Best Places to Visit in France
are shown on the map below as thick, pastel yellow lines. (Montmarte (18èm)
is not shown on this map). The neighborhood names commonly associated
with the arrondissements are shown in black type.
The arrondissements on the map are linked to descriptions below. Click within an arrondissement on the map (when you see the hand pointer) to be taken to or near the text describing it. Conversely, you can click on the arrondissement number next to the description to return to the map
tourist arrondissements of Paris
(In the descriptions of the Neighborhoods of Paris, the first notation after the name is the Arrondissement, which is linked to the map of arrondissements above. The second notation is R for Right Bank, L for Left Bank or IC for Île De La Cité.)
Central Tourist Paris is located on the Right Bank and features the Champs Élysées, the Tuilleries Garden (Jardin Des Tuileries), and the Louvre. Les Halles and the Pompidou Center sit between Central Paris and the Marias. Central Paris provides museums, shops, cafes and wonderful promenades. While this is one of the first areas most tourists see, it is one that can get old quickly and you might prefer a hotel in one of the other neighborhoods.
Situated to the east of the Center, the Marais comes alive at night. It features good restaurants, wonderful delicatessens, trendy nightspots, and the Picasso Museum (Musée Picasso). It is a good part of town to walk, eat, and spend some time finding out how lives are lived in Paris.
Montmarte (18 ème) (R) (not shown on map but is located to the north of 9ème)
North of Central Paris, this is the artsy and sometimes-sleazy side of Paris. Including both Scare Coeur, the beautiful white cathedral that dominates the northern Paris skyline and the Moulin Rouge the area has great attraction for tourist.
Famous for Notre Dame, Ste. Chapelle, and gorgeous views, Île De La Cité is an island in the Seine, located to the south of the Hotel De Ville. This area is the historic heart of Paris and is where the city was first settled.
Located adjacent to the Île de la Cité, this island features beautiful examples of 17th century architecture.
Saint Germain is a pleasant area with numerous antique and art shops, restaurants, and interesting, colorful streets. At night, it comes alive and is acknowledged as a good area for fine dining.
The Latin Quarter was the intellectual and educational center of Paris. During the Middle Ages, the students at the Sorbonne, located in this arrondissement, spoke Latin. The area is undergoing urban change but is still popular with tourists. Be prepared for more cigarette smoking here than in any other area of Paris.
Located on the Rive Gauche (the Left Bank), west of St. Germain, this area is focused on the Eiffel Tower. The Invalides includes two notable museums and the final resting place of Napoleon.
The 16ème (R)
Often called Passy and associated with the Rue de Passy, this area is a wonderful place to walk among upscale shops and residences.
La Défense (suburban Paris) (not shown on map)
Not so much a neighborhood but an agglomeration of trendy, dynamic modern architecture in a business area located to the west of Tourist Paris. It is worth the time to take the metro here just to take a look at the lively architecture. This is not the Paris that most tourists come to see and can be skipped without the loss of any significant attraction.
The "non-tourist" arrondissements
Although there are many wonderful neighborhoods and attractions scattered through Paris, the following arrondissements are less interesting to most tourists than those listed above.
The 2éme (R)
This arrondissement is a business area and includes the Paris Bourse (the stock market).
The 9éme (R)
This arrondissement includes both the area around the famed Opera Garnier (good shopping) and Pigalle, a dumpy red light district.
The 10ème (R)
An area known to tourists for the train stations Gare du Nord and Gare de L'Est.
The 11ème (R)
Site of the Place de la Bastille and the Opera Bastille. Many tourists are dismayed to find that the Bastille no longer stands and the remainder of the area is unremarkable. (Well, as unremarkable as you get in Paris.)
Montparnasse and its surrounding neighborhoods are areas offering little of interest to most tourists.
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