The city of light, the city of love, an epicenter for culture, shopping, and food – Paris inspires high expectations. And with good reason. It’s an incredible city to visit, and one you’ll keep coming back to. But which Paris neighborhood do you choose for your home base? Being so high on everyone’s list means there’s no shortage of hotels, and looking at your options can be instantly overwhelming. You will, of course, be able to explore all of this beautiful city. But where you stay will set the tone for your adventure and dictate what’s closest and easiest for you. We’re always excited to find the perfect hotel for your travel style, but here’s our little guide on where to begin:
Orienting yourself in Paris is easy, once you get the hang of it. Starting from the Louvre and spiraling out like a snail shell, the city is divided into 20 bureaucratic districts, or arrondissements. Often, the arrondissement is synonymous with the cultural neighborhood they contain. But on occasion, some neighborhoods spread across two or more arrondissements. Much like New York City’s 5 boroughs, each arrondissement has its own personality, sites, and quirks.
The Seine serves as a center point dividing the city in half. So, the lower numbers are closer to the Seine and the Louvre, while the higher numbers are further away from Paris central and tend to be more residential.
Choosing the right arrondissement or neighborhood to match your travel style will enhance your time in Paris and set you up to enjoy every second of your trip.
Pro-tip: Wondering what arrondissement a place is in? Look at the postcode. They all start with 750 and end with the arrondissement. For example, the Louvre is 75001 in the 1st arrondissement. Shakespeare & Co is 75005 in the 5th arrondissement.
For First-Timers or A Short Stay
If it’s your first time in Paris, or if you only have a day or two, you’ll probably want to stay in the heart of Paris. Fill your days seeing the major cultural sites like the Louvre, Notre Dame, and Tuileries. These areas will have many other tourists all excited to see everything too. But having these major sites close by and easy to access will allow you to spend more time soaking in the culture and less time on the metro.
The center of the spiral, the 1st arrondissement is mostly shopping and tourist attractions. Great for culture lovers and those who enjoy walking everywhere. This area tends to be more expensive, and some hotels will have a view of the Eiffel tower. Staying here won’t give you the typical Parisian neighborhood feeling, but nearly everything will be on your doorstep.
A bit of a hidden gem, the 2nd arrondissement is full of beautiful 1800s arcaded passages. Still located in the heart of it all, there are no major tourist sites directly in the neighborhood. Being slightly out of the limelight, you’ll find fewer tourists and fewer crowds while still staying close to the major attractions.
Spreading across the 3rd and 4th arrondissement is the historic Le Marais neighborhood. Home to large LGBTQ+ and Jewish communities it has a rich blend of cultures and chill vibes. As you wander the narrow winding streets that open into bright leafy squares, you’ll feel that yes, you are in Paris. Combining old-world elegant charm with the avant-garde, this neighborhood finds a perfect balance between old and new. Plus, it’s still close to the major sites. You’ll enjoy the trendy bistros, vintage shopping, and independent galleries in this Paris neighborhood.
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Across the Seine on the Left Bank is the 5th arrondissement. Nicknamed the Latin Quarter for the university La Sorbonne that used to teach Latin, it is one of the oldest parts of Paris. It is still a student area with many young bars, restaurants and bohemian vibes. Bustling streets, trendy restaurants, and just a bridge away from many main sites. You can find the Panthéon, the Jardin des Plantes, and the renowned Shakespeare & Co bookstore. There are quite a few hidden gems!
Also known as Saint-Germain or Saint-Germain-des-Pres, this quiet neighborhood is very close to the city center. Saint-Germain saw the 20th-century cultural movement, and the golden age of Paris can still be felt in the independent stores, boutiques, and thriving café culture. It has easy access to all the above arrondissements while enjoying old-world glamour and quiet luxury. Also, this is a great area when traveling with kids because it is quiet and contains the Luxembourg Gardens.
For Luxury Travel
To explore Paris in style, these arrondissements offer a 5-star experience. Paris with all the trimmings. Stay in luxurious hotels which offer private gardens, spacious rooms, and relaxing spas. Around the hotels, there are chic lounges, gourmet restaurants, and upscale shopping.
Saint-Germain-des-Pres has a more high-end local feel. It’s a luxury residential neighborhood. Enjoy your morning croissant at a cafe on a wide boulevard, watching wealthy Parisians head to work from their elegant homes. Close to the city center and the major cultural attractions, soak up the old-world glamour of Paris in the early 20th century.
Because of its proximity to the Eiffel Tower, this neighborhood caters to upscale clients looking for spectacular views from every window. If you dream of waking up to the Eiffel Tower out your window from your lush expansive bed, this is the place for you. Step out your door to world-class museums like the Musee D’Orsay, beautiful streets, and high-end shopping. Just note that with all this luxury, there isn’t much nightlife and the whole area quiets down after dinner.
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This is the home of high-end hotels. With the presidential palace in this arrondissement, the international jet set gives it an expensive, elegant, and elite vibe. Here you’ll find the classiest and grandest hotels available. Enjoy the high-end shops and luxury restaurants that give you Paris with all the extras.
For Budget Travelers
If you’re on a tighter budget, you can still enjoy an incredible Paris experience! Of course, you can find a budget hotel in almost any neighborhood, but choosing one of these arrondissements will offer a broader selection with more for less.
The Latin Quarter has a distinct student vibe. With its vibrant bohemian atmosphere, you’ll find an eclectic mix of restaurants, shops, and student bars. This is a great budget option to stay close to the heart of the city.
In the 18th arrondissement, you’ll find a high concentration of budget boutique hotels. Further out from the city, you will have to take the metro much more to get to the main sites. Home of Sacre Coeur and bordering the Moulin Rouge this area is built on a hill. The winding streets give it a village feel and the classic cafes and architecture are picture-perfect. This is what most people envision when they picture Paris. But the hill means stairs around every corner, making it a bit difficult to lug around heavy luggage. This is not a good option if you have any mobility issues.
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Further out from the city and not on the tourist track. This neighborhood will offer you quieter budget options while still being well connected to the main sites and the morning trains from Gare de Lyon via the metro.
For the Shopaholics
Shopping is high on many lists when visiting Paris. With the famous Champs-Elysees, stunning department stores, and high-end designers, Paris has a lot to offer a shopaholic. If you dream of wandering Paris admiring elegant window displays and buying the latest trends, these neighborhoods will let you shop till you drop close to your hotel.
Right in the heart of it all, the 1st arrondissement offers many shopping opportunities. It has a little bit of everything, from luxury brands to touristy souvenir stalls. It will be easy to spend the whole day exploring what this arrondissement has to offer.
Home of the Champs-Elysees, the 8th arrondissement is the perfect place for luxury shopping. Expensive and elegant, you will find luxury brands like Louis Vuitton and Chanel. If your goal is to shop the big names in fashion, jewelry, perfumes, and bags, this is the place to stay.
Home to the Grand Magasins – or huge department stores- of Paris. The Galeries Lafayette and Printemps as well as some lovely smaller shops. This area is perfect if you’re looking to shop till you drop without completely breaking the bank. In the 9th arrondissement, you’ll find shops for every budget plus beautiful architecture and covered passages.
For a Local Feel/ Repeat Visitors
For those who have been to Paris several times, or are looking for that local, authentic Paris feel, ditch the tourists and enjoy a slice of Parisian life. Further away from the main attractions, you’ll find charming cafes, tree-lined streets, and a more relaxed pace.
For Trendy, Unique Vibes
If you’re looking to stay out of the main tourist areas but still feel that your neighborhood has some glitz and glam try the 9th arrondissement or the adjacent Montmartre in the 18th. Each of these neighborhoods offer quintessential Parisian architecture, small boutiques, trendy restaurants and thriving nightlife. The 9th arrondissement and Montmartre are not totally devoid of tourists or touristy attractions. But they are neighborhoods you often don’t spend a lot of time exploring your first time in Paris. Nonetheless, they offer lots of hidden gems worth discovering.
This area offers a balance between trendy vibes and quiet residential neighborhood, with a multicultural artistic flare. This relaxed neighborhood is where locals go to hang out. Whether you join them in a game of boules along the banks, take a dinner cruise or simply admire the street art, Canal Saint-Martin encourages you to soak in the local flavor. The Canal offers a slower pace with cobblestone streets, amazing food, and unique sites like temples, grottos, and waterfalls. Fewer classic touristy adventures mean fewer tourists. You’re farther from the main sites but it’s perfect for a stroll any time of the day.
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For Quiet and Residential
If you’re looking to experience a slice of Parisian life without the glitz and glamour try the 12th arrondissement or Montparnasse in the 14th arrondissement. Primarily business and residential areas, staying here will make you feel like a true local. Stop at a cafe or brasserie along the bustling but not boisterous boulevards of these modern neighborhoods. Enjoy the green spaces of Bois de Vincennes park in the 12th arrondissement and feel safely away from the crowds.
Paris is full of amazing restaurants and delicious food. Whether you dream of upscale 5-star Michelin restaurants and trendy and inventive fusion bars, or crave those quintessential creperies and markets, Paris prides itself on its food. You can absolutely find amazing food anywhere in Paris, but if your main focus is where you’re eating next there are a few neighborhoods that stand out.
Combining old and elegant with the inventive and new, in a perfect balance, and brimming with French cafes, vegan eateries, and kosher delights. Here you will find an endless selection of restaurants at every price point. Between old-fashioned boulangeries, open markets, and trendy bars this is a great base if your focus is always on food.
In the 10th arrondissement, the Canal is a little outside the heart of the city. But it has become a foodies paradise. With numerous organic wine and cheese stores, craft coffee shops, and unique restaurants, and a more local feel away from the tourist crowds, this is the perfect place to find your new favorite hidden gem.
SoPi (South Pigelle)
In the 9th arrondissement, just below the Moulin Rouge. This very trendy up-and-coming neighborhood offers the latest food trends. With fusion bars, craft cocktails, and the very foodie Rue de Martyrs street there’s a lot to enjoy. While it still retains a tinge of its original red-light-district seediness, this vibrant neighborhood offers innovative food options.
Staying in Paris for a while and growing tired of the Frenchest French food? Belleville in the 20th arrondissement has you covered. Trendy and hip, the Belleville area has a wide mix of cultures with narrow streets, little boutiques, and independent food shops. An arty, gritty, vibrant neighborhood where Chinatown meets hipster, this is the spot to enjoy foods from around the world.
So, which neighborhood fits your style? The balanced and classic Le Marais? The chic and elite 8th arrondissement? Or maybe the relaxed and removed Canal Saint-Martin? Which ever suites you best, if this blog has piqued your interest and you’re ready for your next adventure to Paris, let us know! We’d love to help you find the perfect hotel in the perfect neighborhood!