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Paris's neighbourhoods

Your guide to Paris / Neighbourhoods: Paris

Paris Neighbourhoods

Neighbourhoods in Paris

To help you plan your trip to Paris, we've pulled together some of the very best areas within the city's 20 arrondissements (neighbourhoods). If you want to hang out with creative types or fancy a family-friendly walk down leafy boulevards, here's where to head.

Sip a drink in the cutting-edge bars, boutiques and bistros of Le Marais

For hip cocktail bars and artfully curated boutiques set in 17th-century mansions, you can't beat Le Marais. It’s also where you'll find the Hôtel Salé, home to the Musée Picasso. After considering the Spanish artist's striking Cubist paintings and sculptures, continue on down the snaking streets and you'll pass plenty of courtyards with tiny tucked-away galleries.

As this is the LGBT heart of Paris, you'll also find buzzing gay bars dotted across the area, while the sizzling crêpes and fresh seafood at the Marché des Enfants Rouges covered market are the cherry on top of this vibrant neighbourhood.

Lounge by the sparkling waterways of Canal Saint-Martin

Cobble-stoned Canal Saint-Martin is definitely in the running for the title of coolest neighbourhood in Paris. As you wander along the water's edge in this laid-back area, you can dip into cutting-edge clothes shops and organic wine stores. Hire a bike to feel the breeze as you ride along the canal.

On Sundays, the two streets flanking the water – Quai de Valmy and Quai de Jemmapes – are closed to cars. When you need a break, relax on a picnic blanket next to the Italianate Temple de la Sybille in the Parc des Buttes-Chaumont.

Embrace all-out elegance in the Eighth Arrondissement

Centrally located, this neighbourhood is all about big-hitter stores. The pinnacle of chic Paris, it's home to the city's sleekest shops on the Avenue des Champs Elysées. Its also where you'll find the Arc de Triomphe and the Place de la Concorde, with its grand old buildings and ancient Egyptian obelisk.

Visit the Palais de Tokyo in this area to find immersive video experiences, hand-painted ceramics or even experimental installations that fill up whole rooms – it all depends on when you visit. Less than five minutes' walk away is the Petit Palais, where you can appreciate the more traditional artwork of Impressionist painters like Monet and Pissarro. When you're done, simply bask on the banks of the Seine, before picking up a fragrant bouquet from a florist at the Marché Président Wilson market.

Meander around the art galleries and cafés of Montmartre

At the end of long day in the bustling city centre, try out relaxed Montmartre. Set high up on a hilltop, this village-like area moves at a slower pace. Heady views over the city's charming rooftops can be glimpsed from the front of the Sacré-Cœur basilica here, while fans of the quintessentially French movie Amélie might recall some of the film's scenes while wandering the area's steep lanes.

Snap a selfie in front of pastel-coloured houses and breathe in the smell of the roses in the Musée de Montmartre gardens. If you'd like to try some Parisian vin, the only winery inside the city, Vignes du Clos Montmartre, is here.

Stroll the smart streets of Saint-Germain-des-Prés

Links with 20th-century literati such as Jean-Paul Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir have long lent this tiny neighbourhood a bourgeois feel. It's dotted with Gothic architecture, characterful indie bookshops and outdoor coffee spots, so it's the ideal place to settle with a café au lait in the sun and mix people-watching with reading a novel.

To enjoy a few moments of quiet contemplation, head to leafy Luxembourg Gardens. If you're looking for lively nightlife, the Latin Quarter just to the east is where students gather in the clubs and bars.

See the international side of Paris in bustling Belleville

A poorer neighbourhood rapidly becoming gentrified, Belleville doesn't feel as stereotypically Parisian as the centre of the city – and that's part of its rough-around-the-edges charm. Discover the best international cuisine in the city here, especially the Asian food in Chinatown.

Go for adventurous eats after a stroll around the 44 hectares of the world-renowned Père Lachaise Cemetery. It's here that you'll discover the final resting places of Oscar Wilde and Jim Morrison.

Now you're up to speed with our what's-what of Paris neighbourhoods, load up your maps and get set to start exploring.