Home Moving to France Location Where to live in Paris
Last update on July 04, 2019
Anouch Bezelgues Written by Anouch Bezelgues

Wondering where to live in Paris? Discover the different characters of the Paris arrondissements with this handy guide.

If you want to live in Paris, you’ll find plenty of distinct Parisian neighborhoods to choose from, with prices varying greatly depending on the character of the area.

From the famous city center districts housing the Louvre and the Eiffel Tower to the banlieues and low-cost housing on the city’s edge, each arrondissement has its own characteristics and features. As Paris apartments are typically advertised with their arrondissement in the description, reading this guide by Paris Attitude, a real estate agency in Paris specialized in temporary and long term furnished rentals, is a good way to start your home-hunting.

It’s worth noting that there are few houses in Paris, and many buildings don’t have lifts, so if you want a bit more space and a garden, check out our guide to Paris’s suburbs and outlying towns.

Unlike many cities, the arrondissements in Paris are laid out in a regular order. Starting with the Louvre (1e), the districts work outwards in a spiral. This means that the second district will be between the first and third, and the ninth will be between the eighth and the tenth and yet the second and ninth districts are next to each other as well. Arrondissements may be referred to by their name (e.g. Louvre, Popincourt, Gobelins) but are more commonly referred to by number, particularly in real estate advertisements. The number will usually be followed by a small ‘e’, for example 8e, which is the French equivalent of writing ‘8th’.

A further division is the ‘left bank’ (rive gauche) and ‘right bank’ (rive droite) of the Seine. This means the area south (left) and north (right) of the River Seine. Approximately half the city is on each side, so the neighborhoods vary enormously. That being said, traditionally the rive gauche is seen as more artistic, bohemian and student-friendly while the rive droite is more bourgeois and sophisticated. However, some areas within the rive droite remain working-class districts, popular among families and students.

Paris Attitude

Paris Attitude has a team of advisors who will offer you a wide range of furnished and fully equipped apartments in Paris: studios, apartments with 2 bedrooms, luxurious lofts, townhouses. 

Where to live in Paris: Great for nightlife and culture

Premier (1e) arrondissement – Louvre
Deuxième (2e) arrondissement – Bourse

The heart of Paris is primarily shops, offices and tourist attractions with relatively few apartments. The Bourse itself is the former stock exchange, and the area is easily walkable, making this a good choice for anyone wanting to be close to the business district. The area tends to shut down at night, with few restaurants and shops.

1e and 2e arrondissements at a glance:

  • Location: geographical center of Paris.
  • Housing costs: expensive, from €1,800 per month for a two-bedroom apartment.
  • Commuting options: walking is popular. Many metro and bus lines cross through here.
  • Cars: parking is very limited and expensive, and traffic is often gridlocked.
  • Recreation: easy access to museums and monuments, and nice green spaces in the Jardin des Tuileries by the river Seine. Restaurants are often overrun with tourists.
  • Shopping: the Champs Elysées is nearby, although more day-to-day shopping is somewhat limited.
  • Neighborhood: primarily a business district with apartments often used from Monday to Friday.
  • Read more on the 1e or 2e arrondissement municipality websites.

Troisième (3e) arrondissement – Temple
Quatrième (4e) arrondissement – Hôtel de Ville

Together, these two districts make up the traditional Marais neighborhood. An elegant old neighborhood on the right bank, the 4e includes the Île de la Cité (home to Notre-Dame Cathedral) and the Île Saint-Louis. An address on either island has an amazing cachet. Both the 3e and the 4e are very central and well-regarded, with a busy street life and nightlife.

Notre-Dame

3e and 4e arrondissements at a glance:

  • Location: directly east of the center, and close to the Louvre.
  • Housing costs: expensive, from €1,600 per month for a two-bedroom apartment.
  • Commuting options: bus and metro lines connect the 4e to the rest of the city. Cycling and walking are also popular.
  • Cars: owning a car is not recommended, as parking is usually expensive.
  • Recreation: theatres and museums, with easy access to the rest of the city. Few green areas although there are pretty walks along the river. A sandy beach, Paris plage, is created here every summer.
  • Shopping: primarily upmarket boutiques and small shops.
  • Neighborhood: a historic residential district with roots in the medieval period.
  • Read more on the 3e or 4e arrondissement municipality website

Huitième (8e) arrondissement – Élysée

The presidential palace, high-end hotels and apartments dominate the area around the Champs Élysées. Expensive and elegant, this elite area is popular among tourists and the international jet set alike. The Champs Élysées never sleeps, with bars, shops, restaurants and nightclubs open 24 hours a day.

8e arrondissement at a glance:

  • Location: just west of the center, from the Louvre to the Arc de Triomphe.
  • Housing costs: expensive, from €1,700 per month for a two-bedroom apartment.
  • Commuting options: walking or cycling is possible. Metro and bus routes are extensive, but often crowded with tourists.
  • Cars: parking is difficult and expensive, and traffic is infamously bad, particularly around the Arc de Triomphe.
  • Recreation: vibrant nightlife and street life on the Champs Élysées but other streets are much quieter. Parc Monceau provides a pleasant green oasis.
  • Shopping: a mix of designer boutiques and lower-price shops, many aimed at tourists.
  • Neighborhood: primarily shops and government offices, with some residential areas.
  • Read more on the 8e arrondissement municipality website.

Neuvième (9e) arrondissement – Opéra

This is primarily a business area with few residential streets but the 9e also includes the vibrant and risqué area around the Moulin Rouge. Busy and somewhat seedy, it’s not a prestigious address but it does provide easy access to the city center, and to Parisian nightlife.

Moulin Rouge

9e arrondissement at a glance:

  • Location: directly north of the center.
  • Housing costs: expensive, typically from €1,600 to 2,300 per month for a two-bedroom apartment. However, the prices vary greatly whether you are living next to the fancy Opera or nearby the vibrant Pigalle.
  • Commuting options: walking and cycling are popular. Bus and metro lines cross the district.
  • Cars: parking options are limited and traffic often disrupted by deliveries to the larger shops.
  • Recreation: easy access to the nightlife in Pigalle, to the north, and the center, to the south. A few small parks provide a break from the urban scene.
  • Shopping: Galeries Lafayette are located here, offering designer labels. The surrounding streets have many fashion brands.
  • Neighborhood: the residential buildings are mostly older, typically from the 19th century.
  • Read more on the 9e arrondissement municipality website.

Where to live in Paris: Great for students and tight budgets

Cinquième (5e) arrondissement – Panthéon

Known as the Quartier Latin, this area is home to the Sorbonne university, first founded in 1257, as well as several other schools and colleges. It is thus known as a student area. It still retains the vibrant and bohemian atmosphere of the left bank. Expect an eclectic mix of excellent restaurants, shops and student bars.

5e arrondissement at a glance:

  • Location: south-east of the center, near Notre-Dame.
  • Housing costs: moderate, from €1,500 per month for a two-bedroom apartment.
  • Commuting options: everything you need is within walking distance, and if not there’s an excellent bus and metro service.
  • Cars: expensive to park. Traffic is poor.
  • Recreation: vibrant nightlife with many restaurants, markets and museums nearby. Head for the Jardin des Plantes when you crave a touch of green.
  • Shopping: mainly small independent shops but also some chain stores and markets. You can buy almost anything around here.
  • Neighbourhood: a lively student area packed with teenagers and young adults.
  • Read more on the 5e arrondissement municipality website.

Dixième (10e) arrondissement – Saint-Laurent
Onzième (11e) arrondissement – Popincourt

These areas are primarily residential, and both the 10e and the 11e have a multicultural, artistic flair. From Indian restaurants next to the Gare du Nord to vegan canteens on the canal Saint-Martin banks, be ready to travel the world within a few streets. Gentrification has largely passed it by, and that’s why rents are different depending on where you plan to look for an apartment. Some areas stay busy late at night or have businesses that take deliveries very early, so it’s best to visit at different times, if you can.

10e and 11e arrondissement at a glance:

  • Location: north and north-east of the center.
  • Housing costs: moderate, typically €1,200-1,800 per month for a two-bedroom apartment.
  • Commuting options: the 10e is home to both the Gare du Nord and the Gare de l’Est. Metro and bus routes converge here.
  • Cars: little parking available. Streets are often crowded and narrow.
  • Recreation: the Oberkampf area is known for its nightlife. A few small parks dot the area, but there is little greenery.
  • Shopping: a mix of traditional French businesses and international imports. Supermarkets and delis are both common.
  • Neighbourhood: primarily residential, with a real mix of nationalities and cultures.
  • Read more on the 10e and 11e arrondissement municipality website.

Dix-neuvième (19e) arrondissement – Buttes-Chaumont
Vingtième (20e) arrondissement – Belleville and Ménilmontant

Primarily working-class, the 19e and 20e are home to residents from many countries. The street life, shops and restaurants reflect this, and the bars and nightclubs buzz throughout the night. Some areas can be rough or noisy, so it’s worth visiting after dark to get a complete picture of the street. Rents tend to be lower and apartments larger and often more modern than in the center.

Paris-cafe

19e and 20e arrondissement at a glance:

  • Location: on the north-east edge of the city.
  • Housing costs: moderate, typically €1,000–1,600 per month for a two-bedroom apartment.
  • Commuting options: metro and bus lines cross the neighborhood.
  • Cars: easy access to the Paris ring road, and modern buildings often have allocated parking.
  • Recreation: a lot of bars, restaurants and nightclubs. The Pere Lachaise cemetery is the main green space, with pleasant tree-lined walks.
  • Shopping: small shops sell goods of all kinds, including many international foods.
  • Neighbourhood: these areas have more diverse architectures than in the city center. Low-cost housing dominates, as well as old buildings and more recent constructions.
  • Read more on the 19e and 20e arrondissement municipality website.

Where to live in Paris: Great for families

Septième (7e) arrondissement – Tour Eiffel

Apartments with a view of the Eiffel Tower, the stand-out landmark in this neighborhood, tend to be particularly expensive. The parks at the foot of the Eiffel Tower and at Invalides are great places for kids to play. The 7e is home to the Bilingual Montessori School of Paris and the American University in Paris.

7e arrondissement at a glance:

  • Location: south-west of the center, near the Eiffel Tower.
  • Housing costs: expensive, from €1,800 per month for a two-bedroom apartment.
  • Commuting options: metro and bus lines run through here. Cycling and walking are popular.
  • Cars: parking is limited and difficult. Traffic is typically congested by tour buses and coaches.
  • Recreation: museums include the world-famous Musée d’Orsay. Otherwise it’s somewhat quiet, with easy access to parks, the Seine and the rest of the city.
  • Shopping: typically small and independent. Expect to visit the green grocer, the baker, and the cheese shop.
  • Neighborhood: largely a traditional residential one, with many lovely old buildings.
  • Read more on the 7e arrondissement municipality website.

Seizième (16e) arrondissement – Passy

Popular among expats, this area has a thriving American community. It’s home to the International School of Paris, which offers an English-language school program, and the Eurecole, which provides French-language immersion programs and preparation for other European examinations (including British, German and Spanish). The neighborhood is peaceful, prosperous and laid-back.

Passy

16e arrondissement at a glance:

  • Location: at the western edge of the city, stretching from the Arc de Triomphe to the Bois de Boulogne.
  • Housing costs: moderate, typically €1,400–2,000 per month for a two-bedroom apartment.
  • Commuting options: metro and bus lines cross the area. Cycling is also possible.
  • Cars: parking tends to be expensive, and the traffic around the Arc de Triomphe is infamously hectic.
  • Recreation: charming restaurants and cafés line the streets. The area adjoins the extensive park of Bois de Boulogne.
  • Shopping: high-end stores near the Seine, more down-market farther out. Supermarkets often have international aisles.
  • Neighborhood: varied residential, from new apartment blocks overlooking the Seine to 17th-century town houses.
  • Read more on the 16e arrondissement municipality website.

Dix-septième (17e) arrondissement – Batignolles-Monceau

A mixed neighborhood, the 17e features both very expensive apartments and very affordable accommodation. Apartments are often larger than in the center, and family-friendly. It’s also home to the Collège International Honoré de Balzac. This is a state school (no fees to pay) which offers courses in other languages. Students in the international section typically spend six to eight hours per week working in their own language, the rest in French.

17e arrondissement at a glance:

  • Location: at the city’s north-west edge.
  • Housing costs: moderate, typically €1,600–2,000 per month for a two-bedroom apartment.
  • Commuting options: metro, bus and RER lines run through the area. Cycling is also popular.
  • Cars: parking is limited but possible. Easy access to the Paris ring road.
  • Recreation: plenty of small parks, cinemas and restaurants.
  • Shopping: mix of supermarkets, French and international food shops. Primarily smaller shops, some chain stores.
  • Neighbourhood: primarily residential area with some offices and larger businesses.
  • Read more on the 17e arrondissement municipality website.

Where to live in Paris: Great for peace and quiet

Sixième (6e) arrondissement – Luxembourg

The heart of the left bank, this area is also known as the Faubourg (suburb) Saint-Germain or Saint-Germain-des-Prés. Towards the end of the 20th century, the 6e went upmarket and is now one of the most expensive places to live in Paris. A lot of the anarchic, artistic life it was famous for has disappeared, leaving a pleasant, quiet neighborhood very close to the center.

6e arrondissement at a glance:

  • Location: directly south-west of the center.
  • Housing costs: expensive, typically €1,800-2,600 per month for a two-bedroom apartment.
  • Commuting options: good metro and bus connections. Walking and cycling are also possible.
  • Cars: limited parking and expensive.
  • Recreation: the extensive Jardin du Luxembourg is a pleasant park in which to walk, cycle or run.
  • Shopping: designer boutiques and independent food stores dominate.
  • Neighborhood: many beautiful old buildings now converted into apartments.
  • Read more on the 6e arrondissement municipality website.

Quatorzième (14e) arrondissement – Observatoire
Quinzième (15e) arrondissement – Vaugirard

The gare Montparnasse separates these two residential neighborhoods. It’s where trains from Brittany arrive, and the area is still home to many Breton restaurants. Look out for the savory and filling crêpes served with a mug of cider. Otherwise, both arrondissements are generally quiet, almost suburban. They tend to be busier closer to the center of Paris, around the station and along certain shopping streets.

Paris-cafe-scene

14e and 15e arrondissement at a glance:

  • Location: at the edge of the city, south and south-west of the center.
  • Housing costs: moderate, typically €1,400–1,900 per month for a two-bedroom apartment.
  • Commuting options: numerous bus and metro stops. Easy access to the Paris ring road.
  • Cars: few buildings have allocated parking. Paid-for parking often possible.
  • Recreation: some cinemas, bars and restaurants. Several charming small parks, including the larger Parc Montsouris.
  • Shopping: a mix of supermarkets, chain stores and small independent businesses scattered around the area. Regular markets.
  • Neighborhood: primarily residential. Mix of new tower blocks and traditional old buildings.
  • Read more on the 14e and 15e arrondissement municipality website.

Dix-huitième (18e) arrondissement – Buttes-Montmartre

The narrow streets around Sacré Cœur have a village feel. The area spills down the back of the hill, away from the center of Paris, to form a quiet, working-class neighborhood. At the southern edge, the border with the 9e is a busy tourist district. Some parts of this southern end can be rough, so it’s best to get a good grasp of the area before selecting a new home.

18e arrondissement at a glance:

  • Location: at the northern edge of the city.
  • Housing costs: affordable, typically €1,200-1,600 per month for a two-bedroom apartment.
  • Commuting options: bus and metro lines run through the district. Easy access to the Paris ring road.
  • Cars: some street parking is available but few homes have dedicated parking.
  • Recreation: the lively area of Pigalle is in the south, but the northern section tends to be quiet, with cinemas, restaurants and a few pretty parks.
  • Shopping: a number of traditional markets, plus supermarkets and independent shops.
  • Neighbourhood: a quiet, almost suburban feeling in the north. Busy and urban in the south.
  • Read more on the 18e arrondissement municipality website.

Where to live in Paris: Great for being active

Douzième (12e) arrondissement – Reuilly / Daumesnil

The Palais Omnisports is a major center for watching live sports, and has a skate park and running areas in the surrounding park. Rowing is possible on the Seine, and the Bois de Vincennes and the city’s raised park, the Coulée Verte, are popular among runners, walkers and cyclists.

Seine

12e arrondissement at a glance:

  • Location: on the south-east edge of the city.
  • Housing costs: moderate, typically €1,500–2,000 per month for a two-bedroom apartment.
  • Commuting options: metro and bus lines connect to the city center. Cycling is popular.
  • Cars: parking tends to be limited. Easy access to the Paris ring roads.
  • Recreation: numerous parks and sporting facilities, but little nightlife.
  • Shopping: supermarkets and small shops on most streets.
  • Neighborhood: residential district with lots of families.
  • Read more on the 12e arrondissement municipality website.

Treizième (13e) arrondissement – Gobelins / Porte d’Italie

From the floating swimming pool in the Seine to Chinatown, the 13e is a great place to enjoy Parisian lifestyle, and the leafy streets are an enjoyable cycle route. The area is primarily residential, with some large office blocks.

13e arrondissement at a glance:

  • Location: south-east edge of the city.
  • Housing costs: affordable, typically €1,200–1,700 per month for a two-bedroom apartment.
  • Commuting options: cycling is popular. Bus and metro lines cross the area.
  • Cars: easy access to the Paris ring road. Parking is difficult, as everywhere in Paris.
  • Recreation: there a several sports clubs, ranging from tennis to yoga.
  • Shopping: a few malls and larger supermarkets as well as many small independent shops.
  • Neighbourhood: many new high-rise apartment blocks are surrounded by 19th-century townhouses.
  • Read more on the 13e arrondissement municipality website.