Paris neighbourhood guide

Paris neighbourhood guide

It's time to learn with Marjorie Taylor and her daughter Kendall all about proper French cuisine and enjoy the local markets in their company.

You can pretend you’re a local when you hit the streets with our insider’s guide to five of the city’s coolest hoods

It’s a game of numbers in Paris, with the city being divided into 20 arrondissements (neighbourhoods) and locals referring to each by their number. Working in a spiral, with lower digits closer to the centre Ile de la Cité – the island in the Seine that’s home to Notre-Dame, one of the largest religious buildings – and the 12th-20th arrondissements on the outer edge.

Here’s a guide to the city’s most happening districts to help you distinguish Montmartre from Montparnasse and Ménilmontant from Marais… .



1. The Marais .

The Marais in the third and fourth arrondissements, between St-Paul and République, is undoubtedly one of the best areas to bunk down in. A hipster haven, some of the city’s most progressive restaurants and à la mode shops are on your doorstep, along with Musée Picasso and Musée Carnavalet. It’s also refreshingly diverse given its history of making Paris’ marginalised communities feel at home. Don’t turn your nose up at the pervading scent of spiced falafels and smoky shawarmas – people travel for miles for the street food here..


2. Saint-Germain-des-Prés ..

Saint-Germain-des-Près, the most expensive part of the sixth arrondissement in the heart of Paris' Rive Gauche, or Left Bank, is where Oscar Wilde once resided in what is now the opulent boutique bolthole, L’Hôtel. It’s also where existentialists Jean-Paul Sartre, Simone de Beauvoir and Albert Camus once converged to set the world to rights in locales like Café de Flore and Les Deux Magots. Saint-Germain’s creative, cultivated mood is still alive and well, from the bustling sidewalks of its abundant art gallery scene to its thriving café culture..


3. The 11th district.

Bestower of craft cocktails, eclectic eateries and bobo boutiques, the 11th district is to Paris what Shoreditch is to London. Managing to pull off an air that’s both edgy and romantic, the area’s profusion of bars, clubs and restaurants – Café Chilango for Mexican and Le Perchoir for discreet marriage proposals – makes it the place to be when the sun sets. At Place de la République you’ll encounter the 31ft statute of Marianne, the national symbol of the Republic. In many ways the city’s backbone, the square is where locals unite for public demonstrations. .


4. Rue des Martyrs.

It’s only half a mile long but author Elaine Sciolino has dedicated an entire book to Rue des Martyrs. On this street, in the formerly working-class ninth arrondissement, you’ll find a tight-knit community and over 200 shops and restaurants. La Chambre aux Confitures for jams, Terra Corsa for charcuterie and Chataignie for cheese are the shops that foodies dream about. This is authentic Paris, the street for real people where you’ll discover the city’s true soul. .


5. Montmartre.

While bohemian Montmartre in Paris' 18th arrondissement has become a tourist magnet, it manages to cling to its village feel thanks to Montmartrois, as the neighbourhood locals are known, remaining tenaciously loyal to their historical hillside quartier. Marvel at the Romano-Byzantine architecture of the dove white Sacre-Coeur Basilica before losing yourself in the backstreets to trace the steps of the 13th-century monks, the 17th-century farmers, the 18th-century gypsum miners, the 20th-century artists and the struggling poets and painters who today call Montmartre home. Join them at the traiteurs along Rue des Abbesses.


Source: Condé Nast Traveller Middle East

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