing experience.
Notre Dame - Cité - Saint Louis
The Ile de la Cité is the historical heart neighborhood of Paris. Home to the famous Notre Dame Cathedral, this small island is almost always crowded with tourists, but it’s worth fighting the crowds to discover treasures like the Square du Vert Galant, the Place Dauphine, the Conciergerie, the Sainte-Chapelle, and the charming Queen Elizabeth’s flower market. A small bridge behind Notre Dame leads to a much calmer island, the Ile Saint-Louis, where you can admire the rich facades of the island’s numerous hôtels particuliers, private mansions that have been home to many of Paris’s famous inhabitants throughout the centuries.
Opéra -Bourse - Saint Lazare
The opulent façade of the Opéra Garnier stands proudly in the center of this bustling district, renowned for its large department stores (Galeries Lafayette, Le Printemps), galleries, and malls. Welcome to the Parisian shopping heaven – one that can turn quite hellish before Christmas! Making it even busier, the neighborhood also hosts many corporate offices and bank headquarters. Fortunately, numerous on-the-go eateries, cafés, and brasseries can be found in the surrounding streets, making it easy to take a short break from the rush or keep your energy up during a shopping craze.
Pigalle - Cadet - Bonne Nouvelle
At the bottom of the Butte Montmartre and extending out to the Gare de l’Est, this neighborhood is the non-stop part of Paris. There’s no beating around the bush, Pigalle is best known for its nightclubs and sex shops. The famous Moulin Rouge with its neon lights and red windmill is the neighborhood landmark. But it’s not all adult-only entertainment here. At Bonne Nouvelle, Europe’s largest cinema, the art-deco Grand Rex, offers fun for the whole family showing movies in its enormous auditorium. The area’s also full of cozy coffee shops and quieter corners for those in need of a break.
Place d'Italie - Butte aux Cailles
This largely overlooked Left Bank neighborhood is something of a mishmash of cultures and aesthetics. Along the banks of the Seine, the modern business district Paris Rive Gauche and the huge Grande Bibliothèque François Mitterrand (the French National Library) stand tall among the Paris skyline. To the West, behind Place d’Italie, the ‘Quartier Asiatique’ is home to the city’s principal Asian community. And just a few streets over lies ‘La Butte Aux Cailles’, a tiny village of lively bars and unusual restaurants.
Taking its name from the fact that Latin was taught and spoken in the numerous universities in the area, the Rive Gauche neighborhood of the Latin Quarter, or ‘le Quartier Latin’, remains a student area today. Still home to the most prestigious schools, universities, and higher education establishments in Paris, the neighborhood is also home to the Pantheon, a civil mausoleum housing the remains of the most distinguished French citizens. The monument sits atop the Sainte Genevieve hill, overlooking the lively streets full of bars and restaurants that lead north to the river Seine and east to the Jardin des Plantes.
Republique - Canal St Martin - Oberkampf
In the center of this busy Right Bank neighborhood is ‘La Place de la République,’ colloquially called Répu by Parisians. A massive monument topped by a statue of Marianne – the personification of the French Republic – stands in the middle of the large, lively square. Wide Haussmanian avenues converge towards the square, making it one of the most important nexuses of the capital and a great place to meet up before going out in the nearby Oberkampf neighborhood just to the south or around the Canal Saint Martin up north. These two hipsterish nightlife shrines are full of bars and little restaurants where you can truly appreciate the pulse of the Parisian night.
Saint Germain - Saint Sulpice
After World War II, flocks of painters, philosophers, actors, musicians, and writers made Saint Germain des Près their home. The neighborhood became a cultural center, synonymous with literary cafés, jazz clubs, and art galleries. So many artists and intellectuals crossed paths here, haunting the cafés around the Saint Germain church. And even if the cultural life of the quartier isn’t quite as bustling as it used to be, Saint Germain is an all-time favorite of romantic Paris lovers with its lovely little streets, old houses full of history, and of course, the shaded alleys of the Luxembourg Gardens.
Tour Eiffel - Invalides - Ecole Militaire
Home of the Eiffel Tower and Les Invalides, this neighborhood is on the itinerary of any first visit to Paris. But it should certainly remain on the agenda for repeat visitors, as there’s an impressive list of first-class museums in the area (Musée d’Orsay, Musée Rodin, Musée du Quai Branly to name a few), an exceptional gastronomic offer, and some of the best places for shopping in the capital. It’s also home to most of the foreign embassies, government ministries, and state administration offices in Paris.
Trocadéro - Passy - Auteuil
This expansive district stretches along a large portion of the Right Bank of the Seine, covering the southwest part of Paris and the Bois de Boulogne. Numerous little parks, large avenues, tree-lined boulevards, Haussmanian buildings, and posh shopping streets are the backdrop of this wealthy district. The Trocadéro square, atop the hill of Chaillot, is without a doubt the most spectacular landmark in the neighborhood. Lying between two museums (Musée de l’Homme and the Cité de l’Architecture et du Patrimoine), the Trocadéro’s wide plaza welcomes crowds of tourists stopping by to take the traditional photos directly across from the Eiffel Tower.
Vaugirard - Commerce - Beaugrenelle
The southwest neighborhood known as ‘le quinzième’ (the 15th) is the most populated arrondissement in Paris. Mostly residential, the area can’t boast prestigious landmarks like its immediate neighbors, however, many delicatessens and bistronomy chefs have chosen to settle here, making it a very attractive place for no-nonsense food lovers and gourmet seekers. There’s also some good shopping with the Beaugrenelle mall and Rue de Commerce and a spacious park that’s great for family outings.
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