Paris is easily one of the most beautiful and most recognizable cities in the world. From the iconic Eiffel Tower, to the intricate façade of Notre Dame, to the imposing Arc de Triomphe, the City of Lights has no shortage of famous landmarks. But anyone who knows Paris knows that these places don’t define the city. To truly experience its essence, you have to explore. You have to duck into the tiny corner café and drink espresso next to a local. You have to buy a bottle of wine and sit on the quay of the Seine while watching the sunlight change on the horizon. You have to get lost in the narrow, winding streets. Wandering is at the heart of Paris’ charm. It is through wandering that visitors and locals alike continually discover the hidden gems of the city. Read on to learn more about five adorable neighborhoods nestled in the heart of Paris.
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This is perhaps one of the most Instagrammable places ever. Located in Paris' 12th district near Gare de Lyon, this street is full of brightly-colored houses. The pink, blue, and green dwellings stand in stark contrast to the classic gray and white Haussmannian buildings that Paris is famous for. They look like they belong in a beach-side Mediterranean town, a contrast that is certainly a feast for the eyes. Be sure to notice other charming details on this street like flower boxes, intricate door knockers, and murals. To reach Rue Crémieux, take subway line 5 and get off at stop Quai de la Rapée. If you’re in need of a break, check out Les Embruns, a small crȇperie that has an authentic French feel.
Located in Paris’ 13th district, this small neighborhood is filled with flower-inspired street names. The neighborhood plunges visitors into another world. Once you enter, the sounds of traffic disappear and you find yourself all alone. You’ll think you’re in the French countryside rather than the capital. Ivy climbs up the walls of the brick houses, cobblestones line the roads, and flowers bloom in front of every house. Make sure to visit this area if you ever need a break from the busyness of Paris. To reach Cité Florale, take subway line 7 and get off at stop Tolbiac. For a great place to eat near the Tolbiac station, head to Le Numéro 13. Their specials change daily, but you can always be sure to find classic French dishes.
This neighborhood was founded in the early 20th century as a place for factory workers to live. In the past 100 years, it has transformed into one of the most unique and sought-after places to live in Paris. What makes this area unique is the fact that all of the structures are one-or-two story houses, as opposed to apartments. The neighborhood is mostly sheltered from the noise of the city due to its location. In order to reach this area, you must climb a very steep set of stairs (a fact that deters most potential visitors). However, the climb is absolutely worth it. To reach La Campagne, take subway line 3 and get off at stop Porte de Bagnolet. After your visit, walk to La Bifurcation, a French-African fusion restaurant with a huge terrace for outdoor seating.
Cité des Fleurs
Not to be confused with another neighborhood on this list (Cité Florale), Cité des Fleurs is located in the 17th district. This neighborhood is partially gated meaning that pedestrian walking hours are limited to daytime hours and no motorized traffic is permitted. Because of this, Cité des Fleurs is perhaps one of the calmest areas in Paris. It is also bursting with plant life, from flowers to palm trees. Each house has unique details like colored doors, engravings, and wrought-iron balconies. To reach Cité des Fleurs, take subway line 13 and get off at stop Brochant. Make sure to make a stop at Le Comptoir Brochant before leaving the neighborhood. This restaurant has great happy hour specials on wine and champagne and often features live jazz performances.
La Petite Alsace
This neighborhood takes its name from the Alsace region in eastern France, a region that the French and the Germans fought over for many decades. Many aspects of culture were shared as a result of these conflicts, notably German architectural styles. In Alsace, many houses bear external timber frames as was customary in Germany. These same features were recreated in La Petite Alsace neighborhood in Paris’ 13th district, giving the area a very German feel. All of the houses are arranged around a central garden which is a very unique arrangement in Paris. To reach La Petite Alsace, take subway line 6 and get off at stop Corvisart. For a great value restaurant, look no further than L’Esperance. This small, family-owned restaurant has a calm atmosphere, the staff is friendly, and you’re sure to eat well.
Wander around and find Paris' adorable neighborhoods
During your next trip to Paris, why not wander around and discover some of the city’s most unique dwellings? You’ll be transported to entirely different places without ever having to leave the city. When visiting, please remember that these locations are neighborhoods. Keep noise to a minimum and try not to be too intrusive when taking photographs.