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One of my goals for the last days in Paris was to see the local Paris. If you, too, crave a more intimate portrait of the city, then the 9th arrondissement is where you should start. I’ve been here long enough to have seen the sights, and I’ve got the pictures to prove it. The 9th arrondissement has been growing on me for its classic Paris feel with the local vibe. There are plenty of smaller museums, cafés, and Haussmann façades that bring delight, with the quiet of a neighborhood that might be beyond the city. Colors, scooters, and flowers abound. Here are some of the results!
Things to Do in the 9th Arrondissement
9th Arrondissement Museums
You may know this as the pink house museum. Located in a small house on a quiet street around the corner from the Pigalle métro, it also boasts a garden where you can take tea and refreshments. The collection focuses on the works of George Sand, the fine and graphic arts, archival history, and more.
Entry to the permanent collections is free, as well as access to the garden.
This museum is definitely one of the more interesting one’s I’ve been in…it houses the works of Moreau, a symbolist painter. Art history lovers may be familiar with his painting, “Jupiter and Semele.” Visitors can wander through his apartments and workspace, and the dazzling staircase has been known to draw more than a few for that perfect social media spot.
Tickets begin at 7€, but if you save yours, you receive discounted entry to a number of other museums within eight days of your visit, including the Musée d’Orsay, the Musée de la Vie Romantique (expositions are not free), and the Palais Garnier (it’s free!).
Also known as the opéra, the Palais Garnier may not have a phantom haunting the halls, but it is no less grand for the lack of mystery. If taking in a ballet isn’t quite your taste, there are many exhibitions to enjoy if wandering the grand staircases and marveling at the interior architecture and design aren’t enough to keep you busy.
Paris is rife with cathedrals, but some of the best aren’t the most well-known. Skip Notre Dame (it’s closed, anyway) and head to Notre Dame de Lorette. It’s really the exterior you’re after—stand at the right angle and you’ll find the Sacre Coeur Basilica peeking from above the hill, which is always a pleasant surprise.
The other cathedral worth seeing is Église Saint Vincent de Paul, a behemoth a few minute’s walk from the métro stop Poissonière. (It’s also right by my favorite film/camera store when I’m in a pinch, Negative+.) The neoclassical structure houses a frieze depicting 160 saints in the nave.
Best Views in the 9th Arrondissement
- Place des Abbesses
Right around the corner from the “I Love You” wall (le Mur de Je t’aime) is Place des Abbesses. There’s nothing extraordinarily special about the playground, but walk around and you get another unexpected view of Sacre Coeur rising above the treetops.
- Galeries Lafayette and Printemps
Your visit to Paris (at least, the first one) doesn’t really happen unless you head up to the rooftop terraces of the Galeries Lafayette and Printemps. You get a sweeping view of the whole city, Eiffel Tower and all. It’s free, but you can always grab a drink or some refreshment while you’re there.
Best Restaurants and Cafés
If you want a long list of places to eat in Paris, check out my food guide. A few on that list are in the 9th arrondissement and worth mentioning here.
- KB Coffee Roasters
Cute little American-style coffee shop sitting in a very Parisian square (complete with a merry-go-round). Coffee, tea, pastries, and a promise not to be run-of-the-mill bistro coffee (which is known as notoriously bad in Paris).
- Bouillon Pigalle
I think this *might* be my favorite restaurant in the whole city. It’s one of those places where you can have a three-course meal plus wine, all for about 20€. Yes! You read that right. And the dining room is just a delight to be in, too. They serve classic French fare, from duck confit to rice pudding, and the line is always out the door (but moves quickly).
- Une Glace à Paris
There are multiple locations in the city (the other, I believe, is in Le Marais), but this is my favorite ice cream. They are one of the “Meilleur Ouvrier de France” — a master craftsman in their field. And I’m telling you, no one does ice cream quite like they do. (And I ate a lot of ice cream in Paris).
- La Crème de Paris
Right on the border of the 2nd arrondissement, just off of Grands Boulevards, is La Crème de Paris. Perfect for night owls, it’s open until 2 a.m. serving up crêpes, ice creams, waffles, and smoothies. It definitely draws the younger crowd but is great for families, too.
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