Side of the Seine: Right Bank
Quaint and charming, the 18th arrondissement was once home to artistic genius Pablo Picasso. The cobbled Montmartre area of the 18th, popularized by my favorite film Amelie, is a frequented area of the 18th with its fine share of gardens and passages to explore.
When you arrive in the village center, you may be disappointed to find that the charm and wonder you expected to experience has been stripped away by busloads of tourists from around the world, as well as street artists and kitschy tourists shops who cater specifically to those masses. Still, if you wander just a little further away from the center of Montmartre, you can find calm, winding streets, staircases, & facades covered in vines. It's this part of Montmartre that I love to meander and explore.
I've also been to farther areas of the 18th to visit some friends, and most of this quarter is composed of residential neighborhoods with boutiques and some fantastic restaurants. One of those villages, called Abbesses, is a nice, quieter area to do some shopping with its trendy boutiques, high street shops, and galleries. It's known to be a neighborhood warmer in personality-- the locals even say hello!
Should I stay here?
I don't suggest booking a vacation stay in the 18th, especially if it's only your first or second time in Paris, not only because it's further away from the city center, but also because certain areas in the 18th aren't exactly the safest.
A few of the streets and areas here are considered to have a seedy reputation, so if you do end up booking accommodation here, research the area of the hotel or apartment you're looking into, and read up on reviews that former guests have written about the safety of the area and its proximity to public transportation.
It is quite a long metro ride from the 18th to the central arrondissements of Paris. Still, a stay in the 18th might prove to be a more authentic Parisian living experience, so if your stay in Paris is prolonged and you don't mind a long commute to the city attractions, you might be able to find a charming place to stay for your trip.
- Sacré Coeur: This breathtaking basilica is one of the most visited sites in the world, welcoming over 11.5 million visitors per year. Its name "Sacré Coeur' translates to "sacred heart," referring to the heart of Jesus and his love for humanity. Its striking white stone stands out from the the colors of the rest of the city, and atop the basilica on its dome, you can take in spectacular views of Paris.
- Moulin Rouge: If your preferences lay privy to a more lascivious nature, or if the film bearing its same name made a lasting impression on you, the Moulin Rouge is likely already on your list. Perhaps the most famous cabaret show in the world, the Moulin Rouge will ensure you have anything but an uneventful 90 minutes of your night.
- Square Jehan-Rictus: Square Jehan-Rictus is a park that showcases a mural, known as le mur des je t’aime, with "I love you" written 311 times in 250 different languages and dialects from across the globe.