Strolling the streets in Paris is one of my favorite activities while in the city of love. There is so much history and culture that seeps from every corner and cobblestone.
The feel and even the direction of the streets in Paris have changed over the years. The biggest change came during the period known as the Second Empire when Napoleon III ruled France.
Napoleon saw the potential for this growing city, and asked Baron Georges-Eugene Haussmann, to modernize Paris. This meant to bring clean water and modern sewers, light the streets, and to build parks, schools, hospitals, asylums, prisons, and administrative buildings. But the most ambitious aspect of Haussmann’s plan was to literally reshape the city.
Haussmann demolished the ancient, winding streets of Paris as these narrow streets proved extremely useful by revolutionaries. In their place, Haussmann created broad straight boulevards that were impervious to the barricade and allowed for the easy flow of commerce to promote business.
Today the look and feel of Paris, can for better or worse be attributed to the Haussmann-style.
Here are the 16 prettiest streets in modern-day Paris and a little history of how they came to be.
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- Map of the Prettiest Streets in Paris by Arrondissement
- Prettiest Streets of Paris in the 12th Arr.
- Prettiest Streets of Paris in the 16th Arr.
- Prettiest Streets of Paris in the 18th Arr.
- Prettiest Streets of Paris in the 4th Arr.
- 5th Arr. Streets of Paris
- Prettiest Streets of Paris in the 6th Arr.
- 7th Arr. Streets of Paris
- Prettiest Streets of Paris in the 8th Arr.
Map of the Prettiest Streets in Paris by Arrondissement
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Prettiest Streets of Paris in the 12th Arr.
The 12th arrondissement in Paris is mostly a residential area. Therefore, many tourists don’t find their way to this area of Paris on most itineraries. However, topping our list of the most beautiful streets in Paris is the rainbow gem of Rue Crémieux.
1. Rue Crémieux
Rue Crémieux is one of the most photographed streets in Paris due to its popularity on social media. However, many that visit don’t actually know the history behind this colorful street in Paris.
There are 35 colorful houses on Rue Crémieux that are different from the traditional Haussmann style of most Parisian streets. The inspiration for the colorful painted exteriors came from Portobello Road in the Nothing Hill neighborhood of London.
This very street used to be known as “Avenue Millaud”, but it was renamed in 1897 to rue Crémieux, in honor of Isaac Moses, also know as Adolphe Crémieux. He was the French politician that became famous for the 1870 decree that gave French nationality to 37 thousand Algerian Jews.
If you plan to visit this street to take photos, please remember that these beautiful facades are actually the front of people’s homes. Make sure that you give them the same respect that you would want to be shown!
Prettiest Streets of Paris in the 16th Arr.
The 16th arrondissement includes part of the Arc de Triomphe, and a concentration of museums between the Place du Trocadéro and the Place d’Iéna.
As the 16th arrondissement is located directly across from the Eiffel Tower, you will find some of the most beautiful streets with a backdrop of the iron lady.
2. Avenue de New York
The Avenue de New York runs parallel to the Seine between Trocadéro and the Pont d’Iena. If you are visiting Paris in the spring, this is a great place to see wisteria with a backdrop of the Eiffel Tower.
If you didn’t know, the history of the Avenue de New York is a very interesting one. Today it is named after New York in the United States, but that wasn’t always the case.
The Avenue de New York was first named quai des Bonshommes, as it bordered the convent of Bonshommes. Afterwards it was called many different names from quai de la Conférence, quai de Chaillot, quai de la Savonnerie, and finally quai Debilly by 1807.
At the end of WWI in 1918, the quai Debilly was renamed to avenue de Tokio for political reasons to honor Japan for being an ally of France. In a turn of events, during WWII, Japan became the ally of Germany which did not sit well for France.
At the end of WWII, and again for political reasons, the street was renamed Avenue de New York to honor the United States of America who had just liberated France.
3. Avenue de Camoëns
Possibly the shortest avenue on the list, at only 115m long, the Avenue de Camoëns is a picture perfect spot to grab an iconic view of the Eiffel Tower.
Don’t miss out on the large staircase at the end of the avenue with a double lateral staircase.
At the bottom of the stairs is a monument to a Portuguese poet in monolithic pink marble sculpted by Clara Menerès and erected in 1987.
Prettiest Streets of Paris in the 18th Arr.
The 18th Arrondissement sits atop a charming hilltop, Montmartre. There are sweeping views of the city from the steep, winding streets or from the stairs of the Sacré-Cœur basilica. In the early years of Paris, Montmartre was a struggling artists’ village inhabited by the likes of Picasso and Dali.
Today this area is widely visited by tourists to see either the Sacré-Cœur or the iconic Moulin Rouge cabaret. This is one of my favorite areas in Paris as it truly has retained some of the old-village Paris feel of the 20’s.
4. Rue de l’Abreuvoir
Rue de l’Abreuvoir is my vote for the prettiest street in the Montmartre neighborhood of Paris. The street also hold the title as the “prettiest street in all of Paris”.
Rue de l’Abreuvoir starts at the famous La Maison Rose, but many visitors don’t continued past the famous cafe. If you continue down towards the Statue of Dalida, you will find this stunning view with parts of the Sacré-Cœur in the distance.
During the 19th-century, the road was renamed Rue l’abreuvoir (or watering trough) as it was the path which led to the old watering place of Montmartre located at the corner of rue Girardon. Today the watering trough is many years gone, and the street is lined with houses which dating back to the 1930s.
If you want to visit Montmartre, and the prettiest street in Paris, I highly recommend coming in the morning. I took this shot above around 9AM in the morning and we had the whole area to ourselves to enjoy the beauty. The Montmartre neighborhood gets very lively towards late morning into the afternoon.
5. Rue Lamarck
Rue Lamarck is one of the longest routes in the 18th arrondissement of Paris. It begins at the top of the Butte Montmartre right in front of the Sacré-Cœur basilica, follows north, wraps around the Sacré-Cœur basilica, and heads west where it passes Rue Caulaincourt where you can get this exact shot.
Rue Lamarck is named after Jean-Baptiste de Lamarck a professor of invertebrate zoology. He is famous for his work on the evolution of living beings with Zoological Philosophy and Natural History animals without vertebrae.
This is one of my favorite streets in Paris on a rainy day because it creates such a moody vibe with the gothic metro sign and the steep staircase.
6. Rue Norvins
During the 15th-century, Rue Norvins was one of the main streets winding through the 18th arrondissement. This street was first documented in the third known street plan of greater Paris in 1672.
After the historic Montmartre village officially became a part of the city of Paris in 1860, they joined the Paris road network and renamed the street to Rue Norvins. Today, it is the most preserved street from Montmartre’s vibrant village past.
How cool is that? You can wander this very street and get a little glimpse of life in Montmartre from the 17th century.
It is also one of the most photo-worthy spots in Montmartre with the backdrop of the famous Le Consulat restaurant.
7. Rue Saint-Rustique
Rue Saint-Rustique, original known as rue Notre-Dam, is an offshoot street of Rue Norvins. Rue Notre-Dome was eventually renamed to Rue Saint-Rustique as the spot where Saint Rustique was allegedly martyred.
I think this has to be one of the best sneak peaks of the Sacré-Cœur basilica domes in all of Montmartre.
Prettiest Streets of Paris in the 4th Arr.
The 4th arrondissement includes part of the fashionable Marais, known for its hip boutiques, art galleries, and bars packed with the hip working crowd.
Once the city’s Jewish quarter, there are a number of kosher restaurants that remain in the area.
8. Rue Nicolas Flamel
The Rue Nicolas Flamel makes the list as one of the prettiest street in Paris because it creates a perfect frame for the Saint-Jacques Tower. Located in the Square of Saint-Jacques Tower, the Saint-Jacques Tower is the only remaining part of a 16th-century church that was destroyed during the French Revolution.
The street is named after Nicolas Flamel, a French scribe and manuscript-seller from the 14th and 15th century Paris. Flamel developed a reputation as an alchemist believed to have discovered the philosopher’s stone. One of Flamel’s houses still stands in Paris, at 51 rue de Montmorency. It is the oldest stone house in the city.
Another interesting fact is that rue Nicolas Flamel intersects with rue Pernelle, named after Flamel’s wife.
Today you can come here an enjoy the many benches that fill the park. On a sunny afternoon, you will find many French having their lunch here or meeting with a friend.
The tower can be visited in the summer months by booking a tour here.
9. Rue Chanoinesse
Rue Chanoinesse is one of the prettiest streets located in one of the oldest areas of Paris, Île de la Cité. The Roman city of Lutetia (also known as Lutèce in French) was the predecessor of present-day Paris. It is thought that the the first inhabitants of Lutèce lived on Île de la Cité, before the Romans developed it.
Although rue Chanoinesse’s medieval architectural past is now mainly dominated by the Haussmann style, you can still feel the medieval history when exploring this area.
Au Vieux Paris d’Arcole, which is located along rue Chanoinsesse, was built in 1512 to be a canon house for the newly constructed Notre Dame cathedral. By the 18th century, it had been purchased by a private citizen and was turned into a wine bar. This spot is worth a spot if you are in the neighborhood, especially if the wisteria is in bloom during the spring!
5th Arr. Streets of Paris
The 5th arrondissement, also known as Panthéon, is located on the left bank of the Seine River. Here you will find the historic Latin Quatrier, a district dominated by universities, colleges, and prestigious high schools.
The 5th arrondissement is also one of the oldest districts of the city and was first established by the Romans in the 1st Century BC. Even today, you can find traces of Roman rule throughout this arrondissement at the Arènes de Lutèce, a Roman amphitheater, and the Thermes de Cluny, a Roman thermae.
10. Rue Saint-Julien le Pauvre
Rue Saint-Julien le Pauvre is particularly charming as it is adjacent to Square René Viviani, which has beautiful spring blooms, and one of the old churches in Paris, Church of Saint-Julien-le-Pauvre.
Although, my favorite viewpoint of this street is looking southwest towards the quaint architecture of the Odette pastry shop! These beautiful Parisian buildings looks as if they are wedged between larger residences.
Most people will end up in this area because of the famous bookstore, Shakespeare and Co, but make sure to explore the surrounding areas as well!
11. Rue Saint Jacques
Rue Saint Jacques is the main street from medieval Paris and known as the oldest street in Paris.
Today, Rue Saint Jacques lies along what used to be “the cardo”, or the main street running north and south, in the ancient Roman city of Lutetia.
This street was well-traveled in medieval time by those making the eventual pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela in Galicia, which housed the remains of the apostle Saint James.
Today rue Saint Jacques cuts through the center of the Sorbonne, or the University of Paris, in the Latin Quartier which makes this street very vibrant.
Prettiest Streets of Paris in the 6th Arr.
The 6th arrondissement of Paris lies along the left bank of the Seine. It is dominated by the chic Saint Germain de Pres neighborhood and the Jardin du Luxembourg park.
This is my favorite arrondissement to stay when we visit Paris. Check out my full guide on the best places to stay in Paris!
12. Rue Gît-le-Cœur
Right off the busy rue Saint-André-des-Arts along the Seine, you will find the picturesque, centuries-old rue Gît-le-Cœur. It is also the shortest street on my list, at just 112 meters. This street has a meaningful history as it was part of the stronghold of the Abbey of Saint-Germain-des-Prés back in the 13 century.
As with many ancient streets in Paris, rue Gît-le-Cœur’s name has changed numerous times over the centuries, from rue Gilles le Queux, rue Gui-le-Preux, rue Gui-le-Comte, to rue Gilles-Cœur. In the 1930’s, rue Gît-le-Cœur was made famous by the Beat Hotel which call this street home. At the time the Beat Hotel was a small, run-down hotel with 42 rooms known as a residence for members of the Beat poetry movement of the mid-20th century.
The Relais du Vieux Paris hotel is at the present day location and is now a 4-star hotel with colorful Parisian motifs. They playfully describe themselves as “The Beat Hotel”.
7th Arr. Streets of Paris
The 7th arrondissement is home to the Eiffel Tower, the Champs de Mars park, the Musée d’Orsay, and the Rodin Museum; very highly visited landmarks on any first trip to Paris. That means, if it is your first time to Paris, you will likely be in the area of the next prettiest streets on the list.
However, even if this isn’t your first time to Paris, you will most certainly enjoy the 7th arrondissement for its shopping (check out Le Bon Marché), the open markets, and the most famous street in Paris for food, Rue Cler.
This arrondissement is a mix of elegance, tradition, but with a casual vibe. And to make it ever better, most streets in this arrondissement have a view of the Eiffel Tower!
13. Rue de l’Université
The rue de l’Université is the tenth longest street in Paris. However, there is one particular location along rue de l’Université that is more notable than others. Where the street dead ends, just past Avenue de la Bourdonnais, you will find this instagrammable street view of the Eiffel Tower.
For a little history behind this street, back in the 12th century the former university of Paris acquired a territory located along the Seine and called it Pré-aux-Clercs. In 1639, the University sold the Pré-aux-Clercs and it was subdivided into a new district of Paris whose main street took the name rue de l’Université.
Rue de l’Université, is also one of the few streets in Paris that hasn’t changed names since it was first erected.
It was extended to the Champ-de-Mars, crossing the Esplanade des Invalides during the Paris expansion. The street ran along an arm of the Seine until the connection of the former île des Cygnes at the end of the 18th century, making it among the 10th longest streets in Paris today.
Pro Tip: Any place labelled “instagrammable” will be busy with people. Head to this spot in the morning for the best chances of getting a good photo.
14. Avenue Rapp
There is a lot going on at Avenue Rapp if you just look around. Here at the intersection of Avenue Rapp and Avenue Monttessuy you will find another street view of the Eiffel Tower peaking out from the Parisian architecture.
Nearby address 29 Avenue Rapp, you will find one of the most unique examples of Art Nouveau at the Lavirotte building. If you think you have seen all that Art Nouveau has to offer, think again. This piece was rather controversial when it was first created by Jules Lavirotte, a Lyon born designer. It was meant to portray scenes of Adam and Eve, but the artist used his wife as the center piece. Check it out and make any conclusions for yourself.
At square Rapp you can find another view of the Eiffel Tower from a courtyard with a gorgeous iron fence. Beyond the iron fence is private property, so please be respectful if you chose to visit this location.
15. Rue Saint-Dominique
The 7th arrondissement, and Rue Saint-Dominique, are becoming one of the best eating and shopping streets in Paris. You will not only find amazing views of the Eiffel Tower, but also have at your discretion many flower shops, cafés, French boutiques, bakeries, and restaurants.
Along rue Saint-Dominique you can enjoy cafés like Le Recrutement Cafe for breakfast, the casual Café Constant for a classic French bistro fare or Le Violon d’Ingres for a Michelin starred experience.
One of the restaurants I still want to try here is Les Cocottes. As the name would suggest, they specialize in “cocottes,” or dishes cooked in small cast iron pots. Once you are full and ready for shopping, make sure to check out the fashionable French boutiques the Kooples, Claudie Pierlot, and Comptoir des Cotonniers.
Like most streets in Paris, rue Saint-Dominique has held many different names over the years. However, in 1643 the street was finally named rue Saint-Dominique after the Dominican monastery that was established on this street.
Prettiest Streets of Paris in the 8th Arr.
The 8th arrondissement is a generally up-scale area, as it is home to the famous Champs-Élysées. Many people will visit the 8th arrondissement to see the iconic Arc de Triomphe and witness the chaos of the traffic circle of Place Charles de Gaulle.
One of the most dangerous intersections in the world, attempting to drive through the Place Charles de Gaulle should be done with a lot of caution and experience!
The Champs-Élysées is the most famous street in Paris. Here is where you will find all the major luxury designers, making this street also the most famous shopping street in Paris. Well-known names such as Moncler, Louis Vuitton, Dior, Bvlgari, and Chanel all call the Champs-Élysées home.
Close by, you will also be able to shop Hermés, Givenchy, Balenciaga, Gucci and Saint Laurent on Avenue Montaigne and Avenue George V.
The history of the Champs-Élysées dates back to1640 city developers planted a line of trees, which would later become a paved road. The name translates to “Elysian Fields” from the Greek mythology, meaning resting place of Greek gods and dead heroes.
Along with being the most famous street in Paris, the Champs-Élysées is also one of the prettiest as it connects Arc de Triomphe with the Place de la Concorde and the Tuileries Garden. The best viewpoint over Champs-Élysées comes from the top of the Arc de Triomphe.
Whether it is your first time in Paris, or you are a seasoned visitor, taking the time to admire the streets in Paris for their beauty and history is so rewarding.
You will be able to leave Paris feeling like you have really experience a part of the city that others haven’t taken the time to appreciate.
If you have been to Paris before, or use this as a guide for your next trip, let me know in the comments the street in Paris you find is the prettiest!
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- Top 15 Things to do in Paris in the Winter
- Travel Smarter: My International Trip Planning Process