Q & A – What Is The Difference Between Paris Neighborhoods?

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I'm heading off to Paris and I'm still a bit confused by the Paris neighborhoods. I want to book a Paris hotel but need to know more about the different arrondissements or quartiers, or whatever they're called!

"Thanks for your help."
– Nina, Canada

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We Answer – All About Paris Neighborhoods

Dear Nina,
Paris is divided into administrative zones called arrondissements. They are sometimes referred to as the "twenty small cities of Paris", each with a distinct personality and even its own town hall. (There used to be twenty arrondissements, but due to some consolidation, there are now seventeen.) Let's start with the geography. Notice that the numbering starts in the center of the city and proceeds in a clockwise spiral out to 20. For in-depth information, be sure to read our complete guide to the arrondissements.

Paris Arrondissements

The Right Bank, Rive Droite

The Seine River divides Paris in two. The Right Bank (Rive Droite) is the larger half and it contains these arrondissements —

  • 1st to 4th (now consolidated and called Paris Central)
  • 8th Arrondissement
  • 9th Arrondissement
  • 10th Arrondissement
  • 11th Arrondissement
  • 12th Arrondissement
  • 16th Arrondissement
  • 17th Arrondissement
  • 18th Arrondissement
  • 19th Arrondissement
  • 20th Arrondissement
The Left Bank, Rive Gauche

The Left Bank — Rive Gauche — is the smaller of the two halves and contains the following arrondissements. 5th, 6th and 7th and the 13th, 14th and 15th Arrondissements.

  • 5th Arrondissement
  • 6th Arrondissement
  • 7th Arrondissement
  • 13th Arrondissement
  • 14th Arrondissement
  • 15th Arrondissement

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1st to 6th Arrondissements

The Paris quartiers (another way of saying "neighborhoods") surrounding the Louvre are the 1st and 2nd Arrondissements. (Even though the central arrondissements have been consolidated into one administrative district, we still discuss them separately.) These are the oldest quartiers in Paris and the smallest as well. Popular local districts here are Rue Montorgreuil, the semi-pedestrian food street; Saint-Eustache, the Gothic church; and the financial district.

1st to 6th Arrondissements

The 3rd and 4th Arrondissements are where you'll find the Marais district, a popular destination for travelers. It's one of the few areas of Paris that was left untouched by Haussmann's hand when Paris was modernized in the mid-19th century. Instead of broad boulevards and 5-story apartment buildings you find twisty, narrow, ancient roads and tilting buildings. The oldest square in Paris is found in the Marais at Place des Vosges.

The two islands of Paris Île de la Cité and Île St. Louis — are found in the middle of Paris in the 1st and 4th Arrondissements. This is also where you find Notre Dame Cathedral.

Finally, to the south of the Seine (the Left Bank), you'll find the 5th and 6th Arrondissements — home to the Latin Quarter, the Sorbonne, and Saint-Germain-des-Prés.

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7th to 12th Arrondissements

The 7th Arrondissement is on the Left Bank and is home to the the Eiffel Tower, popular market street Rue Cler, Rue St. Dominique, and the d'Orsay Museum. It's a wealthy Paris neighborhood filled with charming Left Bank hotels, bistros and leafy streets.

7th to 12th Arrondissements

The 8th Arrondissement, on the Right Bank, borders on the 16th and 17th Arrondissement at its western end. The 8th is famous for Champs Elysées and world-class hotels like the Four Seasons George V, the Plaza Athenée, and the Royal Monceau Hotel. It's a great Paris neighborhood to stay in, but it does tend to be pricier.

The 9th Arrondissement is a much different Paris neighborhood. It's all about the Grand MagasinsPrintemps and Galeries Lafayette department stores — and the Palais Garnier Opera House. Although we love to visit the 9th, we don't usually stay in the northern parts of the district.

To the east are the 10th, 11th and 12th Arrondissements. Although up-and-coming, many travelers shy away from staying here. What a shame! The area around Canal St. Martin is filled with trendy restaurants and cafés. The Bastille neighborhood of the 11th and 12th borders on the Marais, making it a convenient central location.

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13th to 20th Arrondissements

The 13th, 14th and 15th Arrondissements are found in the southern part of Paris. The 15th Arrondissement has managed to hold onto its roots and is filled with authentic boulangeries, charcuteries, and patisseries.

Sacre Coeur

The western Paris neighborhoods of the 16th and 17th are the largest and the wealthiest of the arrondissements. A stay in the Passy neighborhood of the 16th Arrondissement will make you feel like you've finally made it!

The 18th Arrondissement is where you find Montmartre, the slightly bohemian enclave home to artists, musicians and writers-in-residence. It's a charming area to stay, especially if you stay close to Rue des Abbesses. This is where Basilica Sacré Coeur resides atop the highest point in Paris.

The 19th and 20th are where Edith Piaf's neighborhood of Belleville is located. Most travelers do not stay this far from central Paris; it's a bit out of the way. Although easily reached by Metro, the ride from the the Louvre, for instance, is thirty minutes or more. However, it makes for a fun day trip to visit the canals and two of the biggest parks of Paris — Parc de Villette and Parc des Buttes Chaumont.

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