Since I have been managing my apartment rentals myself, one question has, surprisingly, come up several times already:

How far is your apartment from the center of Paris?

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I never know quite how to respond to this question. What do you mean by the center of Paris? What do you want to be near? What do you want the center of Paris to be?

The Marais is arguably the center of Paris, in terms of shopping, restaurants and culture. My apartment is just 3 minutes by foot from the Saint-Paul Metro station on Line 1. Does that make my apartment—specifically, my kitchen table—the center of Paris? I like to think so.

Technically, the square facing the main entrance of Notre Dame Cathedral (48.8534°N 2.3488°E) is Kilometer Zero in Paris and in France for the purpose of the French highway system. This is often considered the center of Paris.

Maybe you prefer to think of the Louvre as the center of Paris? If you put a map of Paris on a dartboard and tried to hit the bull’s-eye, you’d hit pretty close to the Louvre.

What about the economic center of Paris? Would the Arc de Triomphe be the epicenter? La Défense? A number of visitors choose to stay on that side of town, but I never understand why.


What do you consider the center of Paris?