Paris is a big city and, consequently, has several neighborhoods of different profiles and prices. From the famous districts in the central region that host attractions such as the Louvre and the Eiffel Tower, to the banlieues (suburbs) with low-cost housing on the outskirts of the city, each region has its own characteristics. But what are the best neighborhoods to live in Paris?
The arrondissements of Paris
Before talking about what are the best neighborhoods to live in Paris, it is important to clarify how the division of the city’s regions works. The French capital is regularly divided into 20 districts (called arrondissements) in the shape of a spiral. Each of these arrondissements is divided internally into four neighborhoods (known as quartier). That is, the city has 80 neighborhoods in all.
Arrondissements can be referred to by their name, but are most commonly identified by their number, which is usually followed by an ‘e’. Check out what they are: Louvre (Example: 1e), Bourse, Temple, l’Hôtel de Ville, Panthéon, Luxembourg, Palais Bourbon, l’Elysée, l’Opéra, l’Entrepôt, Popincourt, Reuilly, Gobelins, l’Observatoire , Vaugirard, Passy, Batignolles-Monceaux, Butte-Montmartre, Buttes-Chaumont and Ménilmontant.
Another widely used unofficial division has to do with one of the city’s greatest symbols: the River Seine. Paris is more or less equally divided between the two banks of the river. The south bank (rive gauche) is traditionally seen as more artistic, student and bohemian. The northern part of the river (rive droite) is considered more sophisticated and bourgeois. However, some areas on that side still remain as working-class strongholds, with a sizeable population of middle-class families and university students.
Now that you know better how the inner division of City of Light works, it’s time to find out which are the best neighborhoods to live in Paris. But that, of course, will depend a lot on your profile.
Best neighborhoods to live in Paris: for those who love culture and nightlife
Louvre (1e) and Bourse (2e)
The heart of Paris is mainly made up of shops, offices and famous tourist attractions, with relatively few apartments. The Bourse is the region where the old Paris stock exchange was located (hence the name) and is a very easy area to get around (both internally and to other parts of the city). It is a good option for those who want to be close to the commercial district, but it tends to be more deserted at night, with few restaurants and shops in operation.
- Location: geographic center of Paris
- Housing cost: expensive – 1800 euros per month for a two bedroom apartment
- Advantages: easy to get around on foot and a great variety of metro and bus lines
- Disadvantages: heavy traffic; expensive parking and restaurants full of tourists
- Leisure: easy access to museums and monuments; good offer of green spaces and proximity to the Champs Elysées
- Profile: it is basically a commercial district with apartments frequently used from Monday to Friday
Temple (3e) and l’Hôtel de Ville (4e)
Together, these two districts make up a traditional neighborhood known as the Marais. It is a very classic and elegant region located on the right bank of the Seine that includes the Île de la Cité (island where the famous Notre-Dame Cathedral is) and the Île Saint-Louis. Both are very central and valued and have a lively nightlife and great commercial offer.
- Location: directly east of the center and close to the Louvre.
- Housing cost: expensive – 1600 euros per month for a two bedroom apartment
- Advantages: good structure for cyclists and many options of bus and metro lines with the rest of the city
- Disadvantages: parking is generally expensive and has few green areas, although it has a good structure of walking trails along the river (the famous “beach” of Paris is here)
- Leisure: great offer of museums and cultural activities; good shopping options, especially luxury boutiques and thrift stores
- Profile: it is a historic residential area with roots in the medieval period.
Arrondissement 8e is dominated by sophisticated hotels and apartments. It is also there that the Presidential Palace of France is located, just to get an idea of the social level of the region. It concentrates much of the Parisian elite and is frequented by tourists. But, despite its residential profile, it is also known as a region that “never sleeps”, with bars, restaurants, shops and nightclubs open 24 hours a day.
- Location: west of the center, between the Louvre and the Arc de Triomphe
- Housing cost: expensive – 1700 euros per month for a two bedroom apartment
- Advantages: good structure for cyclists and many options of bus and metro lines with the rest of the city (but usually crowded with tourists)
- Disadvantages: expensive parking and heavy traffic, mainly around the Arc de Triomphe
- Leisure: vibrant nightlife and has one of the best green areas in the city, Parc Monceau; has a good mix of designer boutiques and lower-priced stores aimed primarily at tourists
- Profile: Area formed mainly by stores, hotels and government offices, with some residential “bubbles”
This is mainly a commercial area with few residential streets, but 9e also includes the vibrant and bustling area around the Moulin Rouge which is, at the same time, considered somewhat decadent. It is not one of the most “prestigious” addresses in the city but it does provide easy access to the center and Parisian nightlife.
- Location: directly north of the center.
- Housing costs: expensive – between 1600 and 2300 euros per month for a two bedroom apartment (prices vary widely according to the location within the district)
- Advantages: good offer of bike paths and public transport
- Disadvantages: limited parking options and relatively congested traffic at peak times
- Leisure: easy access to the nightlife of the Quartier Pigalle and some scattered small parks; good shopping offer (the famous Galeries Lafayette are located here)
- Profile: region composed mainly of older residential buildings, typically from the 19th century
Best neighborhoods to live in Paris: for students on a tight budget
Known as the Latin Quarter, this area is home to the Sorbonne University, founded in 1257, in addition to several other schools and colleges. It is therefore known as a strictly student area that still maintains a vibrant and bohemian atmosphere. There you will find an eclectic mix of excellent restaurants, shops and bars for students.
- Location: southeast of the center, close to Notre-Dame.
- Housing cost: moderate – from 1500 euros per month for a two bedroom apartment
- Advantages: great offer of commerce and bus and metro services
- Disadvantages: bad traffic and expensive parking
- Leisure: vibrant nightlife with many restaurants, markets and museums nearby
- Profile: it is a lively student area full of teenagers and young adults.
l’Entrepôt (10e) and Popincourt (11e)
These areas are mainly residential, but with an artistic and multicultural touch. From Indian restaurants to vegan canteens, this is an area full of “little pieces” from around the world. Gentrification arrived in all these arrondissements and as a result, rents can vary greatly from one area to another.
- Location: north and northeast of downtown
- Housing cost: moderate – typically between 1200 and 1800 euros per month for a two bedroom apartment
- Advantages: the 10e is home to Gare du Nord and Gare de l’Est, two of the largest railway stations in the city where most metro and bus routes converge
- Disadvantages: few parking lots available; narrow and often crowded streets and generally few green areas, despite some small parks scattered
- Leisure: at 11e you will find Rue Oberkampf, a street full of trendy bars, restaurants and clubs that, for the time being, are still more reasonably priced than in the Marais area
- Profile: it is mainly a residential area, with a strong mix of cultures and nationalities
Buttes-Chaumont (19e) and Ménilmontant (20e)
Arrondissements 19e and 20e are basically made up of middle class workers, also attracting many students. It is home to residents of several different countries, which ends up being reflected in the streets, shops, restaurants, bars and nightclubs.
Because of all this movement, some areas can be quite noisy, especially at night. The big advantage is that rents tend to be cheaper at the same time as apartments are generally larger and more modern than those in the center.
- Location: in the northeast corner of the city
- Housing cost: moderate – usually 1000 to 1600 euros per month for a two bedroom apartment
- Advantages: even though they are more distant, they have a great offer of metro and bus lines; unlike the buildings in the central area, the buildings here usually have a private garage
- Disadvantages: too much noise in some areas
- Leisure: several options of bars, restaurants, nightclubs and specialized stores of foreign products
- Profile: it is a neighborhood of diverse architecture, with old buildings mixed with more modern buildings
Best neighborhoods to live in Paris: for those who do not need peace and quiet
Also known as Faubourg, Saint-Germain or Saint-Germain-des-Prés, 6e is one of the most expensive places to live in Paris. And even though it is very close to the center, it is an extremely quiet area.
- Location: southwest of downtown.
- Housing costs: expensive – generally 1800 and 2600 euros per month for a two bedroom apartment
- Advantages: good metro and bus options
- Disadvantages: expensive and limited parking
- Leisure: Jardin du Luxembourg, one of the most famous in the city, is located in this area; the commercial part is basically made up of designer boutiques and grocery stores
- Profile: area formed by beautiful old buildings converted into apartments
l’Observatoire (14e) and Vaugirard (15e)
These two arrondissements have a good offer of restaurants, but they are basically residential and very quiet, almost suburban. However, some specific areas deviate from this rule and concentrate some movement.
- Location: south and southwest of downtown
- Housing cost: moderate – usually between 1400 and 1900 euros per month for a two bedroom apartment
- Advantages: several bus stops and metro stations and easy access to the Paris ring road
- Disadvantages: few buildings have parking
- Leisure: some cinemas, bars and restaurants are located in both areas
- Profile: mainly residential area, with a mix of old and new buildings
The narrow streets around Sacré Cœur give this area a certain village charm that is almost rare in Paris. It is a quiet neighborhood made up basically of workers. The exception is the extreme south region, on the border with district 9e, which has a more intense movement of tourists.
- Location: in the northern tip of the city
- Housing cost: affordable – typically between 1200 and 1600 euros per month for a two bedroom apartment
- Advantages: several bus stops and metro stations and easy access to the Paris ring road
- Disadvantages: few buildings have a garage but the street parking offer is greater than the city average
- Leisure: the northern section of the 18th century is very quiet, with only a few cinemas, restaurants and parks. On the south side is the Quartier Pigalle, a bohemian area famous for the red light district
- Profile: quiet and almost suburban in the north; urban and bustling in the south