PARIS - NEIGHBORHOODS
Louvre - Palais Royal - Bourse (1er and 2e)
Home to some of Paris' most important sites, the neighborhoods around the Louvre and Palais Royal are some of the most visited parts of the city. Once the playground of kings and queens, it is now home to the French President as well as the American and British ambassadors; it is also where you will find some of the best hotels in Paris. Here you can view the magnificent masterpieces on display at the Musée du Louvre, stroll through the majestic Jardin des Tuileries, admire the classic beauty of the Place Vendôme or shop for haute couture along the posh Rue Faubourg St-Honoré, a popular fashion destination for nearly three centuries. For a more authentic shopping experience, explore the many covered arcades, like Galerie Vivienne, that the 2nd arrondissement is famous for. Rue de Rivoli, the main street running through the 1st arrondissement, and one of the busiest streets in Paris, is full of shops, cafes, and restaurants.
North of the Palais Royal is the Bourse (stock exchange). There are fewer tourists here, but it is still close to the major attractions. Like most financial districts, it's busy during the week, but much quieter on the weekends.
Latin Quarter - St Germain des Près (5e and 6e)
Over the Seine, on the left bank, you'll find the Latin Quarter (5e) and St Germain des Prés (6e). Home to the Sorbonne, founded in 1257, the 5th arrondissement is still the center of education in Paris. The area around Rue Mouffetard and Place de la Contrescarpe is full of students, and there are a lot of art house revival cinemas here that give the neighborhood a hip vibe. For an authentic Parisian experience, we suggest you wander the side streets along the river and behind the Panthéon, where you can find quirky boutiques and intimate bistros. Stop for a demi (a half pint of draft beer), sip espresso and argue philosophy with the academics or simply shop for smelly cheese and charcuterie!
Named for the oldest church in Paris, St Germain des Prés, the 6th arrondissement is the most classically Parisian neighborhood in Paris. Now one of the city's most glamorous and exclusive neighborhoods, St Germain was the intellectual heart of Paris for most of the 20th century. The Musée Delacroix is home to a small collection of the Romantic master's works. And not far away is the stately Église St Sulpice, where you can see two impressive Delacroix frescoes.
Throughout the 1920's these neighborhoods had a romantic, literary atmosphere due to their popularity with the expat community, notably Ernest Hemingway and James Joyce, among others. You can relive this charming era by visiting the English language bookshop, Shakespeare and Co., on Rue de la Bûcherie in the Quartier Latin. And in Saint Germain you'll find three of city's most famous cafes where these writers and artists hung out, the Brasserie Lipp, Les Deux Magots, and Café de Flore, known as The Golden Triangle. A lively atmosphere can be found in the bars and restaurants around St Germain and Odéon, but for some peace and quiet, head towards the exquisite Jardin du Luxembourg, one of Paris' loveliest parks, whose tree lined paths have attracted the fashionable and the flâneur (stroller) for ages.
Eiffel Tower (7e) and Montparnasse (15e)
The 7th arrondissement is a calm, elegant neighborhood, home to the city's most famous symbol, the Eiffel Tower. In this district, you will also find the Hôtel des Invalides, where Napoleon's body was interred, the Assemblée Nationale (National Assembly), and three important museums - the Musée d'Orsay, the Musée Rodin and the Musée du Quai Branly. Cross the Seine from Invalides to the Grand Palais along Pont Alexandre III, the city's most ornate bridge, bedecked with gilded sculptures, cherubs, and Art Nouveau lamps. Or shop along the elegant Rue du Bac and Rue des Sèvres, location of the beautiful, 19th century department store, Le Bon Marché.
In contrast, Montparnasse is a busy, commercial neighborhood dominated by the Montparnasse Tower. Despite its unattractive architecture the rooftop terrace offers the best panoramic view of Paris and is a great alternative for those wanting to avoid the long lines at the Tour Eiffel, saving you time for a fancy cocktail at Le Bar Américain on the 56th floor. The other star attraction of Montparnasse is the Paris Catacombs.
Along Boulevard Montparnasse you'll find several famous, Art Deco brasseries, La Coupole, Le Select and Le Dôme, which were patronized by the writers and artists of the interwar period, including Hemingway, Picasso, Lenin, and Trotsky. And the area is still reasonably close to central Paris and is well connected in terms of public transportation.
Champs-Élysées and Western Paris (8e, 16e and 17e)
One of the most famous avenues in the world, the tree-lined Avenue des Champs-Élysées is the epitome of Parisian grandeur. Anchoring the Champs is the mighty Arc de Triomphe, Napoléon's monument to himself and at the other end, the exquisitely restored Grand Palais. Across the street, there is free admission to the permanent art collection at the Petit Palais. Off to the south are Avenue George V and Avenue Montaigne, home to haute couture boutiques and several of Paris' most luxurious hotels.
To the north are the picturesque Parc Monceau and the area known as Batignolles. This sophisticated neighborhood is a wealthy, residential area full of elegant Haussmannian-style buildings and wide avenues. There's a similar atmosphere in the 16th arrondissement, which is full of embassies, diplomats and exclusive residences. Bordered by the enormous Boulogne Park to the west, there are several interesting museums here, including the Musée Guimet, Musée Marmottan, Paris' Musée d'Art Moderne, and the hip Palais du Tokyo; however, the Palais de Chaillot, and its unrivaled views of the Eiffel Tower, is the big attraction.
Opéra and Canal St Martin (9e and 10e)
The area around the Opéra Garnier is one of the busiest, most commercial areas of Paris, but it's also a great place for shopping, home to the famous 19th century department stores Galeries Lafayette and Printemps. Heading east you will find the area known as Les Grands Boulevards, which stretches from Boulevard Montmartre to Boulevard de Bonne Nouvelle. This was the epicenter of cafe and theater life in Belle Époque Paris. Shopping aside, the Grands Boulevards are a cultural destination, home to some of the city's best small museums as well as the majestic Sainte Trinité church.
The 10th arrondissement is one of Paris' most multi-ethnic neighborhoods and two of the city's main railway stations, the Gare de l'Est and Gare du Nord, can be found here. But the main attraction of the 10th is the increasingly popular Canal Saint Martin with its picturesque footbridges and cobbled, tree lined quais. This is the ideal place for a Sunday stroll as there is a very bobo (bourgeois bohemian) atmosphere here due to the stylish boutiques and trendy bars and cafés.