The 2nd arrondissement of Paris is one of the financial centres of Europe, being home to the Bourse (stock exchange) and thus the CAC 40 index you hear about in world financial news. Other major activities in the neighbourhood are journalism and fashion.
The 2nd is home to the galleries—covered passages lined with shops—which are quite possibly the prototypes of today's shopping malls. One finds shops, cafés and hotels inside.
While the aforementioned are all daylight activities, the east end of the arrondissement has an entirely different reputation, having been home to Paris's red-light district since sometime in the early renaissance.
Being right in the middle of the city, the 2nd arrondissement is well served by the Métro system. 5 lines provide direct access to the district via 10 different stations.
- Lines 8 and 9 both run east-west right across the northern edge of the arrondissement with 4 stations, distanced every 200 to 400 meters. Take your pick, all of the stations are small, and unless you're making a connection just as good as another.
- Line 3 runs east-west right through the centre of the arrondissement, with 5 stations down rue du Quatre Septembre and rue Réaumur.
- Line 4 runs north-south along the eastern edge.
- Line 7 running north-south, has one stop (Opéra) near the west edge of the arrondissement.
As the 2nd is the smallest arrondissement, it is easy to travel many places within it on foot. It's possible to comfortably walk the entire perimeter of the district in around an hour. Much of the SE corner is closed to traffic.
- la Bibliothèque Nationale de France, 58 rue Richelieu (Métro: Bourse or Palais-Royal), ☎ . Reading rooms, M-F, 09:00-18:00; Sa, 09:00-17:00; exhibitions, Tu-Sa, 10:00-19:00. Try to visit the cabinet des Médailles. Library, free; exhibitions, €5-10.
The 2nd arrondissement covers some of the nicest old parts of Paris.
- Notre Dame des Victoires. 17th century church.
- Place des Victoires. Beautiful round "square" with an equestrian statue of King Louis XIV and matching 17th century buildings.
There have been dozens of attempts by various regimes at all levels including the city, the state, and the church to chase the working girls away from the east end of the 2nd arrondissement, but for some reason they always come back. Interestingly, the word "bordello" originates here, from the boards that the women used to subdivide the rooms they rented in houses along the rue Saint Denis and others.
The press has had nearly as long a run in the neighbourhood just to the west, and several of France's major newspapers still maintain offices here.
- La Tour Jean-sans-Peur, 20, rue Étienne-Marcel (Métro: Étienne-Marcel). Apr-Oct, W-Su, 13:30-18:00. One of the last remnants of medieval Paris outside of the 4th, this tower was once part of a castle called l'hôtel de Bourgogne. €5; students €3; guided tour, €8.
- Théâtre national de l'Opéra-Comique (National Opéra Comic Theatre), 5, rue Favart, ☎ . The théâtre national de l'Opéra-Comique (National Opéra Comic Theatre) is an opera company and opera house.
- Rue Montorgueil pedestrian area. Rue Montorgueil is like a scene from a movie. Closed to traffic, the street is a food-lovers delight, with cafes, bars, and all types of fresh produce for sale in the open air.
- Terroirs d'Avenir, 6-7-8, rue du Nil, ☎ . Slow food distribution on three different stores: a grocer, a fish monger and a butcher. They all source fresh, quality, mostly organic produce.
- La librairie gourmande, 92-96 rue Montmartre, ☎ , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. L-Sa 11:00-19:00. The book shop is specialized on books for chefs, interested cooks or foodies.
Prototypical indoor shopping malls, the galleries got their start in 1786 when the Duke of Orleans realized that there was money to be made by renting out his cloistered garden to small shops. With their glass roofs and tiled floors they were a welcome respite to the newly emerging middle-class shopper of the early 19th century, in the days before electric light and sidewalks.
A walking tour of the galleries can easily be accomplished in an hour or so, and is worthwhile even though they are long past their glory days. Start with La Gallerie Vivienne which is the best preserved of the galleries and whose décor has been maintained in authentic colours from the era. It's really the mosaic floor which is the star of the show. The shops are distinctly upscale, and all about conspicuous consumption: a wine seller, a tea shop, and a dealer in antique books are among the highlights.
The Passage Choiseul is a considerably more down-to-earth gallery, the passage mainly serves traders on their way to the bourse, with the same class of shops that one might find in a pedestrian tunnel in New York or Chicago: a shoeshine stand, a newsstand, and little almost-but-not-quite fast-food restaurants.
You can find more galleries throughout the arrondissement, including the Passage des Panoramas, the Passages des Princes, and the Passage du Grand-Cerf.
- Blend Hamburger, 44, rue d'Argout (Métro Sentier). French meat with home made ketchup. €15 lunch menu, €10 burger.
- Le Bougainville, 5, rue de la Banque (Métro Bourse), ☎ . M-Sa 19:00-21:00, but food is only served at lunch from 11:30 to 15:30. This comfy little bar offers home cooking from the Auvergne region, and after-work drinks for the financial set. Sandwiches, €3; plates €12-15.
- Exki, 9, boul des Italiens (Métro Opéra or Quatre-Septembre), ☎ , e-mail: email@example.com. High quality fast food with an emphasis on freshness and a slight bent for the exotic. A choice of soups and salads for around €4, plates around €6.
- Frenchie to Go, 9, rue du Nil (Métro Sentier), ☎ . Tu-Sa 08:30-16:30. The restaurant from Gregory Marchand has bacon or hot dogs to go or interesting sandwiches.
- Grillé, 15, rue Saint-Augustin (Métro Quatre-Septembre). M-F 09:00-19:00. A fast food restaurant that makes a "healthy" version of kebab (good herbs, better salad). Three cooks, Marie Carcassonne, Hugo Desnoyer, and Frédéric Peneau worked on this creation. €8 kebab, €10 formule.
- Rani Mahal, 9, rue Saint-Augustin, ☎ . This Indian restaurant is raved about by vegetarians. It serves meat as well.
- L'Assiette a Carreaux, 45 rue des Petits Carreaux, ☎ . M-F 12:00–14:30, 20:00–22:30, Sa 20:00–22:30, Su 12:00–14:30, 20:00–22:30. A small little charming french restaurant.
- Café Etienne Marcel, 34, rue Etienne Marcel (Métro Etienne Marcel), ☎ . A Costes brothers creation but with lower prices than many of their other restaurants. The Etienne Marcel combines a creative menu with hip interior design and hip musical ambiance. Vegetarians: The crispy risotto balls (risotto croustillant) are amazing, and pretty much impossible to make at home. €15-20.
- Café Moderne, 40, rue Notre-Dame-des-Victoires (Métro Bourse), ☎ . Lunch, 12:15-14:30; dinner, 19:30-22:30. ~€30.
- Le Loup Blanc, 42, rue Tiquetonne (Métro Etienne-Marcel), ☎ . Daily, 19:00-midnight. The White Wolf is interesting not only for the fact that it's directly across the street from another restaurant called the Three Little Pigs, but also for the quality of the dishes in a style that the chef likes to call "world food". There is a vegetarian offering. Around €25.
- Le Tambour, 41, rue Montmartre, ☎ . Dinner until 03:30 !. The really distinguishing feature of the Tambour is its very late hours.
- Drouant, 16-18, place Gaillon, ☎ . Anthony Clémot is reigning this French kitchen.
- Café Noir, 65, rue Montmartre (Métro Sentier or Bourse), ☎ . A particularly fine example of a Paris café.
- La Cantine, 151, rue Montmartre (Passage des Panoramas, Métro Grandes Boulevards). M-F, 09:00-18:00. A technology focused café and co-working space.
- The Frog & Rosbif, 116, rue St Denis (Métro Etienne Marcel), ☎ . As you probably know the English use the word "frog" as an ethnic slur for the French. You may not know that the word "rosbif" is a French ethnic slur for the English. Well, it seems that there are mostly no hard feelings over a pint, or so the presence of this chain of 6 English pubs in the French capital would tend to suggest.
- Harry's New York Bar, 5, rue Daunou (Metro Opéra), ☎ . M-Su, 10:30-04:00. Legend has it that Harry's New York Bar was the birthplace of the Bloody Mary invented by Fernand "Pete" Petiot, an American bartender, and was another Hemingway hangout.
- Hôtel des Boulevards, 10, rue de la Ville-Neuve, ☎ . Doubles with sink, €40; with a shower, €55.
- Hôtel Sainte-Marie, 6, rue de la Ville-Neuve (Métro Bonne-Nouvelle), ☎ . Doubles with a sink, €40-54; with a shower and toilet, €60-70.
- Hôtel Ascot Opéra, 2, rue Monsigny 75002 PARIS, ☎ . Short walk from the department stores Printemps and Galeries Lafayette, Opéra, Place de la Madeleine, and the Louvre.
- Hôtel Bonne Nouvelle, 17, rue Beauregard (Métro Bonne-Nouvelle), ☎ . Old world charm. Doubles, €60-70.
- Hôtel Lautrec Opéra, 8-10 rue d'Amboise. In the heart of the very lively opera district with its many restaurants, cinemas and theatres. €95+.
- Hôtel Paris France, 21, rue du louvre (Métro Bourse), ☎ .
- Hôtel Vivienne, 40, rue Vivienne (Métro Bourse), ☎ .
- Tiquetonne Hôtel, 6, rue Tiquetonne (Métro Etinne-Marcel or Réaumur-Sébastopol), ☎ , fax: +33 1 42 36 02 94. Closed during August, and between Christmas and New Year's. Doubles with a sink, €40.
- Tryp Hôtel Paris François, 3, boul Montmartre (Métro Grandes-Boulevards), ☎ .
- Hôtel Etats-Unis Opéra, 16, rue d'Antin, ☎ .
- Hôtel Victoires Opera, 56, rue de Montorgueil (Métro Sentier), ☎ .
- Park Hyatt Paris - Vendome, 5, rue de la Paix (Métro Opéra), ☎ , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Palatial hotel with a residential feel and personalised service. Within walking distance of Place Vendôme.
|Routes through 2nd arrondissement|
|Levallois-Perret ← 9th arrondissement ←||W E||→ 3rd arrondissement → 20th arrondissement|
|18th arrondissement ← 10th arrondissement ←||N S||→ 1st arrondissement → 14th arrondissement|