Despite being located right in the heart of historic Paris, few visitors take the time to visit the 2nd arrondissement when frequenting the French capital. However, if you take the time to discover what this delightful district has to offer, then you’ll soon discover a wide array of foodie delights, lots of history, and a side of Paris that many don’t ever see. Here’s your neighbourhood guide to the 2nd arrondissement of Paris (2ème Arrondissement/ deuxième in French), including travel tips and things to do!
- Where is the second arrondissement?
- Things to do in the 2nd arrondissement
- Visit Galerie Vivienne
- Wander along Passage du Grand Cerf
- Visit Passage Choiseul
- Shop on rue Montorgueil
- Shop on rue du Nil
- Discover the smallest street in Paris
- Visit the oldest patisserie in Paris
- Wander down Passage de la Trinité
- Enjoy a Doughnut at Boneshaker Doughnuts
- Enjoy brunch at Sunday in Soho
- Eat truffle fries at Café Montorgueil
- Check out Tour Saint-Jean Sans Peur
- Enjoy a meal at Tigermilk Sentier
- Watch a movie at the Grand Rex
- Where to stay in the 2e arrondissement
Where is the second arrondissement?
The second arrondissement is one of the 20 arrondissements of Paris. The district is also referred to as ‘Sentier,’ ‘Montorgueil,’ and ‘Bourse’ as these are specific areas of the 2nd.
Parisian districts are labelled from 1 (in the very heart of the city) in a spiralling motion and so the 2nd arrondissement is directly to the North of the 1st arrondissement and is not far from the River Seine.
The French word ‘Bourse’ (and the name of the 2nd arrondissement) can quite literally be translated as ‘stock exchange,’ ‘trading,’ or ‘grant’. As this would suggest, the second arrondissement of the city is the financial one and as such, is home to the Parisian stock exchange as well as a myriad of banks and financial institutions.
The second arrondissement is the smallest arrondissement in Paris and is home to around 20,000 residents. None of this arrondissement touches the Seine. Instead, the 2nd arrondissement is sandwiched between the 1st, 3rd, 4th, (the 3rd and 4th are collectively known as Le Marais) 9th, and 10th arrondissements.
Things to do in the 2nd arrondissement
Visit Galerie Vivienne
Sumptuous and splendid, of all of the covered passages of Paris, Galerie Vivienne is probably the most ornate and likely the most beautiful. Galerie Vivienne itself was constructed in 1823 and is one of the most famous of the covered passages, not to mention the most ornately decorated.
After all, gilt golden moulds decorate the ceiling, parts of the passage walls are decked out in mirrors, and mosaic tile covers the floor. Particular highlights of the covered passage include the little pigs in the book window just outside of the rue Vivienne entrance to Galerie Vivienne and the wine bar of Legrand Filles et Fils.
Wander along Passage du Grand Cerf
Yet another covered passage in Paris (once upon a time some hundred and fifty covered passages of Paris could be found dotted across the city – today around two dozen remain) is that of Passage du Grand Cerf (passage of the big stag).
the passage connects Rue Saint-Denis with Rue Dussoubs and is so named for the wooden ‘cerf’ (stag’s head) hanging in the alley. Other animals adorning the shopfronts include a crab, an elephant, and a dragonfly, so look out for them on your visit!
Visit Passage Choiseul
If there’s one thing you should know about the second arrondissement of Paris, it’s that it’s a great place to spend a rainy day in Paris on account of the many covered passages across the city. Steps away from the Bourse de Paris and situated in the second arrondissement of the city, Passage Choiseul is a hidden gem tucked away from the bustling Haussmannian streets which surround it.
Today, the covered arcade boasts many chic shops on the ground floor, while the first floor is predominantly residential space, with a few exceptions of shops constructed over two floors. The passage is free to visit and is open to the general public from 8 am to 8 pm, Monday to Saturday and is closed on Sundays.
Shop on rue Montorgueil
Spanning a fairly long length between Les Halles Shopping complex and Sentier metro station (incidentally, Sentier was regarded to be one of the most dangerous places in Paris during the middle ages) one Paris street you simply cannot miss during your trip to the city is that of rue Montorgueil.
Largely pedestrianised, rue Montorgueil is well-known all across the city for being one of the best foodie destination streets. In France, it’s common to frequent a number of different stores in order to do your grocery shopping, going to a specialist cheese shop, vegetable shop, and butchers to get the freshest essentials. Rue Montorgueil has several each of Italian delis, ice cream shops, fromageries (cheese shops) and much, much more.
Shop on rue du Nil
Picturesque, quaint, and situated just a couple of streets away from one of the most famous shopping streets in Paris, that of rue Montorgueil, rue du Nil is a quaint road featuring many an independent store and produce shop.
Up until around a decade or so ago, the street was largely forgotten. A Parisian secret lying in the shadow of the iconic rue Montorgueil, the road was largely residential and little frequented. All of this changed, however, with the arrival of the chef, Gregory Marchand, when he opened an iconic ‘Frenchie’ restaurant on the road.
The dining venue soon became a sought after hotspot and from then on out, more foodie spots popped up on the street. Today, rue du Nil is a must-visit for authentic French food lovers and those wishing to cook back at their accommodation.
Discover the smallest street in Paris
One of the hidden gems of the 2nd arrondissement that many visitors to the city don’t know about is that of the smallest street in Paris, which is actually just a staircase for all intents and purposes. Rue des Degrès is just a 5.75-metre long stairway which can be found between rue Beauregard and rue de Clery
Visit the oldest patisserie in Paris
As well as boasting the secret gem of the smallest street in Paris, the second arrondissement of Paris also boasts the oldest patisserie in Paris. Illustrious, beautiful, and something of an insitution when it comes to Paris bakeries, Stohrer is the oldest still-in-operation boulangerie in the entirety of the capital, having been in business since 1730 when it was founded by Louis XV’s pastry chef.
Of all the bakeries in Paris, Stohrer may well be the most famous. Stohrer can be found at 51 rue Montorgueil. While at the bakery, be sure to check out the Baba au Rhum. This sweet dessert is typically created using a small yeast cake and some form of hard liquor (normally rum- as the name suggests).
The French pastry chef who is credited with creating the French version of Baba au Rhum, Nicolas Stohrer, is the very same man who established the oldest running pastry shop in Paris, Stohrer on rue Montorgueil. Even if you’re not planning on purchasing anything, a wander inside is well worth it, if only to see the delightful ceiling you’ll discover there.
Wander down Passage de la Trinité
If you’re looking for medieval Paris, then it’s never too far away when it comes to the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th arrondissements, in spite of the many Haussmannian renovations of the 19th-century. One particularly unique location in the second arrondissement is that of Passage de la Trinité.
The open-air passage is partially covered but pre-dates most of the other passages of Paris and links 164 rue Saint-Denis with 21 rue de Palestro. The name ‘Trinité’ derives from the location’s original function as the entranceway to the since demolished l’hôpital de la Trinité.
The passage itself was opened to the public in 1827. Today, the passage itself is home to no shops or restaurants, and is instead a residential street. Unfortunately, the passage is often used as a toilet by passersby and due to its unlit nature, should not be visited after dark.
Enjoy a Doughnut at Boneshaker Doughnuts
Situated in the ever-so-chic second arrondissement of the city, not far from rue du Nil and the illustrious semi-pedestrianised rue Montorgueil, Boneshaker Doughnuts serve up some of the sweetest treats to be found anywhere in central Paris.
American style handmade doughnuts that are completely vegan are freshly baked up on the day so head to the bakery fast as, when they sell out, they close for the day!
Please note that, thanks to a recent change of location, Boneshaker Doughnuts now has its own indoor seating where you can have coffee and sweets indoors (you can, of course, still opt to take your doughnuts to go!)
Enjoy brunch at Sunday in Soho
If there’s one thing you take away from this article, it’s that the 2nd arrondissement of the city is quite literally bursting with fantastic foodie places, all of which merit their place on this guide to the best of the second arrondissement.
My personal favourite brunch spot is that of Sunday in Soho, which can be found on the edge of the 2nd arrondissement, close to one of the entrances to Passage des Panoramas. This foodie delight destination serves a variety of large brunch portions throughout the week (and takes bookings- book here).
On the menu you’ll find mouthwatering avocado toasts, cocktails, speciality coffees, and all sorts of pancakes! For more foodie inspiration in the city, be sure to check out our guide to the best brunch in Paris here.
Eat truffle fries at Café Montorgueil
Hands down, one of the best places to enjoy truffle in Paris is at Café Montorgueil. As this bistro’s name would suggest, this café can be found on rue Montorgueil. The best thing to order are the truffle fries. And while at €10 they are pretty pricey, they’re best split between two people! Order together with a glass of crisp rosé for the perfect pairing…
Check out Tour Saint-Jean Sans Peur
Another cool hidden gem of the second arrondissement that many visitors miss out on in favour of more famous landmarks is that of Tour Saint-Jean-Sans-Peur. The tower dates all the way back to the 16th-century and is all that remains of Hôtel de Bourgogne, the residence first of the Counts of Artois and then the Dukes of Burgundy. For a small fee, the tower can be visited during certain times of the year.
Enjoy a meal at Tigermilk Sentier
One of the tastiest meals I’ve had in the second arrondissement of Paris was at Tigermilk Sentier. Tigermilk actually has a few restaurants across Paris, though I personally think the best location is in the 2e arrondissement of the city.
Serving up south American cuisine, on the menu you can expect to find dishes such as quesadillas, tacos, and nachos. The drinks are particularly tasty too and I personally enjoyed a lychee cocktail. If you’re a vegetarian then no problem as there are plenty of guacamole and cheesy options that are simply mouthwatering.
Watch a movie at the Grand Rex
The largest theatre cinema in Europe can be found in the Sentier area of the second arrondissement of Paris. The Grand Rex is particularly renowned for its incredible decor and is a must-visit for any movie buff who loves the cinema experience.
Where to stay in the 2e arrondissement
The Hoxton Hotel
Thanks to its central location, chic ambiance, and beautiful central courtyard that doubles as a lounge and restaurant area, The Hoxton Hotel is hands down the best place to stay in the second arrondissement of Paris. The hotel also happens to be one of the best places in the arrondissement to get brunch in Paris.
Set against the backdrop of an 18th-century Hôtel Particulier, the chic four-star hotel of The Hoxton boasts amenities such as contemporary bathrooms, a cocktail bar, and several other eateries. Check out prices and availability for The Hoxton here.
Hôtel du Sentier
The newly opened Hôtel du Sentier can be found in the quiet and laid back Square du Caire, which is just a few minutes walk away from the hustle and bustle largely pedestrianised street of rue Montorgueil.
Amenities of this four-star hotel include 30 brightly lit rooms featuring TVs and free WiFi, an in-hotel restaurant and bar, baggage storage, and a concierge service. Check prices and available for the hotel here.
Enjoyed reading this guide to the best things to do in the 2nd arrondissement? Pin this article now, read it again later: