The City

The City of Paris

One of the most captivating cities in Europe, Paris retains its timeless legacy as an artistic, intellectual, and literary pacesetter. The Eiffel Tower, symbol of the city, dominates the skyline. North of the Seine, the Right Bank is home to monumental buildings, grand boulevards, and major museums, including the Louvre and the Centre Pompidou. The Left Bank (rive gauche) invokes a Bohemian and intellectual atmosphere with its university communities, cafés, restaurants, jazz clubs, and chic boutiques.

Though a metropolitan environment, Paris adheres to its dedication to small businesses and local vendors. Thus you will find yourself in quaint locales that immerse themselves in intimacy and friendliness. As such, keep these tips in mind when venturing throughout the city:

  • The city is more like a giant village, there are limited skyscrapers so you will often feel like you are in a small city. However, Paris is sprawling and it takes longer to get places than in comparison to New York City.
  • The city basically closes on Sundays which is important to keep in mind when making plans. In particular, this can greatly affect arrangements for food and eating. Business hours are much different as stores tend to close earlier than in New York.
  • As of January 2008, the city enacted a ban on smoking in any public facilities including bars and restaurants. While smoking remains ubiquitous, the ban is being efficiently enforced.

Neighborhood Guide by Arrondissement

Paris is divided into 20 arrondisemonts (districts) that spiral out like a snail’s shell from the center. The Seine River then cuts across the entire city, dividing it into the right (droit) and left (gauche) banks. Each arrondissement offers its own unique character, just like the different neighborhoods and boroughs of New York. Though you’ll get to know your own arrondissement best, you will inevitably spend time in almost all of them, experiencing Paris’ diversity firsthand.

Transit Tips

Students with umbrellas

Climate

Students are urged to travel light but to bring warm clothing to Paris. Clothing which can be easily layered is your best bet for remaining comfortable throughout the seasons you'll experience during a semester abroad. Although winter temperatures seldom drop below 30°F, it is frequently cool and rainy.