The Beginner’s Guide to Parisian Neighbourhoods
Paris, like every city worth visiting, cannot be defined by any single neighbourhood. There are 20 different officially named neighbourhoods, or arrondissements, each with its own personality and flair. Here’s an introduction to some of Paris’s most notable arrondissements, which are sure to win a spot on your itinerary:
This neighbourhood is one of Paris’s most famous, thanks to the presence of the Champs Élysées boulevard, which is 1.9 kilometers in length and is home to many well known shops, cafes, and theatres. Even if you’re not planning on splurging on a luxury purchase, walking along the boulevard and arriving at its end at the Arc de Triomphe makes for a lovely afternoon. Élysée Palace, the residence of the president, is also located here.
The artists mecca of Montmartre is located in the 18th arrondissement and has a dramatic history that involves some of Europe’s most celebrated painters, like Monet, van Gogh, and Picasso. Today, thousands of visitors come to tour the Basilica du Sacré-Cœur, which holds the title of highest point in the city and offers incredible views of the skyline. If you have free time on a Saturday morning, pay a visit to the so-called “African market” in Goutte d’Or.
If you’re looking for the quintessential Parisian feeling, wandering down a crowded street, lunching in a chic cafe, making a seemingly unplanned stop at a small museum or gallery, and perhaps buying a few trinkets to take back home, come here. Known as the “St.-Germain neighbourhood,” there is no shortage of things to see and do. You’ll even find Paris’s oldest cafe here–Le Procope–though it hardly seems right to call this upscale restaurant a cafe. After enjoying the company of other walkers out on the streets, find a peaceful spot to rest your feet and admire the passersby at the lovely Jardin du Luxembourg.
Located on the Right Bank of the River Seine, the 1st Arrondissement is one of Paris’s oldest. Few tourists come to Paris without spending time in this neighbourhood as it is home to one of the city’s most famous attractions and the most visited museum in the world, the Louvre. While a daytime visit is essential to tour the museum, stick around as the sun goes down–the plaza around the glass pyramid is majestic at night time. The Jardin des Tuileries make a wonderful place to take a peaceful stroll as you admire statues and water fountains throughout the park. Even if just for a day trip, be sure to visit the two beautiful islands, Ile de la Cité and Ile Saint-Louis, which are connected to one another by a bridge.
It’s nearly impossible to be uninspired while exploring Paris! These are just a handful of the highlights that make this city a not-to-be-missed destination. For help with your French skills, we invite you to contact us at Language Trainers. Our qualified instructors will help you reach your language goals so your next holiday in France will be your best getaway yet.