Paris Arrondissement Guide: 2nd Arrondissement of Paris
The 2nd Arrondissement of Paris is the smallest arrondissement in the city. Demarcated by big boulevards, it is the district of the historic Quartier Montorgueil, Quartier du Sentier, and Bourse. Paris 2nd Arrondissement hosts the Stock Market and some nice historical shops. It is a busy district with a clear commercial character and the best place to stay in Paris, close to everything.
Despite its central location, the second Arrondissement does not have many tourist sites. However, there are three interesting areas that deserve a little detour.
Paris 2nd Arrondissement in a Nutshell
If you are a food lover don’t miss the emblematic Rue Montorgueil in Quartier Montorgueil. It is difficult to pronounce, we know, but it has a very cool street life thanks to its outdoor market and endless cafes and bistros.Among these eating places, there are real culinary institutions like l’Escargot Montorgueil (#38) or Le Rocher de Cancale (#78), the latest frequented by artists like Balzac, Dali or Marcel Proust. Also, you may want to have a look at Patisserie Stohrer Paris (#51), the oldest pâtisserie in Paris (since 1730!) and probably also the most sumptuous.
Quartier du Sentier was considered in the Middle Ages the most dangerous place in Paris, and even the police did not dare to venture there! Today Quartier Sentier is totally safe and a place full of independent retailers and other curiosities. Did you know that the mini skirt of the sixties was created in this neighborhood? Also, you may want to check 82 rue de Cléry, the only “plumassier” (feather maker) in Paris, which supplies theatres, filmmakers, and Cabarets of Paris. Place du Caire, Caire Street, and Nile Street refer to Napoleon I‘s expedition to Egypt in 1789.
Architecture lovers will enjoy a walk along Rue Réaumur. Pierced in 1895, this street was built after several modifications of the Parisian building’s specifications, which “softened” the previous strict Haussmann specifications. Whereas the buildings had to respect some characteristics like similar height, the architects could experience new designs and materials, creating an interesting laboratory of architectural styles.
Top Tourist Attractions in Paris 2
No surprises here: you can find all these Paris Monuments and Paris points of interest in all the guidebooks about Paris, so no post talking about the 2nd Arrondissement would be complete without the top tourist attractions in Paris. If this is your first trip to Paris you will like to visit some of them. The good thing about Paris 2nd Arrondissement is that Paris 1 is such a powerful magnet that these places are not very touristy, so you can still get the feeling of being far from the crowds while visiting beautiful things.
Place des Victoires (1686), one of the “Royal Squares”
Tour Jean Sans Peur (XVth century)
Covered Passages of Paris
READ MORE – The Most Beautiful Covered Passages in Paris
Quirky and Unusual Sights in Paris 2
The 2nd Arrondissement of Paris is full of historical curiosities. Some of them are part of famous places in Paris. Some of them are Paris’ best-kept secrets. This is our personal list of unusual things to see in Paris 2nd Arrondissement to enjoy Paris Like a Local.
Le Site Richelieu in BNF (Bibliothèque Nationale Française) – one of the closest places to Heaven in Paris
Galerie Vivienne – our favorite Covered Passage
Sentier Metro Station – literally pierced into a residential building
Place du Caire – check the Egyptian side of Paris
Nadar’s photography workshop (35 Boulevard des Capucins) – the first Impressionist exhibition was hosted here (1894)
Hotel Scribe (14 Boulevard des Capucins) – first public cinema session by the Lumière brothers (1895)
Notre Dame des Victoires (rue Notre Dame des Victoires) – and its unique collection of ex-votos (37.000!)
Beautiful clock–mosaic at 61-63 rue de Réaumur
Unique Things to Do in Paris 2
On our Paris Arrondissement Guides, we like to encourage people to beat the crowds and explore Paris beyond its main sights. Despite being basically a commercial area, the second Arrondissement is one of the coolest districts of Paris to explore, especially if you like to go off the beaten path. We recommend visiting Paris’ second Arrondissement on weekends because during the week there are more people and the car traffic is a little bit crazy.
This is our personal list of unique things to do in Paris 2 to enjoy Paris like a local:
A delicious meal (and people-watching) at Rue Montorgueil Paris
Walk along the most charming Covered Passages
Admire rue Réaumur’s beautiful architecture – don’t miss the buildings #61, #69, #97, #116, #118, #121, #124, #132
Fall into temptation and buy a sweet treat at Patisserie Stohrer – baba au rhum is their star product
Quirky photo session at Rue des Degrés – the shortest (and most colorful) street in Paris
Harry’s New York Bar ( 5 Rue Daunou, 75002 Paris) – drink a Bloody Mary in the bar where it was invented
Eating in Paris 2 Like a Local
Check our proposals (by Paris arrondissements) on Yummy Paris. Affordable restaurants in the 2nd Arrondissement but also Paris bistros or Paris street food. This is a living page that we are continuously “feeding” with our Parisian friends’ suggestions. Come back to Yummy Paris from time to time to read the newest additions.
Where to Stay in Paris 2
In the “Where to Stay in Paris” section, we like to propose our top options in each price bracket (budget hotels in Paris, mid-range hotels in Paris, and luxury hotels in Paris) for a specific district of Paris. These are our favorite 2nd Arrondissement hotels; I hope you will like them! You can see on this link all the hotel options for Paris 2
NB: The same hotel may be in two different price brackets depending on the kind of room you choose.
A great location (5 min walk from Opéra Garnier) and beautiful 18th-century décor, very Parisian! Apart from the hotel’s comfort and friendly staff, La Maison Favart proposes a sauna, fitness room, and a small pool for guests – Click here for the Latest Prices
This is a hotel that is always top-rated by its customers. Their formula of happiness? Excellent location (150m walk to Opéra de Garnier), friendly staff, great breakfast, and beautiful rooms. Great value for money – Click here for the Latest Prices
An elegant hotel with a central location within walking distance of the Louvre. Hotel Vivienne offers modern stylish rooms with all the comfort for your stay in Paris. Some rooms have a nice balcony with views over the typical Parisian roofs – Click here for the Latest Prices
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