Best Area to Stay in Paris – Best Hotels & Travel Tips

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Paris is the city that many traveler’s dreams are made of. It’s a place of romance, beautiful architecture, elegant boulevards and of course, fine French cuisine and gourmet dining.

It’s a city that has something for everyone, from museums and history to endless shopping and Parisian culture, and a city that will forever be popular among the many tourists that make their way here each year.

Paris’ tourist attractions are world-famous, and those tourists flock to the French capital to experience such sights as the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre and the Arc de Triomphe.

Others though may travel to Paris, not just to be another tourist, but to experience the ramshackle medieval streets and cafe culture that makes the city so unique and so loved by the locals that have made their homes here.

Whatever your reason for visiting, deciding where to stay in Paris can be a challenge at the best of times. The city is split into twenty separate districts, or Arrondissements as the locals know them, which all sprawl away from the city center and out into the vast suburbs of this metropolis.

Each has its own distinct character, different sights and unique attractions that might compel you to stay there. To help you decide which Arrondissement is best for your trip to the city, we’ve compiled this detailed guide on where to stay in Paris.

Don’t leave home without: Lonely Planet Pocket Paris (Travel Guide)

Where to stay in Paris: A Guide to the Districts

1st Arrondissement – The Louvre

Complete Guide on Where to stay in Paris

The only place to start in Paris is in the premier district, the Ist Arrondissement, which is otherwise known as The Louvre district.

This is the most central area in the city and home to the renowned Louvre museum, that magnificent glass structure filled with glorious artworks.

Unfortunately, the area comes with a price tag to match its central location, but then again, nothing worth having comes cheap in Paris and staying in this district might just be worth every cent it will cost.

3rd and 4th Arrondissements –  Le Marais

Complete Guide on Where to stay in Paris

Taking its name from the French for ‘the Marsh’, Le Marais is spread across the 3rd and 4th arrondissements, on the River Droite – the right bank of the Seine. Historically the home of Paris’ aristocracy and characterized by grand architecture, the area fell into disrepair after French Revolution.

In the 19th and the first half of the 20th century, it became a center for the Jewish community and morphed gradually into a working-class area.

Many of its grand buildings got neglected, it was decided that in 1964 they should be protected. Today the area is known for its galleries and museums, housed in hôtels particuliers – mansion-like townhouses, and is definitely where to stay in Paris for art and culture.

The Picasso Museum and the Centre Pompidou, among many others, can be found here.

This is the Paris of dreams, with old streets and antique architecture giving the area a quaint vibe that mixes well with modern bars and trendy restaurants in an outstandingly beautiful part of the French capital. It’s also the district where Paris’ LGBT community comes out to play. 

5th Arrondissement – The Latin Quarter

Complete Guide on Where to stay in Paris

Unsurprisingly, the name means ‘Latin Quarter’ in English – it’s an area that’s located in the 5th and 6th arrondissements, built up around the Sorbonne: the University of Paris.

Dating from 1150, the university is also what gives the area its name, is known as the ‘Latin’ quarter due to the students in this area who would work, and converse, in Latin during the Middle Ages.

The Latin Quarter is one of the city’s oldest areas and is today still a maze of winding streets and narrow alleys that are full of life, art, and restaurants. 

Today it’s still a university district, and is characterized by its many picturesque, narrow streets lined with cafes and bistros; there are also a number of bandes dessinées stores – comic book stores – to browse here; the Louvre is also nearby.

The Latin Quarter is the best place to stay in Paris for those who like their cities compact and with plenty to explore, and who enjoy the lively atmosphere of student areas.

6th Arrondissement – Saint Germain des Pres

Complete Guide on Where to stay in Paris

The area of Saint-Germain-des-Prés, or simply Saint-Germain, is actually an administrative district of the 6th arrondissement.

Though very small in area, this part of Paris is packed full of culture and history. Being home to the city’s world-famous fine arts university, École des Beaux-Arts – one of France’s many globally influential places of higher education.

You can also find a plethora of bookstores and publishing houses, plus a number of famous cafes – which often housed philosophers, artists, writers and musicians of the day.

Renowned establishments like the Café de Flore, Les Deux Magots, Brasserie Lipp, and le Procope fill Saint-Germain-des-Prés.

7th Arrondissement – Eiffel Tower

Complete Guide on Where to stay in Paris

Paris’ 7th Arrondissement is the site of many of the city’s most famous, world-class museums and historical attractions, but more than any of those, it’s home to the iconic Eiffel Tower.

Staying in this district will keep you close to the tower, but don’t plan on staying here unless you have money to spare, as this is one of Paris’ most affluent and expensive areas.  

8th Arrondissement – The Champs Elysées

Complete Guide on Where to stay in Paris

The Champs Elysees is possibly the most famous street in France, running from the Arc de Triomphe to the Place de la Concorde. This long, tree-lined boulevard is beautiful and strolling down the avenue will really make you feel as if you are in Paris.

The Champs Elysees is the place to visit for upmarket shopping and fine dining, in one of the most historic Arrondissements in the city.

9th and 18th – Pigalle (Paris Red Light District)

Where to stay in Paris: A Guide to the Districts

This district of the city, named after Place Pigalle, is located on the border between the 9th and 18th arrondissements (‘districts’) and is most famous for being home to Paris’ red-light district.

The most famous landmark here is the Moulin Rouge, the world-renowned cabaret founded in 1899 and creator of the iconic can-can dance. The red light district and entertainment of the area attracted artists like Auguste Renoir, Henri Toulouse-Lautrec, Vincent van Gogh, and even Pablo Picasso.

Today along with its sex shops, theatres and adult shows, the area of Pigalle attract a hip, bohemian crowd of young Parisians drawn to the area bars, cafes, and clubs. It’s the place to be to witness a side of Paris away from the romance and grandeur you’re always reading about.

Opéra-Grands Boulevards

Where to stay in Paris: A Guide to the Districts

Located loosely in the center of Paris, this area is one that has built up around the majestic Opéra Garnier – the opera house named after the architect who designed it – as well as the area of the grands boulevards.

Essentially the ‘best’ of the Parisian boulevards, including Madeleine, Montmartre, Italiens, and the most famous (arguably) Haussman.

It is on the latter boulevard that the beautiful flagship of international department store Galeries Lafayette is located, as well as another famous one, Printemps.

In amongst these best of Paris’ streets, promenading is the thing to do – strolling from store to store, from cafe to cafe, simply admiring the city for what it has to offer.

This is where to stay in Paris if you want to do some shopping, or simply amble along with the other Parisians. Around Opéra you’ll also find plenty of good eateries, with a notable collection of Japanese and other Asian restaurants on Rue Sainte-Anne.

Recommended Multi-Day Tours of Paris:

  • Paris Explorer– Start and end in Paris! With the discovery tour Paris Explorer, you have an 8-day tour package taking you through Paris, France, and Versailles. Paris Explorer includes accommodation as well as an expert guide, meals, transport and more.
  • Paris Getaway 2 Nights– Start and end in Paris! With the discovery tour Paris Getaway 2 Nights, you have a 3-day tour package taking you through Paris, France. Paris Getaway 2 Nights includes accommodation as well as an expert guide, meals.
  • In Love with Paris– Start and end in Paris! With the flexi-tour In Love with Paris – 5 Great Days, you have a 5-day tour package taking you through Paris, France, and Versailles. In Love with Paris – 5 Great Days includes accommodation in a hotel as well as meals, transport and more.
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About Lina Stock

Lina is an award-winning photographer and writer that has been exploring the world since 2001. She has traveled to 100 countries on all 7 continents. Member: SATW, NATJA, ATTA, ITWA

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