A Quick-Fire Paris Arrondissement Guide
If you’re a tourist or a first time visitor to Paris, this ultimate guide to the city's districts will have you moving around like a local in no time.
You might not realise it, but Paris is arranged like a snail. A mass of busy, thriving neighbourhoods called arrondissements numbered one to 20, they spiral clockwise from the Left Bank, to the Right Bank, right up to the ring road which makes its way around the whole city. Each with their own style and personality, working out which to stay in when you visit is half the fun of visiting the city. Here’s Plum Guide's Paris arrondissement guide.
Set mostly on the Right Bank of the Seine, the 1st arrondissement is home to many of Paris’ most famous sights - the Louvre, the Jardin du Palais Royal and the Jardin des Tuileries and the stained glass chapel of Sainte-Chapelle. Few locals live here, but it’s a district often thronged with tourists taking in all that Paris has to offer. Just make sure you get your hands on some Paris tourist passes to make the most of your time in the neighbourhood.
The smallest offering, this arrondissement is famous for its many 19th century passages covered with glass roofs. There’s lots of history here, such as the Stohrer patisserie which opened in 1730 (stop in for a croissant if your waistline will let you). It also contains what used to be Paris’ garment-making district which has now been converted into many news bars and restaurants just begging you to come inside.
One of the stylish ones, so wear your best outfit. Known as the Upper Marais, the 3rd is just bursting with cafes, design ateliers, shops and boutiques, so definitely bring your credit card. The 3rd is also home to lots of cultural things to do in Paris, including several interesting museums. We're particular fans of the Musée National Picasso the Musee Carnavalet, which retells the history of the French capital.
Known as the Marais, this is the place to see and be seen. It’s also home to Paris’ thriving LGBTQ+ and Jewish community, so the food and nightlife scenes are second to none. Calling the 4th arrondissement home too are many iconic Paris landmarks including Notre Dame cathedral, Centre Pompidou contemporary cultural centre and of course, the famous Berthillon ice cream. Don’t leave without trying a scoop. And if you’re hoping to stay in this fashion centre, here’s a chic apartment or two that will suit you down to the ground. We love the opulent Sunrise Sunset and the bright and airy Pablo's Portraits.
Known as the Latin Quarter, the 5th is also home to the Sorbonne University, so this is student central. Bookshops, music shops, cinemas, jazz clubs, cafes and bars that stay open later than you’ve been awake until in years. Additionally, the impressive Panthéon mausoleum can be found here.
This is a classic Paris. The city’s oldest church Église St-Germain des Prés, dating back to the 11th century, is here. Restaurants, bars and expensive designer shops abound. There's also the famous Jardin du Luxembourg, where the lucky younger members of your household can sail vintage miniature sailboats around an octagonal pond. If you do choose to stay here, we highly recommend this gorgeous light-filled home.
Lying along the Left Bank in the shape of a fan is the 7th. It’s home to an impressive number of art-related attractions, from the Musée d'Orsay to the Musée Rodin's sculpture garden. And of course, the symbol of Paris can be found here, the Eiffel Tower.
The 8th arrondissement is home to grand, sweeping avenues such as the Champs-Élysées, one of the city’s most famous shopping streets. Plus there’s the impressive Arc de Triomphe and the Place de la Concorde, where Louis XVI was guillotined. Don’t forget to cry ‘off with their heads’ as you pass through. Famous designers have their flagship stores here, including Chanel and Dior. This is where to stay in one of Paris' most stylish apartments.
The Paris Opera House can be found in the 9th, as well as excellent shopping in the form of famous department stores Galeries Lafayette and Le Printemps. Foodies will delight in the well-known Rue des Martyrs, home to more fromageries and boulangeries than you shake a baguette at.
One of the city’s major transport hubs, the 10th holds train stations Gare du Nord and Gare de l'Est are both here. A little grittier than other districts, you’ll undoubtedly pass through it if you’re catching a train.
A creative hub, the 11th houses furniture makers, artists and designers. The most densely populated district, it’s also a nightlife hub with plenty of bars, music venues and clubs.
One of the greener districts on our Paris arrondissement guide, the forest Bois de Vincennes and park Promenade Plantée sit nearby to the buzzing food and flea markets of Marché d’Aligre's lively food and flea markets. Oh, and it was also ground zero for the French Revolution.
The largest Chinatown in Paris is found here, as well as a lot of skyscrapers and other large buildings such as the Bibliothèque Nationale de France. Regeneration has seen the 13th become a hotspot unlike anywhere in Paris.
You’ll want to watch where you put your feet here as it’s home to Les Catacombes, tunnels lined with bones and skulls. Otherwise, the 14th is most residential.
This is the most populated district of Paris, so it has a very local feel to it. Get the best view of the city from the Île aux Cygnes in the middle of the Seine, and take a balloon ride over the city in the helium-filled Ballon de Paris.
The largest district geographically, a large swathe of the 16th is taken up by the wooded Bois de Boulogne. There’s also the Palais de Chaillot's trio of museums overlooking the Jardins du Trocadéro.
Most visitors won’t venture this far into Paris, but if you do, expect a mix of residential areas and new eco-quarter Clichy-Batignolles.
Home to the famous Montmartre, this is the place to come for that classic view of the Parisian skyline. Many famous artists and writers have lived and worked here over the years. It’s also where the red light district of Pigalle sits, as well as Paris' 'little Africa' neighbourhood. If you fancy staying the night, this classically French pad should suit your fancy.
The 19th is home to the Philharmonie de Paris concert hall and the gorgeous Parc des Buttes Chaumont with waterfalls, grottoes and a lake. Be warned though, that it’s a little rough around the edges.
The 20th is home to the Cimetière du Père Lachaise, burial place of many famous names including Jim Morrison, Oscar Wilde, Édith Piaf and others. It’s gentrifying fast here, so look out for the hip new thing.
That's our Paris arrondissement guide complete – now to book your stay in the city. Plum Guide's professionally vetted homes can be found all over Paris, so do have a browse through our listings and choose the perfect Parisian pad for you and your clan.