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Paris by arrondissement

There are a total of 20 arrondissements in Paris, named according to their number and located in a clockwise spiral direction - like an escargot (snail). Thus, the very central arrondissement is the first and each one follows suit gaining in number in an orderly succession, going around and around - hence the word arrondissement.

1er: Palace and Louvre


Situated on the right bank and at the geographical centre of Paris, this arrondissement is one of the oldest and smallest. It is the least populated as a large part is made up of the Louvre and Tuileries Gardens. Les Halles, the former marketplace now underground shopping centre, and the large Samaritaine department store are there as well as the Palais Royal wih its place and gardens with modern sculptures and art works. Spanning across from the right bank to the Ile de la Cite is Paris' oldest brige, the Pont Neuf.

2e: Business and galeries

This arrondissement is an important business district and hosts the trendy pedestrianised restaurant and market street rue Montorgeuil (featured in the Monet painting). It is famous for its surviving 19th-century commercial arcades with glass ceilings and mosaic tiled floors. The most notable of these arcades are Galerie Vivienne and Galerie Colbert.

3&4e: Marais

Marais means marsh as the land of these arrondissements was  swamp years ago. During the 17th century it became a fashionalbe residential district centred around the Place des Vosges. It is quite trendy for Parisians and tourists and a known Jewish and gay area. Places of note include the Pompidou Centre, the Hotel de Ville and place de la Bastille.

 5&6e: Latin quarter

The Latin Quarter is situated on the left bank around the Sorbonne University. The area gets its name from the Latin language which was widely spoken as the language of learning in the Middle Ages around the University. The district now is known for its lively atmosphere and bistros. The Pantheon and Jardin du Luxembourg are also located in the area.

 7e: Eiffel Tower/Invalides

Situated on the left bank, it contains a number of French national institutions and embassies including Australia's. The area is also a major tourist destination with the Eiffel Tower, Ecole Militaire, Hotel des Invalides (Napoleon's resting place), Rodin and Orsay musee and the Paris sewers. It is an expensive area containing the upmarket shopping street, rue cler.

 8e: Champs Elysees


This right bank area is home to the most famous street in the world the Champs Elysees which runs between the Arc de Triomphe and Concorde. It also features the Grand and Petit Palais and the gold trimmed and statued Pont Alexandre III nearby as well as the Pont de l'Alma. It is  exclusive to live in especially around the Champs and lovely Parc Monceau.

9e: Opera district

This arrondissement contains many places of cultural, historic and architectural interest including the Boulevard Haussmann and its large department stores of Galeries Lafayette and Printemps. It is located around architectural masterpieces of the Opera which is a 2200 seat opera house.

10e: Gares et Canal on the right bank, this arrondissement contains two of Paris's six main railway stations: the Gare du Nord and the Gare de l'Est. Built during the 19th century, these two terminals are among the busiest in Europe. It also contains the largest portion of the tranquil (but lively on weekends) Canal Saint-Martin, linking northeastern Paris with the River Seine.

11e: People and nightlife

This arrondissement is densely populated and contains a lot of cafes/ bistros being a popular area for nightlife. Two key areas are around the Place de la Republic and also the rue Oberkampf. In more recent times, some of this district has emerged with new 'in' places with great apartments, artists spaces and intriguing passageways.

12e: Parkland and projects

Two thirds of this arrondissement is made up of the Bois de Vincennes park which is Paris' largest green space. Originally a hunting preserve for kings, it was a huge construction site in the 1980's for Mitterrand's grand projects e.g. the grass covered Bercy omnisports arena/pyramid and futuristic Ministry of Finance. Bercy village has lot of market shopping.

13,14&15e: Nondescript Paris

This left bank area does not contain many things of significance in Paris. It is largely business and residential containing its fair share of high rises. Having said that the 13th has Paris' Chinatown, the 14th has the catacombes and the 15th has the Tour Montparnasse.

16e: Chic residences, embassies

On the right bank, this is the largest Paris arrondissement and is mainly wealthy residential but also home to embassies and museums between the Trocadero and the Place d' Iena. It contains Avenue Foch, the widest street in Paris, and  several sporting venues including Roland Garros and the Stade Francais rugby club as well as the Bois de Boulogne park.

17e: Nice, not touristy

See full size imageThe upper-class southwestern part of this arrondissement around is a residential Haussmannian style area with up-market shop lined avenues around Wagram-Ternes, while to the south east is a more working class area near Place de Clichy. In between in the northwest is the former village of Batignolles with its slower pace of life and square.

 18e: Montmartre

This arrondissement is best known for the hill (butte) of Montmartre and its white-domed Sacre Coeur basillica on its summit. It was the centre of a flourishing artist community in the early 1900's and still has remnants of this with artworks for sale at the Place du Tertre. The Cimetiere de Montmartre contains many artistic community graves. The east of the 18th is the home of a thriving North African community around the marche Barbes and to the south west is the red-light district along Boulevard de Clichy near Place Pigalle where the famous Moulin Rouge night club is.

19&20e: Cosmopolitan

These are in the east and have been transformed from an old working class area. The main draw for tourists is the Pere-Lachaise Cemetery. There are two public parks: Parc des Buttes Chaumont on a hill and the Parc de la Villette with cultural activities on a former industrial site.  The cosmopolitan district of Belleville has seen many waves of immigrants set up there. In these arrondissements, street crime is more prevalent.





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