ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Secrets of the 20 Districts of Paris

Updated on December 1, 2010

Paris is made up of 20 districts, or 'arrondisements' as they are known in French. Each is unique and each has a landmark contributing to Paris' beauty and reputation as one of the best cities in the world.

Visit Paris' 20 districts.


The 20 Districts of Paris

Louvre (
Louvre (

1st District - The Louvre Museum

Previously the palace of Louis XIV, the Louvre became a museum in 1793 and is today one of the worlds' largest museums, covering over 60,000 sqm, and is THE most visited art museum in the world. Its a magnificent feat of architecture, simply spectacular.

Access: Metro Palais Royal-Musee du Louvre (Lines 1, 7)

Ever wanted to have a Knighthood? Pop into a specialist shop around Palais Royal and have your very own Knighthood medal engraved! (Note: It's legal as long as you don't use a medal made of precious metal!)

Galerie Vivienne (
Galerie Vivienne (

2nd District - The Passages of Paris

Paris is blessed with 19th century 'shopping malls' - long glass roofed corridors lined with charming shops, restaurants, boutiques and specialist shops that were mostly built in this area to provide a sheltered shopping area for the rich. Visit Passage du Caire, Galerie Vivienne and Galerie Colbert.

Access: Metro Grands Boulevards (Line 8, 9), Sentier, Bourse (Line 3)

Do you know where the Bloody Mary was created? Take a trip to Harry's New York Bar

5 rue Daunou, and sip on cocktails where Ernest Hemingway once did.

Place des Vosges (
Place des Vosges (

3rd District - The Marais

The Marais actually spreads across the 3rd and 4th districts. It's one of the most picturesque parts of Paris thanks to its medieval streets and 17th Century mansions, romantically lit by period lanterns. This is a great area for strolling around at leisure, littered with fabulous boutiques, restaurants and cute cafes, you'll be enchanted.

Access: Metro Saint Paul (Line 1)

If you look hard enough, you'll find the oldest building in Paris, located in this's a clue...51 Rue Montmorency built in 1407)

Gargoyle of Notre Dame (
Gargoyle of Notre Dame (

4th District - Notre Dame Cathedral

World famous and immortalised in Victor Hugo's 'Hunchback of Notre Dame', this Catholic cathedral is one of the world's finest examples of French Gothic architecture. Taking over 180 years to build, construction began in 1160 and was finally completed in 1345. It is an enormous feat of architecture, designed by numerous architects over the years, giving each facade slightly different elements, adding to it's charm.

Access: Metro Cite (Line 4), Saint-Michel - Notre-Dame ( RER B, C)

In one of the oldest buildings in Paris, 13, rue Francois Miron, discover a secret world in the basement of this building at Pluriel Club..."swing" by (strictly over 18s)

Pantheon (
Pantheon (

5th District - The Latin Quarter

Situated on the Left Bank, this is primarily a lively student area of Paris as it's home to many well known institutions such as the Sorbonne, Science Po and Ecole Normale Superieure. It's called the Latin Quarter as Latin was the language spoken in universities in the Middle Ages. This district is also home to the Pantheon, Jardin des Plantes (Paris' botanical gardens and zoo) and Rue Mouffetard, a lovely street full of cafes and restaurants.

Access: Metro Cluny La Sorbonne (Line 10)

In this area, it's not just students who reside here, there are the dead also...but where are they buried? Visit the Pantheon and find out

Oscar Wilde (
Oscar Wilde (

6th District - Boulevard Saint Germain

This Left Bank boulevard is famous for its designer shops and gorgeous boutiques for those of us with cash to splash! The 6th district was also the gathering centre of many artists, literary figures, philosophers, film makers and decision makers such as Sartre, Picasso and Oscar Wilde. Here they'd meet, share and create revolutionary ideas in the local cafes such as Cafe Flore and Les Deux Magots.

Access: Metro Saint Germain des Pres (Line 4)

Private swimming pool and intimate lunch for two? Check out L'Hotel - once the residence of Oscar Wilde

Eiffel Tower (
Eiffel Tower (

7th District - The Eiffel Tower

THE symbol of Paris and France, this 324m iron lattice tower, stands tall over Paris and has become the muse of film makers and artists alike. It's already received over 200,000,000 visitors, making it the most visited paid monument in the world. It was originally built in 1889 for the World's Fair and was supposed to be dismantled in 1909...good job it wasn't!

Access: Metro Champs de Mars Tour Eiffel (RER C)

So what saved the Eiffel Tower from demolition? The fact that it could be useful, "That's a nice radio antenna" experts said

A bout de Souffle (
A bout de Souffle (

8th District - The Champs Elysees

Considered the most prestigious avenue of Paris, it runs along 2km from Place de la Concorde to the Arc de Triomphe. Lined with horse chesnut trees, restaurants and high end boutiques, this is one of the world's most famous avenues.

Access: Metro Champs Elysees Clemenceau (Lines 1, 13)

The famous scene from the iconic and classic movie "A bout de Souffle" ("Breathless"), was filmed on the Champs Elysees, reflecting 1960s glamour of New Wave French Cinema.

Galeries Lafayette (
Galeries Lafayette (

9th District - Shopping District

Paris is famous for shopping, and this is one area you shouldn't miss out on if you're a shopping fan! Two of France's largest 19th Century department stores, Galeries Lafayette and Printemps, are both located here and provide a wide variety of merchandise to suit every budget and taste. The interior of Galeries Lafayette is lovely and you have a great view of Paris from the roof terrace of Printemps.

Access: Metro Havre Caumartin (Lines 3, 9)

Originally a workers bar in 1896, the Restaurant Chartier, still in its original form, provides very reasonably priced food in a very interesting atmosphere for a typically Parisian meal and service...

Canal Saint Martin (
Canal Saint Martin (

10th District - Canal Saint Martin

Canal Saint Martin, immortalized by Amelie Poulin, is a canal situated in north-east Paris, in the 10th arrondisement of Paris, and is the new boho-chic area to be seen in! It's lined with cafes, restaurants and bars and you can window shop and admire the 'trop cool' hipsters along side the waterway. It's also a great place to picnic in the summer.

Access: Metro Jacques Bonsergent (Line 5)

Grab a curry in a colourful and flavourful Passage Brady, originally built in 1828, now housing various Indian and Pakistani shops, from saris to cheap DVDs - it's a hint of the exotic in Paris

Place de la Bastille (
Place de la Bastille (

11th District - Place de la Bastille

This square in Paris is the famous site of the Storming of the Bastille which took place on 14th July 1789 - a pivotal moment in the French Revolution, where the people took the power and destroyed the Bastille prison. There are no remnants of the prison but a column has been erected to commemorate the event. Today this is a lively area full of bars, restaurants and shops.

Access: Metro Bastille (Lines 1, 5, 8)

Visit the outdoor market at Bastille for an array of fruit and veg and all sorts of culinary delights from all over the world

Bois de Vincennes (
Bois de Vincennes (

12th District - Bois de Vincennes

Bois de Vincennes, the ‘right lung of Paris’, is an 'English' style park in the south east of Paris, four times larger than Hyde Park in London. Inside the park you’ll find the Chateau de Vincennes which used to be home to 14th Century kings. It has since been renobated and can be visited.

Access: Metro Porte Doree (Metro Line 8)

Did you know that Paris has an abandoned 19th Century railway viaduct? It starts at Opera Bastille near the junction of Rue de Lyon and Avenue Daumensil and lakes for a pleasant stroll above the eye level


13th District - Buttes aux Cailles

Buttes aux Cailles has a village type feel in a multicultural and young, trendy backdrop with many bars and restaurants. The 13th district is also where you’ll find Paris’ China Town with huge supermarkets and resaturants.

Access: Metro Place d’Italie (Lines 5, 6)

Ever wondered why it’s called Place d'Italie? The Romans built a road which led from France to Italy and it started in this area...Route Nationale 7 is the modern day version of this road

Catacombs of Paris (
Catacombs of Paris (

14th District - Parc Montsouris

This is a lovely 'English garden' styled park in the south east of Paris in the 14th arrondisement. With about 150 species of tree and shrub, its a great place to get some fresh air in the city and also has a huge lake in the middle of it with an island grotto and waterfall, providing a home for various wildlife. It's an elegant park and off the beaten tracks of Tuilleries and Luxembourg, so well worth a visit.

Access: Tram Montsouris (Tram Line 3) or Metro Cite Universitaire (RER B)

What do they do when they get rid of old cemeteries? Walk among the dead under the streets of Paris in the 18th Century Catacombs

View from Pont Mirabeau (
View from Pont Mirabeau (

15th District - Pont Mirabeau

This green bridge spans across the Seine just after Pont de Grenelle and has a perfect view of the Statue of Liberty with the Eiffel Tower towering behind it. Built between 1895 and 1897, this was the largest and highest bridge during the time of its construction and behold 4 allegorical statues representing the 'City of Paris', 'Navigation', 'Commerce', and 'Abundance'. These statues are placed on either side of the bridge on the two piles of the bridge which represent two boats.

Access: Metro Javel-Andre Citroen (Line 10) or Javel (RER C)

Who do we have to thank vaccines and pasteurization for? Louis Pasteur of course. He's buried under the Institut de Pasteur in this area

Trocadero (
Trocadero (

16th District - Trocadero

For THE best view of Paris, you have to visit Trocadero. Come out of the metro station and you’ll be blown away by what you’ll see before you. The Eiffel Tower will be the centre point of your vista, flanked by all of the recognisable sights of Paris - best viewed at sunset - stunning!

Access: Metro Trocadero (Line 6, 9)

Ever wondered where the father of French Realism lived? Visit the House of Honore de Balzac in the 16th district

Arc de Triomphe (
Arc de Triomphe (

17th District - Arc de Triomphe

The Arc de Triomphe stands proudly at the top end of the Champs Elysees and was built to honor those who fought and died for France during the French Revolution and Napoleonic Wars. The names of past French victories and significant figures have been engraved on the arch. There is also a vault under the Arch containing the Tomb to the Unknown Soldier.

Access: Metro Charles de Gaulle Etoile (Lines 1, 2, 6 and RER A)

Nearby is the stunning 19th Century Russian Orthodox church where Picasso married the Russian dancer, Olga Koklova in 1918

Sacre Coeur (
Sacre Coeur (

18th District - Montmartre

Paris' tallest hill, the Sacre Coeur sits on top on Montmartre, glowing at night like a beacon over Paris. Montmartre has been immortalized by the Impressionists, as it was the artists' centre in the 19th Century. Today, despite being a tourist hot spot (Moulin Rouge), it also has a village type feel, making it a very desirable place to live, filled with lovely little boutiques and restaurants.

Access: Metro Abbessess (Line 12)

Meet up with the Impressionists in La Bonne Franquette restaurant which has existed for over 400 years, previously known as 'Aux Billards en Bois'. It is here that characters like Pissarro, Sisley, Cézanne, Toulouse-Lautrec, Renoir, Monet, Zola et Vincent Van Gogh would gather

Peak of Parc des Buttes de Chaumont (
Peak of Parc des Buttes de Chaumont (

19th District - Buttes Chaumont

Literally a hill in the north east of Paris, this is a great park if you don't mind hills! There's a lovely view from the Corinthian style monument at the peak of the hill, which is modelled on the Roman temple of Sybil in Italy. Apart from Roman temple replicas, the park also has a lovely variety of trees from all over the world including cedars. The park also houses a popular night spot, Rosa Bonheur, which has existed for over a century and has now become a hit with the cool kids of Paris.

Access: Metro Buttes Chaumont (Line 7bis) or Pyrenees (Line 11)

Visit a different style of Paris on rue Mozaia, where you'll find the Villas of Mozaia - a small area of pretty houses and gardens

Edith Piaf (
Edith Piaf (

20th District - Pere Lachaise Cemetery

The largest cemetery in Paris and one of the most famous in the world, this is the resting place of many famous dignitaries such as Jim Morrison, Oscar Wilde, Delacroix, Maria Callas, Chopin, Proust, Colette, Balzac, Edith Piaf, Sadeq Hedayat and Marcel Marceau.

Access: Metro Pere Lachaise (Lines 2, 3) or Phillipe Auguste (Line 2)

Legend has it that Edith Piaf was born on the steps of 72 rue de Belleville, in this area, abandoned by her mother

Which is your Favorite District?

See results



Submit a Comment

No comments yet.