Paris is one of the most fascinating cities in the world. Here centuries-old culture meets modern art, writers and intellectuals meet models, political icons and academic life. A blend that, together with a sense of fashion, makes up much of Parisian chic. Whether glamorous and elegant in the west or alternative and hip in the east - each of the 20 Parisian arrondissements has its own charm and character. Famous sights such as the Eiffel Tower and the Louvre, as well as top Parisian restaurants, are also well worth a visit.
Paris at a glance: Most important areas
Paris © Hôtel Daniel | Relais & Châteaux
Le Marais - Trendy, Jewish Quarter & Hipsterism
The third arrondissement is one of the hippest and trendiest areas of Paris. Its narrow, historic streets, full of cafes, galleries, boutiques, museums and long-established Jewish kosher restaurants (all around the Rue des Rosiers) invite you to linger and while away the hours.
Jewish Community: The trendy Le Marais district is home to the Jewish community of Paris - the so-called Pletzl - whose bookstores, butchers and shops still make a significant contribution to the streetscape today. Worth a visit are the Art Nouveau Synagogue by Hector Guimard and the Place de Vosges with its centuries-old half-timbered houses.
World-famous museums & gallery scene: The Pompidou Center and the Picasso Museum are home to two of Paris’s most famous museums in Pletzl. Center Pompidou is the second best visited museum in the world, with its eye-catching exterior and changing exhibitions, topped only by the nearby Louvre. The bustling Parisian gallery scene is located in the northern part of the arrondissement.
Urban-Shopping & Perfumeries: Whether you’re looking for simple streetwear by A.P.C. or fancy designer pieces by John Galliano, Ann Demeulemeester & Co. (L’Éclaireur), in the boutiques of the neighborhood you will find everything that is stylish and hip. If you really want to smell good, you should visit one of the many perfumeries, such as the parent firm of L’Artisan Parfumeur and Fragonard.
Cafes, kosher kitchens & takeaways: While sightseeing or shopping in Marais, you are spoiled for choice and might need to catch your breath, because there are so many of cafés and bistros. Our advice is to look for a café with a terrace, order coffee and watch the neighborhood’s hipsters stroll around. Whether you are very hungry or just want a small bite to eat, you will find something in one of the numerous kosher restaurants or at one of the many falafel stalls on the Rue des Rosiers.
Cocktail bars & stylish festivities: After sundown, the fashionistas of the neighborhood meet in bars like the "Andy Whaloo" (rue des Gravilliers). Many bars serve cocktails and drinks as well as small dishes. When the weather is good, you can often sit outside until the DJ makes the trendy audience dance and sweat until the early hours of the mornign. If you want to get to your hotel quickly and easily after partying, you should stay at the [Hotel Duo](/ hotel/hotel-duo “Hotel Duo”). This chic design hotel is just off the Rue du Temple and within walking distance of many trendy restaurants.
Arrondissement du Louvre - art, urban luxury fashion & gardens
The Arrondissement du Louvre is the heart of Paris. The Louvre is one of the city’s biggest tourist attractions. Trendy boutiques and classic designer shops can be found on Rue St. Honore, while relaxing is the order of the day in the surrounding gardens and parks.
Art at the Louvre: The Louvre is a kind of city in the city. For centuries, artworks and ancient artefacts have been exhibited here. Meanwhile, with 60,000 square meters, the museum is so big that you can get lost in it. Nevertheless, or precisely for this reason, it is definitely worth a visit.
Urban shopping: The young Parisian jet set shops in Rue St. Honoré and the surrounding streets. For example, in the often copied streetwear concept store "Colette", where limited sneakers and Japanese designer pieces are waiting for new owners. The arcades of the Palais Royal are home to the label stores of fashion avant-gardists like Rick Owens and Margiela.
Luxury shopping: Some of the finest and most expensive addresses in Paris are located around the Place Vendôme. The dressmaker Charvet has not only been dressing French statesmen for decades, but Kennedy has also had his measurements taken here. There are also jewelers such as Van Cleef et Arpel, Cartier and Boucheron.
Snacks & Sweets: Along the rue St. Honoré, there are plenty of smaller shops that offer excellent sandwiches for a small appetite. If you like it chocolaty, a visit to the chocolatier Michel Cluizel, whose chocolates and tartlets are among the best in Paris, is recommended.
Antiques & Curiosities: A paradise for furniture collectors, porcelain lovers and lovers of antique jewelery: 250 antique dealers can be found in the Louvre des Antiquaires (2 pl du Palais-Royal) who offer everything the antiquarian collector’s heart desires, from tin soldiers to Louis XV furniture.
Quartier Latin - Student, old & winding
The Latin Quarter, a student quarter in the 5th arrondissement around the Sorbonne, can still be experienced today in much the same way as Hemingway and George Orwell experienced and loved it: charming, narrow, full of small shops, bakeries, antique shops and the cafés ubiquitous in Paris (Rue Mouffetard).
Original alleways & university flair: The district with its many narrow streets and nooks has so far been spared from remodeling and modernization and invites you to wander around. This is where you will find not only the supposedly narrowest street in Paris (Chat-qui-Pêche), but also one of the most beautiful Gothic churches in the city, the Eglise St-Séverin, as well as the venerable Sorbonne University.
Fast Food & Haute Cuisine: In the numerous bistros and restaurants of the side streets of the Rue Mouffetard you’ll find the right restaurant to suit each and every taste. Whether fast food, Asian, pizza or haute cuisine, at the world-famous La Tour d’Argent – there is something for everyone here.
Tearooms: In addition to the numerous cafes, tearooms have become very popular in recent years. Some of the most beautiful can be found in the 5th arrondissement. The salons de thé resemble classic British style (The Tea Caddy, rue Saint-Julien le Pauvre), but there are also tearooms in North African style, like the one at the Mosquée de Paris, in the center of Paris.
Literary shopping: Rue de la Bûcherie, number 37 is home to by far the best-known English-language bookstore in Paris: Shakespeare & Company, whose founder published "Ulysses" by James Joyce. Even today, the books are stacked up to the ceilings and when you sink into one of the reading chairs with a book in hand, you will feel as though you have been transported back in time when the well-known American and British writers entered and exited through these doors.
St. Germain des Prés - Intellectuals, Galleries & Glamor
At the end of the Second World War, intellectuals and writers such as Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir gathered in the terraces of the cafés in St-Germain-des-Prés in the 6th arrondissement. Today, sumptuous furniture stores, luxury designer labels and upmarket restaurants line the still-magnificent boulevard (Boulevard St. Germain).
Eating with the Parisian jet set: If you want to catch a glimpse of famous stars and starlets, you should have lunch or dinner in the Café du Flore, next door in the Les Deux Magots or opposite in the Brasserie Lipp. This is where the Parisian chic, an idiosyncratic and typically Parisian mix of intellectuals, journalists, beauties and designers, wine and dine before a night out on the town.
Design shopping: The boulevard is the perfect place to ramble, especially the upper part, where there are many smaller boutiques and shops that offer both streetwear and stylish fashion. In the lower part, you’ll find every brand that has made a name for itself in the design and kitchen world.
New gallery mile: Even though the density of galleries is higher in northern Marais, a small but excellent gallery scene has established itself here in recent years. Galleries like those of Kamel Mennour and in situ Fabienne Leclerc attract international attention with their spectacular exhibitions.
Park life: The Jardin du Luxembourg is a large park whose facilities invite you to enjoy a lovely stroll. Partly consisting of terraces and gravel paths, partly planted in English style, with its numerous sculptures, it is the most beautiful and, in summer, the most well visited park in Paris.
Montmartre & Pigalle - Paris furthest most point, Moulin Rouge & Touristy
The 18th arrondissement is located the furthest north. Despite the fact that it attracts hundreds of tourists every day, the district around Sacré-Coeur has managed to retain its romantic charm. Around the famous Moulin Rouge Theater there are countless erotic shops, and more and more trendy clubs and bars have been popping up in recent years.
Classic Sightseeing: Sacre Coeur, which literally towers over the district, is clearly the main attraction. Although the steps up to the church are usually packed, the climb alone is worth it for its spectacular views. Moulin Rouge is in the adjacent Pigalle district. Dancing still goes on here, even if the scandalous whiff of the Cabaret 1890 at its opening, has since wafted away.
Young pub & club hopping: There is a whole host of trendy clubs and bars among the many erotic shops, which are popular with the trendy, young crowd, in the area around the Moulin Rouge. In true “Kiez” atmosphere, you can easily go bar and club hopping here.
Tourist Locals & Cheap Food: Since Montmatre is one of the most visited tourist areas, exercise caution when choosing a restaurant or bistro so as not to end up in a typical "tourist trap". There are many here. This makes it possible to eat well and for relatively cheap around the Rue des Trois Frères.
Hotels in Montmartre: If you want to stay at a hotel in Paris between Montmartre and the Champs-Elysées, the Idol Hotel by Elegancia is a perfect choice. Each room is designed in a completely different color scheme. Located in Montmartre, this city hotel is just a short walk from the shopping at Galeries Lafayette.
Champs-Élysées - Couture, Luxury & Culture
The boulevards of Paris are laid out in a star shape around the Place Charles de Gaulle. The international jet set shops here, and state guests and celebrities reside in the quarter’s luxury hotels. Of course, this quarter is also home to some of the best restaurants in the city. Cultural highlights, such as the Grand Palais and the Petit Palais, can also be found in the 8th arrondissement. On the opposite bank of the Seine is the 7th arrondissement with the iconic landmark of Paris: the Eiffel Tower.
Sightseeing along the Champs Élysées: La plus belle avenue du monde, the French like to call the Champs-Elysées, which connects the Arc de Triomphe (worth a visit just for the view of the promenade) to the Place de la Concorde, with its historic cobblestones. The street is almost even more attractive after dark, because it is completely lit up.
Luxury shopping: Louis Vuitton, Cartier, Chanel and Jean-Paul Gaultier: luxury boutiques are lined up on the Champs-Elysées and the two neighboring streets, Avenue Montaigne and Avenue George V. Those who like it typically French, elegant and expensive, will be in their element here.
Gourmettempel: Several of the best Michelin star restaurants in Paris are located around the Champs-Elysées are. One of the most famous chefs, namely Alain Ducasse, cooks at the Hôtel Plaza Athénée. Often fully booked well in advance, the kitchen of old master Ducasse is wildly popular.
Glamorous clubbing: If you want to dance alongside actresses, models and designers, you must go to Le Baron. The club is known for its exclusive blend of glamor and excess. The Russian mafiosi once ruled here, but since the acquisition by graffiti artist André a few years ago, champagne flows freely.
Eiffel Tower: Vis-a-vis is the landmark of Paris in the Parc du Champ de Mars on the other side of the Seine - the 300-meter-high Eiffel Tower. Erected between 1887 and 1889 by Gustave Eiffel for the World Fair, each year the 10,000-tonne steel tower attracts several million visitors, who want to enjoy a view of the city from the tower’s three different viewing platforms. This is also possible in the evening and especially spectacular when the lights that light up Paris at night sparkle and glitter all around.
Bastille - Alternative, Party & Multicultural
Where once the storm on the Bastille took place, today designer shops and boutiques line up with trendy, young fashion. In the surrounding streets, great bars and restaurants that are also relatively inexpensive attract a mix of students, partygoers and artists to the 11th arrondissement night after night.
Historical sightseeing: The storming of the Bastille, which marked the beginning of the French Revolution, is one of the most important events in French history. However, nothing can be seen of the former prison; it was demolished two days after the conquest. Only the outlines of the Bastille are still traced on the floor of the place with the same name, for tourists to visit.
Alternative parties & go out in style: The streets around the Bastille are full of young and rather alternative audiences from the suburbs, especially on weekends, who go from bar to bar. Further north, direction Rue Oberkampf, older night owls populate the awesome bars and restaurants.
Local markets: There are a number of markets in Paris, which are usually open until early afternoon. One of the biggest is the Marché Bastille, where delicious delicacies such as cheeses from the direct vicinity of Paris, poultry and especially fish are available. Simply strolling along the market stalls will make your mouth water.
Multikulti: Formerly a classic working-class and migrant quarter, over the past several years, more and more young families and creative people have moved in to the neighborhood, creating a colorful mix of agencies, craft shops and workshops in the backyards. Those who really want to immerse themselves in this lifestyle should book into the hip design hotel Mama Shelter Paris.
Paris - good to know:
Decentralized: Paris is a comparatively decentralized city whose 20 neighborhoods spiral around the first arrondissement. Many of the arrondissements have individual small centers or pedestrian streets with boutiques, smaller and larger grocery stores and cafés. The bigger shopping streets are at the Louvre and along the Champs-Elysées.
Gourmet food scene: It has almost become a tradition: Year after year, when the Guide Michelin stars are awarded, an outcry can be heard through the gourmet scene of the capital, because a restaurant steeped in tradition lost a star and in Lyon or Marseille a restaurant received one. But high-end Parisian gastronomy is far from facing extinction. Out of a total of 26 three-star restaurants in France, nine are proudly located in Paris.
Parisian chic: Fashion belongs to Paris like the Eiffel Tower and the Louvre. More than twice a year, the most important prêt-à-porter shows attract fashionistas and fashion aficionados from all over the world to the city, as well as many inhabitants who embody the chicness of Paris all year round. Luxurious, style-conscious and with a good portion of nonchalance, it is as hard for non-Parisians to suss it out as it is to imitate.
Paris on foot & by bike: Paris is best explored on foot or by bike. The latter can be rented and returned 24 hours a day, with the Velib bicycle rental system. But the metro system in Paris is very well developed and reliable. This also applies to the bus lines. Tickets are relatively cheap, and weekly or monthly tickets are recommended for longer stays.
Language: The rumor that the French, Parisians in particular, don’t speak a word of English or German, persists. But this is not the case. While it does not hurt to know a few words or phrases in French, you can usually get by with English as well. When in doubt while trying to decipher the menu, consult the glossary in almost every travel guide. Or just use your hands and feet.
It is not always easy to find the special hotel for your vacation. However, the most beautiful hotels in Paris definitely include Le Roi de Sicile, as well as La Maison Favart or Hotel Daniel Paris - Relais et Chateaux. A list of only the best hotels in Paris can be found here: The most beautiful hotels in Paris.