Paris is the City of Light. It is an architectural wonder that started over 2000 years ago during the Roman times. Throughout the centuries, new styles have influenced the city, all adding to the beauty and elegance of what is Paris today. With its intriguing central axis layout, the city has a network of boulevards, radiating from étoiles that lead into local streets and interior courts. Paris seems to have it all, from the best bistros to the sophisticated haute couture and from the gargoyles of Notre Dame to the futuristic art of Centre Georges-Pompidou.
The city is divided into arrondissements or neighborhoods that run in a circular path starting at the center and winding outwards like a snail shell. The Seine River, the lifeblood of Paris, also divides the city into two sides – the Right Bank and the Left Bank.
The prime areas of the Right Bank are the 8th and 16th arrondissements which include some of the chicest fashion houses, Les Champs-Élysées, Le Palais de l’Élysée, international embassies, La Place de la Concorde and the widest avenue in Paris, the much coveted Avenue Foch.
On the Left Bank, the renowned areas are the 6th and 7th arrondissements with Les Jardins du Luxembourg, Saint-Germain-des-Pres, La Tour Eiffel and Les Invalides. In this area, the intellectual crowd mingles with artists and jazz musicians in cellar nightspots and historic bistros.
It is not hard to fall in love with the architecture of Paris. Each arrondissement has its own unique beauty and points of interest. During the 1860 Baron Haussmann, responsible for the transformation of Paris from its ancient character to the one we still largely see today, introduced the picturesque apartment buildings that conjure up the traditional images of Paris: long 19th century town houses of 5-7 floors with continuous balconies and mansard roofs with dormer windows.
Apartments in Paris can vary considerably in age, quality, comfort and size. The ingenuity of making the most of small spaces as well as the creativity of cutting edge new construction reflect the Parisian way of life.