The 1st arrondissement is the very centre of Paris, the heart fo the city. It’s everything you imagine of the French capital, the River Seine lazily flowing under the Pont Neuf, the mighty Louvre museum, the elegant Tuileries Gardens.
Even for Parisians, this is the version of Paris they’ll showcase to their visiting friends and family (before taking them to their own versions of Paris, where other Parisians actually hang out).
But, if you are visiting this city, the 1st is a wonderful place to start. Here’s what we found during our visit, capping off the Paris Countdown season.
The interactive map
First, here’s an interactive map of everything we are about to recommend, to help you find it all easily.
The Earful Tower podcast episode
This podcast episode on the 1st district of Paris also includes scenes with guide Amber Minogue inside the Louvre museum, and our final score on the district out of 100.
Video guide to the 1st arrondissement
The Earful Tower’s guide to the 1st arrondissement
Visit the world famous Louvre Museum
The Louvre is impossibly incredible. It’s impossibly big too, and can be hard to navigate, meaning you’re very likely to get lost, get tired, and get fed up. It doesn’t need to be that way, though. We had a private guide and we offer “Gist of the Louvre” tours, where you can get in and out in one hour and see all the best things. Get in touch to know more via the contact form at the top of this page. We will share much more about the Louvre in the coming days. @museelouvre Address: Rue de Rivoli, 75001
Stroll through the charming Jardin des Tuileries
Such a lovely park, the Tuileries can’t really be faulted. It even has goats on hand for keeping the grass in check in the hard-to-reach places. This park is an ideal place to while away an afternoon. Address: Pl. de la Concorde, 75001
Find the willow at the end of the island
At the western edge of the Square du Vert-Galant you can pass through a willow tree’s branches to have an unrivalled and unspoiled view of the Seine, all to yourself. Best enjoyed in the early morning, you can forget about having it to yourself at lunchtime or in the evenings 🙂 Address: 15 Pl. du Pont Neuf, 75001
Stroll through Place Dauphine
This charming area is surprisingly well-hidden given that it is located in the very centre of Paris. Feel free to try your luck with the bars and restaurants, but this square is best enjoyed on foot with your camera at the ready.
A picturesque cafe with overpriced drinks and croissants, but perfectly Parisian and ideally located. Extra points if you find the Arago marker under one of the terrace tables. @lenemoursparis Address: 2 à 7 Galerie de Nemours, 2 Place Colette, 75001
Explore Paris’s art nouveau department store
The Samaritaine is glorious. Recently reopened after a very long renovation, the store looks marvellous and absolutely worth seeing from on top. Word of warning: The price tags are not for the budget traveller! @samaritaineparis Address: 9 R. de la Monnaie, 75001
Find the oldest bridge in Paris
We discussed the fascinating history of the Pont Neuf on the podcast episode linked above. It truly changed the face of Paris forevermore. Ideal for a stroll, majestic from every angle.
Dine in luxury at Le Meurice
If you want to splash out, the Restaurant Le Dalí is exceptional. We ate here to celebrate the end of the countdown season and had pigeon and octopus. A delight. Chef Amaury Bouhours has been on the podcast before talking about his cooking, and he even showed us into the impressive kitchen downstairs. See more here. @lemeuricealainducasse Address: 228 Rue de Rivoli, 75001
Spend some time in the Palais-Royal, a former palace that’s steeped in history, but perfectly enjoyable as a courtyard, garden, and series of stunning arcades. Address: 8 Rue de Montpensier, 75001
Get your caffeine fix at Bonjour
A fairly new coffee shop in the middle of the Palais-Royal (see above), Bonjour provides the perfect accompaniment to a relaxing half-hour on a nearby park bench. @bonjour_palais_royale Address: 30 Gal de Montpensier, 75001
Lastly, if you don’t have the patience to wait one hour for the nearby Bar Hemingway, head to the Hotel Costes instead. You’ll certainly get a seat, the interior is grand, and the cocktails are great. @hotelcostes Address: 7 Rue de Castiglione, 75001
That brings us to the end of our Paris Countdown series! We now leave you with 20 in-depth guides to help you explore the very best of each arrondissement. Check them all out here!
A big thanks to Augusta Sagnelli for the photos and Charlotte Pleasants for the additional reporting. And thanks to all you readers, listeners, and viewers!
Here’s the podcast episode again in case you missed it.
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