Finding an area in Paris that fits the needs and wants of an expat is one of the most difficult parts of the housing search. The stress can be unbearable, but there are plenty of options available to suit nearly every taste and budget - one just needs to be persistent.
Paris is made up of 20 neighbourhoods (arrondissements) that spiral out in a snail-shell pattern from the Île de la Cité, the city’s historic centre. Parisians routinely refer to the arrondissement numbers, so expats should be familiar with the distinct nature of each one.
Before spending time searching for accommodation in Paris, it’s important that expats consider exactly what they want from their Parisian neighbourhood as the housing available in each arrondissement can differ tremendously.
Populat expat areas in Parls
Paris Islands: Île de la Cité and Île Saint-Louis (1st and 4th Arrondissements)
These two islands serve as the epicentre of Paris, with the 4th Arrondissement being home to the legendary Notre Dame Cathedral. The lifestyle in these neighbourhoods is more laid-back and less prone to the hustle and bustle characteristic of the rest of Paris. A lot of elderly people live here, attracted by the peacefulness and picturesque scenery along the Seine. Prices may reflect the ambiance of the area, but can be worth the expense.
Bourse (2nd Arrondissement)
Widely thought of as the financial district, this area of Paris offers good value for money. Prices for apartments are reasonable and it's less touristy than other areas, but it's still busy and crowded with workers travelling back and forth. The 2nd Arrondissement boasts plenty of stacked buildings, meaning more top-floored apartments and fantastic views over the city.
Saint Germain de Prés (6th Arrondissement)
This little gem on the left bank of the Seine is home to the beautiful Luxembourg gardens (Jardin de Luxembourg
). Apartments are on the expensive side due to its central location, views of the river, parks, famous cafés and proximity to the popular 7th Arrondissement. Haussmann-style architecture reigns in the district, whereas quirkier apartments can be found in the Germain area.
While the 9th Arrondissement isn't full of the typical attractions, here expats will get a real insight into Parisian life. It may not be as charming as other parts of the city, expats will find an nice choice of apartments in this residential area. The Opera and the Galeries-Lafayette department store on one end and the edge of Montmartre on the other expats will find that this neighbourhood is great base when it comes to exploring Paris. The 9th Arrondissement is also home loads of authentic Parisian cafes and bars, so residents don't need to travel to far for entertainment.
Bastille (11th Arrondissement)
The 11th Arrondissement is a lively area that offers a bit of everything. To the east is Place de la République and the Bastille, joined by the sweeping tree-lined Boulevard Richard Lenoir, which offers a large market and numerous children’s parks. The more prestigious apartments are found to the west of the district. Prices around the Bastille area are slightly high, due to its popularity. There is a mix of modern, late Haussmann influence and everything in between, which adds to the charm of the district. To the east, apartments are also of the late Haussmann influence and are slightly more affordable.
Belleville (19th/20th Arrondissement)
Belleville may have historically been a working class neighbourhood which was home to a range of different ethnic communities, but it is fast developing into a popular place to live in Paris. As is the case in major cities across Europe, Paris is gentrifying and Belleville has become a zone for artists and entrepreneurs looking for an affordable base. Expats will find that rental prices are lover here but residents certainly don't lose out when it comes to experience with its fabulous range of affordable ethnic eateries, this is the place to be for an adveturous expat.