The famous city of Paris, or the charmingly named City of Lights, is at the top of many people's European bucket lists. With so many incredible attractions packed into the tiny streets of the French capital, sometimes it may feel confusing where to even start.
Should I stay near the Eiffel Tower? The Louvre? The Arc de Triomphe? Which of the 20 arrondissements should I stay in? What even is an arrondissement?
Take a breath... we've got you covered. Firstly, arrondissement. Arrondissements are Paris’ administrative districts, which are laid out in a spiral, with number one being in the centre of Paris. Whilst some of the best areas in Paris are referred to by their district, such as the 7th Arrondissement (home to the Eiffel Tower), others are referred to by name and make up just a small part of an arrondissement.
It should be noted that no matter where you stay in Paris you will be engulfed in culture, history, and ambiance. But for those seeking something specific, here is our guide on where to stay in Paris. First-time visitors, families with kids, budget travellers, couples, and those in search of hip and local vibe... here are our suggestions to get you started.
It is impossible to visit Paris without setting foot in the 7th Arrondissement as it’s home to the iconic Eiffel Tower. Though busy, this is one of the best areas to stay for first time visitors, enabling you to truly throw yourself into your Parisian holiday. You could spend days in Paris and never leave the 7th Arrondissement!
The Eiffel Tower aside, there are many things to see and do in the area. Visit the Musée d’Orsay; located in a train station, this museum houses an impressive collection of Impressionist paintings including those by Van Gogh and Renoir.
Les Invalides sits at the centre of the 7th Arrondissement in all its domed golden glory. This impressive complex of buildings houses several museums and monuments relating to France’s military history, as well as a veteran hospital and retirement home for soldiers. Oh, and Napoleon, it’s his tomb under the giant golden dome!
Once you’ve explored all that the area has to offer, the 7th Arrondissement is a great base for exploring the rest of Paris’ districts and attractions. A short métro ride to the Arc de Triomphe, The Louvre, Notre-Dame and you can enjoy a saunter along the Seine.
Stay at Hôtel La Comtesse for affordable, elegant rooms and views of the Eiffel Tower. For a more luxurious feel, and views that feel as if you can almost touch the Eiffel Tower, check in to the Shangri-La Hotel just across the river.
Montmartre is one of Paris’ outer districts and arguably the most romantic neighbourhood, perfect for those wanting to explore the City of Love. Located north of the Seine covering much of the 18th arrondissement, Montmartre is unique in its atmosphere and architecture. Many of the great artists, Renoir and Van Gogh among them, called Montmartre home. This district’s quaint streets, charm and cosy familiarity has resulted in many Parisians referring to it as Montmartre Village.
When staying in Montmartre a visit to the Sacré-Cœur Basilica is obligatory yet delightful. Though the steps of Sacré-Cœur are almost permanently full, the expansive views of Paris are beautiful and well worth the 270 steps. Waking early, before the tourist crowds, is the perfect way to turn this top Paris attraction into a romantic affair.
From the Sacré-Cœur, wander hand in hand through Montmartre’s narrow cobbled streets, visit vintage stores, enjoy the nostalgia of 1930s Paris at Le Refuge Café, and lunch at La Maison Rose, a perfectly pink cutesy corner café and restaurant. Visit the ‘Le mur des je t’aime’, or the ‘I Love You Wall’, an artwork piece comprising 612 enamelled tiles, covered in the words ‘I love you’ in over 250 languages. The perfect photo spot!
Stay at Hôtel Particulier Montmartre for a romantic and secretive getaway, with distant views of the Eiffel Tower.
One of the most popular neighbourhoods in Paris, and perfect for those with kids, is Saint-Germain-des-Prés. Sandwiched between the 7th Arrondissement and the Latin Quarter, Saint-Germain is the perfect place for convenient access to much of Paris, as well as providing a lively street atmosphere.
Saint-Germain-des-Prés is littered with cafes, restaurants, and eateries. Walk along any street in Saint-Germain and it’s either a hive of activity or oozing bohemian spirit. Head to Les Deux Magots for a delicious family breakfast, croissants, pain au chocolat, freshly baked bread, fruit and cappuccinos, the perfect way to fuel yourself for a day of exploring. For afternoon treats head to Pierre Hermé Boutique, a treasure trove of all things sweet and heavenly.
When travelling with kids you don’t want to be pestered with the question “Are we there yet?” You won’t have that issue in Saint-Germain. Head over the Pont des Arts bridge and you’re just a seven minute walk from the Louvre. Using le métro from Saint-Germain-des-Prés you can be at Île de la Cité in 3 minutes to visit Notre-Dame. With just one change and in 17 minutes you will be at the Eiffel Tower.
Stay at L’Hotel for cosy and luxurious rooms and immerse yourself in literature and culture, as this was the hotel that Oscar Wilde passed away in.
Just a stone’s throw from Notre-Dame, the Latin Quarter is an incredible place to stay and great for those budget conscious travellers. The Latin Quarter is known as the historic centre of learning, with many French universities, including Sorbonne University, located in the neighbourhood. The area has an intellectual flavour and youthful vibrance which continually attracts young travellers.
The Latin Quarters’ fantastic location means it’s within walking distance to several famous attractions. No métro fees! From Sorbonne University, it’s just 11 minutes walk to the Place du Panthéon, 12 minutes to Notre-Dame, 16 minutes to the Louvre, 19 minutes to the Pompidou centre and a 15 minute métro ride to the Eiffel Tower.
Sip coffee at one of the many street cafés, peruse the books at the Shakespeare and Company bookshop and devour a cinnamon bun at Circus Bakery, Latin Quarter is perfect for those budget travellers.
Stay at Hôtel Esmeralda for a rustic French feel and views of Notre-Dame at an affordable price.
Across from Île de la Cité, north of la Seine, Le Marais is the trendiest district in Paris. Galleries, gay bars, luxury boutiques and restaurants, it's a great place to base yourself on a trip to Paris.
To be afforded the title of hippest vibe, the neighbourhood of Le Marais must surely supply some trendy nightlife, and it does not disappoint. Head to Le Sherry Butt for an unparalleled vibey start to any evening. Step into the dimly lit bar and relax on the leather studded sofas. Choose from their extensive collection of whiskies or a perfectly curated cocktail, Le Sherry Butt is the perfect place to unwind after a day of sightseeing.
Continue the night at Rue du Temple, Paris’ gay bar scene. Les Souffleurs, is one of Paris’ best queer hipster hangouts. With happy hour from 6 pm to 9 pm, it is best to get there early, especially if one of their maverick DJs is playing.
In the morning head to Maison Plisson, the oldest covered market in Paris. You’ll find an array of artisanal delights, all sustainably or ethically conscious! From fromageries to bakeries, sandwiches to fresh fruit, a place like Maison Plisson could only really be found in Le Marais.
No trip to Le Marais is complete without also exploring the Musée National Picasso-Paris, which comprises over 5,000 works by one of the hippest artists to live, Pablo Picasso.
Stay at Hotel Bastille Speria for good quality and affordability. Le Marais is not a cheap neighbourhood, so alternatively you could opt for a trendy Airbnb to get more for your money.
Parts of Paris often feel too touristy, and you can feel overwhelmed by Eiffel Tower-selling street hawkers. But head south of the city to the 14th arrondissement and you will discover local life in Montparnasse. The neighbourhood was once saturated with artists and writers, and still to this day retains much of its bohemian style. It feels quintessentially Parisian.
Crêperies to die for, brasseries on every corner, Montparnasse is a local food lover’s dream. First head to rue Daguerre’s for the local street market. French cuisine, Vietnamese, Italian, Chinese, Japanese, Indian, this street market is a sensory overload. In between food tastings and purchases pop into the local boutiques that line the street.
Many of Montparnasse’s café, bistros and bars were frequented by notable creatives, including Jean-Paul Sartre, Ernest Hemingway, and Pablo Picasso. Head to La Closerie des Lilas and dine in the same spots as Fitzgerald and Hemingway.
After the food and fine wine visit the Montparnasse Tower for 360 degree views of Paris. The Montparnasse Tower feels juxtaposed against the historic buildings of Paris, but once up this 210 metre tower, you’ll be treated to views of all the incredible sites of Paris. Visit at night, to view The City of Lights at its most effervescent.
Stay at the authentically beautiful Victoria Palace Hotel Paris for elegance and sophistication or better still really live like a local by checking out the areas' Airbnbs.
Last Updated 20 April 2022