If you’ve chosen Paris, the “City of Light,” as your next destination, prepare yourself for an unforgettable journey. A city renowned for its art, fashion, gastronomy, and culture, Paris offers an intoxicating mix of old-world charm and modern sophistication.
But as the capital of France and one of the most visited cities in the world, it’s no secret that Paris is brimming with accommodations – from iconic luxury Parisian hotels to charming boutique guesthouses. So, where should you plant your flag on your first visit?
Whether you’re a history buff, an art enthusiast, a foodie, or a hopeless romantic, your choice of where to stay in Paris can greatly affect your Parisian experience.
With the city’s rich tapestry of neighborhoods, each with its own distinct personality, choosing where to stay in Paris can seem a bit daunting, especially for first-time visitors. But fear not – this comprehensive guide is here to help you navigate through the city’s diverse arrondissements and find the perfect base for your inaugural voyage into the heart of French elegance and style.
From the artistic hills of Montmartre, the historic heartbeat of the Latin Quarter, to the chic streets of Le Marais, and the iconic allure of the 7th arrondissement, home to the Eiffel Tower itself – our guide to where to stay in Paris for a first-time visit is designed to help you make the most of your trip to this captivating metropolis.
So grab your baguette and let’s journey through the French capital city’s winding streets and narrow alleyways, and discover the neighborhood that sings to your heart and feeds your wanderlust. Welcome to Paris!
Where to Stay in Paris for the First Time
Where is the best area to stay in Paris for the first time? On your first trip to Paris, I recommend staying in the 1st or the 8th arrondissement of Paris. These are the most centrally located districts and are surrounded by major monuments in all directions.
I always stay in the Madeleine area when I visit because it’s the best place to stay in Paris which is close to everything!
Depending on your interests, there may be other areas of Paris that are more suited to your plans. Here are some more popular Paris neighborhoods for first-time visitors. These areas are frequently recommended due to their central locations, proximity to main attractions, and accessibility to public transportation.
- 1st Arrondissement (Louvre): This is the very heart of Paris, and it’s home to some of the city’s most famous attractions, including the Louvre Museum and Tuileries Garden. It is filled with historic sites, shops, and restaurants.
- 4th Arrondissement (Le Marais): Known for its vibrant atmosphere, Le Marais hosts a number of trendy boutiques, art galleries, and bistros. It’s also home to the beautiful Notre-Dame Cathedral and the historic Place des Vosges.
- 7th Arrondissement (Eiffel Tower): As the name suggests, this district is where the Eiffel Tower is located. Other attractions here include the Musée d’Orsay and the Rodin Museum. The area is quite residential, but it also offers great dining options and beautiful views of the city.
- 6th Arrondissement (Saint-Germain-des-Prés): Known for its vibrant café culture and its literary history, the Saint-Germain-des-Prés area is a fantastic choice if you want to experience the quintessential Parisian lifestyle.
- 18th Arrondissement (Montmartre): If you are more artistically inclined, staying in Montmartre can be a dream come true. It’s home to the Sacré-Cœur Basilica and the famous artists’ square Place du Tertre, plus numerous charming boutiques and cafes.
The central arrondissements of Paris are regarded as the best parts of Paris to stay in for first-time visitors.
Remember, Paris has a fantastic public transportation system, so even if you choose a neighborhood slightly outside the city center, you’ll still be able to reach the main attractions easily!
Most Walkable Area in Paris
If you love walking, then you might wonder: where should I stay in Paris to walk everywhere? The best walkable area to stay in Paris is the 1st arrondissement, near Place Vendome, which is centrally located.
Paris is a city made for walking, with its beautiful architecture, charming cafes, and plentiful parks. Here are some more of the most walkable neighborhoods in Paris, known for their pedestrian-friendly streets and street-level attractions:
- 1st Arrondissement (Louvre): The area around the Louvre Museum is one of the most walkable in Paris. You can easily stroll from the Louvre to the Palais-Royal, then continue to the Seine River and the iconic Pont Neuf bridge.
- 4th Arrondissement (Le Marais): With its narrow, winding streets filled with shops, galleries, and cafes, Le Marais is perfect for aimless wandering. You’ll also find the Place des Vosges here, one of Paris’ oldest and most beautiful squares.
- 6th Arrondissement (Saint-Germain-des-Prés): This neighborhood is famed for its literary and artistic heritage, with many interesting bookstores and art galleries. From here, it’s also an easy walk to the Latin Quarter or along the Seine River toward Notre-Dame Cathedral.
- 7th Arrondissement (Eiffel Tower): This is where you’ll find the Eiffel Tower and the Champ de Mars park, perfect for a leisurely stroll. You can also wander along the Seine River, visit the Musée d’Orsay, or explore the charming Rue Cler market street.
- 18th Arrondissement (Montmartre): Although hilly, Montmartre is a fitness walker’s paradise. There are steep hills and staircases galore! You can explore the historic Place du Tertre with its artists and cafes, visit the Sacré-Cœur Basilica, or simply enjoy the bohemian atmosphere and breathtaking views over Paris.
- 5th Arrondissement (Latin Quarter): Known for its bohemian vibe, the Latin Quarter is great for long walks, with its lively streets, historic sites like the Pantheon, and the beautiful Jardin des Plantes.
Best Area to Stay in Paris With Family
Wondering where to stay in Paris with family? If you’re traveling to Paris with a family, I recommend staying near the Jardin du Luxembourg in the 6th arrondissement of Paris. The park has fantastic outdoor spaces with a playground, a puppet theater, and a pond for sailing small boats. The area is home to many local families.
The Left Bank, or Rive Gauche, has a much quieter, family-friendly atmosphere which makes it perfect for families.
The 7th arrondissement near the Eiffel Tower is another popular choice for families. The proximity to the Eiffel Tower and the expansive Champ de Mars grass fields for children to run and play makes this district a top choice for families. The area is also home to several other family-friendly attractions such as the Musée d’Orsay and the Musée du Quai Branly.
The Latin Quarter, in the 5th arrondissement, offers plenty to do for kids. This district is home to the Jardin des Plantes, which includes the Paris Zoo and the Natural History Museum – both excellent for kids.
Best Area to Stay in Paris on a Budget
Traveling to Paris can indeed be pricey, but there are several neighborhoods that offer more budget-friendly accommodation options without sacrificing accessibility to the city’s major sights. Here are a few tips for where to stay in Paris with a tight budget:
- 11th Arrondissement (Bastille): While not as flashy as some other districts, the 11th arrondissement offers an authentic Parisian experience and usually more affordable lodging. It’s a lively, youthful neighborhood with plenty of bars, restaurants, and shops. It’s also within walking distance of Le Marais and the Canal Saint-Martin.
- 20th Arrondissement (Belleville): Known for its diverse community, hipster inhabitants, and vibrant nightlife, Belleville is an up-and-coming neighborhood with affordable accommodation options. You can also explore the Parc de Belleville, which boasts one of the city’s best views.
- 12th Arrondissement (Bercy): This area is home to the Bercy Village shopping district and the large Parc de Bercy, and it’s just a quick metro ride away from the city center. There’s a variety of budget accommodations available here.
- 13th Arrondissement (Gobelins): This residential neighborhood offers a quieter stay and is home to the Butte-aux-Cailles, a village-like area known for its art, food, and nightlife. The 13th is also well connected by public transport.
- 18th Arrondissement (Montmartre): While areas of Montmartre near the Sacré-Cœur Basilica can be quite touristy, other parts offer more reasonable prices. This neighborhood provides a bohemian, artsy vibe and gorgeous views of the city.
- 10th Arrondissement (Canal Saint-Martin): The area around Canal Saint-Martin is hip and trendy, filled with plenty of affordable eateries and bars. The picturesque canal is a popular spot for picnics.
Remember, being flexible and booking in advance can help secure the best prices. Opting for accommodations a little further from the city center or popular landmarks can also result in savings.
Paris’ excellent public Metro system makes it easy to explore the city no matter where you choose to stay!