"Where is that hotel / restaurant / sight ?" Arrondissements - Sections of Paris Tip by Beausoleil

  6th Arrondissement street sign
by Beausoleil
 
  • 6th Arrondissement street sign - Paris
      6th Arrondissement street sign
    by Beausoleil
  • Note the arrondissement designation above the name - Paris
      Note the arrondissement designation above the name
    by Beausoleil
  • 16th Arrondissement walking to Trocadero - Paris
      16th Arrondissement walking to Trocadero
    by Beausoleil
  • Montparnasse Tower, 15th Arrondissement - Paris
      Montparnasse Tower, 15th Arrondissement
    by Beausoleil
  • 3rd Arrondissement street sign - Paris
      3rd Arrondissement street sign
    by Beausoleil
 

Favorite thing: What is an arrondissement? It is a section or district in the city.

Paris is made up of 20 districts, each having its own city hall and administration. These districts are called arrondissements and arranged starting in the center of town on the Seine and going around in a snail-like pattern. The snail makes it difficult to figure out where you are.

#1 is in the center of town on the north side of the Seine and called the Right Bank; #2 is above it so not near the river. #3 is east so also not on the river. Then you turn south to #4 that is actually beside #1 and on the Seine.

Next you cross the Seine still headed south and come to the Left Bank (south side of the Seine) and arrondissement #5 that is called the Latin Quarter because it is where the universities are and they all used to speak Latin. Relax, they don't do that now!

Continue west along the Seine on the Left Bank (south side) into arrondissement #6 or the St. Germain district. This has many famous literary associations. Continue west along the Seine toward the Eiffel Tower into arrondissement #7.

You again cross the Seine to the Right Bank (north side) into arrondissement 8 and the snail continues up and east, then down and west and repeats until you end at #20 on the eastern side of the city.

The postal code in the address is the key to finding what you are looking for. If you are looking for a place to stay, any of the central arrondissements are near tourist attractions and safe. Look for arrondissements #1, 4, 5, 6 and 7 for starters. If you find a hotel you like, look at the address. The last two digits of the postal code are the arrondissement number. Hence, a postal code ending in 05 would be in the 5th arrondissement or Latin Quarter; a postal code ending in 06 would be in the 6th arrondissement or St. Germain district. You get the idea.

To further confuse the issue, some arrondissements have popular names. #5 is the Latin Quarter; #6 is St. Germain; #4 is the Marais and they are often referred to by these names instead of their numbers. The word-names are a bit more fluid than the numbers so use the numbers when looking for hotels, restaurants and tourist sights.

Paris is a very well organized city. 8^)

Fondest memory: Too many to print . . .

Miss the most: everything.

Review Helpfulness: 4.5 out of 5 stars

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  • Updated Jul 30, 2012
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