Whether you are planning a trip to Paris to take in the major sites, shop until you drop or marvel at the magnificent architecture, this must-have neighbourhood guide includes some of the best places to stay in France’s colourful capital.
Choose carefully where to stay depending on your requirements or spend a few days in one arondissement (neighbourhood) before moving on to another to make the most of this vibrant city. The arondissements are numbered from 1 in the centre to 20 – the higher the number the further from the centre of Paris they are.
The Marais is central and boasts a wide choice of attractions, including the Centre Pompidou and the Hotel de Ville. Relax in one of the elegant pavement cafes and watch the world go by or explore one of the best shopping districts in the city. In addition to markets and exclusive boutiques, you will find luxury shops and department stores. The Marais boasts a very cosmopolitan feel and was historically home to marginalised communities in Paris, resulting in a friendly mix of cultures and lifestyles.
If you want to stay in Montmartre, make sure you choose the right place. Much of the district is the village-like urban district of local shops and services, while Pigalle is less attractive. Enjoy a stroll around Rue Lepic and its side streets for a look at the ‘real’ Montmartre. For a view of Montmartre before you travel, or any other district is to take a look on Google Streeview!
If you are looking for historic regions on the Left Bank of Paris, St. Germain is a great option. Although the area attracts plenty of tourists, the streets are full of hidden nooks and crannies where you will find authentic old cafes and interesting shops. Take a stroll around the Jardin du Luxembourg, the Musee d’Orsay or Notre Dame.
Ile Saint-Louis is about as central as it gets in Paris, without the ‘Disneyland feel’ you get in other busy areas. Even though Ile Saint-Louis is right next to Ile de la Cite, where thousands of tourists flock to the major city attractions, including the Notre Dame, it feels like it is miles away. A good range of shops, bars and cafes add to the ambience of Ile Saint-Louis.
Belleville is a typically working-class area and home to many different ethnic groups. This colourful district is also home to one of the city’s two Chinatowns (the other located in the 13th arrondissement) and a choice of shops offering Chinese products. A large and popular Farmer’s market is held every Tuesday and Friday along the Boulevard de Belleville. Parisian artists and musicians were attracted to Belleville in the 1980’s by cheap rents and the old-world charm of the area.
Top tips to remember if you are planning a trip to Paris include:
- Stay within the main 20 arondissements or you will be too far from the city centre
- Use the Metro. The Paris Metro is one of the best in the world so don’t think you have to stay on the doorstep of attractions you want to see
- Don’t stay near the Eiffel Tower. The district directly around the Tower is very expensive and upmarket. Remember you can see the Eiffel Tower from all over the city
If you are planning to stay in France’s capital, why not save your money for the things that count and book room stay accommodation in Paris?