Paris by Numbers: A Cheat Sheet to My Five Favorite Arrondissements
Visiting Paris for the first time can be overwhelming, to say the least. The famous city is massive, so unless you plan on enjoying a very extended stay, it’s impossible to see everything in a short amount of time. Paris is broken up into 20 arrondissements, or districts. I wanted to see as much as possible during my 5 days in the city, so I figured my best best was to navigate through the city one arrondissement at a time. Check out my five favorite arrondissements and some cool things to do in each one.
5th Arrondissement - The 5th, also known as the Latin Quarter, is a bustling area that is home to many of the university students in Paris. While you will find many tourists here, there are just as many Parisians walking the streets and carrying on with their daily activities. The shops and restaurants here are affordable and the location is just a walk or short metro ride to many of the city’s landmarks. If you take a detour and stroll through some of the back streets, you will find tons of cool shops and eateries that are sure to make your stay memorable.
Explore: The Markets – Rue Mouffetard is lined with markets and stands with fresh meats, cheeses, veggies and sandwiches. Do yourself a favor and stop at each and every one.
6th Arrondissement - If you love shopping and fine dining, then you will enjoy walking the streets of this arrondissement. From antiquities to high-end retailers there is a shop for every taste.. Set aside a day to walk Boulevard St. Germain and get lost in the maze of beautiful buildings. If you love people watching, the bustling area is the perfect place to grab a glass of wine and enjoy hours of conversation at a sidewalk café.
People Watch Here: Café Louise, a charming eatery with a full lunch/dinner menu as well as delicious desserts and a great selection of dessert coffees.
Hang Out Here: Jardin Du Luxembourg – Grab a Panini from one of the nearby boulangeries (bakeries) and walk to this famous park to have lunch in a gorgeous setting.
7th Arrondissement - You can’t visit Paris for the first time without coming to the home of the Eiffel Tower. While visiting this arrondissement is a must, lodging here isn’t ideal unless you intend on splurging. A heavy tourist area, it is also one of the most expensive neighborhoods in the city, housing affluent people such as fashion icon Karl Lagerfeld. Aside from the Eiffel Tower, check out the Musee’ d’Orsay or take a stroll over the Seine River. The 7th is the place to be to get your fix of touristy Paris attractions.
Shop Here: Le Bon Marche - One of the first department stores in Paris, this upscale retailer is home to all things fabulous. Enjoy a couple of hours at this iconic store and bring home a few designer goodies.
Do This: Head to the Eiffel Tower at night and sit on the lawn of Champ du Mars to watch the tower's sparkling light show at the top of every hour. Don't forget the blankets and wine!
10th Arrondissement - The 10th isn’t for the fanny-packers and tourists; this neck of the woods has a grittier feel to it. The area is home to the Canal St. Martin neighborhood, a hotspot for cool kids with an array of boutiques, street art and popup shops. Keep your eyes open though; some areas of the 10th can be a bit sketchy.
Shop Here: Antoine & Lily – One of the most popular concept stores in Paris, this affordable boutique has an eclectic selection of women’s clothes, cool kitschy gifts and trendy accessories.
18th Arrondissement - Depending on where you stay, getting to the 18th arrondissement may take a little longer, but it's well worth the trip. The views of this district are dreamy and romantic with its high hills, charming buildings and cobblestone streets. The area that was once an oasis for artists such as Salvador Dalí and Marcel Duchamp is one of the more-visited neighborhoods in Paris. After getting through the busy crowds at the beautiful Sacré-Coeur church, step away from the madness and take in the quiet beauty of the tree-lined streets and pop in some of the cozy shops.
Go Here – Head to the small but very cool Espace Dali. The museum houses the works of Salvador Dali and gives a glimpse into the life of the famous surrealist artist.
Photo Opp – For an amazing view of the city, stand at the overlook in front of Sacre- Coeur.