10 Best Neighborhoods to Visit in Paris (by a Local)

Coolest Paris Neighborhoods

Heading to Paris and wondering which neighborhoods should be on your agenda? Maybe it’s your second or third trip to Paris and you want to stay in a trendier area of town. Whatever your needs, these are the ten coolest neighborhoods to explore in Paris!

I’ve spent over a year in the capital of France and always recommend visiting these Paris neighborhoods to see the best of the different areas. Paris is a much more diverse city than people realize and these charming neighborhoods each have their own unique characteristics which make them special.

Best Neighborhoods to Visit in Paris

While you likely won’t have a chance to visit all these neighborhoods, I hope this post will inspire you to visit a new area you might not have otherwise!

1. Le Marais – Le Marais is the ultimate trendy neighborhood for Parisians in-the-know. From concept stores like Merci to art museums like the Picasso National Museum and Le Centre Pompidou, Le Marais is the place to be for cool creatives. Grab a hotel room at the chic Jules & Jim, and explore this neighborhood’s cobblestone passageways on foot!

2. Saint-Germain-des-Près – One of the few cool areas on the left bank of Paris, Saint-Germain-des-Près, often shortened to just “Saint Germain” is a must-visit when in Paris. A favorite of 20th century literary writers, Café de Flore is an iconic address to sit for coffee. The oldest church in Paris, Église de Saint-Germain-des-Prés, is found here, as well as the oldest café restaurant in Paris, Le Procope. Don’t miss a walk along the Seine river in Saint Germain to admire the famous vintage bookseller stands, Les Bouquinistes.

Montmartre Stairs, Paris

3. Montmartre – Montmartre is located on a large hill in the 18th arrondissement of Paris. During the 19th century it was home to many artists including Monet, Modigliani, and Renoir. Today, the winding cobblestone streets attract thousands of visitors who want to catch glimpse of the portrait artists in Place du Tertre and the astounding white-domed Basilica of the Sacré-Cœur.

4. Canal Saint-Martin – The Canal Saint-Martin is the hipster version of the Seine River, which it leads into. The area around Canal Saint-Martin is filled with specialty coffee shops, quirky restaurants, and independent fashion stores. It’s a great neighborhood to explore if you’re into offbeat culture. Head to the 10th arrondissement to begin exploring Canal Saint-Martin.

Place De La Contrescarpe, Latin Quarter, Paris, France

5. The Latin Quarter – The Latin Quarter is part of the 5th arrondissement, and known as the student district or the medieval district, depending on who you ask! Several prominent French universities like the Sorbonne are located in the Latin Quarter, which has a history dating back to Medieval times, when students from around the continent came to study. They spoke Latin, the only common language, which is where the neighborhood’s name is derived from! Visit the Latin Quarter to see the Panthéon, walk along Rue Mouffetard, sip coffee at Shakespeare & Company, and sit on the steps of Saint-Étienne-du-Mont, just like Gil in Midnight in Paris.

6. South Pigalle – The Pigalle quartier of Paris has become synonymous with cool Parisian nightlife. From the infamous Moulin Rouge to the newer cocktail bars with risqué name (“Dirty Dick” anyone?), South Pigalle is the place to be if you live during the night. This former red-light district clearly didn’t forget its roots! Don’t worry, there’s plenty to do during the day too – like explore the beautiful Musée Gustave Moreau.

7. Belleville – Belleville lies in the north east corner of Paris, and rarely makes the itineraries of tourists to Paris. Edith Piaf used to call the neighborhood home and today the area is home to a thriving artist community. Be sure to climb the Parc des Buttes Chaumont for a stunning Eiffel Tower view and walk the Rue Denoyez to admire the public art murals.

8. Batignolles – Similar to a village within Paris, the charming Batignolles is a neighborhood located off the beaten path of the city. Head to the Square des Batignolles in the 17th arrondissement to start exploring this up and coming bohemian district.

9. Haut Marais – Just north of Le Marais, is Haut Marais, a newer micro-neighborhood located in Paris’ 3rd arrondissement. From independent designers, to concept stores, to artisanal coffee shops, this neighborhood defines the word “cool” in Paris. Start your day at Café Charlot or Fondation for coffee, head to concept store The Broken Arm to do some shopping, eat lunch at Season, and finish up the day by exploring the Henri Cartier Bresson Foundation.

10. Bastille – Once the tourists overran Le Marais, the cool Parisians moved to La Bastille, the area east of the neighborhood. Bastille is now home to up and coming bars and restaurants and it’s a gastronome’s paradise. From the esteemed boulangerie Blé sucré to the lunchtime hotspot Septime, Bastille is full of culinary delights. Don’t forget to visit the most colorful street in Paris, Rue Crémieux, while you’re there!

What is your favorite Paris neighborhood to explore?

April 09, 2019

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I’m an American photographer and writer based in Paris after living in New York for 7 years and then and spending a year and a half traveling. My work has been featured by the Paris and Nice Tourism Offices, Art Basel, and Refinery 29. Culture Passport is a place to share my travels and experiences in new places, with a focus on cultural attractions.

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