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The 22 key maps that paint a picture of Paris

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The 22 key maps that paint a picture of Paris
Photo: GoogleMaps
15:24 CEST+02:00
This selection of carefully chosen maps gives a revealing insight into Paris and life in the French capital.
Let's start with the practicalities. 

The arrondissements of Paris

Here are the administrative districts, known as the arrondissements, which spiral in a clockwise direction from the 1st in the centre all the way like a snail to the 20th in the east. 

The biggest in terms of area is the 12th in the east (which includes the massive Bois de Vincennes park) and the smallest is the 2nd right in the centre. 

Photo: WikiCommons

Old Paris and its arrondissements

The map above has looked more or less the same since 1860, when the city was extended to the city limits that exist today. The map below shows how the city used to be divided into 12 administrative districts. 

Photo: WikiCommons

HOUSING

Social housing

These figures from 2012 show that around 17 percent of the total residences in Paris are social housing units, with around 200,000 in total. 
 
The most common areas for social housing are in the northern, eastern, and southern reaches of the capital, at around 30 percent. In the 2nd, 6th, 7th, 8th, and 16th - all either central or to the west - the percentage is less than five. 
 
 
Rental prices
 
The red areas are the most expensive (which on the map below are all fairly central and near the River Seine). The orange areas are the next most expensive, and are almost all central, while the dark green areas on the city limits show the cheapest parts to live. Click here for an interactive break down by SmartLoc.
 
 
House prices for buyers
 
As you'd expect, it's more expensive to buy a place in Paris the closer to the centre that you venture. Here's a map of the properties on sale in Paris by average price, courtesy of La Maison de l'Immobilier. Interactive version here
 

Population density

Here's the population density of Paris, arranged by arrondissement, and taken from 2012 statistics.

The darker the colour, the higher the population density. The 11th is the highest density by far, with over 42,000 people per square kilometre. 

 

Photo: WikiCommons

GETTING AROUND

The Metro map

The famed Paris Metro map - and a notorious headache for tourists (and even for Parisians sometimes). 

The map below is hard to read, of course, but that's because there are so many stations to squeeze in - over 300 stations at last count. 

Photo: RATP

Metro walking map

This unofficial map of the Paris Metro shows how long it takes to walk between each station. Sometimes it's quicker to walk. 

Read more about this map here, and click it for a higher resolution version with zoom options.

Paris Metro map shows it may be quicker to walkPhoto: Guillaume Martinetti

Velib bike map
 
One of the absolute best ways to get around Paris is on a Velib bicycle. And the bike racks are EVERYWHERE (but good luck finding a bike when you absolutely, desperately need it the most). 
 
While the map below at first glance may not be much use, it shows how the scheme has taken off in the capital and made a big impact on transport in the city.
 
Click here to see an interactive version. 
 
 
And the same goes for....
 
Autolib

The electric rental cars - called Autolibs in France - are also everywhere. While we don't expect the map below to be very practically useful for anyone, it also goes to show how transport in the capital is changing. And these cars extend way beyond the périphérique ring road, unlike the Velibs (above). 
 
Click here for an interactive version of the map below.
 
 
Rent-a-scooters
 
If you want to rent one of the brand new CityScoot mopeds that have cropped up across the city last month, then here is where you can find them. 
 
Read a whole lot more about the system here
 
 
THE SIGHTS
 
Tourist attractions
 
The whole of Paris is a tourist attraction, some might argue. But the map below pins out the biggest and most famous of all. Tip: Don't bother staying in the south east if you want quick access to the best bits of Paris. 
 
 
Museums
 
There are dozens of museums in Paris, some of them world famous like the Louvre and the Musee d'Orsay. It seems most of them are either in the centre of the city or to the west, as the map below shows.
 
 
 
Movie locations
 
What better way to see Paris than to walk the footsteps of your favourite film stars? The map below plots every film between 2002 and 2008 that was filmed in Paris. Click here to read more about it, and click here to see how one tour group will take you to see for yourself. 
 
 
International Tourist Zones (for shopping)
 
The Ministry of Finance revealed these "International Tourist Zones" last year, areas where shops will be allowed to stay open until midnight and on Sundays.
 
The 12 zones include the Champs-Elysées, Montmartre, Le Marais-République, Saint-Germain, shopping centres Les Halles, Beaugrenelle, and the shopping area in Olympiades.
 
Other areas include areas in Haussmann, Maillot-Ternes, Saint-Honoré- Vendôme, Saint-Emilion - Bibliothèque, Rennes - Saint-Suplice, as well as Paris's six biggest train stations.
 
 
Green spaces
 
The biggest parks are by far the Bois des Vincennes to the east and Bois de Boulogne to the west, however the map below shows that the city is truly dotted with a huge amount of parks, albeit small ones. Some, like Buttes Chaumont to the north east are especially popular for a Parisian picnic. 
 
However, in terms of green space in total, Paris is sorely lacking. In fact, when it came to green space, Paris placed dead last in The Local's recent study into which was France's best expat city. A better score would have seen Paris placed certainly better than fifth. 
 
 
Topography of Paris
 
The topography map below probably looks like the most boring on the list, but we included it because it goes to show just how flat this city is. 
 
Paris has an elevation of just 35 metres above sea level and features the occasional hill. 
 
The biggest of these hills is at Belleville (148 metres) in the 20th arrondissement to the east of the city (it's the tiny smudge-looking spot on the right of the map below)
 
Montmartre to the north is 130 metres high and is also visible near the top of the map below and comes with the stunning Sacre Coeur Basilica on top.

Photo: WikiCommons

Cheap coffee
 
There are almost 200 places in the city where you can get an espresso for €1. Even better, there's an interactive map to help you find them. 
 
 
MISCELLANEOUS
 
Voting in the municipal elections
 
This map from Le Monde newspaper shows how Paris and its surrounding towns voted in the municipal elections in 2014. It shows just how much the city is divided between east and west. 
 
Pink represents votes for the Socialist party, blue for the right wing Les Republicains party (formerly known as UMP), and green for the greens. 
 
 
 
 
Pollution levels
 
This map from Le Monde newspaper shows the city's levels of nitrogen dioxide, which is a prominent air pollutant (and a prominent problem for Paris, at that). 
 
The red areas mark where pollution levels are the worst, notably where the main roadways are.  
 
Clearing out the migrant camps
 
This map below shows where all the migrant camps have developed and subsequently been cleared out by police since June 2015. As you can see most of them are in the north east of the city near the Gare du Nord area, where many congregate before catching trains to either northern France or northern European countries.
 
The Paris mayor is now talking about building a humanitarian camp.
 
 
 
 
Map for refugees
 
And lastly, here's an interactive map that's aimed to provide refugees in Paris with vital information that will help them get by.
 
The map lists places where they can find free wifi, showers, French courses, free computers, and even legal advice. 
 
 

The 29 maps that paint the picture of France

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