Quel arrondissement?

Since I first received the offer, the biggest question after “when will i move?” has been “where will i live?”

I know Paris like most visitors do and I know which areas I love the most but being a tourist and being a resident are two very different things and so I have taken the task of finding the  arrondissement or neighborhood where I will live quite seriously.  For beginners like myself, Paris is made up of 20 arrondissements that start in the center and curl clockwise like a snail therefore you will find you can easily walk from the 1st to the 7th in no time.  This also means that 10 out of Paris’ 20 arrondissements have close access to the Seine.  I love this purple map as it really depicts a simplified configuration of the city but also details some of the landmarks that may make it visually easier for those who have been to Paris at least once before, or place some context for those who haven’t.

With 20 neighborhoods to choose from, I had to start somewhere.  In true me style, I began by making a mental list of what I was looking for:

  1. A location that would allow me an office commute of no more than 20-30 minutes
  2. A high-end residential neighborhood that would guarantee safe and quiet surroundings…
  3. But is within close proximity of a metro line (preferably one that leads to the office)…
  4. And is also somewhat close to some life (a park, cafes, bars, shops, a supermarket…)

That’s a pretty comprehensive list I think.  And it has turned out to be quite functional.  Point #1 immediately narrowed down my choices to arrondissements 7, 8, 9, 16 and 17.  Point #2 and many talks with previous Parisian residents eliminated a few more until I was left with arrondissements 8, 16 and 17 – in some cases with some even more specific streets or sections within this already sectioned city.  And here I got stuck!  Still, this has made my online search far more focused and thankfully the variety of apartments within those three vicinities are quite similar in terms of value for money.

For newbies like myself, here‘s a mini guide to introduce each of the arrondissements unique personalities to help you make your choice.

For apartment listings in English, you can check out:

All of these sites are bilingual and very user friendly.  You can select your dates, apartment type, preferred areas, etc to get a few recommendations.  Most these sites offer both furnished and unfurnished apartments for short-stay or long-stay rentals.  The browsing can be quite addictive so be forewarned and a tip from the wise is to make sure you bookmark or save the links to the apartments you like because they will be impossible to find again!


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