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Exterior of National Opera House in Paris, France

In the Neighborhood: Your ultimate guide to Paris’s Opera district

Stroll the Opera neighborhood for stunning landmarks, classic French brasseries and some of the best people-watching in the world.

By Alina Dizik | April 12, 2024

Whether you’re a newbie or a pro at navigating Parisian sidewalks, there’s nothing dreamier than discovering the City of Light on foot. Start with the 9th arrondissement, a neighborhood also known as the Quartier de l'Opéra for its most famous landmark, the Palais Garnier opera house. As one of the city’s most central districts, this popular neighborhood delivers charm at every turn.

EAT

Wine and dine to your heart’s content with the 9th arrondissement’s buzzing culinary scene. Local spots offer classic Parisian fare, international cuisine and photo-worthy backdrops. Try:

- Pink Mamma: Arguably one of the most photogenic restaurants in the 9th, you’ve probably seen this Italian eatery on social media. Luckily, the food is as delicious as the dining room is beautiful. Don’t miss the popular truffle pasta!

- Union Boulangerie: Baked goods at this unassuming shop are made to an exacting degree. You’ll never go wrong with a classic pain au chocolat (chocolate croissant), but locals swear by their cinnamon rolls and rotating babka flavors.

- Lou Cantou: This traditional French bistro is known for buttery escargot and perfectly executed steak. Not quite ready for another meal? Order a coffee and stay for the people-watching on the restaurant’s sidewalk terrace.

SEE

Stroll along covered passageways and picturesque boulevards to get a feel for the city’s appeal. Don’t miss:

- Palais Garnier: A visit to this 1875 opera house is a must whether you’re attending one of its world-famous performances or taking a self-guided tour of the public areas for a glimpse of the gold-covered detailing and ornate frescoes.

- Musée de la Vie Romantique: The Museum of the Romantic Life is for more than just couples. Admire the work of novelist George Sand and Romantic period painter Ary Scheffer before enjoying a cup of tea in the garden.

- Musée du Parfum Fragonard: Learn about the history of perfume at this museum dedicated to fragrance. The ornate antique bottles are particularly impressive, and you can even leave with a personally crafted scent.

SHOP

Renowned designers, one-of-a-kind decor and stunning department stores make the Opera district a shopper’s paradise. Browse:

- Galeries Lafayette Paris Haussmann: Wander around the grand flagship location of France’s most famous department store. Even if you’re not planning a big-ticket purchase, you’ll enjoy views of the iconic steel and glass dome at the center.

- La Maison du Miel: A souvenir from the city’s oldest honey shop is sure to impress anyone with a sweet tooth waiting for you back home. Try the Miel de Chataignier, a chestnut honey brimming with flavor.

- Printemps Haussmann: The 1860s department store with an iconic stained-glass dome has killer views from its rooftop terrace. Those who want to go beyond designer clothes can book a behind-the-scenes tour of the Art Nouveau landmark.

With views of the Eiffel Tower and other Parisian landmarks, exploring the charming 9th arrondissement means you won’t need to travel far to visit the city’s top sights. Take time to roam the boulevards and appreciate the city’s history through its stunning architecture.

Alina Dizik is a veteran lifestyle journalist, covering travel, real estate, family, work trends and dining. Her work appears in The Wall Street Journal, BBC, The Cut, The Guardian and other top publications. She lives in Chicago and has spent time living in New York, Europe and the Middle East. She spends more than two months each year traveling internationally with her husband and two school-age children. She has visited more than 50 countries.

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