One of the most remarkable parts of Paris is the inherent beauty of its various neighborhoods. From the elegant Haussmann buildings to the colorful cafés to the extravagant monuments and bridges, each neighborhood has its own unique flair. It’s important to spend time wandering and absorbing the very Frenchness of it all.
With twenty arrondissements spiraling in a snail shell shape to make up the various sections of Paris, you’ll barely scratch the surface here, but these are five must-visit neighborhoods in Paris.
The Marais, which comprises both the 3rd and 4th arrondissements, is undoubtedly one of the most picturesque areas of the city. From the 13th to 17th century, the Marais was the coveted neighborhood of French nobility. They built sprawling private mansions, which give the area a constant sense of grandeur and beauty. You’ll find the oldest covered market in the city at Le Marché des Enfants Rouges, numerous art galleries, fashion houses, and hip stores.
Saint-Germain-des-Prés centers around the church of the same name and is located in the 6th arrondissement. This posh area has a long history dating back to the 500’s. Many writers and philosophers spent their days at the famous historic cafés of Les Deux Magots, Café de Flore, and Le Procope – now prime spots for people watching. Be sure to explore around Rue Mazarine, Rue du Four, and Rue Saint-André des Arts.
It takes a little while to get over to this charming hilly area in the 18th, but the views are worth it. You’ll find the Sacré-Cœur Basilica at the top, with a sweeping viewpoint over the city, cobblestone streets, and artists in the crowded Place du Tertre. This was the artists’ quartier during the Belle Époque, and you can still feel their enduring Bohemian spirit.
The 7th Arrondissement
The 7th doesn’t have a classy name like the others, but it’s a must-visit for its proximity to the Eiffel Tower, Les Invalides, École Militaire, and the dazzling Pont Alexandre III. Walk along the cobblestone market street Rue Cler to enjoy a slice of Parisian life and have a coffee at one of the many bustling cafés. Better yet, collect picnic supplies & have a picnic in the Champ de Mars while gazing upon the commanding Tour Eiffel.
Île Saint Louis
Île St. Louis is the small island located behind Notre Dame and is a lovely afternoon stroll pre or post seeing Notre Dame Cathedral. It is practically tradition to get a scoop of the famous Berthillon ice cream while exploring the cute boutiques and watching musicians and performers on the bridges. If you wander down to the banks of the river, you’ll find Parisians enjoying wine with the view, particularly beautiful at sunset.