The Ultimate Guide to Paris Neighborhoods and Arrondissements
Home to 20 neighborhoods, or arrondissements à la française, choosing the best Parisian neighborhood for your wants and needs isn’t the easiest task. Unique to Paris, the arrondissements are organized in a spiral formation, with 1 to 11 making up the central area of the city, and 12 to 20 situated a little further out.
Each area offers up its own unique glimpse into Parisian life, whether you’ve come to soak up the culture, sample the finest of French cuisine, or be inspired by the fashionistas that walk down the city’s streets.
If you’re in the process of moving to Paris and looking for amazing Paris apartments , we’ve got all of the information you need to make the move a little bit smoother. Below, you’ll find a selection of the best places to live in Paris. We’ve also split them into handy categories, so you can find the best Parisian arrondissement for you whether you’re moving with your family, have a tight budget to stick to, or want to find some like-minded expats to enjoy the city with.
The best arrondissements to live in Paris at a glance
- Bastille. An affordable neighborhood with a perfect mix of old and new Paris.
- Butte-Montmarte. A vibrant enclave with quiet streets in the north and tourist hotspots in the south.
- Menilmontant. Paris’s hippest up-and-coming area, perfect for young professionals.
- Passy. An up-market neighborhood with safe streets and easy access to highly-regarded schools.
- Quartier du Gros-Caillou. A tourist neighborhood that manages to retain its community feel.
- Batignolles-Monceau. Highly-sought-after central district with leafy squares and a village centric atmosphere.
- Le Marais. Historic and stylish neighborhood in a central location.
- Les Halles. Popular shopping district smack bang in the middle of the city.
- Saint Germain. One of the city’s most glamorous neighborhoods with expensive accommodation to match.
- Quartier Latin. Vibrant student area with lively streets and affordable housing.
- Oberkampf. Well-connected neighborhood famous for its lively nightlife scene.
- Enclos St Laurent. Quiet and affordable residential area home to one of the city’s major train stations.
Best Paris neighborhoods for families
Finding somewhere to live while considering the needs of your family can make the whole moving process a little more complicated. Luckily, some of the best places to live in Paris are family-friendly.
Families typically tend to congregate in the city’s western neighborhoods on the River Seine’s left-hand side. While generally more expensive to rent and buy here, the outer arrondissements are home to large family homes, open green spaces, and tonnes of reputable public and private schools.
Despite being more popular amongst the younger population, eastern Paris also offers up some hidden gems for families. While you won’t find the same large houses that you will in the west, the rent is cheaper, and there are some fantastic three and four-bedroom apartments up for grabs. The east is also a perfect choice for open green spaces and countless cultural hotspots.
1. Passy (16th arrondissement)
If you’re drawn to the city’s typical Haussman style apartments and homes, then consider setting up your home in the arrondissement of Passy.. Its quiet and safe streets and ample green areas make this area of Western Paris extremely popular amongst families. Expat families, to be more specific.
Families from all over the world seem to gather here to take advantage of the many highly-regarded international schools in the area. To add to this, Passy boasts one of the city’s largest green spaces, known as Bois de Boulogne, an ideal place to exercise or grab an extra hour of sunshine during the summer months.
All of this luxury does come at a price. In fact, the 16th arrondissement is considered to be one of Paris’ most expensive districts. Away from the residential streets, there is plenty to keep you occupied in Passy. Hidden alleys reveal local highstreets serving up a mixture of French and international cuisine, and the Jardins du Trocadero and Palais de Chaillot are just a stone’s throw away, offering up unbeatable views of the city.
2. Quartier du Gros-Caillou (7th arrondissement)
There’s no neighborhood more iconic than Quartier du Gros-Caillou, home to the Eiffel Tower and the Champs de Mars. Alongside these famous landmarks, this tourist-centric arrondissement is peppered with fantastic museums and world-famous art galleries.
Away from the touristic side of Quartier du Gros-Caillou, there’s a well-established community that lives here too. As you’d expect in such a popular location, accommodation doesn’t come cheaply, but it does come served with a side of luxury, ultra-convenience, and safety.
While the cultural attractions are a definite plus for families hoping to settle down in Quartier Gros-Caillou, the many schools, parks, and excellent public transport in the area make it that bit more desirable amongst families. That’s not to mention the locally-run boulangeries, greengrocers, and fromageries that keep the community fed and happy.
3. Batignolles-Monceau (17th arrondissement)
One of the most appealing factors of Batignolles-Monceau is that it has a little something for everyone. The arrondissement is home to some of Paris’ most expensive and most affordable accommodation, catering to any budget that you might have.
For those of you who prefer the finer things in life, the mini-neighborhood of Batignolles is one of the most charming areas in the whole city. Arranged around a leafy square, securing an apartment here is difficult, but when you do, you’ll be within walking distance of many of the city’s best bilingual schools, green spaces, and excellent shopping streets.
The local community still thrives in this up-market district, with family markets, bakeries, and restaurants bustling with people no matter what the time of day.
Affordable places to live in Paris
Like many major cities across Europe, it can prove tricky to find affordable places to live in Paris. But it’s not impossible. Hidden amongst the expensive boulevards, tourist-laden streets, and luxury apartments are pockets of cheaper apartments and housing that offer up much more value for the tenant.
If you are on a budget, it’s worth keeping in mind that you may need to compromise on your creature comforts somewhat, especially if you want to live close to the center. Central, but affordable housing is on the smaller side and usually won’t have any elevator facilities.
If, on the other hand, you’re happy to travel into the center from your home, focus your search on the outer arrondissements. Here, you’ll find larger apartments equipped with a good selection of mod-cons for reasonable prices.
4. Bastille (11th arrondissement)
Tucked away on the River Seine’s right bank, Bastille is historically recognized as the city’s most working-class area. However, in recent years, affordable housing has given rise to a new wave of gentrification in the neighborhood.
Now, Bastille harbors a fantastic balance of old and new. Traditional stone housing sits next to modernized apartments complete with colorful veneers. Locally-run grocery stores and generations-old bakeries are just moments away from successful chain stores. Fragrant Moroccan spice stores sit just across the street from modern supermarkets. The best bit? Everything manages to thrive here.
With such a huge array of things to see and do in Bastille, it’s a neighborhood that you will never get bored of. As well as being more affordable than other arrondissements in the area, the neighborhood has an appealing community feel. Rather than the swarms of tourists you might find in many other areas of Paris, Bastille is a local community, popular with young professionals, families, and students hoping to live their dream in the City of Lights.
5. Butte-Montmarte (18th arrondissement)
Butte-Monmarte may be a little way from Paris’s geographical center, but many consider this to be the heart of Parisian culture. Its streets still have their original cobblestones set in place, and its stone houses are decorated with sprawling ivy, both emanating the bohemian culture of this charming arrondissement.
The neighborhood’s creative roots date back to the early 19th century when artists like Van Gogh and Picasso called these streets their home. To this day, many creatives still live here, and it has become a must-see destination for visitors to Paris.
The majority of tourists stick to the southern regions of Butte-Montmarte, home to the famous Sacre Coeur and stunning views out over the city. This leaves the northern portion of the arrondissement open for residents looking for a place to live with a village-atmosphere, quiet streets, and affordable housing.
6. Menilmontant (20th arrondissement)
Like many neighborhoods on Paris’ eastern side, Menilmontant started its life as a hamlet just outside of the city’s borders. Over time, the sprawling city grew to include Menilmontant as one of its 20 arrondissements. Primarily recognized as a working-class and bohemian neighborhood, Menilmontant is starting to rise from the ashes as one of the hippest neighborhoods in town.
Still a fair way from its prime, Menilmontant offers up affordable housing with a vibrant atmosphere to compliment it. Today, the neighborhood is full to the brim with independent coffee shops, family-run bakeries, and speakeasy bars that are worth the struggle to find.
Menilmontant also has an emerging street art scene, with old buildings transformed by local artists into artwork that breathes life into the neighborhood’s walls. Couple this with a multi-cultural and creative community, affordable housing, and easy transportation into the city center, and you’ll soon realize why this neighborhood is the talk of the town.
Best places to live in Paris for expats
The truth of the matter is, there aren’t many bad places to live in Paris. Each of the 20 arrondissements offers up their own little slice of Parisian culture, quaint housing, and expat community. Expats don’t tend to gather in one place in Paris, which is why you pretty much have the pick of the bunch when you move to the city.
As an expat in Paris, where you stay is more likely to be dictated by your budget and the type of community you’re hoping to immerse yourself in. If you’re looking for cheap and cheerful, vibrant and artsy, head to the eastern neighborhoods. For something a little more Parisian and typically more expensive, but with pockets of affordable housing head to the west.
7. Le Marais (4th arrondissement)
If you love being able to walk everywhere from your apartment, then living in Le Marais might just be your perfect match. Straddling the 3rd and 4th arrondissement, Paris neighborhoods don’t get much more central than this. From Le Marais, you have the River Seine on your doorstep, and you’re less than a half an hour walk away from the mighty Louvre.
Post-French-revolution, Napoleon widened many of Paris’ streets to prevent further barricades. Not in Le Marais, though. This historic neighborhood still has many of its narrow streets intact, bringing a medieval charm to the whole place, including to its apartments housed in the neighborhood’s historic buildings.
The area itself is known as one of Paris’ most stylish districts, full to the brim with independent eateries, late-night art galleries, and shopping boutiques. You can spend your days taking in the cultural sights, enjoying long walks along the River Seine, or hunting around the hidden alleys for some great shopping. During the evening, Le Marais’ streets are lively. Lined with bars and nightclubs, there’s not a night that goes by without something going on.
8. Les Halles (1st arrondissement)
Named after the old market district of Paris, Les Halles is primarily known as a shopping district. Nowadays, the neighborhood offers up limited residential space for those who are willing to spend the money. Yes, renting doesn’t come cheaply here. But, it does come with a fantastically central location with enough entertainment to last you the year.
Les Halles seems to be continuously undergoing some sort of revamping and regeneration. Whether that be the Westfield Forum des Halles, a huge shopping complex complete with a 30-cinema multiplex and an indoor swimming pool, or the pedestrianization of its many shopping streets, it won’t be long until this is the contemporary center of the city.
9. St-Germain-des-Pres (6th arrondissement)
No Paris neighborhood has undergone a transformation like that of St-Germain-des-Pres in the last couple of decades. Once a run-down arrondissement with a bohemian community, Saint Germain is now one of the city’s premier shopping destinations. No other district in Paris is home to a higher concentration of designer clothing stores, upmarket restaurants, and independent galleries.
The apartments here are also superior to those you might find in the rest of the city. While on the higher side of the price scale, the spacious, pre-Haussmannian apartments, complete with exposed beams and bay windows, are the perfect spot to revel in a Parisian life of luxury.
The Jardin du Luxembourg offers up the perfect green space for those warm summer days, and you’ll be spoilt for choice when it comes to dining in the area.
Best places to live in Paris for young professionals
Affordable, vibrant, and picture-perfect: three things that Paris’ eastern neighborhoods do exceptionally well. With a long history of creative-bohemian types behind it, Paris’ artsy past seeps through into many of its arrondissements, offering up the perfect places to stay for young professionals wanting to live in the heart of the city.
While some of these areas like the Latin quarter may be a bit pricey, heading further away from the center to Oberkampf or Enclos St Laurent will deliver similar vibes without the higher price tag.
10. Quartier Latin (5th arrondissement)
Home to the famous Sorbonne University, the Latin Quarter is known as the city’s student area. Its narrow streets and historic buildings offer up a mixture of affordable eateries, student bars, and locally-run shops, giving it the air of an old university town.
Despite being known as the student area, many young professionals also like to call this area their home. While most students tend to stick to the busier and 24-hour streets of St Michel, those looking for a break from the vibrant streets often gravitate towards Jardin des Plantes.
Unlike many other neighborhoods in Paris, Quartier Latin didn’t undergo the renovations in the late 19th century, and as such, has managed to retain its medieval architecture. Apartments here are full of character and old charm, perfect for the dreamers amongst us.
11. Oberkampf (11th arrondissement)
Popular amongst young people and party goers, Oberkampf is one of Paris’ most underrated arrondissements. Not only does the neighborhood have fantastic connections to the rest of the city and the center, but this is the place to visit if you’re looking for a place to party not far from home.
While Oberkampf may be famous for its huge choice of lively nightclubs, and quirky bars, there is a quieter side to the neighborhood too. This arrondissement offers up an authentic glimpse into everyday life in Paris. Its community is multicultural, and there’s no one-size-fits type of resident for Oberkampf.
12. St Laurent (10th arrondissement)
If the lively neighborhood of Oberkampf seems just a little too overwhelming, jump across a few streets to the neighboring Enclos St Laurent. Sitting in the 10th arrondissement, you won’t be too far from the affordable nightclubs and bars for a good night out, but you’ll also benefit from the quiet and residential streets of Saint Laurent.
The Canal Saint-Martin runs right through the middle of the neighborhood, parts of which are lined with charming residential properties, other bits where you can grab an alfresco coffee or pastry. Gentrification is yet to hit this part of the city, which is why you’ll find reasonably priced apartments and housing both to rent and to buy.