Paris Travel Planner   Arrondissements in Paris, France
True Parisians, whether resident or visitor, know Paris's arrondissement system, a charming anachronism. Jane does. Tom ignores them. He uses landmarks and Métro stations to find his way around Paris.





 

 

Medieval Paris was at the very heart of what is now the modern city, but since medieval times Paris has grown and absorbed many surrounding communities.

These once-outlying medieval villages live on as the arrondissements or municipal "boroughs" of Paris. As in the boroughs of New York City or London, each arrondissement has its own mini-city government and its own character.

Paris's arrondissements are numbered from 1 to 20, starting from the premier (1er) in the old medieval town center (the Louvre) and progressing in a clockwise spiral to the final 20th arrondissement which includes the famous Père Lachaise cemetery on the eastern side of the city:

Arrondissements Map, Paris, France

In the old days, Paris addresses bore the number of the arrondissement (1er for premier, 2e for deuxième, 3e for troisième, etc.) as in Paris 4e, but today you'll see a modern postal code such as 75004, meaning that the address is in Paris (75), in the 4th arrondissement (004), which includes Île St-Louis and part of Le Marais.

Each arrondissement has a character and a meaning for Parisians:

Paris 1er

The 1st (1er) is the historic center: the Louvre, the Comédie Française, the Banque de France—museums, theater, shopping, commerce.

Paris 3e & 4e

The 3rd (3e) and part of the 4th (4e) is Le Marais, once a swamp, then the ancient Jewish quarter, today artsy and gay neighborhood, which still preserves much of its village character with winding, narrow streets, small shops and little courtyards.

Paris 5e

The 5th (5e) is the Sorbonne, the university, students, bookshops, and cafés: the heart of the Left Bank.

Paris 7e & 16e

The 7th (7e) and 16th (16e) are the poshest residential areas.

Paris 18e

The 18th (18e) and 19th (19e) are working-class residential neighborhoods, with many recent immigrants and some problems with crime.

Arrondissements vs Landmarks & Métro

Though fine for government, the arrondissement system isn't very useful for visitors. By the time you've learned its subtleties (if ever), you've been back home for a month.

You might want instead to use landmarks and Metro stations for guidance. More...


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Place des Vosges, Paris, France

Place des Vosges, Paris:
which arrondissement?
(It's in the 4th...mostly.) Who cares?

 





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