Come wind, rain or shine, Paris lures all manner of tourists in with its romantic aura, timeless elegance and grace. Whether you’re boating across a quiet lake or tumbling out of atmospheric bars, the French capital offers endless ways to please its first-time visitors and keep them coming back for more – and with direct Eurostar services from London in just over two hours, you’ll have every reason to do so. We break down our 10 favourite arrondissements and why you, too, will fall head over heels with them.
1st and 2nd arrondissements: classic charm in the city’s heart
If you’re short on time, put this arrondissement at the top of your list for a fail-safe, albeit bite-sized, picture of Paris
No visit to the City of Light would be complete without a tour of its heart – a pulsating neighbourhood overflowing with history and elegance. Take a stroll along the scenic banks of the River Seine, stopping at a series of must-visit attractions on your way, including the striking Grand Palais, much-loved Louvre Museum, picture-perfect Tuileries Garden and the western portion of l’Île de la Cité – home to the royal 13th-century Sainte-Chapelle whose tall stained glass windows are positively mesmerising.
3rd and 4th arrondissements: edible delights and cultural marvels aplenty in Le Marais
All-round crowd-pleasers for food and fantastic museums, these neighbourhoods combine to form Le Marais – one of the city’s most memorable locations
No matter what you’re in Paris to see and do, Le Marais is an unmissable gem of a neighbourhood to discover. A tourist magnet, it’s rife with eye-catching architectural displays, hip locals and inviting bars and restaurants. You’ll also find the city’s old Jewish quarter here, if you’re looking for a unique cultural experience. Literature-lovers shouldn’t pass up a visit to the Musée Victor Hugo, where the author himself once lived, while art aficionados will find heaven at the Musée Picasso and Centre Pompidou. Foodies are well catered for around these parts, too, with the Marché des Enfants Rouges spilling with international delicacies and artisan goods.
5th arrondissement: intellectual immersion in the Latin Quarter
Explore the youthful appeal of this neighbourhood, known for its lively day-to-night scene and universities brimming with curiosity
Known for its Roman and medieval history, and for the universities that sit on its grounds, the Latin Quarter (or Quartier Latin as the locals call it) hosts an abundant population of students – making it undeniably energetic by nature. If you’re hungry for knowledge, a trip to this arrondissement is simply a must. Stroll through the streets here at your own leisurely pace, gaze in awe at the Paris-Sorbonne University, and sit down in a charming café to enjoy the bright and youthful atmosphere that surrounds you.
6th arrondissement: a chic and quintessentially Parisian experience
History abounds in this ultra-chic neighbourhood, where museums and a host of popular eateries steal the limelight
A central Left Bank neighbourhood filled with elegance, the 6th arrondissement epitomises Paris at its finest, and you’ll find no shortage of museums and landmarks here for a day packed with sightseeing. Flit from the Pont des Arts to the Saint-Sulpice church, stopping for respite in the Jardin du Luxembourg or at one of several chic restaurants and cafés. Don’t miss a trip to the banks of the river in the Saint-Germain-des-Prés area, where booksellers await with stacks of vintage titles.
7th arrondissement: the city’s most iconic attractions
Take in some of the capital’s best-known attractions with a visit to this super-central neighbourhood
On the left bank of the River Seine, this arrondissement is without doubt known as the home of the Eiffel Tower, which should naturally be on every visitor’s checklist – make a trip up to the top, and while you’re at it, perhaps even treat yourself to a meal with a serious view. From here, stroll along the Champ de Mars and head east to discover the site of Napoléon’s Tomb and the Musée Rodin’s remarkable sculpture collection. Here you’ll be in the heart of Les Invalides, a striking complex of museums and landmark attractions that also include the Musée d’Orsay and Palais Bourbon.
8th arrondissement: shopping and awe-inspiring sites in the Golden Triangle
Do not miss this buzzing arrondissement if you’re gearing up for a fun-filled day of retail therapy
Combine classic sightseeing with a fabulous day of shopping along the Champs-Elysées, whose seemingly endless rows of high-street and high-end boutiques lead up to the must-see Arc de Triomphe. On the opposite end of the boulevard, watch as cars whiz furiously around Place de la Concorde and make your way to the Palais de l’Elysée, to marvel at the official home of the French President. For a break away from the crowds, head to the calming and inspiring grounds of Parc Monceau.
12th arrondissement: away-from-it-all green spaces
Head further afield and fall in love with a quieter side to Paris, on a jaunt to this discreet and peacefully green neighbourhood
Seize a chance to get away from the tourist trail with a trip to this neighbourhood, where calming green spaces and courtyards inspire a sense of tranquillity – while still putting you within easy reach of world-famous sights. The Bois de Vincennes forest is ideal for a leisurely stroll or boating adventure, and for all your shopping and foodie needs, make a beeline for the picturesque Bercy Village (also known as the Cour Saint-Emilion), where outlets are housed in converted wine cellars.
18th arrondissement: bohemian vibes and lashings of creativity in Montmartre
Top your Paris bucket list with this neighbourhood for an inspiring dose of art and a taste of the bohemian way of life
If you’re looking for a blast back to the city’s boho past, you could really find no better than Montmartre, a noteworthy neighbourhood that inspired artists from around the world – Picasso, Van Gogh, Renoir and Matisse, to name but a few. Ascend the hill to the Sacré-Cœur basilica, catch a performance of outrageously epic proportions at the Moulin Rouge, and keep things low-key and laid-back as you lose yourself in the village’s ultra-charming cobbled streets.