Paris is one of the most romantic cities and is on most travelers’ bucket lists. Visiting Paris is a must for all of you who love the spirit of Europe and wish to explore the art, fashion, culture, and gastronomical side of this fascinating city.
Every year, tens of millions of tourists visit the city, hoping to get their piece of the romantic cake everyone who’s visited Paris is talking about. Once you get a chance to explore this magnificent city, you’ll understand why it is the most popular tourist destination in the world.
The City of Lights and Capital of Fashion are nicknames that this city is described with. They tell you enough about how glorious this city is. The monumental value is proven by the fact that a large part of Paris is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Paris holds second place when it comes to the highest number of Michelin restaurants in the world (after Tokyo), which shows how seriously they take gastronomy.
But, when it comes to finding accommodation in Paris and deciding where to stay, there’s a lot of choices. Officially, the city has 20 districts that are called arrondissements.
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The districts are numbered from 1 to 20, and they are ordered in a clockwise spiral from the city center. The center of the city is called Kilometre Zero (it is where it all starts), and the mark of this location is in front of Notre Dame.
Knowing about the order of the districts will help you get around the city, however, considering that there are 20 districts or arrondissements to choose from, getting information about some of the best ones can help you find the one that fits you.
Let’s take a look at the best neighborhoods for tourists in Paris to stay in.
Please refer to the Wikitravel map for the numbered districts for reference.
7 – Saint Germain
This district is great for families and those who want to visit as many art galleries and explore the fascinating architecture of the city. Medieval churches, sidewalk booksellers, galleries, and numerous cafés such as the famous Flore (favored by Hemingway) will easily steal your attention.
You can have an amazing time just walking around this district and absorbing this distinctive architectural style, or you can spend days visiting art galleries and appreciating all the impeccable pieces. Saint Germain is in the 6th Arrondissement of Paris, so the youthful atmosphere from the Latin Quarter is somewhat transferred to this district as well.
For a more touristy place to stay in this district, focus on rue Buci. You’ll have lots of things to see there as soon as you walk out. Enjoy the good restaurant with your family, and spend time strolling around and just breathing in the Parisian lifestyle. Make sure that you visit Luxembourg Palace and Gardens since every one of you will be amazed by its beauty. This is a great place to spend your afternoons when you want to chill after a tiring day.
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2 – Marais
Located in the 4th Arrondissement, Marais is the best place for shopping-lovers and those who are looking for rich nightlife. It is safe to say that this is the hippest and trendiest part of the town. Moreover, the area is filled with chic boutiques, interesting galleries, concept stores, cafés, and gay bars.
Since this was once a Jewish quarter, you can find lots of great kosher restaurants. Young travelers can have the time of their life in this area, shopping in the daytime and partying in the nighttime. This is why most Millennials who are looking for a carefree time in Paris head to this place.
Besides shopping, during the day you can spend walking around and chilling in the Place des Vosges, the oldest planned square in Paris. If you feel like getting some historical information, head to Mémorial de la Shoah, this is Paris’s Holocaust Memorial Museum.
It is located in the heart of the Marais on rue Geoffroy l’Asnier. The best part is that the entry is free and they offer guided tours weekly. Any of you who love the work of French poet, novelist, and dramatist of the Romantic Movement, Victor Marie Hugo, should check out the Musée Victor Hugo, where the writer lived.
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4 – 1st Arrondissement
This is a luxurious neighborhood that offers great sight-seeing and is well-connected to the rest of the city. The 1st Arrondissement has lots of landmarks, so staying here will help you to get around and see it all. Since there are many things to see here, it will be easier for you to pick your place of stay if you know its four quartiers and what they have to offer:
Quartier Saint-Germain l’Auxerrois
This quartier runs along the bank of the Seine, and what you can find here are the Louvre (the “home” of famous Mona Lisa), the Tuileries Gardens, and the west part of one of two remaining islands in the Seine – Ile de la cité.
Quartier Les Halles
This is a place with a more relaxed character where you can enjoy luxurious shopping sprees. What is significant here for all the shoppers is the massive Les Halles shopping center. Besides the numerous stores, you’ll be surprised by the beautifully abstract architecture of this building.
The most prominent monumental site in this area is the Palais Royal. The Quartier Palais-Royal also includes the bigger part of the busy and cosmopolitan Avenue de l’Opera.
Quartier Place Vendôme
Place Vendôme serves as a center for this quarter. It is signified by its 18th-century street grid. The beautiful historic buildings make this area even more impressive, and in them, you’ll find the most luxurious boutiques, jewelry brands, and hotels.
Based on the quartier’s locations and their most popular landmarks, you can search for the accommodation in the one that you find most suitable for you. However, no matter which quartier you stay in, you can use the metro to quickly reach the other quartiers and see all the landmarks in the 1st Arrondissement. What is certain is that none of these quartiers lack luxury and sight-seeing opportunities.
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5 – 11th Arrondissement
We’ve finally got to the place for all of the hedonists whose guilty pleasure is the tasty food. Food-lovers will enjoy this area since it offers a wide variety of restaurants, bars, and places to enjoy the local cuisine. You can check out the Rue de Charonne part, located between the République and Nation squares, which currently presents the evolving dining scene in this hip area.
There is something for everyone so you can find cheaper restaurants, cafés, and bars as well as more expensive ones. Feel free to browse around and try out different places until you find your favorite ones. The cuisine varies from typical French to Mexican, meaning that you can literary try it all out.
Besides enjoying all the tasty food and savory drinks, if you stay in the 11th Arrondissement head to the Opéra Bastille, watch the entertainers at Place de la République, or mingle with the bohemians and bourgeois in the hipster neighborhood of “BoBo” quartier (Quartier de la Folie-Méricourt). Anyone who is looking to relax with their friends or a loved one while indulging in great food, head straight to this district. You won’t be disappointed.
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1 – 7th Arrondissement
If you are a first-time visitor, this district can be the best choice for your stay. It is close to all the major attractions, which will make it easier for you to get around. What you can find in the 7th arrondissements are the Eiffel Tower and its Champs de Mars park. This district is a great place for sight-seeing.
History lovers will especially be satisfied with this area. Here are some historical places that you can check out there:
- The Musée d’Orsay (with French art dating from 1848 to 1914)
- The Musée Rodin with its sculpture garden
- Les Invalides (a complex of buildings containing museums and monuments related to the military history of France, as well as the Napoleon’s Tomb)
- The building of National Assembly
There are also express bus and tour operators the can take you to the famed Versailles Palace. The 7th Arrondissement really has all the marque landmarks that anyone who’s dreamed of going to Paris can check off their list.
The combination of history and fashion can be found at the Parisian mega-store Le Bon Marché, which is one of the first modern department stores founded in 1838. The 7th Arrondissement is recommended for all of you who don’t have lots of time to spend in Paris and want to see as much as they can for a short period.
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6 – Latin Quarter
The Latin Quarter is the oldest district in Paris and it is known as the district of students. Therefore, if you are looking for an affordable and vivid location that offers fantastic nightlife Latin Quarter should be your pick. Lots of students from Academploy, an educational blog name this quarter as their favorite place to stay in Paris which shows that this is the best pick for the younger crowd. Latin Quarter is in the 5th Arrondissement, and it is the home of the Sorbonne University. This explains all the student-filled cafés.
This is a historic center of educational and artistic achievements. If you decide to stay in this area, you can spend your days visiting attractions such as the National Museum of Natural History and the Jardin des Plantes botanical gardens, as well as the Panthéon building that has the remains of notable achievers like Voltaire and Marie Curie.
Book-lovers will find their place in this district since it is filled with mega-bookstores on Place St-Michel as well as booksellers in the open-air who showcase the books by on the Seine. If you want to avoid the crowds, start with book-hunting early in the morning.
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3 – Montmartre
For a budget-friendly but romantic area, head to Montmarte. This is the most romantic neighborhood in Paris. What makes it so fairytale-like is that it is located on the top of a small hill, so you’ll have a beautiful landscape to look at and enjoy. Montmarte is also known as the Mountain of Martyrs, and it’s set in the 18th Arrondissement.
This charming place still has that village atmosphere that makes your night walks more romantic and takes you back in the time. And in the moments when you want some unforgettable entertainment, make sure to visit the Moulin Rouge.
With many gardens and vineyards, you’ll be able to get lost in nature. There are lots of little bistros, windmills, museums, and artists who are absorbing the atmosphere that resembles the 19th and 20th centuries.
Many novel writers come here to get inspiration that will get them good ratings. This is certainly a place that will leave you with many unforgettable memories. Montmarte is perfect for couples looking for a romantic getaway, artists who are in search of inspiration, and a group of friends who want to enjoy the authentic Paris atmosphere.
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19 – Belleville
If you don’t mind doing a little bit of walking and taking public transport, consider staying in Belleville. My first time in Paris, I couch-surfed and stayed with a host in Belleville. This neighborhood is the China Town of Paris and the working-class district.
The neighborhood is not very touristy, there’s nothing particular to note except the awesome Parc de Belleville and Edith Piaf’s apartment (incidentally right around the corner of where I stayed). Graffitis might be construed as a bad image for the city but not in Belleville – it’s considered art here!
There are lots of cafes and bars to choose from, and every weekend comes the farmers market. This area is some of the cheaper parts of Paris and still relatively safe and great for families. If you want to experience Paris like a local, stay in Belleville.
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Best Time to Visit Paris
While the weather in Paris is similar to most European cities and there all tourists visiting the city at all times, there are still some differences depending on seasons. So, here are some of the best times to head to the City of Light:
- Early December-February – The lowest prices and colder weather
- April-June and October-early November – Smaller crowds and best for sight-seeing
- May, June, September, and October – Best for honeymooners
- July and August – Very hot and the roads outside Paris will be congested because of the local’s holiday trips.
Ready to Visit Paris?
As you can see, Paris has so many different sides, and if you can’t explore all of them, choose a neighborhood most suitable for your needs. To recapitalize and help you narrow down your choices, let’s revise the best places to stay based on the preferences and group types:
- Where to stay in Paris if you are visiting the first time – 1st and 7th Arrondissement
- Where to stay in Paris for good nightlife – Marais and Latin Quarter
- Where to stay in Paris for a budget-friendly trip – Latin Quarter
- Where to stay in Paris with your family – Saint Germain
- Where to stay in Paris for a romantic getaway – Montmarte
- Where to stay in Paris for a luxurious lifestyle – 1st Arrondissement
- Where to stay in Paris for artists and writers – Montmarte, Latin Quarter, Saint Germain, and 11th Arrondissement
- Where to stay in Paris for shopping lovers – 1st Arrondissement, Marais, and 7th Arrondissement
- Where to stay in Paris for food lovers – 11th Arrondissement
- Where to stay in Paris like a local– Belleville
With this little list, you can find the area that you like the most and have an unforgettable trip to a place that exudes with history, romance, and guilty pleasures.
About the Author:
Daniela McVicker is a freelance writer, blogger, and content editor at TopWritersReview. She graduated from Durham University and has an MA in psychological science. Her passion is traveling and finding ways to enrich students’ learning experiences.
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