PARIS ARRONDISSEMENT GUIDE: EXPLORE PARIS 1 LIKE A LOCAL
From the Place Vendome to the Ile de la Cité, the 1st arrondissement is one of the oldest districts of Paris and also the district of the great Kings of France. The royal palace, the Tuileries, the Louvre Museum and the Palais de la Cité are where the royal power and its court were established for centuries, making the area one of the most sumptuous in the capital.
PARIS 1st ARRONDISSEMENT IN A NUTSHELL
In this area, the Louvre Museum is the star. The former Royal Palace with its glass pyramid commissioned by François Mitterand attracts art lovers and novices alike. The neighboring streets are mainly devoted to retail and sometimes luxury, particularly in the direction of Place Vendôme.
It is also in the 1st arrondissement of Paris where we can find most of the “Royal Squares”. These squares were originally peaceful places of walk 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 1st arrondissement.
Nestled between the Palais Royal and Île Saint-Louis, Les Halles was the traditional central market of Paris. In 1183, King Philippe II Auguste enlarged this marketplace and built a shelter for the merchants, who came from all over to sell their wares at “the Belly of Paris” Today the underground Forum des Halles replaces that old market and its new spectacular architecture deserves a little visit, even if you don’t want to shop. When night falls, the bars are packed and artists invade Place des Halles to take part in shows.
TOP TOURIST ATTRACTIONS IN PARIS 1
No surprises here: you can find all these Paris Monuments and Paris points of interest on all the guidebooks about Paris so no post talking about the first 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, they are very touristy but beautiful !
Jardin des Tuileries
Jardin du Palais Royal
Place Vendôme (and its stylish stores)
Musée du Louvre
Musée de l’Orangerie
Les Bouquinistes (book sellers along Seine’s docks)
QUIRKY AND UNUSUAL SIGHTS IN PARIS 1
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 the 1st arrondissement of Paris.
Salle d’Armes de la Conciergerie – quintessence Medieval Architecture
Cour Napoléon at Louvre – admire Pei’s Glass Pyramid. It is especially beautiful at night when it is lit up
Saint Germain L’Auxerrois Church (XII-XVth century) – one of our favorite churches in Paris
Main Nave at Musée des Arts Décoratifs – Monumental Architecture, beautiful mosaics
Sainte Chapelle’s Higher Chapel – stunning stained glass windows 15m high
Buren columns – they are funny!
The oldest public Clock in Paris – this clock has been giving time to Parisians since 1371!
Bourse de Commerce (Commodities Exchange) Main Hall – built in the XVIIIth century it was originally used for the storage and sale of wheat
Restaurant Le Grand Véfour (inside) – Jewel of the 18th century “art décoratif”, a place stuck in time
Le Forum Les Halles new architecture – les Halles mall has a beautiful contemporary architecture in our humble opinion !
UNIQUE THINGS TO DO IN PARIS 1
On our Paris Arrondissement Guides we like to encourage people to beat the crowds and explore Paris beyond its main sights. Despite being one of the most touristy Paris districts, we like to visit Paris 1 from time to time, especially when the weather is nice. This is our personal list of unique things to do in the first arrondissement to enjoy Paris like a local.
Coffee at one of Place Dauphine’s cafes on a sunny day – just a little break in one of the most beautiful squares in Paris
Check how Parisians set their watches in the XVIII th century – learn the story of quirky Petit Canon
Quirky photo session at Buren columns – funny for kids and adults, with great photo opportunities
A picnic on the banks of the Seine – a locals’ must. Vin, fromage & baguette, Paris’ beautiful architecture, Bateaux Mouches . . . quintessential Paris as its best
Improvised concert under the Louvre’s archways – street musicians playing their most beautiful scores
Maillol Statues hunting (Jardin des Tuileries) – More than 20 sculptures scattered all over the gardens! Discover the feminine forms so dear to the artist
Coffee & crêpe at Café Diane (Jardin des Tuileries) – the perfect place for people watching on a sunny day
Paris Plage in summer time – for kids and not that kids : -)
Fall into temptation and buy a little box of Ladurée’s macarons – (Ladurée Macarons 14 rue de Castiglione 75001 Paris)
Explore quirky 59 Rue de Rivoli – the quirkiest (urban) art workshops in Paris 1
Walk, bike or cruise along the Seine at night – just magical
EATING IN PARIS 1 LIKE A LOCAL
Check our proposals (by Paris arrondissements) on Yummy Paris. Affordable restaurants in Paris 1 but also Paris bistros or Paris street food. This is a living page which 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 1
On “Where to Stay in Paris” section we like to propose our top options in each price bracket for a specific district of Paris. However in this “royal area” in the heart of Paris it is really difficult to find quality budget hotels (-100€ /night). That’s why we prefer to give you two Mid Range Hotels instead. These are our picks for Paris 1st arrondissement, hope you will like them! You can also click on the following link to check all the hotel options for Paris 1
NB: The same hotel may be in two different price brackets depending on the kind of room you choose.
Ranked among the most luxurious hotels in the world and recently renovated, Ritz is all about location, (Place Vendôme), history and glamour. Featured in many notable works of fiction, the Ritz hosted people like Chanel, Hemingway and Princess Diana of Wales.
Good location (5 min walk to Louvre or Tuileries) and a beautiful building with the charm of Parisian Belle Époque. Rooms have an exclusive atmosphere, all decorated with that French style that you are looking for. The hotel’s Bar is a real institution in Paris.
If you are looking for a more contemporary style, this is the hotel for you. Good location (facing Palais Royal) and an ancient building from the outside but pleasantly modern inside. The ensuite rooms are cozy and big for Paris standards.
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