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Travelling to Paris alone? I overheard a young woman in a cafe in Victoria, Canada saying that she would never do a solo trip to Paris. “The Eiffel Tower alone?” she moaned. I almost leapt across the table, stared her down and barked, “Why not?”
But I am a reserved Canadian and just couldn’t interrupt her and say, ” Solo travel to Paris is the best!” I pondered instead her loss of a magnificent opportunity.
Paris has the reputation of being the most romantic city in the world. There are plenty of bridges spanning the Seine where kissing couples linger and, in the spring when the perfume of roses fills the air, romance just begs to be experienced first hand. It seems as though it might be a challenge but, going to Paris alone is more than perfectly doable.
Let’s start with a few questions:
- Have you travelled solo before?
- Are you good with your own company?
- Can you let yourself be swept away by the charm and elegance of Paris?
- Will you allow yourself to connect with the essence of Paris?
If you answered, “Y E S” to the above, I think you are set to have a marvellous time travelling to Paris alone. Embracing solo travel is predominantly about mindset. Attitude is everything. If you are going to solo travel to Paris, step into your space and explore like there’s no tomorrow. You have all of Paris and just yourself to worry about. Going to Paris alone sounds like a recipe for success!
Here’s how to maximize solo travel in Paris.
You might want to read about what to expect from Parisians. Are they exactly like the stereotype? Here’s what I found about Parisians and their culture.
Read More | 25 Key Travel Tips For Paris. Here are the best Paris experiences to have and where to find 25 hidden gems in Paris. Only have a short time in Paris? Try this One Day in Paris Itinerary. If you want to find the charms of secret Paris, find them in my eBook, Paris for the Curious Stroller.
Travelling To Paris Alone: What To Do
1. Travelling To Paris Alone: Take A Walking Tour
No matter how many times I return to Paris, I love to take a walking tour. If you are worried about going to Paris alone, walking tours are one way to meet people. I have had exceptional experiences with Paris Greeters and also with Discover Walks. Taking a bike tour is another way to solo travel in Paris and connect with others.
These Guided Walking Tours Might Be Just For You!
This one takes you through Montmartre, or choose from the iconic neighbourhoods tour or maybe the Street Art tour is for you!
Or, try one of these unique walking tours of Paris.
Where To Stay In Paris: How about in one of these suggested hotels? Are you looking to be very central? Try in Paris city centre or in the chic 6th arrondissement.
2. Explore The Village Life
The two sides of Paris, the capital city with constantly wailing sirens and the small village atmosphere, are both waiting to be unveiled. Paris is huge but dive into the neighbourhoods that used to be small villages, sit at a corner café and watch how the community interacts. There is no better place to have this Paris experience than in Montmartre. Get lost on the cobbled streets and discover corners of Paris you didn’t know existed. Travelling to Paris alone never felt so great! Stroll along remembering that Picasso and Renoir once sat at these very same cafés. Check out the main attractions and the tucked away highlights of Montmartre.
Here are two unique walking tours of Montmartre: This one is Montmartre and the Art of Seduction and this small-group tour is centred around cheese, wine and pastry!
Other Paris Villages To Explore:
Ile de la Cité: My guide to 17 things to see and do in this iconic part of Paris.
Saint-Germain des Prés: Here are 20 things to do in St Germain Paris. Which will you add to your list of exploring this charming part of Paris?
Montparnasse: There is much more to the 14th arrondissement than the Catacombs and the Montparnasse Tower.
La Butte aux Cailles: Looking for Off the Beaten Path Paris… here it is…
Travelling to Paris alone? Ile Saint-Louis, Paris is a safe and marvellous spot to visit. Ile Saint-Louis is the small island in Paris tucked in behind Notre Dame Cathedral. Step back in time to one of Paris’s oldest villages. Walk the streets, eat famous ice cream and sit awhile on the tip of the island and watch the Seine traffic. And don’t forget to listen to the street music on Pont Saint-Louis. Here are all the details on how to spend some time visiting Ile Saint-Louis.
Le Marais is a favourite spot to visit in Paris. This neighbourhood is full of old mansions, boutiques, cafés and the prettiest square in all of Paris. Read my full Marais guide here.
If you are in the Marais, this local gal tells all her favourite things to do and cafés to visit. Here are 13 gourmet experiences in le Marais. Which will you try?
If you love hip areas, the 11th arrondissement of Paris is full of unique boutiques and great restaurants. Here is my guide to the 11th arrondissement.
How about the mini-village sitting on a hill in the 19th arrondissement? Here are 5 Great Reasons to Visit Butte Bergeyre.
The 12th arrondissement has some great hidden treasures like rue Crémieux and the Marché d’Aligre.
Read More: What is found where? This guide to the Paris arrondissements will help you plan your best visit to the City of Light!
3. Travelling To Paris Alone: Walk, Bike, And Cruise
A visit to Paris is never complete, in my opinion, without a long drawn-out stroll alongside the Seine. Travelling to Paris alone is the perfect opportunity for such a walk. You encounter the city from another angle. Who actually lives on the houseboats? Which bridge is which and what is its significance? How many picnics are happening? And a multitude of Parisians in the midst of “jogging” (say that in your best French accent) will pass you by inspiring you to walk a bit more briskly.
I absolutely love taking a one-hour cruise down the Seine. You get a completely different perspective of beautiful Paris and its monuments. Try timing your cruise for the evening when everything lights up. The Illumination Cruise is spectacular.
Another way to explore the city of Paris is by bicycle. Especially now in 2020 with the addition of many more bicycle lanes, hopping on a bike is a great way to get familiar with Paris. I get lost every time but it makes me smile because it means I am getting to know Paris intimately! Here are my tips on renting a Velib (those green and blue bicycle rental stations) and how not to get one stolen.
Here are some guided bicycle tours: A 4-hour bike tour and a 3-hour bike tour.
Close to the Eiffel Tower is Ile aux Cygnes, the third and smallest island in the Seine in Paris. Walk over from the Eiffel Tower and find vantage points to take photos and more. Read about Ile aux Cygnes here.
Ever thought of staying longer in France than the allowable 90 days? Here is how to apply for a long-stay visa for France. And every tip you need on how to validate your visa.. don’t make the same mistake that I did.
4. Travelling To Paris Alone: Flâner A Little
My favourite way to explore Paris is to wander. Why not step into the designation of “urban explorer” when travelling to Paris alone? The quintessential urban explorer, known as a flâneur in the 18th century, was a man (not a suitable designation for a woman back then) who strolled about town, frequented cafés and observed daily life. Perhaps this is the perfect way to explore Paris. Not a man? Not a problem. The modern-day female explorer can acquire the role of flâneuse, walking through the city.
When I solo travel in Paris, I am more aware. I notice more. I observe minute details about daily life. Waiting for a light to change, I find myself eavesdropping (to the best of my ability) on local interactions. I utter the word “flâneuse” aloud, smile and continue dawdling along.
Read More | This real Parisian from the 7th arrondissement loves to flâner and has suggestions as to where to begin on the left bank. You’ll love rue du Bac with its cafés, boutiques, and chocolate shops.
5. Solo Travel To Paris: Get Off The Beaten Path
Paris is full of hidden gems. There is a certain joy in uncovering hidden Paris, especially on a solo trip to Paris. Start with these tucked-away gems and connect with the elegance and charm that is Paris.
Walking the Coulée Verte in Paris’s 12th arrondissement is another way to get off the beaten path…all the way to the Bois de Vincennes.
If you love tucked away treasures and cool architecture why not head out to the 16th arrondissement and find some Art Nouveau styles that will knock your socks off! Follow this post for all the secrets needed.
6. Picnic By Canal Saint-Martin
Have you ever bought one of those mini-champagne bottles and had a little celebration solo? Solo travel in Paris requires festivities! Plan a “picnic for one” by the Canal Saint-Martin. If this sounds appealing, read my entire post on “What to do” by Canal Saint-Martin and where to eat and find the BEST picnic supplies! You won’t be alone and the people watching will keep you more than entertained. You might want some croissants for that picnic or maybe to start your day. Here are the best places to find croissants in Paris (one of them is right by the Canal Saint-Martin).
Did you know that rumours float around about the crocodile in Canal Saint-Martin? Take a stroll along one or more of these amazing Paris streets.
If you happen to find yourself in Paris (you know… the City of Love) on Valentine’s Day, here is how to embrace the day: Valentine’s Day in Paris | Solo & Sassy
7. Travelling To Paris Alone: Tango By The Seine
When the sensual side of life is calling to you, just head down to the Jardin Tino-Rossi to watch the dynamic and elegant flow of tango dancing. It might seem hard on the heart as a solo traveller to watch couples dancing. But, as the Parisiens arrive, change into their dancing shoes and float to the music alongside the Seine, I, personally, feel remarkably alive and inspired in the City of Love. Tango by the Seine is people-watching with a seductive twist.
8. Watch Sailboats In The Jardin Du Luxembourg
There are so many experiences to be undertaken in Paris. I have a list of many that are not to be missed. One of my favourite places to observe life and relax in Paris is in the Jardin du Luxembourg. The green metallic chairs fill on weekend mornings with friends visiting and sunbathers. Picnics and games of pétanque occur, ponies are ridden and little children scoot around the perimeter of the fountain pushing their sailboats while parents cheer them on. Embrace this solo trip to Paris and simply observe lived moments.
Read a little more… If you love Paris parks, why not visit the Parc de Bagatelle in the Bois de Boulogne. The Parc des Buttes Chaumont has its own waterfall and temple – well worth a meander!
9. Solo Trip To Paris: Stand Amongst Locals At A Café
Paris is a city that lives and socializes outdoors. Can you really feel alone when corner cafes are buzzing with conversation and connection? Catch a wave of the energy. Be content with your own company. Choose an outdoor table and people watch or scratch a few notes in your journal.
When I solo travel to Paris, I love to stand at the bar amongst the locals, order a coffee and pay the Parisian (non-tourist) price. Stay standing and drink your coffee at the counter. All around, Parisians will be chatting to their barista or reading the paper. I have been known to stand and read on my Kindle app, Hemingway’s A Moveable Feast. Better yet, pick up a book at an English Bookstore in Paris and read away! (If you’re a Hemingway fan, you might want to pop by the Hemingway Bar and sit right on a barstool and soak up the literary vibe!
In 2020, the ability to stand at the bar and order a coffee was taken away. Thank you Coronavirus. Quietly, it became a right to order a coffee at the bar. But it’s not the same. There is only room for one or two people.
Read More | Seasons in Paris: Summer in Paris: How to have the best time
Spring in Paris – A most glorious time to visit Paris when the magnolias and cherry blossoms are blooming. Here is your guide to finding the best spring flowers in Paris. May in Paris is one of the best months to visit.
Have you ever thought of visiting Paris in the fall? Fewer crowds, sunny, crisp days (and rain) and leaves crunching underfoot…And then Christmas arrives. These French Christmas traditions and the fantastic Christmas lights in Paris make the city even more magical!
A bonus of travelling to Paris in the winter is… you might get to see her under a blanket of snow!
Here are all the best things to do in January in Paris. And if you bundle up in February in Paris, you’ll love the lack of crowds.
10. Travelling To Paris Alone: Visit A Smaller Museum
If larger crowds seem overwhelming on a solo trip to Paris, opt to spend some time in a smaller museum. Paris is full of intimate museums tucked in all corners of the city. Head to the Musée Jacquemart-André in a stunning Paris home or the Musée Montmartre where famous artists Pierre-Auguste Renoir and Suzanne Valadon once lived.
Atelier des Lumières is an immersive art experience that is completely memorable and different from the usual museum experience. Book your ticket here.
Plan Ahead and Skip The Line: At the Musée d’Orsay and Orangerie, the Picasso Museum, and even at Versailles
Read More: Love museums? Here is a guide to 15 Museums in Paris. Where will you start? If you are a fashion lover, here’s what I thought of the new Galerie Dior.
Why not try the Paris Museum Pass for 2, 4, or 6 days?
11. Travelling To Paris Alone: Take A Cooking Class
What a thrill when I was given a cooking class as a gift at the cooking school at the Ritz Hotel! It was a 4-hour class and if you love to cook, you can’t go wrong! It was elegant and professional and every minute of the hands-on 4-hour class was jam-packed! It’s the perfect thing to do if you are travelling to Paris alone. Read about my cooking class experience at the Ritz Hotel.
If the Ritz doesn’t fit into your plans, here are some other suggested cooking classes to consider:
- a market visit and cooking class with a Parisian chef
- French pastry secrets with a Ferrandi chef
- making macarons with a Parisian chef
12. Watch A Riveting Game Of Pétanque
Can you feel alone observing pétanque in action? The heavy metal balls clank and players gather intently around a landing spot to determine points.
Head on over to Place Dauphine, one of the oldest squares in Paris, situated at the end of Ile de la Cité. It provides an oasis in bustling Paris – sip rosé in a café, watch a game of pétanque (better yet, join in!) or relax on a bench.
13. Devour Delicious Gluten-Free Delights
Now France is known for its incredible cuisine. We all know that. But what if you are gluten-free and wandering from pâtisserie to pâtisserie hoping for something you can savour. Look no further than this handy resource on gluten-free cafés and restaurants in Paris. This is an ongoing list that will be updated frequently.
Grab a fabulous GF focaccia from Chambelland and pair it with some delectable French cheese. These French cheeses are sure to set your taste buds alight! If you are looking for outstanding Fromageries in Paris, look no further than one of these seven.
Read More: If you aren’t gluten-free, here are the best croissants in Paris that you simply must sample! And if you have a sweet tooth like me, here are the best patisseries to try in Paris.
And… if you are in Paris in January for Epiphany, be sure to try the Galette des Rois. You never know, you might be crowned as a royal! If you are in the Gluten-Free camp, Chambelland has its very own version.
Is Gastronomy Your Thing? Here are some food and wine tours: A Cheese and Wine Tour, and a Chocolate and Patisserie tour.
Read More | Looking for traditional French food at affordable prices? Why not try a Bouillon Restaurant while in Paris?
Paris used to be tough for vegetarians and vegans. Not anymore. Read this article for 10 of the best vegetarian and vegan restaurants in Paris.
14. Travelling To Paris Alone: Explore The Paris Markets
One of the greatest places to watch French life unfold is at the markets. I find on a solo trip to Paris that I am much more tuned into those around me. Where better to observe Parisian life in action than at the markets?
The well-dressed ladies with their shopping caddies roll up to their regular vendors, have a lovely conversation and stock up for the next day or so. The men are shopping too with their partners. This is definitely not a chore but an outing centred around one of the keystones of French life, gastronomy.
Marché des Enfants Rouges: This oldest covered market in Paris is the perfect place to stock up on fresh fruit and vegetables, eat a meal at a shared table and get some much-needed (or not!) life advice.
Marché aux Puces: Paris’s famous flea market is an outing in itself. The perfect place to flâner and observe life in Paris. There is something for everyone. Here is what to expect at Marché aux Puces.
When travelling to Paris alone or with a friend I love to visit two of my favourite Paris markets. Don’t miss the Marché Richard Lenoir (Bastille) and the Marché d’Aligre. I’ve written about them both in my articles on the 11th arrondissement and the 12th arrondissement.
15. Travelling Alone to Paris? Consider A Day Trip
When travelling to Paris alone, there are plenty of trips within a day’s reach. There are Normandy beaches, remarkable chateaux, pilgrimage sites and tiny medieval villages all well within reach of Paris. Check out train schedules and bus schedules and you’ll be amazed where you can get to in a day.
Here are a few day trips to consider when travelling to Paris alone:
Château de Versailles: One of the most popular destinations in France and day trips from Paris is a trip to the Versailles domain. Plan on spending the whole day. This article gives the answers to many FAQ and highlights what to look for at Versailles.
Château de Chantilly: If you love castles and are looking for one close to Paris and less busy than Versailles, why not plan a day trip to the Château de Chantilly? It’s beautiful, opulent, has an amazing museum and gardens, and even a Grand Stable to investigate. Here is how to plan a day trip to Chantilly.
Giverny France: Giverny in Normandy France is one of the most popular day trips from Paris. This post, How to Spend the Perfect Day in Giverny, explains how to get there and what to see. Claude Monet’s home and water lily ponds are unforgettable. Go early!
Auvers-sur-Oise: If you love small towns, artist communities and Vincent Van Gogh, this is the destination for you. He lived here for a few months before his untimely death and created 80 paintings in this short time. Here is how to visit.
Deauville and Trouville: These twin towns in Normandy are right on the beach. If you are in Paris in the summer, they are a marvellous escape to the sea. Both towns also have a rich history which makes them a fine destination at any time of the year. Here’s the low down on this day trip.
If you decide to go to Deauville and Trouville-sur-Mer, you might want to extend your day trip… Honfleur is not far at all from Trouville-sur-Mer and then Etretat is just a bit further on! Check out my posts and decide which calls to you the most! Normandy has plenty of great places to for a day trip or perhaps a longer excursion. Here are 19 Things To Do in Normandy.
Provins: If you love medieval towns, Provins is the perfect place to go. Ramparts, tunnels and plenty of half-timbered houses will be sure to delight you. Or time your visit for the annual ( except 2020) medieval festival. Here is what to do in Provins.
Disneyland Paris: Just a short 35-minute train ride away is a little dose of Disney magic! Read these tips for planning out the perfect day trip to Disneyland Paris.
Read More: Here is a list of 17 fabulous day trips from Paris. Which is on your bucket list?
If you plan to explore further afield in France, here is a list of 16 fabulous beaches in France and this one, Biarritz, is a hub of surfing, tapas and Basque culture.
A Guided Day Trip Is Always An Option:
The Loire Valley and its castles are always a thrill or a trip to Reims and champagne country. How about a guided tour of Versailles with a skip-the-line ticket or, one of my favourites, a trip to Giverny!
If you’re comfortable going on a day trip from Paris, would you consider going further on your own? Here are two island destinations in France that I went to solo. Read about Ile aux Moines and Ile de Ré. You are sure to have an unforgettable experience.
16. Is It Safe To Travel To Paris Alone?
“Should I travel to Paris alone? Is it safe?” are very common questions. Travelling to Paris alone, you definitely need to be aware and prepared. Paris is a busy, capital city and with that comes pickpocketers and scammers. After many visits, I personally have only been scammed once (and had a bike stolen) but have heard numerous tales of friends and fellow travellers being pickpocketed and scammed. To be prepared, read all about common Paris scams and how to avoid them.
Although Paris is a walking city if you are covering a lot of ground, being well versed in how to use the métro will set you up for success. Here are all the tips you need to use the Paris métro like a local.
The answer to the question, “Is it safe to travel to Paris alone?” is yes. A definite yes. Bring a boatload of awareness in your back pocket and your solo travel in Paris will be a success. Travelling to Paris alone feels very safe. It is, in fact, my favourite city to explore solo. I love it so much, I decided to move to Paris for a year (yes, the Coronavirus year…). Read about Why I decided to move to Paris and what it was like during the Coronavirus. On a solo trip to Paris, you can be alone but rarely lonely, even in confinement.
If you need tips on how to prepare for a safe solo trip to Paris, or another destination, there is plenty of information on my solo female travel page.
This is a wonderful post. You make me want to go back! I don’t think I could ever tire of it.
Alison Browne says
I’m not sure if it is possible to tire of Paris!
Robin Browne says
Paris is so dreamy. Whether with someone or solo it’s bound to be magical after reading this 🙂
Alison Browne says
Yes- such a magical city…
There is so much to do in Paris for solo travelers, couples, families, it’s a city which has everything. I was so glad to live and work in the city before I settled down. I find Paris very safe to walk around especially in the suburbs. Much safer here than my home city of London.
Alison Browne says
How wonderful that you had the opportunity to live and work in Paris! and I agree – the city has everything that any kind of traveller is looking for! It is my all-time favourite!
I’m not above traveling to Paris alone! I’ll actually be visiting there for the first time this year, but my mom is coming with me. But, perhaps I’ll return again someday by myself! This is a great list of suggestions though, regardless of if you’re alone or traveling with other people
Alison Browne says
I hope you love Paris on your first visit in 2020! I spent time in Paris with my mother also, ages ago, and had a marvellous time!
Michael Hodgson says
Spot on with your questions … for anywhere you travel: Have you travelled solo before? Are you good with your own company? Can you let yourself be swept away by the charm and elegance of XXXX? Will you allow yourself to connect with the essence of XXXXX? I would add, “are you comfortable interacting with strangers?” and “are you ready to learn things about yourself you never imagined?” Traveling alone is such a marvelous thing. Therese and I love to travel together, but traveling solo for each of us is important too, as the experience is entirely different. I would LOVE to spend time in Paris alone. A marvelous city to wander, lose yourself in and then find yourself again.
Alison Browne says
Great additions to the questions Michael. Thanks! It is so true that travelling solo is just a completely different experience than with a loved one or friend. My favourite memories in Paris are of wandering solo and discovering something I had no idea about. And…. I end up having the most delightful and random encounters with Parisiens. These, I hold especially close to my heart.
Jamie Italiane says
When I travel alone I have the opportunity to be more mindful of my surroundings. I am a pleaser, so it gives me the chance to pay attention to what I need, rather than taking care of others. Paris is the perfect city for this!
Alison Browne says
Paying attention to yourself is one of the gifts of solo travel. You’re so right. Paris is the perfect city to indulge in this.
I can’t imagine someone saying they’d never travel to Paris solo! Ha. I think you’re so right about noticing more when you travel solo. After all, if you’re so swept up in the romance and kissing on the bridge over the Seine, how can you possibly take in all that beautiful Paris has to offer?
Alison Browne says
I guess one visit full of kisses over the Seine and then another, to explore solo, would be a lovely combination!
Walking tours are the best, especially when traveling solo. I think Paris is a fantastic place to visit solo even if it’s known to be a romantic city. I didn’t realize pickpocketing and scammers were so abundant in Paris. This is good to note as I am thinking of visiting for the first time hopefully sometime this year. I’m definitely taking my anti-theft backpack with me!
Alison Browne says
Yes, your anti-theft backpack would be a wise choice and just being aware of what the scams look like and you’ll be on your way to a marvellous visit. Hope you love it!
Kevin | Caffeinated Excursions says
LOVE this post! As a proponent of solo travel whenever and wherever possible, you make some great arguments for a solo trip to Paris. Despite having not yet been to most of the major capitals of Europe yet, I think that I would probably enjoy them as a solo traveler more. I definitely tend to wander and am always on the lookout for lesser-known areas, and I imagine that it would be harder to agree on where to go with a travel buddy (or a group).
Alison Browne says
I love solo travel and the opportunity to wander at my own pace. Paris is definitely a city that can be enjoyed solo and with others but I love my solo exploring time there!
Tania Muthusamy says
I haven’t travelled solo, but I think I’m missing out. Maybe I need to try it and what better place than Paris. Last time I went there, I was with my family and I feel like I missed out on some things, because they didn’t want to do them. I would love to stroll around by myself and mingle with the locals. Sounds fabulous.
Alison Browne says
Solo travel always sounds scarier than it is. Once you are in a place, say Paris, and you have some successful days under your belt, it is a very empowering experience!
Dana Howard Freeman says
The people watching in Paris is so amazing, it would be hard to feel alone in this city. Great suggestions for solo travelers.
Alison Browne says
Thanks! Yes the people watching in Paris is marvellous and can take up the better part of a day!
Carolina Colborn says
I wrote a piece on why it’s much better to go to Paris with someone you love and who loves you, too! I really don’t like traveling solo, especially not Paris. But you raise some good points!
Alison Browne says
Too funny! Paris is good every which way – with friends, a loved one or solo. I love the freedom to dawdle and explore as a solo traveller and Paris is my favourite city in which to do so!
Do not exclude the fact that going to Paris alone you can will meet your fate there … Why not?
Alison Browne says
So true! I have had a lot of serendipitous encounters in Paris. Who knows – perhaps my fate awaits!
I did it last year. Sublime.
Alison Browne says
So happy to hear this!! Sublime – the perfect word to describe a solo adventure in Paris.
This was an amazing post Alison! I am doing my first solo trip ever and I’m so excited I chose Paris! With some vacation days remaining and being tired of quarantines/lockdowns in Toronto.. I wanted to getaway. I couldn’t find anyone available to travel with me, even my fiancée can’t make it, haha. Either I lose my vacation days by end of March or go! I figured why not a solo trip?! I’m up for an adventure! Reading your posts have been incredibly helpful. Love that they are so updated! Thank you so much!
Alison Browne says
I hope your first solo trip to Paris is a great success! Have fun and go with the flow!
Hi! Just came across your blog. I’m planning a solo trip for next fall. Any tips on choosing where to stay?
Alison Browne says
Hi there! If it’s your first trip to Paris, I would stay in the Marais (3 and 4th arrondissement), the Latin Quarter (5th) or St Germain (6th). That way you are central and can walk everywhere! Quite frankly, I have lived in lots of arrondissements and find them all charming in their own way!