The 2nd Arrondissement: A Neighborhood Guide

Our resident’s guide to getting to know Bourse, Paris’ 2nd Arrondissement

May 27, 2024
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The 2nd arrondissement is one of 20 such districts in Paris. It’s the smallest, covering a mere 0.99km2, with around 21,000 residents. It’s also one of the most central, as Paris’ arrondissements start at the center and spiral outwards. Just above the Louvre, the 2nd is north of the Seine on the right bank (Rive Droite).

The other name for the district is Bourse, which is one of its neighborhoods, and Paris’ stock exchange. The two other neighborhoods are Montorgueil, and Sentier. Bourse, as you would expect, is a bustling commercial and financial district. The neighborhood is known for its elegant buildings in the Haussmann style, synonymous with modern day Paris. The streets are lined with designer shops, high-end restaurants, and luxury hotels.

Montorgueil is a charming neighborhood known as a foodie haven. It’s central street, Rue Montorgueil, has the feel of a traditional French high street, but the advantage of being in the center of Paris. Sentier was not highly rated a few years ago, but has enjoyed a renaissance as a new, trendy neighborhood, and hipster hangout.

Often overlooked by tourists, the 2nd arrondissement (deuxième) is one of the most popular central areas for locals. This helps make it one of the best places to stay in if visiting Paris, or moving here. With the help of our Paris residents, we’ve put together this guide to help you get to know the neighborhood.

What to do in the 2nd Arrondissement

Flaneur down Rue Montorgueil

From the French word Flâner, meaning stroll, or saunter. A typical Parisienne activity, there are few places better for it than Rue Montorgueil. A famous pedestrian street known for a lively atmosphere, bustling cafes, shops, and restaurants. Once the main market street of Paris, it remains a hub of activity for locals and visitors alike. The street is adorned with historic buildings, many of which date back to the 17th and 18th centuries.

One of the highlights of Rue Montorgueil is its food market, which takes place every day except Monday. Famed for its fresh produce, seafood, cheese, and charcuterie, it’s a popular destination for foodies who want to experience the best of French cuisine. There are also some excellent bakeries and brunch spots, which serve up everything from croissants and coffee to tasty avocado toasts. Stohrer is the Paris’ oldest patisserie still in operation. Since 1730 they’ve been serving delicious pastries, including the typical French dessert- Baba au Rhum, supposedly created here. In the evening the street lights up, the restaurants take over, and people flock to the terraces to soak up the atmosphere.

Keep heading south from Rue Montorgueil and you’ll come to Les Halles, an utterly vast shopping complex. Lacks the charm of Montorgueil, but the building is mightily impressive, and holds a great many places to continue the shopping spree. Les Halles is considered the very center of Paris.

Palais Royal

The Royal Palace is just over the border in the 1st arrondissement, on the way to the Louvre. Built in the 17th century, it has served as royal residence, government building, and cultural center over the years. Known for its beautiful architecture, including its elegant columns and courtyard. The palace is surrounded by a picturesque garden, open to the public and featuring fountains, sculptures, and manicured hedges.

Today, it’s home to a number of cultural institutions, including the Comedie-Francaise, one of the oldest and most prestigious theaters in France. It also houses the Bibliotheque Nationale de France, a national library that houses millions of books, manuscripts, and other historical artifacts.

There are also high-end shops, cafes, and restaurants. Galerie de Montpensier and Galerie de Valois are particularly popular destinations for shoppers and diners. The Palais Royal is a must for anyone interested in history, culture, and architecture. It's a beautiful and fascinating place that offers a glimpse into the rich history and traditions of Paris.

Le Grand Rex

The King of movie theaters is an art-deco cinema and music venue with around 2,800 seats, making it the largest in Europe. Built in 1932, it is easily recognizable both inside and out. The theater features a large screen, state-of-the-art sound system, and a stage for live performances, having hosted many notable events over the years- including film premieres, concerts, and theatrical productions. The cinema is especially popular for its screenings of classic films, often accompanied by live orchestral performances.

In addition to its theater, Le Grand Rex has a smaller screening room, as well as several bars and restaurants. The venue is a popular destination for both tourists and locals, and remains an important cultural landmark in Paris.

Les Passages

The distinct, covered arcades are a unique part of Paris’ character. Built from the end of the 18th century to allow wealthy people to shop away from the weather and dirty streets, they became social hubs, filling with cafes and restaurants. Today, they remain wonderful places to explore, and avoid the rain, thanks to the beautiful architecture as much as the contents. The 2nd has more than any other arrondissement, here are some of the best:

  • Passage des Panoramas is known for its historic charm. Originally a place for antique shops, stamp and coin dealers, today it is more diverse. A popular destination, with its chic arcades, mosaic floors, glass ceilings, and ornate ironwork.

  • Galerie Vivienne is another contender for most beautiful. Featuring an elegant steel and glass roof, and intricate mosaics. Has some great antique and vintage stores, it is especially good for food and wine.

  • Passage du Grand Cerf is one of the largest in Paris. Its impressive glass roof is high, allowing more light. Many of the eclectic collection of stores are artisan and vintage.

  • Passage du Caire was built in 1798, making it the oldest in Paris. This arcade is mostly dedicated to the textile business, the craft Sentier was traditionally renowned for.

Musée des Arts et Métiers

When it comes to art museums, you are totally spoilt for choice in Paris. With science museums not so much, but you do have Europe’s oldest- the “Arts and Trade museum”. Despite the name, this is a museum of science and technology, with over 2,400 objects on display. Every room has been really nicely put together, and makes for fascinating viewing. There are some multimedia and interactive exhibits to keep all kinds of people interested, and as an extra bonus- it’s free on the first Sunday of each month.

Where to eat and drink in the 2nd Arrondissement

Taking time to stroll the Rues and Passages of Paris is one of the real joys of living here, and also a great way to find excellent bars and restaurants. In case you’re pushed for time though, here are some top recommendations:


On Rue de Nil in Sentier. This Michelin-starred restaurant serves up French cuisine with a modern twist. Known for its small, inventive plates, they serve a no-choice, 5-course tasting menu for €140. The place is extremely popular- reservations open 3 weeks ahead, and if you don’t book within a few hours you’ll find it difficult. They also have excellent wine selection, and if you’d prefer to skip straight to the wine you can try its wine-focused sister over the road- Frenchie Bar à Vins.

Le Café

A less fancy option which you can keep coming back to. Le Café is a traditional bistro which serves simple classics, but done really well. Great service and a nice, friendly atmosphere, are always present here.

Café Le Brebant

It’s become a bit of a tourist trap, but for good reason. Café Le Brebant is a spectacular looking restaurant right by Grand Boulevards metro station. Oysters, and their risottos, are some of the highlights. It’s also a great place to stop for a coffee or a cocktail.

Sunday in Soho

Probably the best of the neighborhood’s excellent selection of brunch spots. Excellent brunches, sharing plates, cereals, and pancakes are complimented by an interesting drinks selection. Soho is a lovely place to start your weekend.

Rue Sainte-Anne

For something a little less French, this street is the best in the city for Asian food. Here you can find food from Japan, Thailand, Korea, Burma and more. There are places to eat in, and deli-style places for takeout. Either way, the food is always great.

The Shed

To take advantage of long summer evenings, there’s no better spot than the Shed. A gorgeous, plant-lined oasis atop a the Hôtel des Grands Boulevards. The cocktail menu is unique, and has some great options to sample. They label them by alcohol level (or “sheds”), which is nice if you’re pacing yourself. Heated in winter so you can enjoy it whenever.

Experimental Cocktail Club

This speakeasy-style bar is tucked away behind an unmarked door, and serves up some of the best cocktails in Paris. The rustic, cozy setting is another real selling point. Can get livelier later on, with live DJs.

Where to stay in the 2nd Arrondissement

The center of Paris is not short of hotels, but they can be quite pricey, especially if you’re staying longer. Long term rentals are also available, but in this neighborhood, availability is scarce, and they are often fairly small. If you’re staying for a few months then why not let Ukio do the legwork for you. We scout the best apartments in the best locations. We decorate them beautifully and fully furnish them. This means you just have to pick your favorite and move in when you want.

Paris is a wonderful city, and the central neighborhoods of Bourse, Montorgueil, and Sentier allow you to experience it to the fullest. They’re so close to the action, and have their own distinct feel and character. We hope you have a great time here, and that our guide can help you to make the most of your stay in the City of Love.