Planning a trip in a new city can be challenging. Unlike most of Manhattan, cities are not laid out in a numerical grid-like fashion. You’ll soon find that many of the “must see” spots in Paris are spread throughout the city and it can take up to an hour to get to your destination!
Unfortunately, the quality and proficiency of transportation can impact the quality of your entire trip. We’ve definitely spent a fair amount of time ourselves running from district to district trying to fit all of Paris in just a short weekend..and it gets incredibly tiring!
That's why we’ve laid out a quick guide to the main attractions in Paris, how to get there and what to see!
Walk, bike, drive a car, take a train, bus or boat…the possibilities are endless. Paris happens to be one of the best walking cities in the world and has affordable public transportation systems.
Walk whenever you can. That is the best advice we can give because there is truly so much to see while walking in Paris and you won’t want to miss a thing! Walking gives you the ability to get the best feel for a city and you can truly connect to a city's history.
The metro is one of the easiest modes of transportation to take. You can buy your tickets at the station and the metro map is incredibly easy to read. The Paris metro is one of the oldest and best subway systems in Europe and above all it's affordable! One ticket can get you anywhere in Paris no matter the distance!
If being underground isn’t really your thing, take the city bus! The busses are a great way of travelling around while seeing a lot of the city. Each bus is roughly 5-7 minutes apart so if you’re not wonderful with time-management, then sit back and wait for the next one to appear.
*Tip: you can use your Metro ticket on the bus!
We rarely take Ubers, Lyfts or taxis because quite frankly, the traffic is terrible and they can be expensive. However, if you have a lot of luggage and would like to avoid lugging it through metro barriers and onto trains-definitely hail a car down.
The Batobus is a boat service that runs up and down the Seine and is a fun and educational way to get around Paris. Not only will you be able to experience Paris from the infamous commercial waterway, but you can hop on and hop off as easily as you please.
Similar to New York City boroughs, Paris has divisions called Arrondissements however in Paris, there are approximately 20 of them! Each division has its own character and charm and can give you a different perspective of the city. To find your bearings in Paris, try to remember the map this way; the 1st Arr. is located in the historic center, near the bank of the Seine, and the remaining districts spiral out clockwise.
Here is a quick assessment of the Arrondissements and what you can expect to find in district
Home to many of the city’s main sights, the 1st Arrondissement is usually the starting point for those visiting Paris for the first time. Come to this district for its monuments, elegant squares, and the banks of the Seine
Louvre Palace, Place Vendône, Saint Germain l’Auxerriois Church, Royal Palace, Satine Chapelle, La Conciergerie, Louvre Museum, Orangerie Museum, Musée des Arts Décoratifs. Tuileries Gardens, Royal Palace Gardens, Square du Vert Galant
The 2nd arrondissement harbours attractions such as medieval towers and some of the best open markets in the city. Rue Montorgueil is one of the best food streets in Paris and this is the place you want to be to go shopping, eat at amazing restaurts, hang out at bars, or go to the cinema.
Tour Jean-Sans-Peir, Place des Victoires, Reaumur Street, XXth Century Architecture, Food, Bars, Cinema, Shopping.
The 3rd Arrondissement is often referred to as “Temple” and sits near the heart of the city combining bustling commercial areas with quiet residential streets. This lively and trendy district has a lot of high-end art galleries and vintage shops within its old winding streets.
Beautiful Cafes, Wine Bars, Vintage Shops, Art Galleries, Picasso Museum, Musée des Arts et Métiers, Musée des Archives Nationales, Anne Frank Garden, Square Georges Caïn, Archives Nationales Gardens
The 4th Arrondissement houses some of the city’s major historical sites-such as the Notre Dame Cathedral and Centre Georges Pompidou while promoting contemporary Paris to attract artists, designers and trendy shops. In this district you will find Le Marais, ile de la Cité, Ile de Saint Louis, and Hôtel de Ville.
Notre Dame, Hôtel de Ville, Place des Vosges, Centre Georges Pompidou, Victor Hugo’s House, History, Shopping, the Gay District of Paris
The historic heart of the Latin Quarter and the center of intellectual achievements, the 5th Arrondissement is famous for the Pantheon, the Roman Arenas, the Sorbonne University and the botanical gardens. This is the oldest district of Paris and was where the Romans first settled.
Roman remains, history, vibrant student life, the Panthéon, Arènes de Lutèce, Collège des Bernardins, Grande Mosquée de Paris, Grande Galerie de l’Evolution, Musée du Moyen Age, Jardin des Plantes, Cluny Museum’s Medieval Garden
Home to mid-20th century authors, intellectuals, designers and artists the 6th Arrondissement of Paris is world known for its fame during the Roaring Twenties. The district is famous for its cool and stylish restaurants, its gourmet chocolate shops and of course the Luxembourg Gardens.
Café de Flore, Café Les Deux Magots, Luxembourg Gardens, Saint Sulpice Church, saint Germains-des-Près Church, Médicis Fountain, Eugène Delacroix Museum, Zadkine Museum
This affluent and prestigious district is home to the infamous Eiffel Tower and the Orsay Museum. Shops, restaurants and accommodation are a bit pricey..but with the Eiffel Tower just a few steps away, how can you resist treating yourself?
Eiffel Tower, Invalides, Rue de Bac, Quartier Dèvres-Babylone, Rodin Museum, Orsay Museum, Quai Branly Museum, the tomb of Napoleon I, Musée de l’Armée, Paris Sewer Museum, Camp de Mars
A popular area of the city and home to several impressive palaces, the Arc de Tropmphe and the Champs-Elysees, the 8th arrondissement is a bustling center of commerce. This district of fashion and luxury is famous for its top notch shopping and beautiful views.
Rue Montaigne, Rue George V, Avenye des Champs Élysées, l’Elysée, Arc de Triomphe, Cabarets, Madeline Church, Chapelle Expiatoire, Graind Palais, Petit Palais, Jacquemart-Andrew Museum, Cernuschi Museum, Parc Monceau
Well known for its beautiful department stores, elegant shopping galleries, and popular theatres, this trendy district is filled with old cafes and beautiful architecture.
Pigalle neighborhood, Opéra Garnier, Haussmannian architecture, Grands Blouevards, Montmarte, Galeries Lafayette, Fragonard Perfume Museum
You may have entered Paris through this district. With two of the biggest train stations, Gare du Nord and Gare de’Est this popular atmosphere is always busy with commuters and tourists. With cafes and vintage shops, this trendy district is linked to Canal Saint-Martin waterway and iron footbridges making it perfect for picnics along the canal’s banks.
Canal Saint-Martin, Rue de Faunourg Saint Denis, Vintage Shopping
This edgy and ethnically diverse area of the city is famous for the Place de la Bastille and its modern opera house. It’s nightlife offers the city’s trendiest bars and clubs.
Modern Opera House, La Bastille, Atelier des Lumières, Lautrec, Mansart, Sans Souci, Chez Moune, Carmen Night Club
This lesser known district houses the historic train station, Gare de Lyon and the Bois de Vincennes, an enormous park great for picnics. More of a residential area, this is also the greenest district of Paris
Parc Floral, Bois de Vincennes, Parc de Bercy, La Coulée Verte, Bercy Village, Le Marché d’Aligre, Cinema Museum, Cité Nationale de l’Histoire de l’immigration, Musée des Arts Forains, Promenade Plantée
With a strong Chinese population, there’s no surprise that this arrondissement houses the big Chinatown with some of the best Asian food in the city. Paris Street Art is displayed all over the 13th arrondissement and leads to the sprawling ultramodern National Library.
China town, Butte-Aux-Cailles neighborhood, street art, the Mural Program, National Library
Home to the lively arts and literature scene in the roaring 20s, the legendary Montparnasse district has some of the most beautiful parks in Paris and unique tours of the infamous catacombs of Paris.
Parc Montsouris, Catacombs of Paris, Cité Universitaire de Paris, Cimitière du Montparnasse, Carrières des Capucins
Featuring charming residential streets and the city’s largest convention center, the 15th arrondissement is quiet and unassuming with a lot of charming nooks. It is definitely a popular residential area and can oftentimes be overcrowded.
Parc André Citroën, Square Georges Brassens, Ile aux Cygens, La Petite Ceinture
This elegant area houses the museum of one of my personal favorite artists, Claude Monet and renowned designer Louis Vuitton. Those names alone suggest the district’s wealthy residential district. Some of the more luxurious hotels in Paris are located in this district because of the fantastic views of Paris their rooftops provide.
Art Nouveau Architecture, Bois de Boulogne, Palais de Tokyo, Musée de l’Homme, Musée Guimet, Fondation Louis Vuitton, Cité de l’Architecture et du Patrimoine, Musée Yves Saint Laurent, Musée Marmottan-Monet, Bois de Boulogne, Park Jardin de Ranelagh
This district located in the northwest corner of the city were previously frequented by 19thcentury artists Edouard Manet. It is a quieter residential area with not very much to do, however, it is a wonderful place to live with new families
Quartier de Ternes, Quartier Monceau, Quartier de Batignolles, luthier shops, Parc de Monceau
Home to the charming and famous Montmarte, this arrondissement includes lively, bustling neighborhoods with sweeping viewpoints, art-drenched history and charming streets. Montmatre is a quintessential neighborhood in Paris with trendy and bohemian bars and restaurants and the infamous Moulin Rouge. The 18th Arrondissement was also a popular cinema setting to movies such as Amélie and Midnight in Paris.
Montmartre, Little India, Goutte d’Or neighborhood, Moulin Rouge, le Sacre Coueur, Montmartre Cemetary, Saint Jean-de-Montmartre Church, Montmartre Museum, Dali Museum
Situated in the northeast corner of Paris, the area has been undergoing a dramatic urban renewal with romantic parks, lively cinemas and science and industry museum.
Canal de l’Ourcq, Parc Buttes-Chaumont, Parc de la Villette, Canal de la Villette, Mouzaïa neighborhood, Saint-Serge de Radonège Church, Cité de la Science et l’Industrie, Cité de la Musique, Parc Butte du Chapeau Rouge