Paris 1st Arrondissement: Travel Guide to the 1st Arrondissement of Paris
Each arrondissement in Paris houses unique attractions, restaurants, and experiences. In this series, I will be exploring every arrondissement in Paris, listing the must see places and must eat foods in that area! This is the beginning of my new series, so get excited for the next 19 posts all about the arrondissements of Paris! Here’s everything you need to know about the 1st arrondissement of Paris!
What is an arrondissement?
Paris, France is split into 20 districts, called “arrondissements.” The 1st arrondissement is located in the very center of the city, and the arrondissements spiral out from there, with the lower numbers closer to the center of the city and higher numbered arrondissements around the outside of the city. The arrondissements in the center of the city are generally a bit smaller than the outer districts. Most street signs tell the arrondissement number above the street name, so if you’re ever lost in Paris, you can look to the signs to get your bearings!
1st Arrondissement of Paris
The 1st arrondissement of Paris is located in the very center of the city on the Right Bank (north of the Seine). It stretches from Concorde to Chatelet and includes the west half of the Île de la Cité (one of the islands in the middle of the Seine)! This arrondissement is supposedly one of the oldest parts of Paris, as it was the location of an ancient Roman settlement in 52 BC. The Paris 1st arrondissement is home to some of the most famous attractions in Paris, including the Louvre.
1st Arrondissement of Paris Attractions
There are several things to do in the 1st arrondissement of Paris! Here’s a list of attractions and places of interest in the 1st arrondissement of Paris!
The Tuileries Garden is a stunning green space that stretches from the Concorde to the Louvre Museum. This is one of my favorite places in Paris. The gardens are perfectly manicured, and there are several sculptures by famous artists throughout the area! I love grabbing a glass of wine at one of the cafes in the garden and enjoying the panoramic views of Paris!
The Louvre Museum
The Louvre Museum is the most visited museum in the world, drawing millions of visitors every year! The museum is housed in a stunning castle that was originally built in the 1200s. The most famous work of art in this museum is the Mona Lisa. Other notable works include the Venus de Milo, Winged Victory, Dying Slave (by Michelangelo), and Liberty Leading the People (by Eugene Delacroix). You can expect long lines at the Louvre, so buy your tickets ahead of time online! Check out my guide to art museums in Paris here for more art inspiration!
Place Vendome is a stunning plaza in the 1st arrondissement of Paris! This area is also home to some of the best high fashion shopping in Paris, with brands like Chanel and Cartier lining the street. The Ritz Hotel is also located on the plaza. There is a giant column in the center of the square that was originally created by Napoleon I to commemorate the Battle of Austerlitz.
The Palais Royal is a former royal residence, and it now holds some French government offices and part of the national library. Its gardens are open to the public, and they are beautiful. The black and white striped columns are very Instagrammable!
Forum des Halles
Forum des Halles used to be the location of a giant market in the center of Paris. Today, it is a big shopping center with an interesting architectural design, with shops like GAP, Kiko Cosmetics, and New Look. There is also a giant metro and RER station that you can get to from the Forum des Halles.
Sainte Chapelle is a beautiful chapel on the Île de la Cité that was created by French monarchs and used as part of the royal residence until the 14th century. This church is best known for its incredible stained glass windows.
Pont Neuf is the oldest bridge still standing across the beautiful Seine River. It connects the Left Bank and Right Bank across the Île de la Cité.
The Orangerie Museum is a stunning museum located in the Tuileries Garden near Concorde. The main rooms of this museum were created by Monet to feature some of his large Waterlilies paintings. The rest of this museum houses an impressive collection of Impressionist and Post- Impressionist art, with works from artists like Picasso, Matisse, and more!
Saint Eustache Church
This stunning gothic church was built in the 1500s. Although it is often overlooked because Notre Dame is close by, this church is still worth a stop.
The Conciergerie is a medieval castle located on the Île de la Cité. This former castle most notably served as a prison for those waiting to be executed by guillotine during the French Revolution. Marie Antoinette was held here.
Places to Eat in the Paris 1st Arrondissement
Angelina is one of the most famous tea houses in Paris, known for its delicious desserts and its super-rich drinking chocolate! Unless you get a reservation, there can be waits exceeding an hour for a table, but you can get hot chocolate and pastries from the takeaway store located right next door! Take your treats to go and enjoy them across the street in the Tuileries Garden!
Iconic Parisian tea house and patisserie, known for its pastel macarons! There are several locations throughout Paris (and the world). Check out my guide to the best macarons in Paris for more!
Another famous Parisian patisserie with several locations throughout Paris.
Paris 1st Arrondissement: The Best of the 1st Arrondissement of Paris
The 1st Arrondissement of Paris is full of some of the most visited attractions in Paris like the Louvre, Sainte Chapelle, and the Tuileries Garden! Even though this area is very touristy, it’s still well worth a visit!