There was a time I used to go to Paris a lot. Back when they first opened up the Eurostar train link between London and Paris, mid-week tickets were so cheap they were practically paying you to travel on it. So every month I would hop on the early train on a Wednesday (which was my day off at the time) and head to a different arrondissement and spend a day there, walking around and getting to know it.
There are twenty arrondissements in Paris, basically spiraling out from the centre (they are slightly more logical than London postcodes).
Walking the city by picking an arrondissement and spending a day (or even half a day) there is not a bad way of exploring a city the size of Paris, particularly if you only have a day.
This trip I had four days in Paris, although I still chose to explore by heading to a different arrondissement every day and just wandering (more of these to follow over the next week).
I stayed in Pigalle, which is where a lot of the budget hotels hang out and it’s not a bad area to be. Montmartre and the Sacre Coeur are nearby, along with the Moulin Rouge and an array of seedy clubs and sex shops.
Don’t let this put you off the area though; it’s perfectly safe to walk around, even at night as a lone woman. Ironically, maybe not so safe for a lone man and many seem to get into trouble by following women into a bar and then being presented with a bill for hundreds of euros for drinks.
The stupidity of some men astounds me though. A 60-something man genuinely believes that a beautiful 20-something woman is trying to pick him up and so follows her to a bar she happens to know? There is something strange about an older man who still believes he is attractive to young girls, and so is outraged when he finds a huge bill for her attention (and I say this because I met someone spitting venom having just had this experience in Paris the previous night).