The 17th arrondissement of Paris lies slightly off the beaten path, directly north of the Arc de Triomphe. However, if you want to see real Paris at some of its finest and wealthiest, this is where to go. There are no major sights to see, museums to go to, just amazing Haussmannian architecture, real French people, and that atmosphere of the quintessential Paris you’ve always imagined.
Beyond this the southwest and northeast ends of the arrondissement have quite different characters, with the southwest mainly known as a mid-range to high-end shopping district named for two major avenues which are lined with shops: Wagram-Ternes, feeling much like an extension of the Champs Élysées.
The northeast end, known as Batignolles is quite different, with a grungy bohemian feeling and lots of bars and bistros which are popular with bobos (short for bohemian-bourgeois aka “hipsters”) from the 17th and elsewhere.
Although the 17th is not particularly close to any of the Paris airports, it is there where airport buses from Charles de Gaulle Airport (Les Cars Airfrance) and Beauvais-Tille Airport (the official shuttle bus) land, stopping at Porte Maillot (Les Cars also stop at Place de l’Étoile). If you want to start exploring right after getting off your airport shuttle bus, or head to the hotel without having to transfer further, the 17th is where you can start your Paris adventure.
The suburban Transiliens train lines J and L cross the district on their way to Gare Saint-Lazare, but only Transilien J stops within the 17th at Pont-Cardinet. If you arrive on Transilien L, you have to go back a short distance from Saint-Lazare to find yourself in the 17th.
RER lines A and C cross in the 17th, but do not share a common station – the Line A runs from west to east along the southern boundary of the district, with a station at Place Charles de Gaulle, while the Line C runs from South to North closer to the western border of the district with stops at Neuilly – Porte Maillot, Pereire – Levallois and Porte de Clichy.
Line 3 has stops at Pereire, Porte de Champerret, and Wagram among others.
Make sure you admire the many luxurious townhouses along the avenues, and relax in hidden small parks and squares sprinkled throughout the area. Many of Paris’s upper class live in this district, and the architecture proudly shows this!