To help you decide between the different areas in Paris you will below find a list of some of the top neighbourhoods and places to stay at. We have described six of the best areas we believe that you as a visitor (also first-time) can pick – your choice will depend on whether you want to be in the heart of Paris or close to the greatest attractions, seek a local Parisian vibe or new inspiration, are on a tight budget or maybe have a wish to explore the less touristy sides of the French capital.
Before immersing yourself in Paris’s districts, it is useful to be acquainted with the ‘numbering system’ of the arrondissements. Paris is subdivided into 20 so-called arrondissements which are districts starting in the heart of Paris, just north of the Seine at the Right Bank (Rive Droite), and then spiralling clockwise outwards. Notably, the most central arrondissements are the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th and 7th, and the higher numbers continue further out, only bounded by the ring road, the Boulevard Périphérique.
If you want to experience the real Latin Quarter vibe in Paris, the best place to stay is of course right inside this area / neighbourhood. Located on the Left Bank (Rive Gauche) in the 5th arrondissement, it is Paris’s ancient Roman village, at the time known as the village of Lutetia. Today, it is the students’ neighbourhood in Paris with the Sorbonne University just round the corner, affordable student restaurants and a great young vibe blended with an artist and intellectual scene – it is really Paris at its best! Together with the bohemian way of life, it makes the Latin Quarter a real unique place exuding a very special ambience.
No visit to Paris without exploring the Latin Quarter which – together with the adjoining quarter Saint-Germain-des-Prés – has existed for two thousand years. It was named after the language spoken in the area – Latin!
You will soon realise that the busy main roads intersecting the Latin Quarter, the broad Boulevard Saint-Germain and Boulevard Saint-Michel, are popular and vibrant key boulevards in the area – full of curious shops, designer brands and Parisian cafés.
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On the gastronomic side you will have to pay a visit to the Rue Mouffetard for a traditional Parisian lunch or dinner. It is one of the oldest streets in Paris and an amazing street of reasonably priced student restaurants, grocery shops, restaurants and bars. Afterwards head for the charming Place de la Contrescarpe, the perfect place for a cup of coffee and people-watching!
Moreover, the neighbourhood features the famous Sorbonne University, founded in 1257 as a college for theology students by Robert de Sorbon, as well as a number of other academic institutions – all contributing to the great vibe here. In recent times Sorbonne became known worldwide as the site of the student uprising in May 1968.
When speaking about the Roman background, don’t miss the ancient Roman arena, the Arénes de Lutèce dating from the 1st century AD – which is a genuine Roman amphitheatre in Rue Monge. At the time it was with its 15,000 spectators the scene of terrifying gladiatorial combats. Today, completely opposed to its original purpose, it serves as the site where Parisians meet and come to play the traditional French boules sport pétanque.
The Musée de Cluny and the Institut du Monde Arabe definitely also deserve a visit!
Finally, take a stroll along the scenic Bouquinistes along the Seine. The traditional booksellers have been there since the 16th century offering a wide range of antiquarian books, fine art prints and remarkable posters.
Hotel Saint Jacques is located in the Latin Quarter near the Notre-Dame Cathedral. Soundproofed and equipped with a private bathroom and satellite TV. Very close to the Maubert–Mutualite Metro and Boulevard Saint-Germain. The Roman amphitheatre, Arènes de Lutece, is only 600 m away.
Hotel La Lanterne is located in the vibrant Latin Quarter in the heart of Paris. Rooms are air-conditioned and equipped with a flat-screen TV, complimentary bathrobes, slippers and free toiletries. There is an on-site bar, an indoor swimming pool, a hammam and a terrace.
If you want to stay in a cool area full of surprising art galleries and some of the best options for trendy restaurants, hip cafés and remarkable nightlife in Paris, you should definitely consider a place in the neighbourhood Le Marais. The district spans the 3rd and the 4th arrondissements and is at the same time a beautiful historic Parisian neighbourhood featuring an abundance of aristocratic and architecturally interesting buildings.
The multi-faceted historic aristocratic district is located on the Right Bank of the Seine River. It is really one of the Parisian districts significantly shaped by history. You will experience the area best on foot where it is easy to cover all corners of the historic neighbourhood.
One of the most beautiful squares in Paris is located in Le Marais. Under King Henri IV’s reign architectural masterpieces such as the ‘hôtels’ flanking the lovely Renaissance square, Place des Vosges, saw the light of day. They were the 17th-century nobles’ mansions and they still adorn the plaza. A number of these former ‘hôtels’ have today been converted into outstanding museums such as the Picasso Museum and the Musée des Archives Nationales. The Place des Vosges is in fact Paris’s oldest square.
Centre Pompidou from 1977 is with its industrial-looking façade another remarkable art construction at Le Marais, although a completely different architectural style! Real spectacular are the exterior escalators and the colourful oversized tubes attached to the building. The structure is definitely worthy of a visit – you will just enter the escalator tube and take it up to the public library or the Musée National d’Art Moderne.
When you are done with the museum visits, it is time for the Marais nightlife! Since the 1980s Marais has also been known as Paris’s best gay-friendly area, and it is a great and lively neighbourhood for a night out in the French capital.
Hôtel Jacques De Molay is located in the Marais, 1 km from Place des Vosges. The hotel offers an on-site bar and free access to the fitness centre & the sauna. Free WiFi is available and all rooms are air-conditioned.
HOTEL SOOKIE is a 4-star hotel with a top location near the Pompidou Centre and the Opéra Bastille. All rooms in the hotel are equipped with a flat-screen TV with satellite channels and some rooms provide city views.
Montmartre is world-famous for the Romano-Byzantine Sacré-Coeur Basilica picturesquely situated on a hilltop above the city. With its cobbled streets, vineyards, local artists and village-like atmosphere the 18th-arrondissement neighbourhood is a welcome break from the surrounding busier streets. Up here you may well forget for a moment that you are actually right inside Paris! If you want to stay in a romantic and charming area in Paris, one of your best choices will be the Montmartre neighbourhood. Moreover, you will be able to enjoy panoramic views of Paris from the top of the hill.
The magnificent Sacré-Coeur appears stunningly white towards the blue sky. It is the centerpiece of an idyllic cobbled village with lovely bistrots, small gardens, bohemian atmosphere and a thriving cultural life with painters and artists inviting you inside their small galleries. You can reach the eye-catching construction by funicular – in case you find the steps too demanding!
Inside the Basilica you will find the largest mosaic in France, covering an area of 480 square metres!
Anyway, the only remains from that time are the vineyards belonging to the former abbey! You can visit the Vignes du Clos on the sloping hillside of Montmartre.
Of course, you will have to know that Montmartre is not the most budget-friendly area in Paris to stay in – but it offers a special artistic ambience, scenic views and an outstanding rural vibe which fully makes up for the price level!
At the foot of the hill you will notice the old merry-go-round which has also become kind of a landmark of Montmartre.
Hôtel Basss is located in the heart of Montmartre. All rooms are soundproofed, accessed by a lift and offer city views. Enjoy the buffet breakfast in the morning.
Mom’Art Hotel is a boutique hotel set 400 m from Sacré-Coeur. Each room has a unique decor, bathrobes and slippers. Meals can be taken in the heated patio, and a cosy bar is also available on site.
Why not stay close to the magnificent Jardin du Luxembourg in the 6th arrondissement on the Left Bank? It is a welcome refuge in the heart of the city covering centuries of history and Italian Baroque design, represented by its many statues. At the same time you will be right in the centre of well-established French educational institutions and amazing constructions such as the glorious Panthéon.
One of the main attractions in the Luxembourg quarter is the Jardin du Luxembourg, designed in the 1600s. This is a picture-postcard garden in Italian Baroque style, originally created for Marie de Medici who became Queen of France. Using her home city Florence and the Boboli Garden as a model, she designed this Parisian oasis in the 6th arrondissement. It is a lovely garden featuring a wealth of sculptures, harmonic flower beds, immaculate and tempting lawns, the stunning Medici Fountain, as well as the popular octagonal pond where children and adults enjoy playing with small boats.
The Luxembourg neighbourhood hosts a wide range of the best educational institutions in Paris such as the Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts, the Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales and the Académie Française. Moreover, you will also find the seat of the French Senate here.
Other buildings of interest include the Roman Catholic St. Sulpice Church and the spectacular Greek-Roman neoclassical Panthéon constructed towards the end of the 1700s under King Louis XV. The cupola was intended to be even more spectacular than the Church of saint Peter in Rome! Inside Panthéon you will find tombs of great French personalities such as Rousseau, Voltaire, Emile Zola, Victor Hugo and Marie Curie.
Famous cafés such as Café de Flore and Les Deux Magots, once a favourite intellectual meeting place of Simone de Beauvoir and Jean-Paul Sartre, are also must-sees at Saint-Germain-des-Prés.
Dauphine Saint Germain is situated between Saint-Germain-des-Prés and The Latin Quarter in a 17th century building, only a 10-minute walk from Notre-Dame Cathedral. The hotel features elegant rooms with en-suite bathroom and a breakfast with fresh pastries. Close to the Metro Station Saint-Michel. The Louvre is only a 20-minute walk away.
Hotel Atmospheres is located a 10-minute walk from the Luxembourg Gardens and 200 m from the Maubert Mutualité Metro. It offers en-suite accommodation, a garden, a fitness centre and a sauna. All rooms have a flat-screen TV with cable channels and free Wi-Fi.
‘Where to Stay in Paris – Best Area, Place & Neighbourhood’
Icon and landmark of Paris – the Eiffel Tower is unarguably world-famous and one of the most impressive constructions in the French capital – a result of the 1889 Exposition Universelle in Paris. Stay here in the 7th arrondissement on the Left Bank if you want to be conveniently located in an upscale neighbourhood near some of the best Parisian attractions which in addition to the Eiffel Tower count great art museums, the Hôtel des Invalides and, not least, a lovely place and refuge in Paris, namely the Champ de Mars area.
Here you can enjoy Parisian life, a morning or an afternoon stroll, or plan a traditional picnic in Paris on the urban green spaces at Champ de Mars – it is really the best place to stay for a few hours to explore the Eiffel Tower surroundings.
In few other places within the Boulevard Périphérique will you find such extensive public green spaces as in Champ de Mars. It is Paris’s retreat in the city where you can chill out after a day of intense sightseeing. French families have come here for generations to enjoy life – and it is the perfect place in Paris to stay an hour or two for people-watching.
For centuries this Paris neighbourhood has been home to the French aristocracy and upper class. Its ancient 17th-century name, le Faubourg, is now used as a synonym for the French nobility. Today, the arrondissement is also home to a number of foreign embassies, and it is still considered to be an upscale neighbourhood of Paris.
The 7th arrondissements also features world-class museums such as the Musée d’Orsay and the Musée Rodin. Another must-see is the Hôtel des Invalides – Napoleon’s resting place!
Hôtel Le Cercle Tour Eiffel is a renovated hotel located just 150 m from the Champ de Mars leading to the Eiffel Tower. Some rooms offer a view of the Eiffel Tower. Rooms are air-conditioned, feature a flat-screen TV and free WiFi.
Hôtel & Spa de Latour Maubourg is a stylish hotel located between the Eiffel Tower, the Champs Élysées and Saint Germain. The property dates from the reign of Napoleon III and offers rooms with a thematic unique décor from the Renaissance. Moreover, the hotel offers a spa with a hammam, an ice cave and an experience shower, as well as an ice fountain.
‘Where to Stay in Paris – Best Area, Place & Neighbourhood’
Best place to stay in Paris: The two natural islands in the middle of the Seine in the 4th arrondissement are the epitome of historic Paris and centrally located to most other sights in the surrounding arrondissements. You may choose to stay in a place in this area if you really want to be in the heart of Paris and love being at a visitor hotspot with the best chance of experiencing some of the most significant Parisian attractions all close!
Île de la Cité features the world-famous Notre-Dame de Paris, the Sainte-Chapelle, as well as the Conciergerie. Île Saint-Louis is a bit more tranquil and home to Paris’s high-end residents.
Notre-Dame de Paris is the majestic landmark and symbol of Paris. The construction of the French Gothic cathedral was initiated in the 1100s, a process which took about 300 years! Over the years it has suffered serious damage at several occasions, but every time it has been thoroughly restored again. One of the earlier incidents was during the French Revolution, and the most recent case occurred in 2019 where a devastating fire ravaged the roof of Notre-Dame. Since then restoration works have been undertaken, and they are expected to be completed in 2024.
Finally, notice the Conciergerie, the former prison which Marie Antoinette was sent to before being brought to the guillotine!
The two islands link the Right Bank to the Left Bank by numerous bridges. One of the most famous bridges is Ponf Neuf, now the oldest bridge across the river Seine.
Hotel Saint-Louis en L’Isle is set in the heart of Ile Saint-Louis, 250 m from Cathedral Notre Dame de Paris and the Latin Quarter. The property has a lift, exposed stones walls, old terracotta and oak beams, as well as air-conditioned and soundproofed rooms with a classic décor. A daily buffet breakfast is served.
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Where to Stay in Paris – Best Area, Place & Neighbourhood
Where to Stay in Paris
Best Area, Place & Neighbourhood
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Where to Stay in Paris – Best Area, Place & Neighbourhood:
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