Paris Neighborhood Guide: the 16th Arrondissement

If you’re new here, the French capital comprises 20 “arrondissements,” a fancy French word for neighborhoods. They begin with the 1st arrondissement in the city’s center, and the others spiral out, resulting in what looks like a snail’s shell. It’s a nice image when you consider that escargots seem synonymous with French cuisine (eating snails isn’t as popular as you may think, but that’s another story for another article). 

Nestled in the western corner of Paris is the 16th, or seizième, arrondissement. It’s fairly residential when compared to other areas, especially the lively 10th and 11th arrondissements, and of course, neighborhoods 1-7, which boast monuments such as the Louvre, Notre-Dame de Paris, Panthéon, and Quartier Latin.

I lived in the 16th arrondissement for two years when I was a student. While it is certainly quiet, it’s one of the things I liked most about living there. And, “quiet” doesn’t mean totally removed from the hustle and bustle of Paris. The Place du Trocadero, which overlooks the Eiffel Tower, is in the 16th and was only a five minute walk from my apartment at the time.

There are a few other places in the 16th that are worth checking out, especially for those of you who either live here full-time or are a tourist looking to do things that are off the proverbial beaten path. 

Le Bois

Two large parks bookend Paris — the Bois de Boulogne to the west and the Bois de Vincennes to the east. Another reason why I loved living in the 16th so much was that I had such easy access to such a massive green space in an otherwise relatively urban landscape. Bois means “wood” in English, an apt word to describe it. The Bois de Boulogne covers an area of about 2,090 acres. 

There are walking paths, fields, lakes, smaller parks within the woods, places to exercise, restaurants, a nightclub (yes, you read that right), the Longchamp Hippodrome (a famous horse racing track), and bike paths. It’s a wonderful place to spend a sunny weekend, and you’ll often see Parisians out exercising or spending time with family.

You’ll also find one of my favorite museums, the Fondation Louis Vuitton. Designed by architect Frank Gehry, who is also responsible for the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao in Spain, it opened in 2014, the first year I came to Paris as an au pair. It’s a contemporary art museum, and some memorable exhibits I saw there include The Shchukin Collection, which highlighted artists like Picasso, Matisse, and Gaugin, as well as a collaboration with the MoMA in New York City. 

The modern building stands out amongst the oak and poplar trees — some Parisians don’t like it — so you won’t be able to miss it. 

More Museums

The Fondation Louis Vuitton isn’t the only museum in the 16th arrondissement. In fact, there are more than a dozen. I won’t bore you with information about them all (although I know most of you wouldn’t be bored!), but there are a few that I recommend you visit the next time you’re in the area.

  • Musée du Vin: Housed in a historic cellar, the Musée du Vin, or Wine Museum, boasts a rich collection of artifacts, tools, and more that trace the history of winemaking and its cultural significance in France. You can explore the cellars, gain insights into vine cultivation, enjoy tastings, and essentially immerse yourselves in the art and heritage of France’s preferred drink.
  • Musée Marmottan: Originally a private mansion, the Musée Marmottan houses the world’s largest ensemble of Claude Monet’s works, alongside pieces by other renowned artists. It’s located in a former hôtel particulier (a fancy name for a city mansion), meaning the building itself is just as impressive as the art inside it. Don’t forget to go downstairs — that’s where you’ll find the majority of Monet’s works. Stephen is a big fan of Berthe Morisot and he was first introduced to her at this museum.
  • Musée d’Art Moderne de Paris: Filled with contemporary and modern art, the Modern Art Museum of Paris has one of my favorite permanent collections in Paris. Works by artists like Picasso, Fernand Léger, Frida Khalo, Modigliani, and Sonia Delaunay grace the halls — I’ve spent many an afternoon admiring them.
  • Palais de Tokyo: Located just à côté of the Modern Art Museum is the Palais de Tokyo. Now, I must admit this museum isn’t my favorite as I don’t love contemporary art, but if you do it’s a must-visit. The large space is dedicated to avant-garde creativity at its utmost, and hosts ever-changing exhibitions, performances, and installations.

Take a Stroll

Like all Parisian neighborhoods, the seizième is a wonderful place to wander. There are plenty of places to grab a coffee or a bite — Le Franklin near the Passy métro station is great for people-watching, and Langousta is great for seafood — otherwise, take the time to admire the classic Parisian architecture as well as the local resident’s taste in clothing. 

If you’ve seen the movie Inception, you’ll likely recognize the Pont du Bir Hakeim. Cross it and you’ll find yourself in front of the Eiffel Tower. About halfway across the bridge, take a moment to walk down the stairs to explore the Île des Cygnes — technically in the 15th arrondissement — and admire a unique view of the Tower from there.

While I no longer live in the 16th it holds a special place in my heart. I can’t help but feel like I’m home whenever I get off the line 6 at Passy.

Photo by Karl Köhler on Unsplash

Did you enjoy this article? TAIP is 100% reader-supported through tipping. If you want to leave us a tip of any amount it would be highly appreciated. These tips help support our efforts to keep TAIP an ad-free environment. Just as at a cafe, the tips are split evenly among the team.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.