Choosing the Right Paris Neighborhood

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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: 

Arrondissements

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.

1st Arrondissement

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. 

2nd Arrondissement

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. 

a narrow cobblestone street in Le Marais Paris

Le Marais

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.

[Photo Credit: Dodzy via Unsplash]

5th Arrondissement

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! 

6th Arrondissement

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. 

6th Arrondissement

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. 

a bricked street with luxury buildings and the Eiffel Tower at the end in Paris

7th Arrondissement

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.

[Photo Credit: Cyril Mazarin via Unsplash]

8th Arrondissement

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.

5th Arrondissement

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. 

colorfull houses and cafes line the hilly street of Montmatre Paris

Montmartre

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.

[Photo Credit: Jeff Frenette via Unsplash]

12th Arrondissement

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.

1st Arrondissement

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.

8th Arrondissement

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. 

the domed glass ceiling and elegant arches of Printemps Department Store in Paris
Printemps [Photo Credit: Svetlana Gumerova via Unsplash]
The colorful and elegant front of a chocolatier in Paris
[Photo Credit: Esophie Louisnard via Unsplash]

9th Arrondissement

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.

down the Canal Saint Martin in Paris with trees and people sitting along the bank

Canal Saint-Martin

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.

[Photo Credit: Vince Duque via Unsplash]

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.

For Foodies

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.

Le Marais

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.

Canal Saint-Martin

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.

[Photo Credit: Liz via Shared Adventures Travel]

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.

Belleville

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!

7 Travel Apps to Use On Vacation

Top 7 Apps to use During Your Vacation Pin
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It is such a magical moment when you step off the plane in a new destination and start your adventure! But even a perfectly planned, tailor-made adventure has some things you need to keep track of. And a few to figure out along the way (like where to grab a delicious gelato!) There are lots of tips, tricks, and apps out there about what to pack, how to plan, and where to go. But what about when you’re actually on the vacation? Whether you’re discovering a new destination or exploring an old favorite, here are our top 7 travel apps to take your vacation to the next level. 


Wanderlog 

Screenshot of the Wanderlog Travel App

This is the perfect all-in-one app to organize your travels. Wanderlog offers you a one-stop spot to keep track of your reservations, itinerary, and wishlists for each destination on your trip! You can input all of your flight, hotel, and transportation reservations automatically from your emails. The app will compile the most important information from the email into an easy-to-read summary and pinpoint it on their map. You can also attach files for any museum or tour reservations.

Screenshot of Wanderlog Travel Apps

Once the details of your itinerary are in, you can begin the exploration process. Wanderlog brings all the “top spots” from thousands of blogs across the web into one app and then- the best part- it will put them on a map for you! No more switching between blogs and google maps to try to figure out if the site you want to see is close to that café you want to try! Once you’ve saved your wish list of destinations, you can add personal notes. And finally, put them into a day-by-day itinerary with one simple click! It’s a great way to keep all your inspiration, planned adventures, and confirmation details in one spot. You can even add other travelers and track expenses so you’re all on the same page.

WhatsApp

Although most of Europe uses WhatsApp as its main messaging app, it’s not as popular in the U.S. However, we cannot recommend it enough when you travel. The main reason is that it uses WiFi. So you don’t need a local SIM card to send messages and connect with your friends and family all around the world. You can send texts and make phone and video calls with any other WhatsApp user. Because it utilizes your Wifi you won’t have any of those pesky international charges. 

CityMapper

If you are visiting one of the 80+ cities this app covers, CityMapper is a perfect app for getting around. It combines thoughtful route planning and real-time data. It is especially helpful if you’ll be taking public transportation. It not only provides the best route but also information on arrivals, departures, delays, and costs. It has options to customize your route to help you stay out of the rain or use a particular type of transportation. And you can download routes to use offline. Right now Citymapper covers most of the major US and European cities and a handful in Asia and Canada. 

Komoot

This is a route planner for the outdoorsy traveler. Whether you’re cycling, backpacking or hiking, Komoot is an incredibly useful trail tool. You can easily discover new trails nearby, plan out your route and use the app to navigate while on the trail. With a very advanced routing system, it’s extremely customizable. You can filter by elevation, surface type, and difficulty. Share the trails with your friends or on social media. The only drawback of so many features is that it takes some time to figure out how best to use them all.

TravelSpend

 

Screenshot of TravelSpend Travel App

If you have a specific budget, or just love keeping track of expenses this is a great lightweight app. It is easy to use with a simple, intuitive design. TravelSpend lets you input every purchase, spread expenses across multiple days, and even split costs between travelers. It allows you to track your overall budget and your daily budget, with automatic currency conversion. Use the statistics page to visualize which category you’re spending the most money on. It also works offline, so need to worry about using up data!

Snapseed

This is our favorite photo editing app. It’s easy to use with a lot of different features. WIth more than just filters, this app allows you to edit all the details of your photos. We like to think of it as a little lightweight Photoshop app. It’s perfect for really making your vacation photos pop and showing off sites with the detail and vibrance of how they looked in person. 

GoogleTranslate

 Certainly the most well-known translation app. It’s Google’s seemingly unending features that have marked it as a top translation app for travelers. Our favorite travel feature is the camera scan, which allows you to instantly scan and translate text like menus, signs, or instructions. And the ability to download language packs for offline use is a huge bonus. The main drawback of GoogleTranslate is the quality of translations. They tend to be more literal and lose some of the intentions behind carefully chosen words. However, for quick questions, like asking directions or ordering a meal, GoogleTranslate will ensure communication. 

Deepl [honorable mention]

Deepl is a newer translation app that we’re giving an honorable mention. Like GoogleTranslate it also has a website, app, and voice-to-voice translations for conversations. But its high-quality translations are what really shine. If you want to communicate more accurately or send a message with the same intention you had when you wrote it in English, this is the best app. The reason it’s only getting an honorable mention is that, while the translations are better, it doesn’t work offline and the camera scanner is currently only available on iOS. It’s an app to keep an eye on as its list of features grows. 

Honeymoon Advice

Some honeymoon advice is really self-evident. Do you really need someone to tell you to bring fewer clothes and more spending money than you had planned?

But it’s not all just common sense.  Those of us who have planned a few honeymoons in our time do have some wisdom worth sharing — and it just might get your marriage off on the right foot!

Since I just updated my “Annie’s Top Ten Honeymoon Tips” flier, I’ll share one of the tips here:

#7: Save the Best for Last

If you plan on mixing things up with some different types of acommodations, be sure to save the best for last. It’s much better to start out in a basic room or an average resort and then “trade up” to something much more special and memorable for the last few nights. Do it the other way around and you’ll only be left disappointed.

If you’d like to benefit from all TEN tips, shoot me a quick email at annp@AnniesEscapes.com and I’ll send you the whole thing.

You provided excellent guidance for us. I appreciated that you really had us think about what was most important to us when we were selecting the right cruise – and not to totally focus on what other people had to say. THANK YOU for helping to make this a memorable trip for our family! It really was a trip of a lifetime!

Clare and Mark (family cruise to Alaska)

The level of service we experienced was out of this world (and we did NOT make it easy on Ann). We weren’t quite sure where we wanted to go, when we would be able to go, or what “vibe” we were going for. After asking us some key questions (what we liked, didn’t like, why, etc.) Ann helped us narrow down our trip details and planned the honeymoon of our dreams. She helped book some of our excursions, answered some emergency questions while abroad and was always available/willing to help. I think it’s safe to say we won’t be using anyone else for future travel planning – Ann is a rockstar!

Carli (Italy and Spain)