Districts of Paris you shouldn’t miss during your stay
Paris has 20 districts arranged in the form of the snail’s shell. Each particular district has something unique that can be attached only to it. But, in this article, we will elaborate some especially interesting neighborhoods to Paris’s largest population – tourists.
Paris district 1
The ‘central’ Paris district boasts a wide range of cultural, shopping and sightseeing opportunities. Located on the ‘Right Bank’, it is edged by the Seine River, Place de la Concorde, Rue des Petits Champs and La Centre Pompidou, incorporating the west side of the Ile de la Cite.
The district 1 is home to some internationally acclaimed museums and theatres, exquisite landmarks and prestigious stores. The Musee du Louvre is one of its top attractions, where you can appreciate an extraordinary collection of artifacts, works of art and items originated throughout the world. Next to the museum, you can walk through walking paths of the Jardin des Tuileries and appreciate the beauty of various sculptures and monuments. Next to Le Meurice Hotel, across the street from the garden, you can enjoy the specialties of the iconic Angelina tea house if you don’t mind spending a lot of money.
Some high-end shopping is available in Rue Saint Honore and the Place Vendome, while stores offering popular brands line Rue de Rivoli. The Theatre du Chatelet and La Comedie Francaise stage great theatrical shows. Finally, don’t miss some of Paris’s outstanding landmarks located in this district. The Sainte-Chapelle, Point Neuf, Saint-Germain-l-Auxerrois and the Saint-Eustace are especially noteworthy among them.
Paris district 4
The 4th district of Paris borders the 1st one to the east. It occupies the eastern portion of the Ile de la Cite, stretching all the way to the Bassin de l’Arsenal; the Place de la Bastille and Place des Vosges are located in the northeastern corner of the district, while La Centre Pompidou is at its northwestern end.
Engaging shopping is among the main features of the district 4, especially in the Marais neighborhood that caters to each budget. Besides, Rue des Rosiers, one of the most picturesque streets in Paris, is located here.
The district’s ultimate highlight is the Notre Dame Cathedral, which boasts an exquisite design, stained glass windows and works of art. Street performances take place around the cathedral throughout the day, either in the square in front of it or on the bridge connecting the Ile de la Cite with the Ile Saint Louis. Once you cross that bridge, enjoy the preserved 17th century architecture of the island and visit the Saint Louis Church.
Throughout Marais, you can find other a couple of centuries old buildings, some of which host various interesting museums. The museum dedicated to Victor Hugo is one of them. In the Place des Vosges, which is one of the most beautiful squares in the world, you can benefit of free Wi-Fi and sit on a lawn (which generally isn’t allowed in Paris). If you are a fan of modern art, visit La Centre Pompidou, the largest contemporary and modern art museum in Europe. Even if you aren’t, the museum’s design should be the reason enough for you to take a detour.
Paris district 7
You can rightfully consider the 7th district of Paris “the museums’ district”. It stretches roughly from the Musee d’Orsay to the Tour Eiffel from east to west, with most points of interest located along the Seine. A brief glance at the neighborhood reveals the world’s most visited paid monument, the largest collection of the Impressionist art in Orsay and the world’s largest military museum in Les Invalides. However, there is much more you can see here.
The Musee d’Orsay exhibits a wide array of spectacular showpieces originated throughout the 19th century. Besides Impressionism, you can examine works of art belonging to Classicism, Orientalism, Barbizon School and other renowned art movements. Sculptures and paintings form the core of the museum’s collection, but collections of photos and decorative art objects are also available.
The Musee de l’Armee displays weapons, armors, devices and other military exhibits originated throughout the world and different eras. Additionally, the museum closely elaborates strategies and revolutionary weapons that made the difference in some turning points in history. Besides, the museum is located next door to Napoleon’s mausoleum.
The Musee Rodin, next to Les Invalides, exhibits sculptures by Auguste Rodin, one of the biggest sculptors ever. Rodin’s and works of art created by his associates are displayed in a mansion that is a designated historical monument and the attached garden.
The Musee du quai Branly, minutes away from the Tour Eiffel, houses a comprehensive collection of indigenous works of art originated throughout Africa, Asia, both Americas and Oceania. Make sure to pay it a visit.
The Tour Eiffel boasts an interesting exhibition narrating the story about the monument and views of Paris, even wider. The neighboring Champ de Mars offers a respite and great photo opportunities.
Finally, you shouldn’t miss to visit the Pont Alexandre III, the most ornate and beautiful bridge in Paris, near Les Invalides.
Paris district 18
Once the artistic neighborhood, the district 18 is where you will find engaging shopping, nighttime entertainment and interesting stories today. Once you arrive in Montmartre, you will be immediately drawn to the Sacre Coeur Basilica, the principal landmark of the neighborhood. The basilica assumes the top of a high hill, from where you can enjoy views over entire Paris. Just around the corner, the Place du Tertre is usually crowded with artists, willing to produce a portrait of you (for a price, of course).
As you walk winding, narrow streets, you will probably seize an opportunity to purchase a souvenir, painting or some other piece of art. Along the way, you should ask around about the origins of the name of Montmartre, about Dalida (an unfortunate celebrity) and the reason that artists chose just Montmartre to reside in. Finally, seek out premium entertainment in the Moulin Rouge and the authentic one in the Au Lapin Agile. A visit to these two cabaret venues and some other establishments (Le Moulin de la Galette, for example) will unlock a chest full of other interesting stories. Finally, the authentic dining experience in Paris restaurants awaits you just in Montmartre; just follow the smell of a full ashtray in front of a restaurant.
Districts you should also visit
In the district 5, you can find Le Jardin du Luxembourg, the most beautiful garden in Paris, and the monumental Pantheon, devoted to a memory of the nation’s history and celebrated French.
The district 8 is renowned for Champs-Elysees, the most prestigious avenue in the world. There, you will find extraordinary shopping, entertaining (Lido de Paris, Crazy Horse…), cultural (the Theatre des Champs-Elysees, Grand and Petit Palais) and sightseeing (Arc de Triomphe, Place de la Concorde) opportunities.
If your way takes you to districts 12 and 13, you can benefit of free internet in the Bibliotheque Nationale de France and recreational facilities of Parc de Bercy. Just north of the district 13 is the district 20, where the famous Pere Lachaise cemetery is located. The cemetery is especially beautiful in spring and summer. Then, lush greenery frames a diverse collection of monuments and sculptures marking resting places of renowned and anonymous people.
If you, however, find yourself on the opposite end of Paris, you will marvel at the futuristic architecture of the La Defense neighborhood. The greatest attraction there is La Grande Arche de La Defense, within whose arches the entire Notre Dame Cathedral could be placed (excluding spire, though). From its base, you can observe the Axe Historique (also known as the Voie Triumphale or Triumphal Way). The stretch extends all the way to the Louvre, encompassing the Arc de Triomphe, Champs-Elysees and the Place de la Concorde.