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20 ways to discover Paris
If you’ve wondered why we chose a snail shell for our logo, you have only to look at an arrondissement map of Paris, like the one on this page. The city is divided into 20 arrondissements, or districts, spiraling clockwise and expanding in size from the 1st arrondissment in the the center, just like—you guessed it!—a snail shell. When asked where you live in Paris, people generally reply with the arrondissement number, rather than the name of the neighbourhood (Bastille, Opera, etc.), and often in a boastful way since, of course, theirs is the best one in Paris.
There was a time when Rive Droite and Rive Gauche signified more than just the geographical divide of Paris into the right and left bank, but the City of Lights has outgrown many of its stubborn stereotypes. The Right Bank (north of the Seine) was historically the realm of aristocratic mansions and luxury shopping; today its houses artist ateliers and vibrant multicultural communities. Across the river, upscale fashion boutiques, avant-garde restaurants, and some of the most expensive real estate in Paris have transformed the Left Bank’s clichéd image as a scruffy bohemian bastion of students and struggling writers. Today, Paris is a city of neighbourhoods, each with its own particular atmosphere and style.