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 arrondissement to stay in Paris? While where to stay in Paris is very much a personal decision for you, I’ve compiled a Paris arrondissement guide to what I think are the best arrondissements to stay in Paris, and what you can expect if you choose to stay there.
A word about Airbnb in Paris: members of my France Travel Planning Facebook group (you can join by clicking here) report mixed experiences with Airbnb in Paris. The local Paris authorities periodically clamp down on unauthorised Airbnb properties, resulting in bookings being cancelled by the owner at short notice. While many members have had excellent experiences booking Airbnb in Paris, my recommendation for those wanting to book Airbnb in Paris is to always book with a superhost, and to book a fully cancellable hotel room as a backstop.
- 1 The 1st and 2nd arrondissements
- 2 The 3rd and 4th arrondissements (the Marais)
- 3 The 5th arrondissement (the Latin Quarter)
- 4 The 6th and 7th arrondissements
- 5 The 8th arrondissement
- 6 The 10th and 11th arrondissements
- 7 The 12th arrondissement
- 8 The 15th arrondissement
- 9 The 16th arrondissement
- 10 The 18th arrondissement (Montmartre)
The 1st and 2nd arrondissements
The 1st and 2nd arrondissements are the dead centre of Paris. Home to the Louvre, the Tuileries Gardens and a number of key Metro stations, the 1st and 2nd arrondissements 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 arrondissements
You are literally in the centre of Paris (distances are measured from the 1st). The vicinity to a number of key tourist sites makes it the best place to stay in Paris for first time visitors – in addition to the Louvre and the Tuileries, the Musée d’Orsay, Orangerie, Champs Elysées, the grand magasins of Boulevard Haussemann and the Opera, are all within walking distance.
Cons of staying in the 1st & 2nd arrondissements
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 arrondissements for……
It’s all about location, location, location………
The 3rd and 4th arrondissements (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 arrondissements
The Marais is another best location to stay in Paris 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 arrondissements
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.stay in Paris
Stay in the 3rd & 4th arrondissements 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 arrondissement (the Latin Quarter)
I’m sure it was once somewhere fab when staying in Paris, but these days I honestly think the Latin Quarter is a bit past it. Trading on its old reputation I find it tired and a bit tacky in parts. Apart from the Cluny Museum. And Shakespeare and Co. Yes, they are good.
Pros of staying in the 5th arrondissement
The rue Mouffetard market is fun. Plenty of cheap hotel and eating options.
Cons of staying in the 5th arrondissement
It’s tired, and cheap, and yes, I’ll say it again…..tacky in parts.
Stay in the 5th arrondissement for……
A budget option for your hotel in Paris. This is the best area to stay in Paris for the fast food addict.
The 6th and 7th arrondissements
The 7th arrondissement is my go to area when I’m staying in Paris. The Hotel Muguet in the 7th is my go to hotel in Paris. Both the 6th and 7th are smart residential and shopping neighbourhoods. Looking for a hotel with Eiffel Tower views? The seventh is your go to place.
Pros of staying in the 6th & 7th arrondissements
Because they are residential areas this is one of the best areas to stay in Paris à la Parisienne. The unexpected views of the Eiffel Tower when you turn down a street. Le Bon Marché – 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 arrondissements
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 arrondissements for……
Real Paris life, that is still welcoming of tourists. The opportunity to stay in one of the priciest parts of town.
The 8th arrondissement
Because the numbering of the Paris arrondissements works in a circular pattern, the 8th arrondissement is actually next to the 1st. Home to the Champs Elysées, the Arc de Triomphe and the fabulously expensive Avenue Montaigne, the 8th arrondissement is a luxe residential area, with a dash (well, okay, more than a dash) of tourist interest.
Pros of staying in the 8th arrondissement
Its proximity to so many of the places you’ll want to visit.
Cons of staying in the 8th arrondissement
Apart from the ultra touristy places on the Champs Elysées, eating options are not cheap. Other tourists.
Stay in the 8th arrondissement for……
Cocktails at the Georges V (come on, you know you want to).
The 10th and 11th arrondissements
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 arrondissements a stone’s throw from the achingly hip and expensive Marais. With cocktail bars and hip restaurants, the 10th and 11th are definitely one of those “on the up” areas in Paris.
Pros of staying in the 10th & 11th arrondissements
If you want to stay in the latest hot spot, the 10th and 11th arrondissements are a good location to stay in Paris. Sunday brunch is big here. It is also the best area in Paris to channel your inner hipster.
Cons of staying in the 10th & 11th arrondissements
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 arrondissements 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 arrondissement
The 12th arrondissement 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 arrondissement
Off the normal tourist routes, but still a vibrant and very Parisian neighbourhood with plenty of restaurants. The best district to stay in Paris for those with morning trains from the Gare de Lyon.
Cons of staying in the 12th arrondissement
Perhaps not the best part of Paris to stay for those on their first trip to Paris. The need to take the Metro to all tourist locations.
Stay in the 12th arrondissement for……
It’s the best arrondissement in Paris for a little slice of Paris life.
The 15th arrondissement
The northern parts of the 15th arrondissement are adjacent to the 7th. Largely residential, it is a good quality residential area that is a great place to look for a hotel with an Eiffel Tower view.
Pros of staying in the 15th arrondissement
The northern part of the quartier is like the 7th, but without the price. Easy to walk to the Eiffel Tower from the northern parts.
Cons of staying in the 15th arrondissement
The area around the Gare Montparnasse is truly awful – just so busy. Avoid the area around the Porte de Versailles and other areas around the Péripherique, the Paris ring round. It is cheaper, but can be quite unsavoury in parts.
The 16th arrondissement
The 16th arrondissement is largely residential – and the home of many Embassies. I like it for its stunning honey coloured architecture that you know is just so expensive. It’s also well located for the Eiffel Tower and its Metro links.
Pros of staying in the 16th arrondissement
The quiet, leafy green streets are one of the areas of Paris that (discretely) scream “old money”. The shops, that scream tasteful Parisian style. This is one of the best neighborhoods to stay in Paris if you want to pretend you are just a little bit rich.
Cons of staying in the 16th arrondissement
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 arrondissement for……
An opportunity to live among the rich and famous (Nicolas and Carla Sarkozy among others).
The 18th arrondissement (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 for me it’s not one of the best areas to stay inParis, I know there are others who wouldn’t stay anywhere else.
Pros of staying in the 18th arrondissement
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 arrondissement
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 arrondissement 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 arrondissements of central Paris. This is because I’ve stuck to the arrondissements that are more central and where there are more hotels. They are also quartiers I think you would like to consider, or should consider. At the end of the day which arrondissement to stay in Paris is a very personal decision, and you should book a hotel in Paris based on what is important to you.