PARIS NEIGHBORHOOD GUIDE

There is no shortage of things to do in Paris and every neighborhood has its charm and its highlights. I always recommend picking a few neighborhoods or even just exploring the one you're staying in, to get a feel for a city and see beyond the tourist attractions. I've compiled sights and nearby eateries in each neighborhood, for more see: Things to do in Paris, Paris in Five Days, and Instagrammer's Guide to Paris. 

 

Eiffel Tower

This area is full of tourists and selfie-sticks so take your photos and move on. Come back later for a sunset picnic in Champ de Mars. History buffs should not miss Invalides and the museum.

Eiffel Tower and view from Place du Trocadero. I always caution against going up the Eiffel tower because you have to stand in line at each level and your view is missing the most iconic structure in Paris. See Best Paris Views post for alternatives.

Nearby Eats: Cafe and pastries at Cafe L’Eclair, brunch at Zia Cafe at O Coffeeshop, or at Carette.

Shop: Rue Cler, wander down this pretty pedestrian market between rue Sainte-Dominique and avenue de la Motte-Picquet​

Hôtel des Invalides, military museum, and Napoleon's tomb 

Pont Alexandre III, one of the more ornate bridges of Paris, with a good view of the Eiffel tower behind its gilded lamps. 

Nearby Museums: Musee RodinPalais de Tokyo, andPalais de ChaillotMusee du Quai Branly 

See Paris Museum Guide

 

Île de la Cité & Île Saint-Louis

Île de la Cité

Cathedral Notre Dame, go up and get great photos of the skyline with the infamous gargoyles​

Eat: Au Vieux Paris  (go in if you're hungry, otherwise just take a photo of the pretty facade and leave the area for better food options)

Sweets: Bertie’s Cupcakery 

 

Point Neuf , oldest standing bridge in Paris

 

Conciergerie, formerly a prison where Marie Antoinette spent her last days 

 

Sainte-Chapelle, royal chapel known for the amazing stained glass 

 

Shakespeare and Co. (bookstore and cafe), technically, not on the island but across the street. Sit at the cafe for a beautiful view of Notre Dame

Île Saint-Louis

Île de la Cité and Île Saint-Louis are grouped together but very different. While one has Notre Dame and a steady flow of visitors and traffic, the other is quiet and residential.

 

Berthillon, the iconic Parisian ice-cream shop and if you have one ice-cream cone in Paris, it should be this one

 

Place Dauphine, a lively public square, great for people watching and picnics 

 

Louvre

Home of the famous and crowded museum, but full of perfect patisseries and cafes to stop at after the museum visits.

See

Musee du Louvre

A fun way to enjoy the louvre is a treasure huntExplore on your own with the official Louvre appAnd make sure to come back at night for the lit up pyramid.

Jardins des Tuileries, pretty park on the way out of the Louvre with a carousel

Musee d’Orsay, across the river from the Tuileries, many people miss this museum in favor of the Louvre, but it shouldn’t be missed. It’s a converted railway station and holds work by Monet, Manet, and Van Gogh. 

Musee de l’Orangerie, small gallery of impressionist paintings 

Place Vendome, square near the Tuileries 

Le Palais Royal, royal palace with pretty gardens and courtyards 

Eat & Drink

Coffee: Telescope , Lockwood , Cafe Kitsune

Breakfast: Claus, grab a croissant in the morning, when all the pastries are artfully displayed, or come for afternoon tea. Just across the street is the Claus grocery shop, great for picking up beautifully packaged souvenirs and gifts.

Lunch: Soufflé, great for lunch and serves only the French specialty it's named after or visit Le Nemours, perfect for people watching and resting after the Louvre. 

Sweets: Angelina, known for hot chocolate and the mont blanc cake

Shop

Shop: on Rue Saint Honore, and visit Colette

 

Saint-Germain

Churches, cafes, galleries and more, you won’t be disappointed in this neighborhood. Walk the trail of Hemingway and stop at a cafe, and don’t forget the requisite Luxembourg garden picnic. 

See

Jardin du Luxembourg, one of the prettiest and largest parks in Paris, take a stroll through it or stop for a picnic 

Bibliothèque Mazarine, 23 quai de Conti, oldest public library in France, and among the world’s most beautiful. Go to the windows and enjoy a view of the Seine and Louvre.

Eglise Saint-Sulpice, known for its organ and featured in Dan Brown’s Da Vinci Code 

Eglise Saint-Germain des Près, frescos and the tomb of Descartes 

Live Jazz: Le Cafe Laurent 

Bookstore: Un Regard Moderne

Eat & Drink

Food hall: La Grande Epicerie

L’Avant Comptoir, for tapas

Tea/Coffee: Cafe de Flore, for a classic and historical break 

Coffee: Coffee Cuillier

Pastries: Les Duex Magots, known for its history, but should be visited for its dessert menu

Pastries: Gerard Mulot, a classic patisserie, with two locations, but the Saint-Germain location is near the Luxembourg gardens, makes it a perfect stop before a picnic

Chocolates: Jacques Genin   ​

Chocolate: Debauve & Gallais, oldest chocolatier in Paris, and claim to have made their cocoa based treats for Marie Antoinette.

 

Champs-Elysees

Once known as "the most beautiful avenue in the world." Explore the areas around the avenue in addition to the main attractions.

Place de la Concorde, largest public square with a good view of the Eiffel Tower

Petit Palais, the best part of this museum is the outdoor garden café. You can sip on a café crème while enjoying a gorgeous and spectacular view of Beaux-Arts architecture: soaring iconic columns, a grand porch, and monumental dome. On a warm sunny day, it’s quite easy to spend a few hours here.

Grande Palais, check for exhibitions, or just go see the inside.

Arc de Triomphe, going up is quick and has allows for good views  

Museum of Perfume, check their website for exhibits and demos

Eat/Sweets: Ladurée Champs Elysées (there are many other locations around Paris and this one is the most popular among tourists)

 

Latin Quarter

A popular neighborhood for travelers and local students, the Latin Quarter borders Saint-Germain and the cafe life spills over. Make sure to save time to wander the hidden backstreets and be surprised by concept stores, markets, and a great variety of food options. 

See

Pantheon, known for architecture and a mausoleum containing the remains of notable French authors and scientists 

Musee National du Moyen Age

Sorbonne, one of the oldest universities in the world. Check to see if you can take the evening stargazing tour at the Sorbonne Observatory (waitlist is a few months long). 

Jardin des Plantes, visit the French Gallery of Paleontology 

Les Arenes de Lutece, a Roman arena from the first century CE, and while this is always listed as a top thing to see, you can skip it if you're not interested in Roman history

Museum National d’Histoire Naturelle

Grand Mosque of Paris, the mosque is beautiful and has a cafe attached. If you want to go to the hammam, check the calendar and save time for lunch and mint tea and sweets in the garden cafe. The evening tea service in the courtyard is lovely and shouldn’t be missed, if the weather allows (open until midnight). 

Institut du Monde Arabe, the rooftop view over the river and Notre Dame is worth the trip alone

Rue Moffetard, long and quintessential Paris street with a fun market on the weekends and cute little local shops

Tango on the Seine: watch or dance, Square Tino Rossi, Quai St. Bernard, Wednesday - Sunday from 8.30pm in the summer. For classes or more details, check the website.

Eat & Drink

Eat: Strada Café for breakfast

 

Eat: Le Sirocco for dinner 

Shop

Galeries Lafayette, go inside to see the amazing dome and rooftop views 

 

Printemps, another mall with rooftop views

 

Rue Montorgueil, picturesque street, lined with many small shops, cafés, and restaurants. Weekends are crowded w/ food markets and locals. The paved street crosses the 2nd and 1st arrondissements, and will take you straight to Les Halles, right in the center of Paris.

 

l’Appartement Sezane

 

La Canopee des Halles: a newer center with malls, a library, restaurants and some tech company presence (Google)

 

Passages  

Passage Verdeau, Passage des Panoramas, Galerie Vivienne, Passage du Grand Cerf, Passage de l’Ancre, Passage Moliere

See Paris Passages

 

Grand Boulevards & Les Halles

Walk the perfectly designed streets and duck into one of the historic covered  passages. 

See

Opera Garnier, beautiful on the outside, but even better in the inside. Try to catch a tour or a performance 

 

National Library of France, don’t miss the reading room

 

Le Grand Rex, art-deco movie theater, built in the 1930s, the cinema is decorated with Mediterranean paintings and ornaments, and with a dome 100 feet above the ground. You can watch movies and shows or just take a tour and hear about the building’s fascinating history.

Eat & Drink

G. Detou, for fancy groceries 

Pastries: Aurore Capucine, family owned and known for their flavored sablès

 

Marais

Monks and the Knights Templar settled in the Marais as early as the 13th century, making it one of the oldest neighborhoods in Paris. Now it’s one of most diverse neighborhoods and worth a whole day to explore.

See

Place des Vosges, one of the most stunning and oldest squares in Paris and one of the best for people watching

Nearby Eats: Carette, pâtisserie that offers sandwiches and soups

 

Nearby Eats:  Chez Janou, Provençal-style options ​

 

Centre Georges-Pompidou, modern art and a great view of paris skyline (free to go up to the top)

 

Hotel de Ville, city hall with a pretty carousel and seasonal activities in the front

 

Maison Europeenne de la Photographie 

 

Musee Picasso 

 

Musee d’Art et d’Histoire du Judaisme 

Eat & Drink

Since the Marais is known for food, get ready for a too long list:

​​

Breakfast & Brunch:  Café Pinson for vegetarian options, Au Petit Fer à Cheval for a simple and charming bistro. Also see: Café MéricourtCarette,  Fragments

 

Coffee: Galerie 88, cafe decorated with the owner’s collectables from around the world  Also, Loustic Café 

See: Paris Coffee Guide for more options. 

 

Tea: Mariage Frères

 

Lunch: Beaucoup, or l’As du Falafel, or Breizh Cafe, voted the “best crepes in Paris."

 

Other lunch options: Chez Julien featured in episodes of Gossip Girl, or Derrière.

 

Market/Food: Le Marché des Enfants Rouges, Paris’ oldest and most charming covered market. It takes its name from the children dressed in red who used to live in the neighborhood orphanage. It is home to the best Moroccan food in the city. There’s also Japanese, French Caribbean, and Lebanese stands. The lines are long during lunch but you won’t be disappointed.  

 

Also visit: the Secret Garden, at the cross section rue de Bretagne and rue Charlot. It's a small park and garden, surrounded by cafes (from Marche des Enfants Rouges, leave out of the western door (near the Moroccan stand). 

 

Market: La Maison Plisson: gourmet groceries and eateries 

 

Rue des Rosiers, favorite street to eat in Paris 

 

Rose Bakery

 

Glou

 

Cafe Charlotte 

 

PaperBoy Paris 

 

Candelaria, taqueria, open until 2AM

 

Patisserie: Sébastien Gaudard's shop feels like an old school candy store with jars full of French bonbons and cases full of indulgent desserts.

 

Chocolates and Pastries: La Chocolaterie de Jacques Genin

Shop

Les Cahiers de Colette, bookstore

Ofr. Librairie, design bookstore with weekly events 

Village Saint-Paul (between rue Charelmagne and rue Saint-Paul) a village within a village, site of Henry V’s official residence, now houses antique shops and boutiques 

Papier Tigre, paper goods, candles, and other small labels that make for great gifts

La Chambre Aux Confitures, a variety of artisanal spreads

Empreintes, an eclectic concept store with ceramics and gifts 

Rue de Turenne, enjoy the artsy area full of galleries, cafes, and cobblestone. 

Shoping & Coffee:

-The Broken Arm, this boutique/café carries both established brands and lesser-known local designers

-Merci, a fun but expensive concept shop and has a great used book cafe

-BonTon, feels like the children’s version of Merci, and bring coins to use for the black and white photo booth

-La Belle Hortense, books, coffee, wine w/ art exhibitions 

 

Bastille

Full of political history, the area is now known for its nightlife and shopping options. 

See

Place de la Bastille

 

Opera Bastille

 

L’Entre Potes, factory turned into a bar

 

Port de l’Arsenal, marina full of locals and pretty views

 

Coulée verte René-Dumont (ex-Promenade Plantée), a promenade built atop the abandoned Vincennes railway line and was an inspiration for New York’s High Line. Start at the staircase entrance at the western end, which rises from the Viaduc des Arts. Its creators preserved the tunnels, embankments and trenches, and installed benches and trellises. Head south for a look at the facade of the Museum of the History of Immigration.

 

Rue Crémieux, a small pedestrian street with colorful houses and a village feel.

Eat & Drink

L’Entre Potes, factory turned into a bar

 

Marche d’Aligre, one of the best markets in Paris and popular among locals. The covered part of the market offers an amazing selection of cheeses and it’s surrounded by small cafes.

 

Breakfast at Café Lomi, or Muscovadoor Cafe Oberkampf.

Lunch at Septime

 

Dinner at East Mamma (133 Rue du Faubourg Saint-Antoine) or Ober Mamma (107 Boulevard Richard Lenoir)

Shop

Faubourg Saint-Antoine, old and new crafts shops 

 

Shop: Klin D’Oeil, colorful shop full of handcrafted accessories 

Shop: Slow Galerie: art gallery and tea salon

 

Montmartre

The area got its name from being the site of the beheading of St. Denis (first bishop of Paris) and other Christian priests by the Romans in 250AD. Now it’s one of the liveliest and most picturesque “villages” in Paris, enjoy the details, cobblestones, quirky shops, artists, and views of the city. 

See

Sacre Cour, the best times to go is early morning or early evening (sunrise and sunset), avoid stairs (and aggressive peddlers) going up, take the funicular up and then walk down 

Moulin Rouge

Le Louxor, iconic cinema from 1921 that recently opened after renovations 

Eglise St-Pierre de-Montmartre 

 

Place du Tertre, a lively square, full of artists and surrounded by cafes

 

Musee de la Vie Romantique, a hidden country cottage full of paintings and a garden cafe 

 

Musee de Montmartre

 

Cimetiere de Montmartre

 

Also See:  this great guide for the best places in the neighborhood to photograph

Eat & Drink

Coffee: Les Deux Moulins  made famous by the movie Amélie. If you arrive by 10 AM, it won’t be too touristy.

Breakfast/Brunch: The Hardware Societe, or Café Marlette.

Market: Marche Barbes (Boulevard de la Chapelle, across from Hospital Lariboiserie) Weds from 8am to 1pm and Saturdays from 7am to 3pm. 

La Recyclerie: restaurant, bar, garden, and host of a monthly bartering party 

Petrelle, check out the quirky decor and good food

 

Marcel

 

Barbès Brasserie 

 

Terrass for dinner with a view

Buvette

 

Artisan for tapas

 

Popelini, dedicated to cream puffs 

 

Shop

Shop: Sept Cinq: boutique full of Parisian designers

 

Canal St Martin

Few tourists venture into this neighborhood so you’ll run into fewer crowds and more locals.  Make sure to walk along the canal while Parisians picnic. 

See

Parc de la Villette

 

Parc des Buttes-Chaumont, Located in the north of the city, the park is luscious and hilly, with gorgeous views over the French capital. It is also home to Rosa Bonheur, where locals go to dance. 

 

Marin d'Eau Douce, Rent a boat and add an optional picnic basket.

 

The Church of Saint-Serge, If you feel overwhelmed by all the Frenchness and wish to escape Paris for a few minutes, the Church of Saint-Serge is a great option. Located near the Buttes-Chaumont.

 

Butte Bergeyre 

 

Belleville, off the tourist path, this neighborhood is where Edith Piaf was born, has a great food and market scene, and full of street art.

 

Parc de Belleville

Not in Belleville but nearby: 

 

Cimetiere du Pere-Lachaise

 

La Bellevilloise: art and culture center with an nice cafe; check online for events.

 

Le Pavillon des Canaux: cozy cafe near the canal

Eat & Drink

Like Le Marais, this area is also full of great food options.

​​

Holybelly, known for the coffee, breakfasts, and lunches

 

Bakery: Du Pain et des Idées, a local secret and my favorite bakery in Paris. Their pain des amis and croissants are to die for. Note: only open M-F

 

Bakery: Liberte

 

La Chambre aux Oiseaux, lunch in a vintage setting, with mismatched tables and chairs 

 

Le Cambodge, and Le Petit Cambodge, are great for Cambodian food (same food, two locations)

 

Jules & Shim, for Korean BBQ

 

Pink Flamingo, you can order a pizza for your picnic and they will bring you a pink balloon and deliver it on the canal.

 

Eat/Coffee: Le Comptoir General, this cafe and art space is Paris’ hipster central. To quote their website: “Whomever you may be, this hideaway, this temple of ghetto culture, shall be open to you every day of the week. Discover a world of rebelliousness and intensity, a shadow movement made of driftwood, tampered with, neglected and abandoned, yet nevertheless as solid as a rock.”

 

Coffee: Coworkshop Cafe CraftTen Belles 

Shop

Artazart, The front of this bookstore is devoted to graphic design (including English books), and there is a large collection of photography books as well. Typically there’s a gallery show or installation in the front window.

 

Fromagerie Goncourt: a favorite cheese shop among locals and served in many local restaurants

 

Montparnasse

While most ignore this neighborhood or just catch their train connections from here, it’s one of the better neighborhoods to stay in as a visitor. It’s less lively and more residential, but easily accessible, and full of cafes and restaurants.

Tour Montparnasse, best view of Paris, especially at night, and doesn’t include the Tour itself 

Catacombes

Raspail Market 

 

Observatoire de Paris, one of the largest astronomical centers in the world 

 

Coffee: Hexagone café

 

Eat: Axuria for seafood

 

Eat: Le parc Montsouris

 

Eat: Colorova, for lunch and pastries.

 

Outside of Paris

Farther but worth a visit if you have time: 

Palace of Versailles

The Butte aux Cailles Neighborhood in Paris, Hidden neighborhood-village full of cobblestones 

Cité des Fleurs, A pedestrian street full of greenery 

Parc Andre-Citroen, A newer futuristic park, not for everyone, so do some research before trekking out there

UNESCO’S Jardin Japonais: Garden of Peace (7 place de Fontenoy)

Parc Monceau, A calm park outside of the city full of statues and archways.

Near the park, La Petite Rose a neighborhood tea solon known for it’s Valentin, chocolate biscuit, raspberry creme brûlée, layer of fresh raspberries, and a dark chocolate mousse

Saint-Ouen Flea Market, Get lost in one of the biggest flea markets in the world. Located on the northern outskirts of the city, the market is an endless source of fun, with some of the weirdest and most unique finds.

Marché aux Puces, A smaller flea market to try if the Saint-Ouen one is too big

La Petite Ceinture, Abandoned rail way park

Bassin de la Villette, Large artificial lake, with shows, food trucks, and a perfect adventure for a hot day

© 2018 by Wanderist.