Tuesday, May 24th, 2016

Where to Stay in Paris — Best Neighborhoods and Accommodation

101

Marais

Where’s the best place to stay in Paris? For most people, going to Paris is the trip of a lifetime — so it’s all the more important to carefully choose where you stay.

Paris was the first city I ever fell in love with, and after thirteen years, it’s still my favorite city in the world. On my first visit, I skipped away from my school group to climb the towers of Notre-Dame; on my most recent visit, during my 30th birthday, I finally went shopping at Chanel.

Kate Chanel Paris

Chanello.

I’ve now visited Paris eight times and usually stay in two or three different places on each visit. At this point, I’ve gotten to know lots of different neighborhoods, I’ve learned the benefits of staying in different places, and I know the kinds of experiences that make a trip to Paris special.

Jardin Luxembourg

Best Neighborhoods to Stay in Paris

Everyone wants something different on their trip to Paris, but I think most people like being in a quintessential Paris neighborhood — a place where you can buy fresh baguettes and marvel at the wrought-iron balconies.

Paris is divided into 20 arrondissements (neighborhoods) and they are numbered in a spiral, the center being Ile de la Cité, the island in the Seine home to Notre-Dame. Neighborhoods with lower numbers are closer to the center; the 12th-20th arrondissements are the outer edge. Parisians refer to the neighborhoods by their number.

Marais

Best Overall: The Marais (3rd/4th)

The Marais, in my opinion, is easily the best neighborhood to stay in on your trip to Paris. It’s central. It’s got several attractions, like the Centre Pompidou and the Hotel de Ville. There are lots of wonderful restaurants and cafes, the architecture is magnificent, and the shopping is superb. In fact, I think the Marais is the best shopping neighborhood in the city — there are tons of independently owned boutiques as well as luxury shops and wonderful markets.

The Marais was historically home to marginalized communities in Paris, including the LGBT community and the Jewish community, and as a result it’s got a nice cultural mix to this day.

Check out hotels in the Marais here.

Cafe des Deux Magots

St. Germain (6th)

If you’re looking for Left Bank Paris, the neighborhood of Hemingway and Camus and Sartre, St. Germain is a nice option and my other favorite neighborhood in which to stay. While it definitely has its share of tourists, you’ll find wonderful (and longtime famous) cafes, interesting little shops, and streets full of life. The Jardin du Luxembourg is nearby, and it’s close to Notre Dame and the Musée d’Orsay as well.

Check out hotels in St. Germain here.

Montmartre

Montmartre (18th)*

Why does Montmartre have an asterisk? It can be wonderful, but you need to do a little extra research to make sure you’re in the good part. While much of Montmartre is the village-like urban neighborhood depicted in Amélie, some parts are seedy, especially around the Pigalle area. Rue Lepic (pictured above) and its side streets are lovely; Boulevard Clichy near Pigalle and further east is full of sex shops.

The best way to know if you’re in a good part of Montmartre? Google Streetview. Take a look at the neighborhood before you book accommodation.

Check out hotels in Montmartre here.

9th

The 9th arrondissement won’t be on a lot of lists — it isn’t big on attractions, and while it’s very Parisian, it’s not as famously charming as other neighborhoods. I didn’t give it a second thought until I stayed at my friend Marie-Claire’s apartment in the 9th and saw what a great base it made for exploring Paris.

The 9th is a residential zone with the Opera and the Galeries-Lafayette department store on one end and the edge of Montmartre on the other end. As a result, there aren’t a lot of tourists here (a rarity in central Paris!). There are lots of restaurants, bars and cafes, and there’s lots of life without a single establishment pandering to tourists.

Check out hotels in the 9th here.

Ile Saint-Louis

Ile Saint-Louis (4th)

If you want to be in the dead center of Paris, yet a place that doesn’t feel like Parisian Disneyland, Ile Saint-Louis is a great choice. It has a wonderful feel — almost like its own small town — and even though it’s next door to Ile de la Cité and the massive crowds of tourists visiting Notre-Dame, Ile Saint-Louis is almost a world away. The shops aren’t bad, either.

Check out hotels in Ile Saint-Louis here.

Belleville, Paris

Belleville (19th/20th)

Image: João Dias

Looking for hipster Paris, the Williamsburg of Paris, the Paris of tomorrow? Head to Belleville. Belleville is a historically working class neighborhood home to many different ethnic communities. Like many big cities in the world, Paris is gentrifying rapidly, and Belleville has become the zone for artists and entrepreneurs to set up shop. Here you’ll find slightly lower prices, lots of interesting small businesses, and a fabulous selection of ethnic food.

Check out hotels in Belleville here.

Where to Avoid

Don’t stay outside the main 20 arrondissements. You’ll be far from the center and while many of Paris’s surrounding suburbs are lovely, some of them are the most dangerous areas in Paris. Whenever you hear about riots and violence in Paris, it’s usually in these rough suburbs.

Don’t plan your stay around being close to a certain attraction. Paris’s metro is easy and efficient enough to navigate your way anywhere — you don’t need to stay within walking distance from the Louvre in order to visit the Louvre.

“Near the Eiffel Tower” actually isn’t that great. The neighborhoods near the Eiffel Tower are upscale residential areas. They’re fine, but they’re expensive and a bit boring, in my opinion. Besides, you can see the tower from all over the city.

“Near the Champs-Elysees” is worse. Definitely go to the Champs-Elysees at least once, but it’s filled with shops you can find anywhere and it’s absolutely swarming with tourists. It’s Paris’s Times Square.

Don’t stay in a hotel near the airport. Unless it’s for one night only and your flight leaves at 6:00 AM the next day. Paris’s two airports, Charles de Gaulle and Orly, are both far outside the city.

Pont des Arts

Where to Stay in Paris: Hotels, Apartments, Hostels

Should you stay in a hotel, hostel, or rental? In a city as popular as Paris, you’ve got plenty of options.

Apartment rentals are my favorite because they make you feel like a member of the community. And in Paris, isn’t daydreaming that you live there half the fun of visiting? I also love that apartments often give you access to a kitchen, laundry, or other amenities that make you feel at home.

Hotels afford you a few perks you don’t get in apartment rentals, like maid service, 24/7 reception, customer service (though formal, unfriendly French customer service is often a shock to North Americans) and relative anonymity.

If you’re on a budget, hostel dorms are the cheapest accommodation in Paris. Some hostels have private rooms, with or without bath.

Cobblestone Paris Rentals

Best Overall: Cobblestone Paris Rentals

I hadn’t heard of Cobblestone Paris Rentals until I met the owners, Jennifer and Ryan, a Canadian-American couple who went from buying an apartment in Paris for themselves to owning a Paris rental company! They’ve since become wonderful friends of mine and they kindly offered me a complimentary three-night stay for my 30th birthday. I fell in love with it immediately.

This wasn’t just a Paris apartment rental — this was a THIS-IS-THE-MOST-PARISIAN-APARTMENT-EVER rental.

Crystal chandeliers. Thick brocade curtains. Victorian chairs, a fireplace, a bedroom decorated in purple and gold.

Cobblestone Paris Rentals

Yet while it was brimming with charm, it also had the convenience factor tough to find in actual Paris apartments. Washer and dryer? Yes. Flatscreen TV? That’s so nice. Electric kettle? After living in England, I can’t go without one! All the cooking supplies you could want. And wifi, of course. (Did you think I’d ever stay somewhere without wifi?)

Best of all, it was filled with special little touches — a bottle of red wine, a bar of dark chocolate, a selection of Paris guidebooks sandwiched between antique-style jars, and a DVD basket filled with movies that take place in Paris. I love being delighted in my accommodation, and I was delighted over and over.

Cobblestone Paris Rentals

I was ready to move in that day. Seriously.

My apartment was the La Royale du Marché property, a one-bedroom property in the 1st arrondissement (so central!), just outside the Étienne Marcel metro stop and a short walk from the Marais.

If you’re looking for a truly special place to stay on your trip to Paris, Cobblestone Paris is it. I cannot wait to stay in one of their properties again.

Special offer for AK readers: Book through Cobblestone Paris Rentals, mention Adventurous Kate, and receive a free scenic cruise on the Seine!

Villa d'Estrees

Best Luxury Hotel: Hotel Villa d’Estrées

I’ve stayed in a few luxury hotels in Paris and my favorite is Hotel Villa d’Estrées. I stayed here on my December 2012 visit to Paris and I relaxed the moment I stepped in. It was elegant, streamlined, and old-fashioned but not cliche. The bathroom had a beautiful vanity and the windows had a view over St. Germain.

While Paris hotels are usually known for being cramped and tiny, my room at the Villa d’Estrées was spacious and actually had room for a couch.

And the location? Magnifique. St. Germain, a 30-second (!) walk from the St. Michel metro stop and just steps from the shops and galleries of St. Germain. Even though an Irish pub is next door, you don’t hear the noise of it at all.

The Canal Saint-Martin, Paris

Image: Joe deSousa

Best Hostel: St. Christopher’s Hostel — The Canal

As hostels continue to innovate and turn into modern budget getaways for travelers of all ages, exceptional properties are popping up all over Europe. That said, unlike Lisbon or Berlin, Paris doesn’t have any game-changing hostels.

However, there is one nice Paris hostel that I do recommend: St. Christopher’s Hostel on the canal. It’s a new hostel, built in 2008, and it’s airy and vibrant with impeccably clean dorms, large bathrooms, key card security, and a wild bar downstairs to meet fellow travelers.

St. Christopher’s is part of the Europe’s Famous Hostels chain, and I’ve found all their hostels to be well maintained with a great social environment.

The location on Canal St. Martin is offbeat and fairly out of the way, but there are plenty of nice cafes, a grocery store, some Vietnamese restaurants, and three metro stops within a ten-minute walk.

View of Notre Dame

Don’t Visit Paris Without Travel Insurance

A lot of people think travel insurance is an unnecessary expense — I couldn’t disagree more. Travel insurance is vital. It’s saved me hundreds of dollars and for one of my friends, who slipped and broke his back while traveling, his travel insurance saved him hundreds of thousands of dollars.

If you get pickpocketed on the metro, travel insurance will refund you what you lost.

If you slip on the stairs at Notre-Dame and break your ankle, travel insurance will refund your medical costs and will get you home for free.

If you get appendicitis while in Paris, travel insurance will cover your medical costs.

If an immediate family member dies while you’re halfway across the world, travel insurance will help you get home immediately.

These are unpleasant things to think about, but it’s so important to be prepared for the worst.

I use and recommend World Nomads Travel Insurance. They’re a great fit for almost every traveler. Take a look at their policies before you buy to make sure they’re right for you.

Marais

My #1 Paris Tip

Make sure your accommodation is within a short walk of a metro stop, or, ideally, a few metro stops on a few different lines. You’ll be riding the metro a lot, so being close will make your time in Paris so much easier.

In the past, I’ve stayed in places that were a long walk (around 12 minutes) from the metro in areas that weren’t well traversed. This made me uncomfortable walking home alone at night, and while I stuck it out at the time, I wouldn’t stay that far away again.

Any trip to Paris should be the trip of a lifetime. I hope this guide brings you close to making your Paris dream come true.

Essential Info: Rates for La Royale du Marché at Cobblestone Paris Rentals start at 169 EUR ($216 USD) per night plus taxes and cleaning fee. It sleeps up to four people if you fold out the couch. Children under 12 are not allowed.

Book through Cobblestone Paris Rentals, mention Adventurous Kate, and receive a free scenic cruise on the Seine!

Rates at Hotel Villa d’Estrées start at 194 EUR ($248 USD) per night including taxes and fees. It sleeps two.

Rates at St. Christopher’s on the Canal start at 24.90 EUR ($32 USD) for dorms and 78 EUR ($100 USD)for doubles. There is a new St. Christopher’s in Paris near the Gare du Nord.

Many thanks to Cobblestone Paris Rentals for hosting me for three nights in Paris this summer, and to Hotel Villa d’Estrées for hosting me for two nights two years ago. All opinions, as always, are my own.

Have you been to Paris? Where’s your favorite place to stay?

photos by: &

Comments

101 Responses to “Where to Stay in Paris — Best Neighborhoods and Accommodation”
  1. Naomi says:

    Le Marais is definitely my favourite neighborhood in Paris although a close second is the Latin Quarter. My friend has a flat on Rue Mouffetard (my favourite street) and I’m going to stay there for a weekend in December. It has markets, amazing food and great bars too, the perfect Paris combination.

  2. Liv says:

    I think your tips to ensure you stay near the centre (rather than on the outskirts) and near a metro stop are the most important ones. There is so much to Paris that exploring it can easily keep visitors busy over several visits, as you yourself have proved!

  3. SELINA says:

    I stayed in Montmartre and it was very lovely.. Full of action! I definitely recommend to everyone!

    http://www.traveling-lady.com

  4. Michelle says:

    Love this post! I’ve never been to Paris, but it’s definitely a place I would like to visit one day.

  5. jeanny says:

    This is a very very useful post, thank you! Even tough I’ve been to Paris a few times, I’ll read this again before I search for accomodation next time around.

  6. Emily says:

    We were in Paris in July and rented an AirBnB near Parc des Buttes Chaumont, and while it wasn’t necessarily central, it was perfect to see ‘real life’ in Paris. Like you said, transit is fantastic, so it’s really no problem getting around!

    • Anne says:

      Parc Buttes-Chaumont is kind of a haul, but it’s one of my favorite places in the city. I’m generally inclined to point people farther from the center, not necessarily way on the outskirts, but areas like Denfert-Rochereau, which is an RER B hub, as well as a stop on the 6 (which also goes straight to Bir-Hakeim and Trocadero, both great ways to get to the Eiffel Tower) and the 4 (which goes through Saint Sulpice, Saint Germain, Saint Michel and Chatelet-Les Halles on its way up to Barbes-Rochechouart). I also really enjoy the 11th (Oberkampf, Filles du Calvaire) and 12th (Dugommier area) arrondissements–residential, no tourists, plenty of local color, and easily accessible by multiple train lines. The good news about Paris is that no matter where you end up, it’s pretty simple to hop on a train and figure out how to get to your next destination.

      Gosh, now I’m all nostalgic! I haven’t lived there since 2012.

  7. Marvin says:

    We love the Hotel St. Paul in the 6th. Lots of dining choices around and it’s about three blocks to the Metro. Also, close enough to the Pont des Arts for a picnic dinner.

  8. Hugo Cura says:

    I have family all over paris (center + suburbs). With this I’ve been there countless times (going there again twice in December) and gained a pretty good knowledge of the city.

    Mostly, I agree with you. It is also relatively safe unless you end up in the wrong neighbourhood, like barbes. One thing though is that some suburbs are quite interesting and provide a different and interesting scenario. Try the area around la marne.

    What about daily trips from Paris? There’s so much to see and do.

    Cheers.

  9. Kaila says:

    I stayed in a boutique hotel in the 16th arrondissement for my first visit and it was the best! Very safe, quiet Parisian neighborhood and a quick 15 minute walk to the Eiffel, although it was 2-3 blocks from the train. Would want to check out the other neighborhoods on future trips though for the experience.

  10. Jessica says:

    Thank you for the tips! This article was posted at a perfect time as I am currently making my plans for an overnight layover in Paris next month! If anyone can make a suggestion of things to do for a brief first timer’s visit in Paris that would be appreciated. I arrive at the Paris airport at 5pm and will depart at 2pm the next day. Thanks in advance 🙂

    • Yikes, barely a layover! If I were you, I’d decide whether you want to see the Eiffel Tower up close at day or at night. Both are nice. Make sure you get up early the next day. If you wanted to wander a bit, I suggest taking in Notre Dame, Ile Saint-Louis and either the Marais or St. Germain (either neighborhood is adjacent to the islands). St. Germain is nice at night — Boulevard St. Germain and Rue de Buci are good places to wander and have dinner at a cafe. Also near St. Germain is Le Relais de l’Entrecote for a steak frites and another steak frites!

  11. Carlie says:

    LOVED St Christopher’s Crimee ( on the Canal) when I stayed there a few years ago. Tossing up between there again and the newer hostel when I go to Paris next month. Second night probably a hotel, the Marais sounds like a good bet!

  12. Thank you for sharing this! Looking for the right spot to stay in such iconic cities can definitely get overwhelming fast. It’s great to have a little guide to follow!

    http://www.marieaway.com

  13. I definitely needed to read this before I went to Paris last month. The day before I arrived there was a new review that summed it up perfectly… “The street commerce downstairs is less than appealing”. Despite this, we had a fantastic time and the street commerce turned out to be a source of entertainment for us in the end xo

    http://www.hikinginheels.co.uk

  14. NZ Muse says:

    We managed to find a first time Airbnber (we were Airbnb virgins too) for an absolute steal (something like 30 or 40 euros a night). They jacked prices up after that. A little far- 15th arondissement – but a really lovely and quiet residential area, we got live like locals for a week.

  15. Katie says:

    The Marais area sounds perfect!! I’ve never been to Paris, but I love cities and food so we’re bound to get along. 😉 Thinking of doing a girls trip there next year and this post will be super helpful!

  16. I love the neighborhoods you identified. One of our favorite places to stay is Hotel de l’Abbaye Saint-Germain. Great location near a Metro stop and lots of nice, cozy restaurants. It’s also conveniently located near a laundry. We pack light, so it’s nice to have one nearby!

  17. Jim Ferri says:

    Hi Kate,
    You and I met years ago at a bloggers conference in Perugia (when I was sans beard) and I’ve been following your posts ever since. I’ve also been to Paris many times (I was once an exec with Air France) and you’ve hit the mark with this post. Good work!
    Jim

  18. Zora Vening says:

    Kate, do you have a hotel recommendation in the Maris that you offer?

  19. This makes me want to go back right now! I have been twice so far and have done all the touristy stuff as well as wandering aimlessly, on my next visit I would like to explore more of the neighbourhoods

  20. Itai says:

    Hi Kate!

    Great article! In case everyone is looking for additional tools to find the right neighborhood in Paris, check out Villy – http://www.villy.co/. We help users find the right neighborhood for them by asking a series of questions about what they care about.

    Kate – would love to know what you think.

    Thanks,
    Itai

  21. This is SO helpful. I’ve been to Paris a few times and have stayed in St. Germain every time. Next time around, I want to try someplace new, perhaps the Marais? Thanks for sharing! Bookmarking this.

    Happy travels 🙂

  22. Erik says:

    I always stay in St. Christophers (Canal). They recently opened a new branch at Gare du Nord, but I don’t like to be in that area at night. I still have to go exploring the south of Paris.

    I loved parc Bercy and especially the national library across the canal with the forest inside 🙂

  23. De'Jav says:

    Just discovered your site. Your tips are great like how you provide options just not just giving your opinion while explaining what each has to offer. Look forward to future post.

  24. I just got back from my first trip to Paris and I stayed in the 9th near Eglise de la Madeleine, at a new hotel that’s just opened and then in the 6th near St. Sulpice at an AirBnB rental. Both were great and close to metro stops. I would stay in either location again without 6. Paris is a big city but I felt like I was never that far from anything because of the metro. I also walked…a lot. Paris is a very, very walkable city.

  25. Great list Kate! I absolutely love Le Marais as well. I stayed in Montmartre on the border of the seedy area (my mistake) so it was a bit gross. The rest of Montmartre is great though! Definitely heading for Le Marais next time though. Love Paris!

    http://www.theglobalcouple.com

  26. Great post Kate!

    I’ve been to Paris 6 or 7 times now as it’s pretty close to where I used to live (London), and where I live now (Berlin), and I love it!

    Because of that, I haven’t been in ages. 🙂 In fact, the last time I was actually in Paris was 7 years ago in which I just decided to hop over there because the flight was €18.00 (Easyjet) so I went to Disneyland for a few days, and then I remembered that I had a girlfriend who was half-French and lived in the sticks somewhere in the middle of France, so I stayed with her for a week, and because it was early Sepember, I decided to stick around and booked a house in Brittany for another week!! In fact, that house was in Cancales!

    Good times LOL!

  27. Kasmersensei says:

    Surprised you didn’t mention the controversy surrounding Airbnb recently. They are quasi-legal at best, and currently undergoing legal challenges in both NYC and Paris.

  28. Laura says:

    I need to get back to Paris and I need to pack this guide in my back pocket. I went while I was in college and didn’t appreciate it or spend nearly enough time there. That apartment looks and sounds amazing.

  29. Jimmy Dau says:

    Was my first time to Paris in July this year. I stayed in Marais and loved it. Was lucky to have friends living there who were out of town and had their place to myself. Such an easy city to walk around. I must have walked nearly 10km each day. Gotta burn off those calories consumed in between!

  30. nice collection of pictures depicting true culture. Thanks for sharing will definitely visit this place one day!

  31. Great article. Nice to see the caveat about the 18th arrondissement, as well – it’s so easy to end up in the wrong area so quickly! The Barbes metro is an area that one should be especially careful to watch out for.

    I need to say, though – the area near the Eiffel tower is gorgeous!! In my opinion, the views absolutely outweigh whatever potential monotony you might experience there. Though, to be fair: it’s extremely expensive, like you said.

    Great post!

  32. Anna Chung says:

    Just googled travel blogs and found yours, AND favorited your site. Can’t wait to read the rest of it 🙂

  33. Rebekah Voss says:

    What an awesome list. I will definitely need to check some of these out when my travels take me back to Paris. Great stuff, Kate!

  34. Beanie says:

    This is why, in my opinion, your blog is offers the best travel advice – the exceptional quality. Every post is crafted with care and full of tips that you have lived and breathed yourself. They offer not just inspiration but solid, practical advice that sometimes I feel even guidebooks lack.

    Sorry for being gushy, but you can never have enough praise when it comes to something like blogging!

    Thank-you Kate!

  35. This is such an informative post, thank you! The Marais is my absolute favourite area in Paris. I haven’t ventured to Belleville before, but it looks like I’ll have to give it a try 🙂

  36. Always wanted to stay in Monmartre but ever since Amelie, the place has gotten too touristy. But your list has so many amazing options now I’m spoilt for choice! 🙂

  37. Paula says:

    Have just returned from my 1st Paris visit and am in love with the city – it was mutual 🙂 Can I give a shout out for the 2nd arrondissement, which was very local and very convenient to everything. We had a great little flat and could not have been happier with all of the OMG moments that Paris serves up. Great post

  38. Dylan Rowley says:

    Really nice post, Kate, awesome collection of photos. Paris is so colourful and amazing city, everybody can find something special for himself. My personal favourite area is St. Germain, I have great memories of a holiday I spent there once.

  39. Barry says:

    Hi Kate
    I have got a twist on the best place to stay in Paris. We took our boat through the French canals from the English Channel to the med. on our way we stopped at a halt on the river seine in view of the Eiffel Tower. So for us our boat named Cedilla was the best place we could think of.

    Great stuff Barry

  40. Kieu says:

    Bookmarking this for my Paris comeback… I will come back. 🙂

  41. Anna says:

    Absolutely makes sense that this is your most popular post this month. I lived in Paris for half a year and your take on the neighborhoods – not just where to live, but what to do around the corner – is spot on in every way. I do wish I have spent a bit more time in the Marais (I lived in the 7th with the view of the Tower right over my window’s geraniums, went to school in the 8th on Hausmann), and in the future I certainly will (my favorite bakery is there). And until your post I never thought about it but it’s true – the 9th is truly the sole central non-touristy neighborhood in the city! As far as accommodations go though, on my return to Paris, whenever that happens, I want to stay at one of the Hotels Particuliers!

  42. Line Robez says:

    Beautiful photos! Thank you for sharing article. Hope to hear more from you.

  43. Olga says:

    Great tips!!! I’ve already done some of your “nevers”, so when planning next trip to Paris, i should definetely use your advises!!!
    Thank you
    http://feelthetraveling.blogspot.com

  44. Ken says:

    I also love Paris and wish to someday be visiting it. Paris is beautiful!
    Thanks for the valuable information about the property which you have provided.

  45. abdul says:

    Great article and just started following your blog…

  46. Youseef says:

    good and interesting post!
    life is very enjoyable if you can Tour, here is nice places in morocco, nice place nice tour, camel tour and others many enjoyable thinks here you many enjoy it!

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