The Best Paris Neighborhoods Most People Miss

If you’ve already been to the Latin Quarter and Saint Germain-des-Prés, consider exploring these other parts of the city on your next trip to Paris.

Exterior of Du Pain et Des Idées boulangerie in Paris

Du Pain et Des Idées boulangerie has been a staple for years near Canal Saint-Martin, but there are plenty of newer shops, restaurants, and hotels worth visiting in the adjacent Château d’Eau micro-neighborhood.

Photo by Shutterstock

Despite its reputation as a city stuck in time, Paris is a living, breathing, ever-changing place. While seeing the Eiffel Tower twinkle at the top of the hour will give you goosebumps, and wandering the cobblestone streets of the Latin Quarter sure does feel like you’re in a movie, you can find the real heart of the city on the outskirts of its postcard-worthy monuments and romanticized neighborhoods.

We’re not going to stop you from reading (or writing) a book at Les Deux Magots and sipping a noisette at Café de Flore in Saint Germain-des-Prés. But nobody does a latte like Yuichiro at Dreamin Man in the 11th arrondissement, and while the only line we’d wait in is for the whole-roasted cauliflower at Miznon in the lower Marais, may we suggest the challah pastrami sandwich at Chiche by the Canal Saint-Martin, too?

In short: The next time you visit Paris, consider strolling beyond the tried and true into these neighborhoods where today’s Parisians are firmly planted in the present but also looking to the future.

interior of old-fashioned Parisian bistro, with zinc bar and chandeliers

It’s hard to go wrong ordering at Le Chardenoux in the 11th arrondissement.

Courtesy of Le Chardenoux

Village Faidherbe/Rue de Charonne

Go for: world-class restaurants, serious coffee, and more tasty treats

Chef Bertrand Grébaut put this micro-neighborhood between Bastille and Nation in the 11th arrondissement on the map when he opened the now Michelin-starred, World’s Best Restaurant–ranked Septime on Rue de Charonne in 2011. While newer restaurants like the rotating-chef concept Mokoloco (from the team behind Mokonuts, around the block on Rue Saint-Bernard) are keeping popular Rue de Charonne fresh, walk a few blocks further east into “Village Faidherbe” for even more tasty treats. Kabane takes its coffee trés seriously by presenting beans to sniff before ordering, and the “ham’s burger” over at Ham’s on Rue Paul Bert tops jamón Ibérico with manchego on an olive bun. On that same block, pop into artisanal epicerie Terroirs d’Avenir to ogle the pretty produce, and order a cappuccino at Nomade.

For chic skirts and other vetements, visit Paul & Bertine. The steak frites at Bistrot Paul Bert are worth the wait (which you’ll likely face without a reservation). Nearby, chef Cyril Lignac boasts not one but three spots worth your euros: a chocolaterie, a boulangerie (get the chausson aux pommes, a flaky apple turnover), and the restaurant Le Chardenoux, where the burger is as first rate as the sea bream carpaccio.

What’s more, Marché d’Aligre is within walking distance—and its indoor food stalls and outdoor antique vendors are open six days a week.

View of Paris from hillside park in Belleville district, with Eiffel Tower in distance

Parc de Belleville offers a unique perspective on the Eiffel Tower.

Photo by LENS-68/Shutterstock


Go for: the hottest new restaurants, street art, and Eiffel Tower views

At the center of this 20th arrondissement neighborhood blitzed with colorful street art, the Parc de Belleville makes for a perfect picnic spot with views of the Eiffel Tower. Grab a sticky-sweet kouign-amann pastry from Le Petit Grain before it’s cocktail-o-clock at Combat, opened by Experimental Cocktail Club alum Margot Lecarpentier.

For a while, foodies mostly only came this far north for quality Chinese restaurants or chef Raquel Carena’s bistro fare at Le Baratin. But there are plenty of newer spots to sate your palate and quaff your soif. Paloma’s terrace is a fine place to spend an afternoon enjoying rural French cuisine and natural wine, while Cheval d’Or draws a fashionable crowd for Chinese French fusion dishes like barbujan-inspired fried wontons wrapped in chard, and an île flottante with black tea and tapioca.

You’ll find one of the best lunch deals in Paris at Le Cadoret where brother and sister team Léa and Louis Fleuriot serve three-course, seasonally minded midday meals for a reasonable price. And the hotel Babel is the perfect place to unpack and digest the vibes of this international yet truly French ’hood.

A purple cocktail outdoors (L); a few people at outdoor seats at Bisou (R)

After a day of shopping in the Marais, settle in for a few cocktails at Bisou.

Courtesy of Bar Bisou

Haut Marais

Go for: charming boutiques, historic markets, and some of the city’s best cocktail bars

Despite its crowded, crooked streets, the Marais remains one of Paris’s most coveted neighborhoods—both for locals and visitors. And for good reason: It’s super charming.

But if the lower grid, close to Rue de Rivoli, is akin to New York City’s SoHo (and similarly more commercial), farther north in the Haut Marais is its Nolita: full of smaller, independent boutiques and concept shops that you may not find back home.

Start on Rue de Bretagne at the Marché des Enfants Rouges, the city’s oldest covered market, for a sandwich from Chez Alain Miam Miam. (Hot tip: He opened a brick-and-mortar place on Rue Charlot if the wait inside the market is too long.) Then, weave your way around the surrounding neighborhood, popping into Papier Tigre for colorful paper goods, Maison Labiche for one-of-a-kind embroidered striped tees, and L’Officine Universelle Buly for scented candles and skin essentials.

When you need a break from the boutiques, the creative cocktails at Le Mary Celeste and Bisou will give you a buzz worth the hangover. The rooms at the Sinner hotel in the Haut Marais are dark, yet sumptuous, perfect for a good night’s sleep. If jet lag’s still got you down, snag one of the few seats at Dreamin Man for the latte of your, well, dreams.

People relaxing in the summer on the banks of Canal Saint-Martin in Paris, with leafy green trees in background

When the weather is nice, Canal Saint-Martin is the place to be in Paris.

Photo by Jerome LABOUYRIE/Shutterstock

Canal Saint-Martin/Château d’Eau

Go for: excellent people-watching and even better boulangeries

The Canal Saint-Martin area is definitely worth a wander—especially in summer when les bobos (slang for the bourgeois bohemian) come out in droves to dangle their Stan Smiths over the water. Just off the canal, the chef’s residency program at Early June draws cooks from around the world, while Rue Beaurepaire and Rue de Marseille remain bursting with indie clothing boutiques, particularly for men.

The Château d’Eau micro-neighborhood has emerged just southwest of the Boulevard de Magenta and deserves a closer look. There’s Boulangerie Mamiche for babka cravings, while Chiche serves seriously good Israeli food (order the borekas plate). Shop Pompon Bazar and Passage Doré for chic housewares and souvenirs sure to turn your home into a Parisian palace—with a Moroccan twist.

Le Grand Quartier, perhaps the most ambitious addition to the neighborhood, makes this a prime area to stay. The trendy, 83-room hotel features a coworking space—complete with a communal central courtyard and a modern French restaurant.

La Montgolfière Club and Les Ailes du Canal continue the communal spirit with group fitness classes in either a sprawling loft setting (La Montgolfière) or a more intimate studio (Ailes du Canal). A few workouts should counteract all the pinwheel pastries from Du Pain et Des Idées, which, yes, are still worth getting. (But for the love of all things buttery: Go in the afternoon to avoid a queue.)

This story was originally published in 2022. It was updated on April 11, 2024, to include current information.

Sara Lieberman is a New York–born journalist who lived in Paris for the better part of the last decade. Her writing also appears in Condé Nast Traveler, Travel & Leisure, Hemispheres, and the Infatuation.
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