Map courtesy of Beau Paris
I know. For you well-seasoned travelers, the question of what is a Paris arrondissement is like asking what color the sky is. But I work with a lot of newbie travelers who have never heard the term. Without an understanding of what an arrondissement is and how it plays into navigating Paris, they would be lost. So, for you who may be traveling to Paris for the first time, I will explain.
An arrondissement is a city district. The pronunciation is "ah-rohn-dees-mawn."
The city of Paris is divided into 20 arrondissements. They spiral from the center of the city outwards in a clock-wise direcion. The arrondissements are encircled by the peripherique, a ring highway (or loop, as we might say in the U.S.). Outside the peripherique are the suburbs of Paris.
Arrondissements 1 through 8 are where most tourist attractions are located. Take a look at the map above. You see the Eiffel Tower is in arrondissement 7; the Louvre is in arrondissement 1; and Notre Dame is in arrondissement 4.
Paris' arrondissements are identified by the last two digits of an addresses zip code. This is helpful to know when locating a specific address, say for a hotel or restaurant. For example, if an address has the zip code of 75003, the "03" tells you the address is in arrondissement 3. Arrondissements are also written in two other forms: 3eme or 3e arr.
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