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Table of Contents
- Introducing the Paris 1st Arrondissement
- The Seat of Power of the French Kings
- The Belly of Paris
- 1st Arrondissement Paris Hotels
- Top Attractions in the 1st Arrondissement of Paris
- Unique Things to Do in the First Arrondissement
- Restaurants in 1st Arrondissement
- Paris First Arrondissement Directory
- Want to Explore Beyond the 1st Arrondissement?
Introducing the Paris 1st Arrondissement
From Place Vendome to the Ile de la Cité and the Louvre, the 1st arrondissement is one of the oldest districts of Paris. It is also the district of the Kings of France, where they lived with their courts first in the Palais de la Cité and later in the Louvre Palace.
Here, visitors will find some of the most sumptuous historical buildings like the Conciergerie, the Sainte-Chapelle, the Louvre Palace, or the Saint-Germain-l’Auxerrois Church.
In Paris 1st Arrondissement we can also find most of the Royal Squares in Paris. These squares were originally quiet places for a stroll designed to admire the statue of the sovereign. Place Dauphine (1614), Place des Victoires (1686), and Place Vendôme (1699) are the Royal Squares in the first arrondissement.
The neighboring streets in the 1st Arrondissement are mainly devoted to retail and sometimes luxury shopping, particularly on the way to Place Vendôme.
The 1st Arrondissement is the smallest and the least populated district of Paris, mainly occupied by the Louvre and the Tuileries Gardens. It is divided into four neighborhoods: Saint-Germain-l’Auxerrois, Halles, Palais Royal, and Vendôme.
Since 2020, the first Arrondissement is governed locally together with the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th arrondissements, with which it forms the 1st sector of Paris.
The Seat of Power of the French Kings
Since Roman times, Ile de la Cité is the heart of Paris. The western side, in Paris 1, was the residence and seat of power of the Kings of France, where the main civil institutions were located. The eastern side, in Paris 4, was consecrated to religion, especially after the 10th-century construction of a cathedral preceding today’s Notre Dame.
One of the oldest buildings in Paris, the Conciergerie, is the main vestige of the former Palais de la Cité, home to the kings of France from the 10th to the 14th century. The immense palace also included the current Palais de Justice and the splendid Sainte-Chapelle built by Saint-Louis.
In the 16th century, King Francis I converted the Louvre into the French Kings’ primary residence. The Louvre Palace became the new seat of power until 1682 when King Louis XIV chose the Palace of Versailles as his main residence.
The Belly of Paris
Nestled between the Palais Royal and Île Saint-Louis, Les Halles neighborhood is named after the old market area of Paris. In 1183, King Philippe II Auguste enlarged this marketplace and built a shelter for the merchants, who came from all over the country to sell their wares at ‘the Belly of Paris.’ In the ’70s, the market was transferred to Rungis in the Val-de-Marne suburb.
During the last years, Les Halles neighborhood has become a modern and vibrant place to be with a new set of gardens, a bigger pedestrian area, a huge shopping mall, and many restaurants. The surrounding streets, Rue Montorgueil, Rue Quincampoix, and Rue Tiquetonne, provide a pleasant stroll through the area.
When night falls, the bars are packed, and artists invade Place des Halles to participate in street performances.
1st Arrondissement Paris Hotels
Hotels in 1st Arrondissement Paris tend to be more expensive than in other areas, but they are super central and within walking distance to the main tourist sites. This area of Paris is served by metro line 1. One of the few automatic metro lines of Paris, you are sure the line 1 will be running even during the worst transportation strikes in Paris!
As you make your bed, so you lie. Find the right accommodation in Paris 1 – whether it’s a hotel or guesthouse, holiday apartment, or private apartment. We have them all! Book your accommodation by using the map below.
SUGGESTED HOTELS PARIS 1st ARRONDISSEMENT
RITZ PARIS – Paris 1 $$$$
Ranked among the world’s most luxurious hotels and recently renovated, the Ritz is a glamorous hotel with the perfect location (Place Vendôme) and interesting history. Featured in many notable works of fiction, the Ritz hosted people like Chanel, Hemingway, and Princess Diana of Wales.
NORMANDY HOTEL – Paris 1 $$$
The Normandy Hotel has an excellent location (5 min walk to the Louvre or the Tuileries Garden). The architecture of the building is beautiful, too, with the charm of the Belle Époque. Rooms have an exclusive atmosphere, all decorated with that French style furniture and fabrics. Don’t miss the hotel’s bar, a real institution in Paris.
HOTEL LOUVRE RICHELIEU – Paris 1 $$$
Located in a historical building facing the Palais Royal, the Hotel Richelieu’s decoration is pleasantly contemporary inside. The ensuite rooms are cozy and large by the Paris standards.
Top Attractions in the 1st Arrondissement of Paris
Without any further ado, let’s check the most interesting things to see and do in the First Arrondissement of Paris.
1- Sainte-Chapelle – this Royal Chapel built in Gothic style for the private use of the King and his family, hosted some of the Holy Relics. The Higher Capel features a truly exceptional collection of stained glass windows, and it is on our list of top things to do in Paris.
2- Conciergerie – this medieval palace was home to the Kings of France until the 14th century. The Conciergerie then took on a judicial role and became one of the principal places of detention during the French Revolution, with the installation of the Revolutionary Court. Don’t miss the stunning Salle des Gardes (Guards Room) and the Salle des Gens d’Armes (Hall of the soldiers), both built under King Philip the Fair in Gothic style.
3- Musée du Louvre – the world’s best museum was home to the French Kings from the 14th century until the 17th century when King Louis XIV moved to Versailles. Visit the Louvre’s main artworks but also take the time to explore the magnificent rooms and halls of the former Louvre Palace.
4- The Tuileries Gardens – these beautiful gardens originally surrounding the Tuileries Palace, were commissioned in the 16th century by Queen Cathérine de Médicis. Designed by André Le Nôtre, the same landscape designer who designed the Versailles Gardens, the Tuileries Gardens are the oldest public gardens in Paris and a pleasant place for a stroll between the Louvre and Place de la Concorde.
5- Palais Royal – commissioned by the Cardinal Richelieu in 1633, the Palais Royal housed royal families until the Palace of Versailles was built. The Palace receives visitors only during special occasions, but the surrounding gardens are a beautiful and quiet place for a break. The 260 black and white Buren columns are definitely worth a visit too.
6- Seine Cruise – sail along Paris’ most beautiful avenue and admire the city’s most iconic landmarks during the day or lit up at night. There are many Seine river cruises in Paris, with or without a meal, and they are all a good way to see Paris from a different point of view.
7- Place Vendôme (and its stylish stores) – considered the most elegant of the royal squares in Paris, Place Vendôme is home to Napoleon’s column, the Ritz Paris, and some of the most exclusive jewelry shops in the French capital.
Unique Things to Do in the First Arrondissement
In our Paris Arrondissement Guides, we like to encourage people to beat the crowds and explore Paris beyond its main sights. Despite being the central and one of the most touristy districts of Paris, there are many unique things to see and do beyond the Louvre and the Tuileries Gardens.
Below, the list of unique things to do in the 1st Arrondissement of Paris we believe you shouldn’t miss:
8- Coffee at Place Dauphine on a sunny day – this elegant royal square is a beautiful and quiet place for a coffee or quick lunch break. Choose your favorite café or bistro, sit outside and watch life passing by in Paris.
9- Saint Germain L’Auxerrois Church – Situated opposite the Louvre Museum, the origins of this church date back to the Merovingians in the 9th century! The current church was built between the 12th and 16th centuries, and it is one of the most beautiful churches in Paris.
10 – Musée de l’Orangerie – Don’t miss this beautiful museum, located on the western end of the Tuileries Garden. Inside impressively sized rooms, the Musée de la l’Orangerie houses a series of large Water Lilies paintings, which are masterpieces offered by Monet himself to France in 1922. The lower ground floor houses a fantastic collection dedicated to the great names of the 20th century: Renoir, Cezanne, Matisse, Picasso, Soutine, and more.
11- The oldest public Clock in Paris – this clock has been giving time to Parisians since 1371!
12- Bourse de Commerce (Commodities Exchange) – This historical building was the place to negotiate the trade of grain and other commodities. The Bourse de Commerce is today the new exhibition space for the Pinault Collection. Don’t miss the view from the third floor: Saint Eustache church, the Halles’ Canopée, the Centre Pompidou, and the Paris rooftops.
13- Les Halles’ Canopy – Don’t miss the Canopy, the huge and magnificent curvilinear roof that covers the new Forum des Halles and dominates the neighborhood. According to its architect, the curvilinear shapes of the Canopy are the synthesis of all natural, urban energies and flows, acting on the site or even from the pressure exerted by the memory of the place and the neighborhood.
14- A picnic on the banks of the Seine River – the banks of the Seine River are one of the most popular picnic spots in Paris, a locals’ must. Vin, fromage & baguette, the city’s iconic roofs, the Bateaux Mouches . . . Paris as its best!
Restaurants in 1st Arrondissement
The 1st Arrondissement is one of the most touristy districts of Paris so expect to pay higher prices than in other arrondissements. However, from time to time, we also find some little gems, especially in the Les Halles neighborhood.
Don’t you know where to find the best restaurants in the 1st Arrondissement? Here, some of the best restaurants in Paris 1 proposing good French cuisine.
» Le Roch Restaurant, Bar & More – 28 Rue Saint-Roch, 75001 Paris. With a cozy and chic atmosphere, this beautiful restaurant offers elaborated and beautifully presented dishes served by a kind and attentive staff. If the weather is good, try to get a table in the garden.
» Au Pied de Cochon – 6 Rue Coquillière, 75001 Paris. This beautiful restaurant with an Art-déco decoration is an institution in Les Halles neighborhood and Paris, well known for its service and the quality of its cuisine. A must of Paris, even if you don’t eat pork: the onion soup, oysters, and other French specialties are worth the visit.
» L’Officine du Louvre – Hôtel du Louvre – 1 Place André Malraux, 75001. With an unbeatable location, between the Louvre, and Palais Royal, l’Officine du Louvre – Hôtel du Louvre is always a super experience, both for its atmosphere and decoration, and the quality of the dishes. Locals like especially its brunch: meat, fish, or vegetarian. L’Officine du Louvre – Hôtel du Louvre is also a popular place for tea time, with an excellent choice of yummy cakes.
Click here for more restaurants in Paris 1
Paris First Arrondissement Directory
Sainte-Chapelle: 10 Boulevard du Palais, 75001 Paris
Conciergerie: 2 Boulevard du Palais, 75001 Paris
Louvre Museum: Rue de Rivoli, 75001 Paris
The Tuileries Garden
Palais Royal’s Gardens: 43 Rue de Valois, 75001 Paris
Seine River Cruise
Place Vendôme: 75001 Paris
Place Dauphine: 75001 Paris
Saint-Germain-l’Auxerrois Church: 2 Place du Louvre, 75001 Paris
Musée de l’Orangerie: Jardin des Tuileries, 75001 Paris
Oldest Clock in Paris: 1 Quai de l’Horloge, 75001 Paris
Bourse De Commerce: 2 Rue de Viarmes, 75001
Canopy Forum des Halles: 101 Porte Rue Berger, 75001
Want to Explore Beyond the 1st Arrondissement?
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