In every city, there are certain things that you should see, do, visit and eat. And of course, Paris is no exception! So, whenever I think of Paris, a few must see Paris attractions and districts always seem to pop into mind. The Eiffel Tower, Arc de Triomphe and a stroll along the Champs Élysées to name but a few…
Here is a complete guide to the must-see attractions in Paris, and the areas in which to find them. Some are those places are where you’ll find the hottest tourist attractions, others are further off the beaten path and are some of the more unusual things to do in Paris…
Must See Paris: The districts and areas you must not miss on a trip to the city of lights!
Le Marais (3rd and 4th arrondissements)
Situated in the very heart of the city, le Marais should make your Paris bucket list whether it is your first, or even 100th time, to the city! With gems to visit like the red-bricked Place des Vosges (the oldest public square in the city) as well as small museums such as Musée Carnavalet (one of those museums for people who hate museums; situated in an old mansion and filled with the gory details following the history of Paris), there’s plenty to see and do for everyone.
Oh, and I’ve not even started mentioning the fact that le Marais is home to what may well be the oldest house in Paris, or that Nicolas Flamel lived in the area! You know, that famous alchemist from Harry Potter… Elsewhere in the district, there’s even a former turreted mansion turned library that you can visit for free, and even study or work in- the WiFi is pretty speedy!
Read More: A Guide to Le Marais
Montmartre (18th arrondissement)
Montmartre has long been the muse of artists, writers and actors alike. And even just a short visit to the area should give you a clue as to why. Visiting the district is as close a step back in time as you’ll get to the Paris of yesteryear, specifically the Paris of the early 1900s when Picasso, Renoir, and Van Gogh inhabited the 18th arrondissement.
Filled with small museums, cobbled lanes, and even its own hidden vineyard, Montmartre has quickly become one of my favourite haunts of the city. Be sure not to miss the Sacre-Coeur (though its high elevation and sheer size mean that it is pretty difficult to miss!) as well as Place Dalida (what may well be the prettiest square in all of Paris).
Read More: A Guide to Montmartre
Latin Quarter (5th and 6th arrondissements)
The Latin Quarter is so-called after students from the Sorbonne University located in the area. In the middle ages, students would learn, write and even converse in the now dead language. It was so common to hear Latin spoken in the area, despite French being in its early stages, that the area came to be known as the ‘Latin Quarter’.
This is one of those Paris must see locations and should not be missed on any trip to the city of love. Home to good eats and even better shops, it’s here that you can find quirky bookstores such as Shakespeare and Co, as well as the Abbey Bookshop.
Saint Germain des Prés (6th arrondissement)
The area of Saint Germain, not far from the Seine and close to the Eiffel Tower, is probably the chicest arrondissement in all of Paris. It’s here you’ll find iconic cafés like that of Café de Flore, pricey boutique, quirky design shops and an abundance of florists selling peonies.
Oh, and if you’re searching for something a little more unusual, you can see the Church of Saint-Sulpice. Allegedly it is through this ancient place of worship that the Rose Line, made famous by the Da Vinci Code, runs… Nearby, the picturesque Jardin du Luxembourg, a stunning set of gardens commissioned by Catherine de Medici herself, are well worth a wander through.
Read more: Da Vinci Code Filming locations in Paris.
Opera/ Pigalle (9th and 18th arrondissements)
In the area surrounding the base of the large hill that is Montmartre, you’ll find even more Paris must see locations and attractions. Home to one of two major Parisian opera houses, the infamous ‘Moulin Rouge’ and plenty more off the beaten path sights, my favourite rooftop terrace is also situated in the area. ‘Printemps’ department store is not only the word for spring in Paris, but one of the best places from which to see the Eiffel Tower in the city…
Read more: Coffee and a View at Printemps
Belleville/ Père Lachaise (parts of 10th, 11th, 19th, and 20th arrondissements)
When I lived in Paris, this area- and more specifically, Rue Oberkampf- was my home, and so I’m pretty sure that the 11e arrondissement will always have an extra large spot in my Paris-shaped heart. Nearby, you’ll also find the site of the infamous Père Lachaise cemetery, the final resting place of greats such as Jim Morrison, Oscar Wilde, and Chopin.
Elsewhere in the district, the area is filled with great and inexpensive eateries, as well as plenty of green spaces. The park at Belleville is the location of the few remaining Parisian vineyards and also offers spectacular panoramic views of the Eiffel Tower and beyond.
Canal Saint-Martin (10th arrondissement)
If you’re truly looking for a district where all the locals hang out, then you simply must head to the 10e arrondissement of the city, specifically Canal Saint Martin. Forget the Seine, because this is where you can walk along the waters edge, enjoy Parisian picnics during the summer months, and hang out in plenty of trendy bars along the canal.
Read more: A quick guide to Canal Saint Martin.