Hi Frugalistas! Yes, I’m talking about Paris again. Because I know you like reading about Paris, and because I’m planning a trip to Paris (again…..I know. But more of that in future posts). For my next trip to Paris I’m looking at staying somewhere different, in a completely different neighbourhood. But it got me thinking about the best area to stay in Paris, and which is the best arrondisement to stay in Paris? While the best area to stay in Paris is very much a personal decision for you, I’ve compiled a guide to what I think are the best arrondisements to stay in Paris, and what you can expect if you choose to stay there.
The 1st and 2nd arrondisements
The 1st and 2nd arrondisements are the dead centre of Paris. Home to the Louvre, the Tuileries Gardens and a number of key Metro stations, the 1st and 2nd arrondisements of Paris are about as central as it gets in ANY city ANYWHERE in the world. Oh, and by the way, it’s also the home of some pretty sumptuous hotels….like the Meurice, the Crillon and of course, the Ritz.
Pros of staying in the 1st & 2nd arrondisements
You are literally in the centre of Paris (distances are measured from the 1st). The vicinity to a number of key tourist sites make it a winner for first time visitors – in addition to the Louvre and the Tuileries, the Musee d’Orsay, Orangerie, Champs Elysees, Opera, and the grand magasins of Boulevard Haussemann are all within walking distance.
Cons of staying in the 1st & 2nd arrondisements
Hotels can be quite expensive. I stayed in the first on my last visit to Paris, and while I was able to find a great deal on booking.com for a reasonably priced hotel, I know I spent more on eating out – restaurants are pricy in this neck of the woods.
Stay in the 1st & 2nd arrondisements for……
It’s all about location, location, location………
The 3rd and 4th arrondisements (the Marais)
I like the Marais. It has great Medieval architecture, cute boutiques and interesting eating options. It’s also very trendy and just a little bit bohemian.
Pros of staying in the 3rd & 4th arrondisements
The Marais is another great choice for first time visitors due to its central location (and the very large Les Halles and Chatelet Metro stations nearby for handy connections). It is also close by the Louvre, St Germain and Notre Dame. The Marais is also the spiritual home of Paris’ Jewish population – complete with fab eating options at a good price.
Cons of staying in the 3rd & 4th arrondisements
Hotels in the Marais can be small and old – it’s an historic neighbourhood after all. I say, if you want to stay in the Marais, go for it. While its handy location is a winner for first time visitors, its hipness may be a bit off putting and impenetrable. The best area to stay in Paris: a guide to the best arrondisements to stay in Paris
Stay in the 3rd & 4th arrondisements for……
Lovely old architecture that you won’t get anywhere else in Paris. Channel your inner bobo (a French bohemian) in great bars, and very individual boutiques.
The 5th arrondisement (the Latin Quarter)
I’m sure it was once somewhere fab to stay, but these days I honestly think the Latin Quarter is a bit past it. Trading on its old reputation I find it tired and just a bit tacky. Apart from the Cluny Museum. And Shakespeare and Co. Yes, they are good. The best area to stay in Paris: a guide to the best arrondisements to stay in Paris
Pros of staying in the 5th arrondisement
The rue Mouffetard market is fun. Plenty of cheap hotel and eating options.
Cons of staying in the 5th arrondisement
It’s tired, and cheap, and yes, I’ll say it again…..tacky.
Stay in the 5th arrondisement for……
A budget option for your hotel in Paris. Plenty of choices for your fast food fix.
The 6th and 7th arrondisements
The 7th arrondisement is my go to area of Paris to stay. The Hotel Muguet in the 7th is my go to hotel in Paris. Both the 6th and 7th are classy residential neighbourhoods.
Pros of staying in the 6th & 7th arrondisements
Because they are residential areas it’s the closest you will get to staying a la Parisienne. The unexpected views of the Eiffel Tower when you turn down a street. Le Bon Marche – one of the best (and upmarket) department stores in Paris. Plenty of little parks and gardens in unexpected places – fantastic for children.
Cons of staying in the 6th & 7th arrondisements
The Metro line is not quite so convenient – most trips require a change of lines. Genuine budget hotel options are few and far between.
Stay in the 6th & 7th arrondisements for……
Real Paris life, that is still welcoming of tourists. The opportunity to stay in one of the priciest parts of town.
The 8th arrondisement
Because the numbering of the Paris arrondisements works in a circular pattern, the 8th arrondisement is actually next to the 1st. Home to the Champs Elysee, the Arc de Triomphe and the fabulously expensive Avenue Montaigne, the 8th arrondisement is a luxe residential area, with a dash (well, okay, more than a dash) of tourist interest.
Pros of staying in the 8th arrondisement
Its proximity to so many of the places you’ll want to visit.
Cons of staying in the 8th arrondisement
Apart from the ultra touristy places on the Champs Elysees, eating options are not cheap. Other tourists.
Stay in the 8th arrondisement for……
Cocktails at the Georges V (come on, you know you want to).
The 10th and 11th arrondisements
You know how it works in big cities don’t you? An area becomes so trendy and so desirable that no one can afford to live there or open a business there so the adjacent area suddenly becomes the new hot spot. Enter the 10th and 11th arrondisements a stone’s throw from the achingly hip and expensive Marais. With cocktail bars and hip restaurants, the 10th and 11th are definitely “on the up”.
Pros of staying in the 1oth & 11th arrondisements
If you want to stay in the latest hot spot, the 10th and 11th arrondisements may be your place. Sunday brunch is also big here.
Cons of staying in the 10th & 11th arrondisements
It’s not the Marais (yet). There are some parts (particularly around the Avenue Daumesnil) that looked a bit dodgy the last time I was there.
Stay in the 10th & 11th arrondisements for……
A Marais experience on a budget. That air of superiority that only comes from being in on the latest place before everyone else…..
The 12th arrondisement
The 12th arrondisement is another up and coming area of Paris. I’m attracted to it by its reputation for not being on the tourist trail and its good Metro links.
Pros of staying in the 12th arrondisement
Off the normal tourist routes, but still a vibrant and very Parisian neighbourhood with plenty of restaurants. A good hotel option for those with morning trains from the Gare de Lyon.
Cons of staying in the 12th arrondisement
Perhaps not a great choice for those on their first trip to Paris. The need to take the Metro to all tourist locations.
Stay in the 12th arrondisement for……
A little slice of Paris life.
The 16th arrondisement
The 16th arrondisement is largely residential – and the home of many Embassies. I like it for its stunning honey coloured architecture that just screams money. It’s also well located for the Eiffel Tower and its Metro links.
Pros of staying in the 16th arrondisement
The quiet, leafy green streets that (discretely) scream “old money”. The shops, that scream tasteful Parisian style.
Cons of staying in the 16th arrondisement
Hotels in the 16th arrondisement can be quite pricy. There are no bargain restaurants either – but then you wouldn’t expect there to be, would you?
Stay in the 16 arrondisement for……
An opportunity to live among the rich and famous (Nicolas and Carla Sarkozy among others).
The 18th arrondisement (Montmartre)
Montmartre is an area of Paris that most people think of when they picture in their minds what Paris looks like. Romantic images of Paris often picture the steeped staired walkways of Montmartre. While it’s not my favorite part of Paris, I know there are others who wouldn’t stay anywhere else.
Pros of staying in the 18th arrondisement
Quintessential Paris streets, with pretty walkways and lovely architecture. The great views out over the rest of Paris. It is undoubtably one of the most romantic parts of Paris.
Cons of staying in the 18th arrondisement
The tourists – horrendous hordes descend on Montmartre, especially on a Sunday. Tourist restaurants are everywhere. Montmartre is not central so taking the Metro anywhere you want to go to is essential. Some parts can be a bit dodgy, so do be careful when booking your hotel in Montmartre.
Stay in the 18th arrondisement for……
The quaint architecture and its village feel. Oh, and of course, those views out over the rest of Paris.
Now, the maths brains among you will have noticed I haven’t covered all 20 arrondisements of central Paris. This is because I’ve stuck to the arrondisements that are more central and where there are more hotels. They are also quartiers I think you would like to consider, or should consider. What are your favorite arrondisements of Paris?
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