This part of Beirut is a diverse residential area that has recently become an important district. It sits on a peninsula west of the city center and its residents have set a leading example for peaceful coexistence in a region that once struggled with sectarian tension.
Accommodation in this area near Beirut center includes luxury apartments with excellent facilities. Expatriates and business travelers prefer to live or stay here where they can enjoy modern conveniences and access to international shops and restaurants. Due to the diversity of this area, locals speak Arabic, English or French, depending on the context.
Beirut owes the progressive attitude of this district to the American University of Beirut and other schools. The district regularly hosts academic talks and cultural exhibitions, and because of this it has a bohemian atmosphere. Artists, writers and academics frequent local cafés.
Beirut’s seaside promenade (Corniche) also runs through the district, and this is probably the most popular place to book hotels near Beirut center. The Corniche follows the Avenue de Paris east from the yacht motor club in Ain al-Mreisse to Ras Beirut. It’s the perfect place for people-watching, especially on Saturday evenings when locals come out to sit in lawn chairs and smoke nargileh water pipes. Meanwhile, merchants push carts along the Corniche, selling fresh-baked bread, hot coffee and roasted nuts.
Getting around the near center is easy enough thanks to Beirut’s extensive bus network. There are no bus stops, so passengers have to hail them from the side of the street and speak up again when they’re ready to jump off. Maps from the Lebanese Commuting Company (LLC) are available from the tourist office and most hotels in Beirut.