24 Hours In Paris: The 2nd Arrondissement

Take an in-depth tour of one of the city's coolest quarters.

If you visit Paris long enough to see diverse parts of the city that are not touristy, you’ll discover that each arrondissement (or neighborhood) has its own unique identity. While we all have a good mental image of what a Parisian girl looks like, her style can drastically change depending on what part of town she’s from. So, we came up with the idea of bringing you a travel guide to all of Paris’ 20 arrondissements – and what do do in each one if you only had 24 hours, plus what to wear to blend in like a local.

The 2nd arrondissement is one of Paris's oldest neighborhoods – and one of the smallest, too. While it may not house major tourist sights, you'll find plenty to be charmed by in this part of town. It is rich with history and hidden nooks and crannies. If there was ever a place where culture clashes and uptown meet downtown, this is it.


Image: World-architects.com

Begin your day getting pumped up at Dynamo, the buzzy cycling studio that will get your adrenaline going for the whole day. Expect neon lights and a very energetic class – plus, new members get to try a session for free! Afterwards, grab some breakfast at Mûre. This colorfully decorated diner serves a healthy menu made from local and organic produce. Their homemade yogurt and pressed juices come in highly recommended, but if you are in need of caffeine, they use the beans from Lomi, one of the city's best independent roasters. Then spend the rest of your morning discovering masterful works of art and architecture. Begin with the Richelieu-Louvois Library, one of four National Libraries of France in Paris: after a decade of renovation for modern usage, the library has recently re-opened its doors to the public again. The Salle Labrouste is undeniably one of the most beautiful reading rooms in the world with its vast vaulted ceiling. It's certainly captured the attention of the fashion crowd: it's been the setting of Givenchy haute couture and menswear shows, as well as the venue for Rihanna's latest Fenty x Puma presentation. Reading has never been so chic! For shoppers, the 2nd arrondissement is also known to have many fascinating passages and galleries filled with boutiques. At the top of the list is La Galerie Vivienne with its extravagant mosaic floor and upscale stores. The Passage Choiseul has a raw edge while Passage des Panoramas and Passages des Princes have a cozy feel to them. 


Image: Tresorparisien.com

For lunch, head to the animated Rue Montorgueil, a popular socializing spot among Parisians. It's also home to some of the city's most notable traiteurs, including Stohrer: founded in 1730, it is one of the city's oldest bakeries and the place where baba au rhum originated. Another spot is L'Escargot, a restaurant dating back to 1832 is known for its original sauces. Another great place to visit is nearby Rue Saint Denis, which has a long, kinky history. While it is not quite the city's red light district, in the past it was a place where you could solicit a great number of things... At present, it is filled with trendy cafés and restaurants. The whole neighborhood is a shopping lovers' haven, with many locals favorites right on your doorstep. For cool fashion finds, head to Kiliwatch, a concept store with massive vintage selections as well as a curated selection of brands. If you are after French girl-chic items, go straight to the Sézane showroom on Rue Saint Fiacre which has transformed the regular shopping experience into feeling like you're entering a dream Parisian apartment. Two doors down is a cafe dedicated to books, bags and coffee only. If you are into streetwear, visit the first SNS store in Paris. This famed sneaker store from Sweden stocks some of the coolest shoes, including rare finds and hot collabs including Alexander Wang x Adidas and Fenty x Puma. Nearby is l'Oasis d'Aboukir, a vertical garden designed by Patrick Blanc, renowned French botanist, and good place to enjoy a sweet treat from Boneshaker Doughnuts, where all produce is made by hand in small batches – it's one of the many places bringing the donut to Paris. 


1) Alexanderlabrano.com 2) Lexpress.fr

The nightlife is the 2nd arrondissement is full of great drinks and fun times. Brush up your French at Le Grand Rex, the art deco cinema. With its outsized hall, it is the biggest movie theater in Europe. The starry ceiling is out-of-this-world beautiful and not a bad place to watch a Hollywood blockbuster (in French, of course). For dinner, try some inventive seafood dishes at La Marée Jeanne. As the night wares on, grab a cocktail at Avek – but don't be fooled by its extremely reasonable prices. The unique recipes really pack a punch. We absolutely love the Pink Tea and Little Marie. End the night on a high note (or a bum one, depending on your singing voice) at BAM Karaoke Box, where you can book a private booth by hour and sing the night away with your friends. They also have a great drinks menu for quenching your thirst between party anthems. 

Shop our selection of pieces inspired by the luxe, local style: 

Sézane Sequinned Dress - $185
Pixie Market Navy Pinstripe Oversize Wide Cuff Shirt - $112
Storets Spotted Lace Jeans - $62
Front Row Shop Graphic Embroidered Tee - $74
Boohoo Plus Iris Knitted Rib Tie Detail Jumper - $26
H&M Cotton Twill Trench Coat
Staud High-waisted Pleated Front Pants - $195
A.P.C. Demi Lune Leather Shoulder Bag - $455
Topshop Velvet Platform Sneaker - $45
Dorothy Perkins Blue And White Stripe Bardot Top - $44
Eloquii Eyelet Ruffle Jumpsuit - $115
Free People Master Hi Top Leather Sneaker - $185
Topshop Floral Off-shoulder Crop Top - $30
BDG Girlfriend High-Rise Jean - Light Wash - $69
Missguided Petite Blue Lace Up Front Denim Skirt - $38
Front Row Shop Buttoned Flowing Trousers - $53
Tulle Skirt With Striped Waist - $57

Cover image: Michel-ferrand.com