The “City of Light” has so much to offer with its iconic architecture, historic landmarks and world-renowned food. Its expansive nature can be overwhelming, so simplify your trip by dividing your time among select neighborhoods, orarrondissements, as the French call them.
There are 20 arrondissements in total, each offering different experiences. Here are a few that you won’t want to miss.
3rd and 4th Arrondissement
Although the façade may not show it, this area called Marais is one of the oldest in Paris. Marvel at the medieval Notre-Dame Cathedral, and get lost wandering the historic streets. Cafés, boutiques and shops are tucked in every corner. Tip: Falafel shops are popular here, and L’ As du Fallafel claims to have the best. Brave the line and taste it for yourself.
7th and 8th Arrondissement
Classically French and très chic, these neighborhoods house the famous Eiffel Tower and Champs-Elysées. Spend the day browsing luxury shops, then gather yourself a picnic full of local goodies. Park yourself on the grass of the Eiffel Tower and watch the sunset. Tip: Stick around until dark. Every hour on the hour, from sundown to 1 a.m., the tower turns into a lighted, sparkling masterpiece. The show only lasts for five minutes each time, so have your camera ready.
Be prepared to get your heart pumping. The 18th Arrondissement, known as Montmartre, is full of steep hills. Many artists and musicians used to call this eclectic neighborhood home. Now, small shops and nightclubs fill up the storefronts. Sitting atop the highest hill is Sacré-Coeur, an impressive marble basilica with one of the best views of the city. Tip: If stairs and inclines don’t suit you, hop aboard the Little Train of Montmartre for a riding tour.
Like most popular European cities, peak travel occurs in the summer months. Visit in the fall or spring for moderate weather and thinner crowds. If crowds are not a concern, several art museums including the Louvre offer free admission on the first Sunday of every month.