Paris Neighborhood Guide for First-Time Visitors

Paris is one of the most pedestrian-friendly cities in the world. Travel with us as we take you on a tour to explore the hidden gems in each of the 20 arrondissements that make up the magnificent City of Light. 

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Wine and Cheese

Wine and Cheese

We love the French for their wine and cheese. Popular French wines, champagne, and cognacs are made in the Bordeaux, Alsace, Loire, Rhone and Bourgogne regions. Add a wedge or two of their world-famous cheese, like Brie or Camembert, into the mix and it's a perfect combination. 960 1280

artisteer, Getty Images  

Cannes Film Festival

Cannes Film Festival

We love French actors and actresses who attend the Cannes Film Festival, including the lovely and talented Juliette Binoche. 960 1280

Michael Buckner/Getty Images  

Tourist Attractions (Eiffel Tower and More)

Tourist Attractions (Eiffel Tower and More)

We love the French for their amazing sights and tourist attractions, including the Eiffel Tower (pictured), Notre Dame, Sacre Coeur, Fontainebleau Castle, Arc de Triomphe, Pyrenees National Park and, yes, even Disneyland Paris. 960 1280

fromn, Getty Images  

Beef Bourguignon

Beef Bourguignon

We love hearty French meals like beef bourguignon (pictured) and rabbit stew. We also like other French classics, like escargot, foie gras and mussels. 960 1280

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Tour de France

Tour de France

We love watching the final laps of the Tour de France as the cyclists push themselves through the streets of Paris to be the first to cross the finish line. 960 1280

Angus Oburn, Getty Images  

Bakeries

Bakeries

We can't forget about the numerous bakeries that line the streets of small towns and big cities in France. Le Boulanger de Monge, Au 140, and Le Notre are just a few places known for the French-style baking, baguettes and flakey croissants. 960 1280

Tibor Bognar, Getty Images  

Fashion Week

Fashion Week

We'd be remiss if we didn't mention the wonderful fashion created by popular French designers Coco Chanel, Pierre Cardin, Jean-Paul Gaultier, Christian Dior and Yves Saint Laurent. 960 1280

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Crème Brulee

Crème Brulee

We love French desserts like crème brulee (pictured), chocolate mousse and flan. 960 1280

Meelis Endla, shutterstock.com  

Cafe Culture

Cafe Culture

We love how the French spend time with friends and family at cafes in Paris' Le Marais neighborhood. Grab a cup of coffee and a croissant, sit outside and let the people-watching begin. 960 1280

Ivan Mateev / Shutterstock.com  

Opera Houses

Opera Houses

We love the French for their big opera houses like Opera Garnier (pictured) and Opera de Paris. France has also been the setting for numerous musicals and operas, including Phantom of the Opera, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Les Miserables and Beauty and the Beast. 960 1280

Frederic Legrand - COMEO / Shutterstock.com  

Statue of Liberty

Statue of Liberty

The Statue of Liberty is another reason we love the French. France gave us the 151-foot gift as an expression of friendship and the ideal of liberty and freedom. 960 1280

Travelpix Ltd, Getty Images  

Open-Air Markets

Open-Air Markets

We love shopping at markets for food and rare antiques. Open-air markets, like Paris' Rue Montogueil, are usually the best places to find fresh food. 960 1280

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The Louvre

The Louvre

We love The Louvre, the home of Leonardo daVinci's 'Mona Lisa.' Visitors can also view art from French impressionists, like Monet and Manet. 960 1280

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Marie Antoinette

Marie Antoinette

We love Marie Antoinette for leaving us with the immortal line 'Let them eat cake.' The Queen of France was convicted of treason during the height of the French Revolution and beheaded in 1793 at Place de la Concorde in Paris. 960 1280

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French Riviera

French Riviera

We love the French Riviera and all of its celebrity hot spots, including Casino Square in Monte Carlo (pictured), the Cannes Film Festival and the Grand Prix in Monaco. 960 1280

Katja Kreder, Getty Images  

Moulin Rouge

Moulin Rouge

We love the French for creating the infamous can-can dance made popular by the cabaret dancers at the Moulin Rouge. Hundreds of people pack the venue, located in Paris' red-light district. 960 1280

Bruce Yuanyue Bi, Getty Images  

Normandy

Normandy

We love France's rich history including the French Revolution, the Allied Forces' invasion of Normandy during World War II (pictured) and the controversial leader Napoleon Bonaparte. 960 1280

Walter Bibikow, Getty Images  

Quiche

Quiche

Quiche is the ultimate all-in-one meal: chopped meat, vegetables, cheese and eggs in a flaky pastry crust. What's not to love? 960 1280

Stevens Fremont, Getty Images  

Palace of Versailles

Palace of Versailles

We love the French for their opulent castles and palaces including the Palace of Versailles. It was home to King Louis XIV and the royal family, and the center of political power in France from 1682 to 1789. 960 1280

Veronica Garbutt, Getty Images  

Take a look at this nostalgic sign from when the Paris Metro first opened in 1900 for the World's Fair. Today it is the second busiest train system in the world. The official name is Compagnie du chemin de fer metropolitain de Paris. Try saying that fast a couple times. 960 1280

  

It's never a good idea to kidnap children, but this sign is posted in Paris just in case there's any doubt. 960 1280

  

Heading to the Arc de Triomphe? Walk through the underground tunnel to avoid the hectic traffic on the Champs-Élysées. 960 1280

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Your trip to Paris isn't complete without seeing the Notre Dame Cathedral. You may get a glimpse of the infamous hunchback Quasimodo. 960 1280

Thinkstock  

This Champs-Élysées Avenue sign is perfect for shopping aficionados. It's a clear indication that Paris' strip of boutiques and commercial stores, including Nike and Haagen Dazs, are just a few feet ahead. 960 1280

  

Are the seeing-impaired or blind really going to notice this crosswalk signal specifically designed for them? Well the likelihood that they'll see it is really slim. 960 1280

  

Here's another retro Metro sign, which marks and entrance and exit to Paris' labyrinth of train lines. 960 1280

Photographer: Bert Heydel  

As a word of caution or interest, you're strolling through Paris' infamous red-light district or the Pigalle neighborhood if you see several signs like this one. 960 1280

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It's clear! No bikes, motorcycles or mopeds are allowed near the Eiffel Tower, one of Paris' biggest tourist attractions. 960 1280

  

Cross the street with caution! Hundreds of cars race through Place Charles de Gaulle aka Place de l'Etoile, a traffic circle and meeting point for 12 avenues, including the Champs-Élysées. 960 1280

Hemera Technologies  

This traffic sign has a universal message no matter where you're traveling around the world. It's a tow-away zone in Paris; so, make sure you avoid parking nearby. 960 1280

  

We're puzzled by this 'night and day' sign. So does this mean that there's are no days or nights in Paris. It's confusing, right? 960 1280

Thinkstock  

Get your can-can on at the well-renowned Moulin Rouge, located in Pigalle or Paris' red-light district. 960 1280

  

We thought that old-school detective offices were a thing of the past, but this 1930s-style neon sign marks the location of the well-known Duluc Detective Agency on the Rue de Louvre. It looks like they're open for business. 960 1280

  

Seine River

Seine River

Begin your tour of Paris with a stroll along the Seine River. Explore Île Saint-Louis and Île de la Cité, 2 small islands linked to the banks of the Seine by a series of bridges. Head to Île de la Cité to see the Notre Dame Cathedral or head east to visit the charming hotels, cozy restaurants and small shops. 960 1280

Ekaterina Pokrovsky, Istock  

The Louvre

The Louvre

Be one of 8 million people who flock to the Louvre each year. This grand art museum houses 35,000 masterpieces, including the great Venus de Milo, Leonardo da Vinci’s "Mona Lisa," Eugene Delacroix’s “Liberty Leading the People” and, in the Egyptian wing, “The Seated Scribe.” If it’s your first visit, we recommend taking the introductory guided tour for an overview of the museum’s most famous works. 960 1280

Christophe Lehenaff, Getty Images  

Moulin Rouge

Moulin Rouge

Eat dinner and see a show at the Moulin Rouge -- the birthplace of can-can in its modern form. Located in Paris’ Pigalle district, this tourist attraction was co-founded in 1889 by businessmen Charles Zidler and Joseph Oller. Artists of all stripes soon flocked to the cabaret, including French painter Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec and, in the decades to come, singer Edith Piaf. 960 1280

Valerie Loiseleux, iStock  

Palace of Versailles

Palace of Versailles

Take a day trip outside of Paris and explore the Palace of Versailles. This enormous castle and gardens was once home to 3 generations of French kings and queens, including Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette, the last reigning king and queen of France. See the Hall of Mirrors, the Chapelle Royale, the Grand Trianon, estate of Marie-Antoinette and beautiful gardens. Between April and October, the Musical Fountains Show is worth seeing. 960 1280

VERONICA GARBUTT, Getty Images  

Montmartre and the Sacre Coeur Basilica

Montmartre and the Sacre Coeur Basilica

Walk the cobblestone streets of Montmartre and make the steep climb to visit the Sacre Coeur Basilica, also known as the Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Paris. The basilica is located at the highest point in the city, making it the perfect place for panoramic views of Paris. 960 1280

DanitaDelimont.com, Getty Images  

Eiffel Tower

Eiffel Tower

French engineer Gustave Eiffel spent 2 years trying to erect the Eiffel Tower for the World’s Fair in 1889. And once he did, Parisians were not immediate fans of the metal monument. Today, of course, it has become part of the city’s familiar landscape. We recommend making a stop at the tower at night to see the amazing light show that usually ends at 1 a.m. 960 1280

Steve Lorillere, Getty Images  

Disneyland Paris

Disneyland Paris

For tourists looking for some amusement park fun, we recommend visiting Disneyland Paris. Although the park has been molded to appeal to European tastes (it has plenty of patio seats for outdoor eating), it is still styled similar to the original theme park, with a Main Street U.S.A., Frontierland, Adventureland, Fantasyland and Discoveryland. 960 1280

Pawel Libera, Getty Images  

Pont Alexandre III and Grand Palais

Pont Alexandre III and Grand Palais

Cross over the River Seine, by walking along the ornate Pont Alexandre III bridge, to see Grand Palais. The main exhibition space hosts large-scale shows. Previous must-see art shows included an Edward Hopper retrospective, “Marie Antoinette,” and “Picasso and the Masters.” We suggest you book tickets online before you go. 960 1280

Arjan de Jager, iStock  

Musee d'Orsay

Musee d'Orsay

For art lovers, we suggest a visit to the Musée d'Orsay. Once a railway station, this museum now holds mainly French art dating from 1848 to 1915. It houses the largest collection of impressionist and post-impressionist masterpieces in the world. Monet, Degas, Renoir and van Gogh are just a few painters whose works are on display at the museum. 960 1280

Atlantide Phototravel, Getty Images  

Arc de Triomphe

Arc de Triomphe

One of the most famous monuments in Paris, the Arc de Triomphe honors those who fought and died for France in the French Revolutionary and the Napoleonic Wars. Located in the center of the Place Charles de Gaulle -- at the west end of the Champs-Elysees -- the monument has the names of all French victories and generals inscribed on its surface. There is a vault beneath the arc that holds the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier from World War I. 960 1280

Lydia Shalet, iStock  

Champ-Elysees

Champ-Elysees

Champs-Elysees is to Paris what Times Square is to New York City. This famous avenue is a popular destination for shoppers with deep pockets, but shopping isn’t the only reason why people flock to this area. Stop by the statue-lined plaza-terrace at the Place du Trocadero for the city’s best view of the Eiffel Tower. Check out a world-class collection of art from all over Asia at the Musee Guimet. Choose from more than 2 dozen flavors of macaroons at Laduree. 960 1280

alxpin, Istock  

Notre Dame Cathedral

Notre Dame Cathedral

The bishop of Paris from 1160 to 1196, Maurice de Sully spearheaded the movement to rebuild a cathedral dedicated to the Virgin Mary. Located on the Île de la Cité, Notre Dame Cathedral offers guided tours, but the 360-degree views of the city are what’s really amazing and not to be missed. 960 1280

gbarm, Istock  

Palais Garnier Opera House of Paris

Palais Garnier Opera House of Paris

Built between 1861 and 1875, the Palais Garnier is known for its opulence and architecture, and, most notably, for being the setting for Gaston Leroux’s 1910 novel, The Phantom of the Opera. Palais Garnier does provide unaccompanied tours, which also include a walk through the Paris Opera Library-Museum. Designed by Charles Garnier, this palatial, nearly 2,000-seat opera house is now primarily used for ballet performances. 960 1280

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Les Marais

Les Marais

Les Marais is the cool neighborhood in Paris, with hip boutiques, art galleries, designer hotels and fashion houses. Although Les Marais is the hub of the city’s gay community, there are numerous must-see attractions here, including Place des Vosges, the oldest square in Paris, Musee Carnavalet, a museum that shows how Paris has evolved, Musee des Arts et Metiers, Europe’s oldest science museum, and Centre Pompidou, which houses a large public reading library and the National Museum of Modern Art. 960 1280

DanitaDelimont.com, Getty Images  

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