Spiraling outward from the center of the city, the twenty civic regions of Paris's numbered arrondissement system are a series of zoned administrative districts. They largely overlap with the city's organically formed neighborhoods, though some straddle arronidissement boundaries—the Marais, for instance, encompasses both the third and fourth. But the arrondissements aren’t just bureaucratic designations; each has its own identity, from the spectacle of palatial boutiques and actual palaces in the premier (first) to some of the city’s best Chinese cuisine and the unmissable Père Lachaise cemetery in the vingtième (20th).
While most tourists stick to the central arrondissements along the Seine—the 1st, 6th, and 7th in particular—the best neighborhoods for eating and exploring lie elsewhere. Every arrondissement has something to offer; it simply depends on what you're looking for from your trip. While staying in the center makes for easy access to the main tourist destinations, if you're interested in sheer proximity to good eating and even better nightlife, you're best off in the Marais, the 9th near Pigalle, the 10th near the Canal, or , the 11th—our top choice for food-focused Paris. Here's the lowdown on every neighborhood, from iconic to underrated, with quick-hit intel on the best places to eat in each.
Luxury goods, high-end hotels, the Louvre, and offices—which means plenty of unremarkable restaurants designed to cater to busy workers, undiscerning tourists, or both. The neighborhood is also home to Rue Sainte-Anne, aka Little Tokyo, which is great for slurping udon when you just can't stomach another multi-course French meal. Many restaurants in this business-oriented district tend to close on weekends.
How to say it in French: Le premier.
Expect lots of activity here at night, thanks to both the up-and-coming cocktail bar scene and the ladies of the night who line Rue Saint-Denis. During the day, it's a mix of gritty wholesale textile district, staid stock exchange, and picturesque markets along the Rue Montorgueil. The Rue du Nil is well worth a visit for its multiple Terroirs d'Avenir specialty food shops (which supply just about every restaurant in town), and chef Grégory Marchand's mini-restaurant empire of Frenchie, Frenchie To Go, and Frenchie Wine Bar.
How to say it in French: Le deuxième.
Ah, the Haut Marais, where you can't throw a macaron without hitting a third-wave coffee shop or a willowy fashion type. Lots of kale chips, cocktails, and juice bars. During Fashion Week, avoid this chic neighborhood at all costs. The city's oldest covered market, the Marché des Enfants Rouges, is a well-known dining destination, and is particularly busy on weekends and sunny days.
How to say it in French: Le troisième.
The Lower Marais, where Jewish history and the queer community jostle amongst the modern art and chain shops. Rue des Rosiers is (rightfully) famous for its many falafel stands, but consider instead heading to the Parisian outpost of Israeli restaurant Miznon for one of the best sandwiches in town. Place des Vosges, arguably the most attractive square in all of Paris, is a short stroll away. (For a deep dive into the Marais, head here.)
How to say it in French: Le quatrième.
The Latin Quarter (so named for its many educational institutions, including the Sorbonne, where once upon a time everyone studied Latin) is still home to many students, but it also throngs with tourists, and tourist traps. Café de la Nouvelle Mairie is your best bet for reliably good food. It's charming, and open all day.
How to say it in French: Le cinquième.
Saint-Germain-des-Prés is very pretty and has great shopping, though it can be a bit touristy, as it's centrally located near most of the major monuments, museums, and parks. Skip anywhere made famous by Hemingway and stick instead to the excellent, elbow-room-only L'Avant Comptoir and L'Avant Comptoir de la Mer wine bars.
How to say it in French: Le sixième.
The Eiffel Tower is the draw in this otherwise fairly quiet residential area, which means good eating can be tricky. Still, Chez L'Ami Jean is smoky, lively, and fun. Their famous salted-caramel rice pudding makes this tiny spot a favorite of locals and tourists alike.
How to say it in French: Le septième.
Oh, Champs-Élysées. You won't find many charming neighborhood establishments or sweet bistros here, though you will find large international chains cheek-by-jowl with three-Michelin-star temples of haute-gastronomie, with astronomical prices to match their rococo interiors. If that's what you're looking for, then Ledoyen, led by chef Yannick Alléno, is a particularly lovely option.
How to say it in French: Le huitième.
Some people call the South Pigalle neighborhood SoPi, and I refuse to be one of them. While this area just next to Montmartre used to be best known for its red light district, more recently it's become a cocktail destination. For those interested in absinthe, Lulu White is de rigeur. There are also great independent shops, music venues, and excellent restaurants like Les Affranchis, the bistro that everyone wishes was in their neighborhood. The Rue des Martyrs—lined with bakeries, cheese shops, and other delights—is one of the best streets in all of Paris for culinary tourists. Farther south, it's home to many large department stores, offices, and the stunning Palais Garnier opera house.
How to say it in French: Le neuvième.
This is where Parisians go to picnic. On any nice evening or weekend, the Canal Saint-Martin is lined with people playing guitars and cracking open bottles of wine. Beyond the canal, the neighborhood is young and fun, with lots of small shops and boutiques. Head here for Australian- and Anglo-inspired breakfasts at Holybelly or Ten Belles, and if you're in transit to or from London on the Eurostar, hit up the brand new bistro Les Arlots, conveniently located near the Gare du Nord.
How to say it in French: Le dixième.
Eat here. Drink here. See our comprehensive guide to this, the best food neighborhood in Paris.
How to say it in French: Le onzième.
Bastille and the Bois de Vincennes anchor this area, full of lots of rowdy spots for the study-abroad kids interspersed with intellectual-minded natural wine shops and bars like Le Siffleur de Ballons. The Marché d'Aligre is one of the best open-air markets in the city. Hit it before noon and then head to the Promenade Plantée, which was one of the inspirations for New York City's Highline.
How to say it in French: Le douzième.
Asian restaurants galore, particularly pho joints like Pho 14. La Butte aux Cailles is a quirky hilltop oasis where you'll find the original Chez Gladines, a cheap, cheerful mini-chain beloved by students for its huge portions.
How to say it in French: Le treizième.
Montparnasse often feels like a giant shopping mall thanks in part to the Montparnasse Tower, a high-rise straddling the 14th and 15th arrondissements. While it may offer one of the best views of Paris, it's controversial in a city of such otherwise uniformly beautiful architecture. Avoid it and head to the Catacombs, the city's ancient underground burial site. If seeing all those skeletons doesn't dampen your appetite, dine along the Rue du Montparnasse, which is lined with Breton eateries, like Josselin, that make excellent buckwheat galettes and salted-caramel crepes. L'Assiette is one of the best bets in the city for classic French cooking.
How to say it in French: Le quatorzième.
Similar to New York's Upper East Side, this residential area is safe, lovely, boring, and filled with young families and pensioners. Accordingly, everything closes early and stays shuttered on Sundays. There are lots of old-time bistros, so classic French is a good bet. L'Os à Moelle and Le Grand Pan are two of the best.
How to say it in French: Le quinzième.
Embassies and old French money. Lots of elderly ladies who don't pick up after their dogs. It's reminiscent of the neighborhoods around the Eiffel Tower or bits of the 8th arrondissement, minus the tourists. There's very little reason to eat in this area. The table d'hôtes inside the shop of celebrity butcher Hugo Desnoyer is one.
How to say it in French: Le seizième.
This neighborhood is drawing an increasing number of young professionals, and its wine bars and restaurants are heating up accordingly. La Félicité is a sweet neighborhood wine bar run by two passionate young women, and Coretta is an excellent modern French restaurant notable for its cinnamon-bun dessert and views of Parc Clichy-Batignolles-Martin Luther King.
How to say it in French: Le dix-septième.
Wear sensible shoes to Montmartre and the Goutte d'Or, as it's hilly and the streets are frequently cobbled. Home to many sex shops, the Moulin Rouge, and the city's only vineyard, and close to the big flea markets, this area is vibrant, diverse, and occasionally dodgy. The French consider it to be très Brooklyn, right down to an imminent Park Slope inspired co-op. Head to Supercoin for craft brews in a down-to-earth environment or to Lomi, a great local roastery where it's socially acceptable to pull out your laptop and work.
How to say it in French: Le dix-huitième.
The Parc de la Villette, the city's third-largest park, used to be the site of the Parisian slaughterhouses, so it's fitting that the best options in this area are steakhouses. Head to the old-school Au Boeuf Couronné, just across from the park, or Hugo Desnoyer's sleek, brand-new spot in the Halles Secrétan. Buttes-Chaumont, a former quarry, is one of the most beautiful parks in the city, with incredible views for a picnic.
How to say it in French: Le dix-neuvième.
The historically working-class neighborhoods of Belleville and Ménilmontant are now home to a large Chinese community and hipsters galore. Le Baratin is a neighborhood legend serving deeply soulful classic French food. Pay homage to Oscar Wilde and Jim Morrison at Père Lachaise cemetery, then head to Popine for excellent Neapolitan pizza.
How to say it in French: Le vingtième.