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Street sign in the 9th arrondissement

There are so many beautiful areas of Paris, that it can be hard to know where to stay when planning a city break in the French capital.

To help you choose, we’ve put together a guide to the different districts of Paris to give you an idea of where to stay, depending on the kind of city break you want.

Paris is divided up into 20 districts, called arrondissements. You can always tell which arrondissement you’re in by looking at the street signs. Above the name of the street you’ll see a number, followed by Arrt., this is the number of the district you are in.

map of central Paris

What does the Paris district number mean?

The districts are numbered from 1, starting on the Île de la Cité in the centre of the town and spiralling out clockwise to 20.

South of the river you’ll find the 5th, 6th, 7th, 13th, 14th and 15th arrondissements, and north of the river the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 8th, 9th, 10th, 11th, 12th, 16th, 17th, 18th, 19th and 20th.

The south side of Paris is called the Rive Gauche (left bank) and the north, the Rive Droite (right bank).

The Rive Gauche was historically considered the more arty, bohemian part of the city, but some of the outer northern districts, once quite rough and rundown, are seeing regeneration and have become quite cool and edgy.

People sitting outside on the terrace of the cafe de Flore in St Germain des Pres

Choosing the right district of Paris to stay in

Paris is very much a city to be walked around – who wants to go on holidays and find themselves on public transport all the time? So, when choosing the area of Paris to base yourself in, it’s a good idea to think about what you want to do on your break, and stay within walking distance of the main places you want to visit.

Depending on whether you are travelling with children, on a budget, or with a specific activity in mind, the best area to stay in will be different.


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