Just north of the 1st arrondissement and the River Seine, the 2nd arrondissement is a charming, historic area full of buildings predating Haussmann’s redesign of the city. Here you’ll find narrow cobblestoned streets (some of which are pedestrian-only), historic churches, and a mix of retail shops and fashion wholesalers.
The 2nd arrondissement is the kind of place to go not to check out museums but to soak up the local culture. There are plenty of shops, bars, and restaurants in this mixed residential-commercial district, though note that some businesses in the northern part of the neighborhood known as the Sentier are strictly for wholesale buyers. The area is also home to the historic site of the Paris securities market, formerly known as the Paris Bourse.
The 2nd arrondissement features on some food-themed city tours and is easy to explore independently.
Things to Know Before You Go
The 2nd arrondissement is one of the best areas for shopping on the Right Bank.
Make sure to wear comfortable shoes, as the 2nd arrondissement is best-explored on foot.
Wheelchair users and travelers with strollers should note that this area, while mostly accessible, has a large number of cobblestones.
How to Get There
The 2nd arrondissement is situated on Paris's Right Bank, due north of the 1st arrondissement and south of the 9th arrondissement, where the Opera Garnier, Printemps, and Galeries Lafayette are situated. The Marais neighborhood is to its east, while the 8th arrondissement, home to the Champs-Elysées and Place de la Concorde, is to its west. Metro stations in the neighborhood include Sentier, Étienne Marcel, Réaumur-Sébastopol, Strasbourg–Saint Denis, Grands Boulevards, Bourse, and Quatre-Septembre.
When to Get There
The 2nd arrondissement is a year-round destination. It's most interesting later in the afternoon and in the evening, particularly if you want to sit at a café and people watch. Parts of the area are best avoided late at night, however, particularly the Rue Saint-Denis, unless you'd like to watch a peep show or acquaint yourself with the world's oldest profession.
La Rue Montorgueil
The liveliest part of the 2nd arrondissement is the Rue Montorgueil, particularly the stretch between Rue Réaumur and Rue Étienne Marcel. On this pedestrian-only part of the street, you’ll find all sorts of shops, cafés, bakeries, and restaurants. Don't miss the famous L'Escargot Montorgueil—a great place for first-timers to sample snails—or Stohrer, the oldest pastry shop in Paris, open since 1730.