Living Abroad. France. Paris.
A complete list of the areas inside and around Paris
Paris is everything you imagine it to be.
Beautiful, chic, full of culture and delicious food. A postcard in every corner. An explosion of life every day.
It is also one of the most visited cities in the world. But why only visit? Why not settle down in one of the world’s most interesting cities? This is exactly what I did 11 years ago. Over the years, I lived there for several periods, in different areas of Paris and the outskirts. That is why I put together this guide to help you select your neighborhood if you are considering moving to the City of Lights.
As obvious as this might sound, it is something to bear in mind: the more central the area you choose to live in, the more expensive your rent will be. Paris is a very well delimited city, which means that prices will be immediately higher inside its location than if you live on the outskirts (banlieue).
Inside of Paris
Paris is divided into “arrondissements,” little areas of the city, and there are 20 of them. Here is a brief and generic description of each, so you can understand which ones better suit your needs:
1st and 2nd Arrondissements
This is the geographical center of Paris. Next to everything you would need but also next to major touristic attractions. Not exactly a residential area and the available flats are very expensive.
3rd and 4th Arrondissements
These two arrondissements make up the Marais. Central, with vintage and design shops, this area of the city is known for its lively nightlife. Again, very high prices.
Vibrant area during the day and night, it comprises the Quartier Latin (always full of tourists) and several universities. You have everything you need within walking distance, and the prices are not too bad — although not exactly cheap either.
Nice, not so busy area, and still quite central. The problem is the price of the rent: very high.
The main attraction here, house-wise, are the flats with a view to the Eiffel Tower, which, as you may guess, are very pricey. Other than that, it’s a quiet arrondissement, and it can be a good choice if you have a larger budget.
The area surrounding the Champs-Elysées is full of glamour, exquisite hotels, and boutiques, and it is also where many celebrities stay when they visit the city. If you have the kind of money to support that lifestyle, you might find your place here.
9th and 10th Arrondissements
Nice, lively areas of the city, although you need to be careful in which parts of the Arrondissement you’re settling in(towards the north end, you will find a lot of prostitution). The south is more filled with businesses and, therefore, less lively at night too. Not too expensive an area.
Young, lively, and vibrant area. Around Oberkampf, you will find many bars and restaurants for a nice meal or night out. Again, be careful with the parts of the Arrondissement you choose to settle into; take a walk around before, and you’ll get the feel of the place.
Residential area with lots of things to do, this Arrondissement is not too pricey either, making it one of the best choices in terms of areas to live.
This is where you’ll find Paris’ Chinatown. It is also not far from Bois de Vincennes, a nice plus if you love the outdoors. Prices are cheap, comparing to the rest of the city.
A residential and quiet area is a good place to escape to at the end of a long busy workday. Prices are relatively cheap.
It has many the 14th vibe, although you can expect a little bit more splendor when you get to the 15th border with the 7th Arrondissement. Prices are relatively cheap.
Residential, quiet, and safe area. It is also home to many Embassies and some ex-pat communities. Expensive but not too much.
Nice residential area, it is also home to many artists. The prices vary from very high to quite low, depending on the area of the Arrondissement, since this is a quite diverse one.
This Arrondissement is extremely diverse: there is the touristic (and expensive) area of Sacré-Coeur, the dodgy area surrounding the metro stations of Barbès-Rochechouart and Château Rouge, and then there is the north end of the Arrondissement, which comprises a nicer, residential area. It can be interesting to live here, but you need to select the area well first. Prices are relatively low.
19th and 20th Arrondissements
It can be a good choice if you know where to look at. The prices aren’t too high, and the buildings are usually newer and bigger than in the city center. However, there are some rough areas, especially around Belleville.
Outside of Paris
If you are willing to live outside of Paris, you will gain space (flats tend to be bigger) and save a considerable amount of money. If you have no idea where to look, try along the RER lines, as this will get you to Paris quickly and within a reasonable scope of times (early trains in the morning and late trains in the evening).
Out of personal experience, here is a list of nice areas to live around Paris, near RER stations. Please, bear in mind that this list is not comprehensive and it is based on my personal experience only –I don’t know all the villes outside of Paris. However, it might give you a hand if you’re clueless about where to look for a flat.
East of Paris
- Vincennes (RER A: Vincennes. Also served by metro)
- Joinville-le-Pont (RER A: Joinville-le-Pont)
- Saint-Maur-des-Fossés (RER A: Saint-Maur-Créteil and Le Parc de Saint Maur)
- Villiers-sur-Marne (RER E: Villiers-sur-Marne — Le Plessis-Trévise)
South of Paris
- Maisons Alfort / Alfortiville (RER D: Maisons-Alfort / Alfortville. Also served by metro)
- Créteil (RER D: Créteil. Also served by metro)
- Ivry-sur-Seine (RER C: Ivry-sur-Seine)
- Vitry-sur-Seine (RER C : Vitry-sur-Seine)
West of Paris
- Neuilly-sur-Seine (served by metro)
- Boulougne (served by metro)
- Nanterre (RER A, several stops)
- Saint-Germain-en-Laye (RER A: Saint-Germain-en-Laye)
North of Paris
- Gonesse (RER D: Villiers-le-Bel — Gonesse — Arlouville)
Generally speaking, don’t make the north/northeast of Paris your first choice to settle down, as these tend to be slightly rough areas — with exceptions, naturally.
If you are planning on moving to Paris, consider getting my complete guide to relocate to the French capital, “How to Settle in Paris”.