At first, it can be difficult to understand how the 20 arrondissements of Paris are connected but there is a logic behind how they are organised and it is not so confusing once you get the hang of it. The River Seine runs through the city, dividing it into two parts called the ”Rive Droite” (right bank) and the ”Rive Gauche” (left bank). Each arrondissement is like its own little village and has its own special charm and attraction.
1st & the 2nd arrondissement
The 1st arrondissement is one of the oldest and the most central areas of Paris. This is where the Louvre is situated and many of the other famous tourist attractions are located here too. As a consequence a lot of tourists frequent these areas. Apart from all the famous monuments and sites, this area is mostly made up of offices, hotels, restaurants and shops and is mostly servicing tourists and business people. Real estate prices here are some of the most expensive in the city though.
The 2nd arrondissement is the smallest and also one of the oldest areas. The center of the 2nd is La Bourse – the former stock exchange. Living in the 2nd arrondissement is a calmer option than the 1st. You are still in the center of Paris, but far enough from the most touristic parts of the 1st, such as the Louvre or Place de la Concorde.
3rd & 4th arrondissement
Le Marais is known for being a very stylish and trendy part of town with lots of small independent boutiques and trendy restaurants and the night life here is known to be very lively. It is also one of the most charming neighborhoods in Paris and has a medieval feeling to it with narrow streets and old buildings. It is also known to have a big LGBTQ community, as well as a big Jewish community. Famous sites in the Marais is Place des Vosges, Le Marché des Enfants Rouges and the Picasso Museum.
Here is where the famous Université de Sorbonne is situated and therefore the 5th arrondissement is known to be a student area. Like the Marais, it didn’t undergo the renovation of the city in the late 19th century and therefore also has a lot of old historic buildings and more narrow streets than other parts of town. The 5th arrondissement, also known as the Latin Quarters, is a joyful mix of students, foreigners, and wealthy Parisians.
The 6th Arrondissement, also called St-Germain-des-Prés, is located in the heart of Paris’s Rive Gauche, or Left Bank, and is also where the beautiful Jardin de Luxembourg is located. It is by many thought of as the area that best represents the Parisian atmosphere. It has some of Paris most charming streets, art galleries, fancy boutiques and countless cafés. It is also among Paris’ most expensive neighborhoods for rentals or purchasing.
The 7th arrondissement is a mix of a village-like atmosphere and also the area where you find some of Paris’s most impressive landmarks, such as the Eiffel Tower and Les Invalides. It is picturesque yet sophisticated and is known to be one of the finest neighborhoods in Paris. As it is located in the heart of Paris, but is still a family friendly area, the property prices for rentals and purchases are among the most expensive.
Upmarket area between the Louvre and the Arc de Triomphe with mostly Haussmannien style buildings. Also, where the Champs-Elysée is located. If you are into the finer things in life, arguably no other arrondissement will satisfy you more than the 8th. All the biggest designer boutiques are located here and you will find fine dining restaurants in almost every corner. The area has wider streets than many other parts of Paris and if you have a car you will have no problem driving around here. You will find some green spaces too as Parc Monceau is bordering the 8th district.
One of the more popular and touristic districts of Paris is the 9th arrondissement. This is where you find several grand department stores like Galeries Lafayette and Printemps and one of Paris’ grandest opera houses – Opéra Garnier. You also have the nightlife HotSpot ”SoPi” in the 9th. This is the area ”South of Pigalle” with hip cocktail bars, lively restaurants and elegant brasseries. In the 9th you will get a good balance of both fun and quiet.
The 10th arrondissement has a distinct bohemian feel to it and some parts of it is still quite rough. A lot of younger people live here and it is popular for small start-up companies to open up offices or shops in these areas in rough industrial buildings. It is also a neighborhood that is popular with the LGBTQ community. The Canal Saint-Martin runs right through the 10th. Along the canal are parts of charming residential areas. Because it has been a popular neighborhood for a while, prices on real estate here have gone up and it is not such a bargain as it used to be. The 10th arrondissement is still a good alternative if you want to stay in central Paris but for a lower price. However there are areas to avoid in the 10th, such as around the Gare du Nord and Gare de l’Est.
This is a discrete area, less touristy than other arrondissements and it is located on the right bank between Place de la Nation, Place de la République and Place de la Bastille. The 11th district offers a diversity of atmospheres and an authentic glimpse into everyday life in Paris. Its community is multicultural and also popular among young people. The price of an apartment in this part of town is more affordable compared to other areas of the French capital.
It is located in the south-east of Paris and it also includes the Bois de Vincennes, the second biggest green area of Paris. It is not very touristic and is characterized by its diversity of atmospheres. You can find old Haussmanian buildings next to modern constructions. The inhabitants are both bohemian people and bourgeois families. The average prices to rent or buy property here is slightly lower than the average property price in Paris. In the 12th arrondissement you find the Opéra Bastille and the Promenade plantée, which is a “planted promenade” laid out on a former railway track and it crosses the arrondissement in its length.
Here you find the National Library, the largest Chinatown of Paris and the Butte aux Cailles, a charming and authentic neighborhood. This arrondissement has one of the most affordable rental and purchasing prices per m2. The area around Place d’Italie hosts many bars and restaurants and has a vibrant nightlife. The Butte aux Cailles attracts families because of its village-style streets and provincial character.
The 14th arrondissement is known for being the intellectual and artistic center of Paris during the 1920’s and here you will find the famous restaurants and cafés where artists like Picasso and Hemingway used to meet. Nowadays it is more of a calm residential and family friendly part of town. The choices of restaurants, cinemas and bars is still large though and you will also find the Parc du Montsouris here.
It is a mainly residential area situated south west of the city center. It is a calmer part of Paris with a mix of new tower blocks and traditional old buildings. The commuting options are extensive and there is easy access to the ring road surrounding Paris, called the périphérique. There are several smaller parks in the area, and it is not too far from the big Bois de Boulogne.
This district is popular amongst expats due to the many international schools here. It is placed west from the city center between the Arc de Triomphe and the Bois de Boulogne. The area is residential and calm and one of the most conservative and family-orientated districts of Paris. It has a lot of green spaces and has easy access to the périphérique (Ring Road). It is one of the most expensive areas of Paris and the apartment buildings are both old Haussmanian style ones as well as newer apartment houses overlooking the Seine.
This family friendly arrondissement is situated north west of the city center and just above the 16th arrondissement and is primarily a residential area. It is slightly cheaper than the 16th but still expensive as it is a popular area close to the 16th and the 8th and with a lot of green spaces. There is easy access to the Paris ring road from the 17th and the Parc Monceau is close by. Quartier des Ternes is one of the most posh areas in the district, along with Plaine Monceau.
The 18th is just north of the 9th and the 10th and it benefits from an exceptional geographic location with the Sacre Coeur church as its final touch on top of the hill with a stunning view over all of Paris. It is also one of the most visited areas of the French capital.
The Montmartre area is loved for its beautiful surroundings. It was the favorite place of artists who used to spend their bohemian life within the winding alleys. It is still a thriving artistic place and many art galleries and exhibitions can be found here. The population here is quite diverse and it is resulting in an exciting mix of shops, people and culture. There are areas in the 18th though that should be avoided. The Barbès-Rochechouart area along the Boulevard de la Chapelle is notable for its high rate of violent thefts. Further west along the Boulevard de Clichy is the red light district.
The 19th arrondissement is located in the north eastern part of Paris and it is a rather residential area where property prices are the most affordable in the city. Families are increasingly moving to the areas around the leafy Buttes-Chaumont and the modern urban park at La Villette. However, the 19th arrondissement is an underprivileged area, and as such, some neighborhoods harbor a bad reputation and are probably best avoided, like around Place des Fêtes, and the north-eastern zone from Stalingrad to Canal de l’Ourcq.
The 20th arrondissement is located in the very east of the city. It is the last and also one of the most affordable arrondissements in terms of real estate prices. One of the neighborhoods in this district, that in recent years has started to rise as one of the hippest areas in town, is Menilmontant. It is still quite rough around the edges, but nowadays you can find quaint cafés, family-run bakeries, and speakeasy bars all around this area.
The 20th arrondissement is a multicultural neighborhood with affordable housing and easy transportation into the city center. This is why it is becoming one of the most popular areas for young families. The Père Lachaise cemetery is the landmark of the 20th arrondissement. This is the oldest cemetery of Paris and the most visited in the world, where celebrities like Molière, Edith Piaff, Oscar Wilde and Jim Morrison and many more are buried.
To think about
When you know more about the different arrondissements of Paris it will be easier to decide what area would fit you the best. It is always good to visit Paris before you decide to move here and walk around different neighborhoods, both by day and by night, to get a feeling of them. You should also take into consideration what is the most important criteria for you. Furthermore, it is important to know your budget and what kind of housing you are looking for. Maybe the city isn’t for you and you rather live in the suburbs of Paris where it’s calmer, greener and you get more square meters for your money.
Whatever you are looking for, we at Move Me To Paris Relocation, will guide you through all the different steps so that your move to Paris will be as smooth and stress free as possible.