Home to the world’s most famous iron tower, this area of Paris is also recognized for its elegant tree-lined streets and other handful of must-see attractions, including the Trocadero, Les Invalides (where Napoleon Bonaparte is buried) and the impressive Musee d’Orsay. And while a good portion of it remains residential, it is the Eiffel Tower that reigns supreme.
French national pride is on parade at the Champs-Elysees, the French capital’s most famous avenue, and throughout this arrondissement. A French (and European) history buff’s paradise, you’ll find the Arc de Triomphe, the Place de la Concorde (where Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette were beheaded), the Obelisk, and countless other historically notable landmarks far too numerous to list. This highbrow area also has plenty of shopping and entertainment options.
A wildly popular area for tourists and locals alike, Saint-Germain (as it’s known) is packed with a lot of the things that make Paris so attractive: art galleries, famous cafes, trendy boutiques, beautiful gardens and gorgeous, fashionable people. A central location and the constant influx of youth from nearby Latin Quarter also make this a dynamic part of town with well-known sites such as the Jardin du Luxembourg, church Saint Sulpice and the Pantheon. Nevertheless, plenty of old-world charm and romance can still be found in the streets of Saint-Germain.
The architecture in the Marais may be as old and grand as it gets for Paris, but you’d be hard-pressed to find a more diverse area culturally. This is home to the Pletzl (Jewish quarter), a growing GLBT community and a burgeoning young, creative scene. Through cobblestone streets and a taste for the eclectic, the Marais embraces the past while delineating its future.
Stepping into Montmartre takes you back to the time when Paris was nothing but a collection of neighboring little villages. That was in the past, but the area still conserves a heavy village-like quality, especially because it is set on a hilltop at the foot of the cinema-esque Sacre Coeur (which offers one of the best panoramic views of the city). Perhaps one of the most romantic neighborhoods in all of Paris, Montmartre is filled with charm and fantastic little places waiting to be discovered. For a more risqué adventure, head south to Pigalle, Paris’ red-light and cabaret district.
Perhaps one of the most lively and theatrical areas of all Paris, the Opera is littered with restaurants, cafes and shops, and is surrounded by an incredible array of art houses, including the mind-blowing Louvre, the stunning Opera Garnier and the grandiose Palais Royal, as well as numerous other independent theatres. Shopping is also taken seriously here, with the Galleries Lafayettes and Printemps as fine examples of that. Play and fun aside, the Opera also works hard, housing Paris’ most dense concentration of business activities.