When choosing where to live in Paris you are confronted with an embarrassment of riches. The City of Light has neighbourhoods that range from the unspeakably chic, through eye-openingly bohemian to the distinctly down-at-heel. The city is divided into twenty arrondissements municipaux which spiral out from the centre in a clockwise direction and are arranged roughly in three layers. The inner loop consists of 1st-4th, the very centre of town. The second loop is slightly further out and consists of 5th-11th while the furthest from the centre are in the outer loop consisting of 12th to 20th. Here’s our selection of the most popular.

1st – Louvre

The 1st arrondissement is home to the Tuileries Gardens, the Palais Royal and The Louvre. It’s the least populated district since few can afford to live here – apartments can sell for more than €13,000/sqm. Metro stations include Chatelet, Les Halles, Tuileries and Concorde.

2nd – Bourse

The second is where you’ll find the Bibliotheque National and the Bourse. Metro stations include Sentier, Quatre Septembre and Opera. Chiefly a business district but also home to most of Paris’s surviving 19th century shopping arcades e.g. the Passage des Panoramas. Not as exclusive as the 1st, apartments here can be bought for as little as €7,500/sqm.

3rd – Temple

The 3rd is where you’ll find the more sedate part of Le Marais – a medieval district with buildings dating back to the 13th century. There are many museums and art galleries (including Musee Picasso), restaurants, bars and a growing Chinatown in the northwest. Metro stations include Republique, Temple and Rambuteau. This is a popular neighbourhood and prices average €10,000/sqm.

4th – Hôtel de Ville

Île de la Cité and Notre-Dame Cathedral are in the 4th, as is the Pompidou Centre and the centre of Gay Paris – in the southern part of Le Marais. The beautiful old buildings, little streets and cafe culture are much sought after – prices of €12,000/sqm are common. Metro stations include Saint-Paul and Hôtel de Ville.

5th – Panthéon

Named after the arrondissements most famous building – a former church built in the 18th century – this is the first arrondissement on the left bank and is home to the Quartier Latin, a traditionally bohemian area which is now dominated by students. The nightlife and hip aura are major attractions, as are the beautiful buildings and the Jardin des Plantes botanical garden. Metro stations include Maubert-Mutualité, Cardinal Lemoine and Monge.

6th – Luxembourg

Another student-heavy arrondissement with several universities and colleges, the 6th is famous for its cafe culture and as an incubator of revolutionary intellectuals and authors from Sartre to Camus. It is popular with the intellectual elite to this day for both this tradition and the beautiful architecture. Metro stations include Mabillon, Rennes and Montparnasse-Bienvenue.

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7th – Palais-Bourbon – and 8th – Élysée

The left bank 7th and the right bank 8th, along with the 6th and 16th together make up Paris Ouest. The 7th is the more expensive of the two but apartment prices in the 8th – part of the business district – don’t go much below €7,000/sqm. Attractions include Hotel des Invalides and the Tour Eiffel (7th); Champs Élysées and Arc de Triomphe (8th). Metros are Ecole Militaire, Invalides (7th) and Ch. de Gaulle Etoile (8th).

10th – Enclos-St-Laurent

The 10th is popular with European expats as it contains Gare du Nord with its rail links to Germany, Belgium the Netherlands and the UK. It’s possible to buy apartments with a river view for something like €10,000/sqm. Metro stations include La Chapelle and Gare de l’Est.

12th – Reuilly

On the right bank of the Seine to the East, the 12th is home to the Opéra de la Bastille, Gare de Lyon and Le Parc Bercy. The north of this arrondissement is quite pricey but in the south, on the outskirts of the city, nearer the metro stations of Porte de Charenton and Porte Dorée, apartments can be purchased for around €6,500/sqm.

16th – Passy

This is an upmarket arrondissement with prestigious schools, museums, wide avenues and the huge park at Bois de Boulogne with its two horse tracks, boating lakes and Chateau. Metro stations include Passy and La Muette. Wide range of apartment prices depending on location: €8,000 to €15,000+/sqm.

18th – Butte Montmartre

The 130 metre high hill of Montmartre, with the spectacular Basilica of the Sacré Cœur at its peak, is popular not only for its stunning views but also its history – cabarets like Le Chat Noir once hosted such luminary musicians as Erik Satie and Claude Debussy while Van Gogh, Picasso and Dalí all had studios here at one time or another. The district was also the setting of the movies Amélie and Moulin Rouge! You can still buy apartments here for as little as €6,000/sqm near the Simplon metro station but more picturesque locations near the top of the hill go for €12,000+/sqm.