The most popular neighborhoods in Paris are fun and thriving, and beg to be explored on foot. The arrondissements, as they say in French, spiral clockwise starting from the city center. Each neighborhood has its own distinctive flair, quirks, and history.

No matter where you go, there’s no shortage of couture-lined boulevards, art museums, galleries, and quaint cafés where you can sit and watch people pass by. If you’re preparing for your next Parisian adventure, read on to find out the best neighborhoods in Paris to eat, drink, party, and shop.

  • 1

    Bastille

    Modern opera house and trendy boutiques

    Bastille
    • History
    • Nightlife
    • Photo
    • Shoppers

    Bastille, a neighbourhood located on the right bank of the Seine, had a significant role in the history of Paris. Little remains of its revolutionary past, although every now and then, you’ll see demonstrations between the former quartier and Place de la Nation. Now, it attracts a variety of people with its opera house, indie boutiques, grungy record stores, and diverse food scene.

    If you have the time or the budget, catch a show at the modern Opéra Bastille. Browse the shops at Viaduc des Arts for some unique finds or simply stroll along the elevated park, which extends beyond the neighbourhood.

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  • 2

    Batignolles

    Buzzing bohemian neighborhood

    Batignolles
    • Food
    • Shoppers

    Batignolles is a village-like neighbourhood with a bohemian flair, situated west of Montmartre. If you’re looking to shop, you’ll have a dizzying array of eclectic shops and vintage boutiques to choose from. This includes quirky concept stores like Désordre Urbain and Les Passantes, which sell everything from accessories and ceramics to clothing pieces.

    The neighborhood has plenty of trendy restaurants, boulangeries, and bistros in the area, where you can get fueled up for a day of adventure. A go-to spot is Dose, which offers an alternate to the usual bitter coffee served in many neighborhood cafes.

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  • 3

    Canal Saint-Martin

    Canal-side picnic spot

    Canal Saint-Martin
    • Couples
    • Food
    • Photo
    • Shoppers

    Canal Saint-Martin is a trendy area that's mostly known for its waterway. If you’ve seen Amelie, a Jean-Pierre Jeunet movie, then you’ve seen the iron footbridge and shaded quays of the canal. The best way to experience it is on a boat ride. If you want to do what the locals do, you can have a picnic near the bank or head to a bistro called Hotel du Nord. It has become a local favorite ever since it appeared in Marcel Carne’s 1938 movie.

    The canal is lined with internationally acclaimed and up-and-coming French designers. Further down the canal, you’ll find a creative workshop called Make My Lemonade, where you can learn how to sew and design your own clothes.

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  • 4

    Le Marais

    A historic Jewish district in Paris

    Le Marais
    • History
    • Photo
    • Shoppers

    Le Marais is a fairly small neighborhood in Paris. However, it has an impressive selection of cafés, bars, and boutiques sprawled across little alleys that are tucked away from busy Parisian streets. If you’re in the area, you should grab a falafel at L’As du Fallafel or other Middle Eastern eateries there.

    The Passage de l’Ancre is a hidden gem worth exploring. It’s an old cobbled passageway where people used to hide during WWII. You’ll find some quaint shops and eateries in the area, as well as a wide array of museums, like Musee National Picasso-Paris and Maison Europeene de la Photographie.

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  • 5

    Pigalle

    Vintage boutiques and concept stores

    Pigalle
    • Food
    • Nightlife
    • Photo
    • Shoppers

    Pigalle is a quirky and hip neighborhood that’s on par with Haut Marais. Just a short distance away from Sacre-Coeur Basilica, it’s full of restaurants, bistros, and stores that can satiate foodies and gastronomes from all over the world.

    Pigalle is famous for its nightlife and contains the renowned Moulin Rouge. If you’re looking for a drink, go to Rue Frochot. This street is lined with a vast selection of bars that suit different tastes. You can get creative cocktails from Les Justes and Le Lipstick. There are several trendy boutiques in the neighbourhood, too. You’ll find a mix of vintage shops and concept stores, like RoseMarket Vintage and Debardeuse.

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    photo by flightlog (CC BY 2.0) modified

  • 6

    Montparnasse

    A relaxed and artistic vibe

    Montparnasse
    • Food
    • Photo
    • Shoppers

    Known for its creperies, bistros, and shops, Montparnasse is a charming and laidback neighbourhood on the left bank of the River Seine. Some of the popular hangouts in the area include La Coupole, Le Dome, and La Closerie des Lilas.

    The Cartier Foundation for Contemporary Art showcases different artistic movements every year, ranging from painting and photography to multimedia. You can relax and chill in the gallery’s garden. For the best views in the area, you can go to the 56th floor of the Montparnasse Tower. You’ll have panoramic views of the French capital, including unobstructed views of the Eiffel Tower.

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    photo by besopha (CC BY 2.0) modified

  • 7

    Oberkampf

    Youthful party scene

    Oberkampf
    • Budget
    • Nightlife
    • Photo

    Oberkampf is a vibrant and edgy neighbourhood in Paris filled with shabby-chic bars, basement dives, sleek wine bars, and concert halls. Its gritty nightlife scene draws in 20-somethings who are looking for a cold beer at an affordable price.

    Aside from its party scene, Oberkampf is known for its urban art. Rue Denoyez, which is a small alley right by the metro, has entire walls and windows painted with colorful art. It used to be lined with various boutiques and shops. Unfortunately, business was slow in the area, so it was eventually abandoned. Now, street art has completely taken over.

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    photo by Patrick Nouhailler (CC BY-SA 3.0) modified

  • 8

    Palais-Royal

    Peaceful heart of the bustling city

    Palais-Royal
    • Couples
    • Families
    • History
    • Photo

    The 1st arrondissement of Paris, Palais-Royal, is home to iconic spots such as the Louvre Museum and Tuileries Gardens. This 17th-century palace is just a few minutes away from the famous museum. Its tranquil gardens exude that Parisian charm without the tourists.

    Another peaceful spot that you can visit is the Jardin du Palais Royal. Lined with beautiful trees, rose bushes, and fountains, it’s a quiet refuge from the tourist traps of the Parisian capital. Families come here to bask in the sun and relax near the fountains.

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  • 9

    Saint Germain des Prés

    Cafés steeped in literary history

    Saint Germain des Prés
    • Food
    • History

    Saint Germain des Prés, which is the 6th arrondissement of Paris, stretches from the left bank of the Seine to Jardin du Luxembourg. It has a rich literary, revolutionary, and artistic history. Two cafés in the area, Les Deux Magots and Café de Flore, were home to influential philosophers, writers, and artists in the 1920s and 1930s. Pablo Picasso, Albert Camus, Leon Trotsky, and Jean-Paul Sartre were some of the brilliant minds that frequented these cafés.

    Just a few minutes away from Eglise Saint-Sulpice, you’ll find the entrance to Musée de Luxembourg. At some point in time, it housed works from Rembrandt, Leonardo da Vinci, and Raphael. It doesn’t have permanent collections, so exhibits change a few times a year.

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    photo by Celette (CC BY-SA 4.0) modified

  • 10

    The Latin Quarter

    Iconic Parisian bookstores

    The Latin Quarter
    • Families
    • Food
    • History
    • Shoppers

    Every book lover should visit the Latin Quarter, which is the 5th arrondissement of Paris. It’s one of the city’s oldest neighbourhoods, known for its medieval alleyways, family-friendly attractions, and bookstores, including Shakespeare & Company. It’s home to Sorbonne, the city’s second-oldest university. Also located here is the Pantheon, a mausoleum containing the tombs of famous French citizens, including Victor Hugo, Voltaire, and Marie Curie.

    Beyond its medieval and Renaissance sites, it has a vast range of upscale and budget-friendly restaurants, boutiques, hotels, and more. Some of them you’ll find in Place de l’Odeon. During warm months, tourists and locals alike flock here to bask in the sun and sip coffee before the charming Parisian buildings that line the square.

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    photo by Oliver Romo Miranda (CC BY-SA 3.0) modified

  • 11

    Montmartre

    Picturesque and artistic hilltop village

    Montmartre
    • Food
    • History
    • Nightlife

    Montmartre is one of the most picturesque districts in the city. It’s a quaint neighborhood that feels almost like a village in a big city, with charming streets and a bohemian atmosphere. Built on a hill, it has the splendid Sacré-Coeur Basilica as its centerpiece, overlooking the city with its stunning Romano-Byzantine architecture.

    Renowned for an artistic scene that attracts myriad painters, musicians, and writers, Montmartre is a pretty active area at night. You’ll find nightclubs, live music venues, and down the hill on the southwestern side, the world-famous cabaret show at Moulin Rouge.

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    Location: Montmartre, 75018 Paris, France

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Geri Mileva | Contributing Writer