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!

A Popular Pair

Peanut butter & jelly. Milk & cookies. London & Paris. Some things just go together naturally! And visiting the two cities in one trip could not be easier, with a quick, fun train ride through the Chunnel in between. Read on for Ashley and Jared’s feed back about their recent trip.

We loved our Paris and London trip. The Hotel Pont Royal was in a perfect location, we were able to walk to most of the sites, including the Louvre, so easily. Proximity to the river was great. The hotel room was cozy, as expected for a city, and we loved our little balcony window.

The first day we went straight to the Louvre and had a great time exploring. Was 100% worth buying our tickets online ahead of time from their website —  we got in very quickly. We did the same for the Eiffel Tower and that saved us a from standing in a pretty lengthy line. We ended up deciding to do the Paris Big Bus hop on hop off bus that afternoon and we grabbed it directly from the Eiffel Tower. Some of the buses were a bit crowded but once we got one where we could sit on the second level we loved the ride around the city. We got off at the Galleries Lafayette and loved the shopping and food in that area. We spent all afternoon on the bus and also went to the Champs Elysees and took the blue route to see the Moulin Rouge. We had a good time.

The last day in Paris we did the Boutique Bike Tour in Versailles and I cannot rave enough about this tour. It was a trip highlight, and I would recommend it to anyone! We toured the chateau, went to a local market, had a picnic by the canal, and toured Marie Antoinette’s hamlet before ending the day in the gardens. The tour guides were fantastic and made the history so interesting and fun. We ended our last night on a river cruise dinner, which we liked the cruise but wouldn’t recommend the dinner portion, the food was just ok. We filled our trip with so much wine and croissants, we really loved our time in Paris.

The Eurostar may have been the easiest way I’ve ever travelled and we enjoyed the ride.  Once in London we went straight to Fortnum and Mason for afternoon tea while we waited for our room to be ready. This was the perfect intro to London, we really enjoyed it. We also enjoyed the shopping in the huge store afterwards. The hotel itself {the Chesterfield Mayfair} was in the most perfect location, we walked everywhere! We also loved the Mayfair area. Jared, being a big car fan, was shocked by all the luxury vehicles parked on the streets of Mayfair and loved just walking around to see them.

We walked everywhere in London! It was such an easy walking city and the hotel location was a huge help. The hotel itself was so charming and we loved the gin and tonic bar with nightly live jazz. The breakfast was also fantastic! They left a different treat every night at turndown and it was a really nice touch.

The next day we had our Harry Potter tour. The bus ride went smoothly and it was nice that we were on our own once we got there. We filled up almost the whole time we had allotted and both really liked the tour and butterbeer! This is great for any Harry Potter fan. There is so much to see it can be overwhelming but there are tons of cool photo ops too! When we got back to the city we had to check out Harrods.

On our final day in London we were recommended to the free tour by foot of Westminster. This was fantastic as well. The starting point was a 10-minute walk from our hotel which was very convenient. We loved seeing the changing of the guard, Buckingham Palace, and Westminster Abbey. Unfortunately, Big Ben was under construction. This tour was about 3 hours and put us in Trafalgar Square. From there we had Dishoom for lunch (a must!) and went to Covent Garden for some more shopping. We loved this area.

Overall we had an amazing time and although we only had a short time in each location we made the most of each and now we just can’t wait to go back!

Uh oh, Mom and Dad are on their way

When I was in college, waaaay back in the ’80s, studying abroad was not nearly as popular as it is right now. These days, it seems nearly every college student takes the opportunity to spend a semester in another country  — and why wouldn’t they!! — which means that I get the opportunity to help parents/siblings go visit them 🙂  I know what an amazing time I had visiting my own daughter when she was studying in Buenos Aires, and I absolutely LOVE helping other parents have that experience. In that vein, here’s a trip report I just received from Sue, after a fabulous visit with her daughter in France (with a quick stop in London first!)

Hi Ann,

I am still getting back to reality but wanted to let you know about our trip.  As mentioned we had a fabulous time and appreciate your planning for us! 

The St. Ermins was a lovely hotel and the staff extremely helpful.  Our room and bathroom were incredibly small though.  There was no room for both of our large suitcases and we were literally tripping over each other.  We were going to ask for a larger room but since they got us in earlier than check-in and it was only two nights, we didn’t bother.  Someone also told us that rooms in London hotels were smaller than we’re used to in the US. The location of the hotel was perfect to walk to lots of sites and we found some great pubs nearby! 

The Eurostar train was fun and we enjoyed that trip to Paris. We absolutely loved the Eduard 7 Hotel!  Our room was very nice and it had a balcony overlooking the main street.  We spent a lot of time out there admiring the view with a glass of wine.  Again, great location for us as we became experts on taking the metro back and forth to Nicole’s place. 

The Versailles tour was great and the guide was very friendly and knowledgeable.  We enjoyed the Normandy tour as well, and had a fantastic guide.  We even got an extra stop at Omaha beach on the way home.  It was a very long day but well worth it.  

The train to and from Nice was also fun and we enjoyed the scenery.  The AC Marriott was very modern and not really our style but our suite was huge, we had a great view of the sea and the location was unbeatable to walk along the water.  We also enjoyed the roof top bar! 

St. Tropez was was absolutely beautiful and we enjoyed exploring it.  We didn’t realize how far it was from Nice but traffic wasn’t bad since it was a Saturday.  Our guide was great and even took us for a tour to the top of Nice when we returned as we had some time left.  The other tour was fun as well – it turned out just to be the three of us and we really loved walking around Eze. 

The Opera Cadet hotel was a perfect location near Nicole for that last night.  The room was small but clean and comfortable. 

Thanks again for doing such a great job with our trip!  We hope to get to Italy in a couple years with our kids after they graduate from college and will let you know when we’re ready for that trip :).

 

Sue

Une Lune de Miel en France

From our initial meeting, I knew that Kayla and Eddie did not want a “cookie-cutter” honeymoon. They love food and wine, and local culture, and live music, and wanted to be able to explore a foreign country, with a little dash of warm weather and relaxation, but without any stress and anxiety. We came up with a fabulous plan that combined Paris and the south of France, with a super-easy high-speed train ride in between, and you can see from their trip report that it was “tres magnifique” 🙂

Hey Ann!

The honeymoon was amazing! We can’t thank you enough for planning such an awesome trip!

Both the hotel in Paris (Le Littre) and Nice (La Perouse) were great. Super clean, really nice staff and centrally located. The sea view room in Nice was gorgeous.

arc di triomphe in Paris  bridge of love locks in Paris

We did a lot of sightseeing in Paris so we were pretty busy and on the go most of the time we were there. The Louvre tour which was followed by the wine tasting was great. It’s such a big place that you only see a tiny fraction of it while you’re there but the guide did a nice job of getting us in to see some of the main attractions.  The tour of Notre Dame was awesome as well. There were so many things the tour guide pointed out and showed us that we wouldn’t have caught on our own.

Louvre courtyard in Parishoneymoon couple in front of the Notre Dame in Paris

The day trip from Nice to St Tropez was awesome. It’s definitely a bit of a ride with traffic to get to the marina (around 90 minutes) but the boat ride was quick (15 minutes). It ended up being the week of their annual sail boat race which was cool and there were a lot of cool shops to check out. The walking food tour was one of the best, if not the best, parts of the trip! The tour guide was great and we learned a lot of history on Nice as was as the Nicois diet and specialties. We had the chance to try a lot of different local specialties at the best places in Nice. We even saw different parts of Nice that we hadn’t explored which opened up a whole new part of Nice to us the last few days of the trip. Honestly wish we had done the tour earlier as it would have been a great introduction to the city.

quintessential Nice narrow street  in France

view of the harbor with boats and blue sky in Nice

You really made everything, including getting around from place to place, extremely easy! The itinerary and step by step instructions you gave us really made a difference.

honeymoon couple in front of the harbor in Nice France

I can’t really recall any specific restaurants that we ate at but we didn’t end up going anywhere we didn’t like. I think out of the two cities I would say we liked the food in Nice best. There was a very heavy Italian influence in the food and culture and we’re already thinking of Italy for a future trip.

We just wanted to thank you again for everything, the trip was truly amazing!

Thanks Again,

Eddie and Kayla

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)