SIDE OF THE SEINE: RIGHT BANK
Once brimming with the charm and authenticity of the Upper Marais, the Lower Marais has undergone an unfortunate gentrification of common chain stores, a population boost, and abounding tourists. If you're searching for that quieter, authentic Parisian charm, you might want to shift over to the Upper Marais in the 3rd.
Still, I love the 4th. As a visitor, the 4th is absolutely worth spending time in, especially since it is a centralized arrondissement. Not to mention it is home to the famous Notre-Dame Cathedral. Plus, you'll be able to find accommodation with ease. A few of my favorite sights, cafés, and restaurants are here, and you could easily spend an entire day and night in this arrondissement without a hint of boredom.
Should I stay here?
The 4th is a fantastic area for booking accommodation. It is centrally located with lots of public transportation at hand, and you'll find a great deal of hotel and apartment options to choose from. It can get pricey at times because it is close to the heart of the city, but I find it is well worth it.
As for me, I usually choose to stay here in a quieter part of the 4th, in a certain area I'm not yet ready to reveal to publicly, mainly because a lot of the locals don't advocate a high volume of visitors staying there. They've even petitioned for it to be put to a halt.
- Cathédral de Notre-Dame: Notre-Dame is one of the most visited sights in all of France, and understandably so. This imposing setting for Victor Hugo's The Hunchback of Notre-Dame is as impressive as you imagine to be. With arches and columns and yes, even the formidable gargoyles, Notre-Dame is well-worth a visit. I enjoy sitting in for a service every now and then. Just be mindful during the services, and try to refrain from flash photos during a service or choir performance, as it is a place of worship.
- Place des Vosges: I mentioned Place des Vosges in my post on the "5 Must-Try Cafes in Paris for Casual Dining." It is the oldest and also one of the prettiest courtyards in Paris. Make your way here for a peaceful stroll, where on occasion you can observe a musician or artist at work with the arts they've mastered.
- Centre Pompidou: The architecture of Centre Pompidou isn't my favorite, but it houses the National Museum of Modern Art and features both permanent and temporary exhibitions of modern art from the 20th & 21st centuries. You can also visit its public information library and a unique restaurant called Le Georges which offers outstanding views.
- Hôtel de Ville: Serving as Paris' city hall, Hôtel de Ville is an excellent place to begin your exploration of the 4th and is ideally positioned along the Seine. It plays host to many events throughout the year, especially in the summertime, and also includes a lovely courtyard.