Arrondissements of Paris 1-4
Wow, who knew there were so many different areas to choose from in Paris? When I started to plan our trip, I had no idea that finding the right neighborhood would be such a project. Paris is divided into 20 administrative districts, more commonly referred to as “arrondissements”. Each of these areas has it’s own unique feel.
Since there are so many arrondissements, I will write a series of 5 separate posts describing each arrondissement. I’ll try to give you a bit of information on each arrondissement, which I hope will make choosing an area easier for you. The arrondissements are arranged in a clockwise spiral with 1 being the center of Paris.
1st Arrondissement – Louvre
Once the stomping grounds of France’s kings and emperors, the 1st arrondissement is the “royal heart of Paris”. Today, you will find the Louvre Museum, Jardin des Tuileries, and the Palais Royal. Museums and monuments occupy much of this area, so you will not find many budget hotels to choose from. However if you prefer 5 star hotels, you are in luck. Some of the options here are the Hotel Ritz, Hotel de Vendôme, & Hotel du Louvre.
2nd Arrondissement – Bourse
The 2nd arrondissement is one of the financial centers of Europe, being home to the Bourse (Stock exchange). Since sometime in the early renaissance this area has also been home to Paris’ red-light district and “Les Galeries”- covered upscale shopping centers that date back to the 19th Century. One in particular that is nice to see is Galerie Vivienne, which has a glass cover above. The 2nd is the smallest arrondissement in Paris with about 0.383 sq. miles.
3rd Arrondissement – Temple
This area includes the Northern quieter part of le Marais. Many artists and celebrities stay here to enjoy both the residential quietness but also the chic shopping aspect of the 3rd arrondissement. As a result of this, the number of luxury brands and fashion boutiques opened in this district has increased over the past few years. The 3rd arrondissement is also home to the oldest surviving private house in Paris, built in 1407 along the rue de Montmorency.
4th Arrondissement – Hôtel-de-Ville
Situated on the Right Bank of the River Seine, the 4th arrondissement is a large piece of what used to be medieval Paris. At night, the area has the most active bar scene most travelers will have ever seen. This includes the lower Marais district which is sometimes known as gay Paris; although, there are no shortage of bars catering to straight crowds. The 4th arrondissement is known for its little streets, cafés, and shops but is sometimes regarded as expensive and congested. This area is desirable for those insisting on old buildings and multi-cultural exposure. Here you will find Notre Dame de Paris & Hôtel de Ville, Paris’ city hall. Many feel that this is one of the loveliest buildings in Paris.
As always, if you have any specific questions about any area, please feel free to post a comment, and I will do my best to answer it.