Top 7 Best Areas to Stay in Paris
Welcome to Paris! In this article, I’ll be sharing with you my top 7 best areas to stay in Paris, and what makes each of them special. Famous for being a city rich in history, full of romance and dotted with incredible monuments and museums, the French capital has so much to offer! Since there’s so much to see and do in Paris, it’s important to choose a great area to stay in so you don’t miss a thing.
Because there are so many choices, it can be hard to decide where your Parisian home base should be. To help you choose the best area to stay, I’ve put together this article about the best areas to stay in Paris. Whether you prefer a more lively atmosphere or a bit of calm amidst the city rhythm, there’s a Paris neighborhood you’ll love.
First up on my list of the best neighborhoods to stay in Paris is the Ile Saint-Louis. This little island is located in the center of Paris, where the Seine river divides the city into the Right and Left Banks. This lovely island is much quieter than its touristy neighbor Ile de la Cité, so the Ile Saint-Louis is a quaint escape from the busy city. The ancient cobblestone streets, narrow passages, quaint boutiques and typical Parisian architecture give the island a special small-town charm.
On the Ile Saint-Louis, you’ll be right in the city center, and close to plenty of Paris attractions. With views on the Seine river, the ornate Hotel de Ville and of course, Notre-Dame Cathedral, the Ile Saint Louis is one of the most picturesque neighborhoods in Paris. Take in the your beautiful surroundings with a stroll along the riverbanks, and be sure to treat yourself to the best ice cream in Paris at the legendary Berthillon shop. The Ile Saint-Louis is also just a short walk from the Latin Quarter, the Marais neighborhood and Notre-Dame, so don’t hesitate to join us for a free tour of those must-see areas!
Known for its vibrant café life, amazing shopping and artsy vibes, the Marais is definitely one of the best area to stay in Paris. Located on the Right bank in central Paris, the Marais is a very walkable area and an ideal home-base for exploring the city. One of the best parts about the Marais is its diversity! Historically home to the Jewish, LGBTQ and artist communities, the rich blend of cultures found in this area makes it lively and welcoming.
There’s a lot to see and do in the Marais, so this is the best area to stay in Paris if you’re hoping to see the liveliest side of the city. Nightlife is bustling in this neighborhood, and there’s no shortage of great bars and cafés to enjoy. Home to plenty of street art as well as some of the city’s best museums like Centre Pompidou and the Picasso Museum, the Marais is an art-lovers paradise. Quite possibly the trendiest part of the city, the best shopping in Paris is also found in this area. Rue Vielle du Temple and Rue des Francs Bourgeois are home to great little boutiques as well as designer shops, and are the favorite shopping haunts of chic Parisians.
Perched high on a hill overlooking Paris, Montmartre is full of old-world Parisian charm and is definitely one of the best areas to stay in Paris. Despite the mass of tourists flocking to the beautiful Sacré Coeur Cathedral, Montmartre has managed to hold onto its roots and keep the village atmosphere of yesteryear. Just a short walk from the bustling Sacré-Coeur, you’ll find one of Paris’ best kept secrets: the authentic Montmartre! The winding cobblestone streets like Rue Lamarck and Rue des Abesses are full of local artisans and great cafés, where you can enjoy a drink and a view of the city from above.
Montmartre also served as the muse for many artists like Renoir and Picasso who once called this neighborhood home. Be sure to stop by the Place du Tertre and see where the great Montmartois artists drew their inspiration from. This cobblestone square just behind the Sacre-Coeur Basilica is filled with modern-day painters creating and selling their works! There are also some excellent museums in the area, like the Musée de Montmartre. An ancient mansion overlooking a beautiful garden and vineyard was transformed into this museum focusing on the areas’ history and influential figures, definitely worth a visit!
Located on the Left Bank, Saint-Germain-des-Prés embodies iconic Parisian glamour, and is definitely one of the best areas to stay in Paris. Once the epicenter of the Jazz Age and the favorite neighborhood of intellectuals like Ernest Hemingway and Simone de Beauvoir, Saint-Germain-des-Prés has a rich history. In Saint Germain you can discover the origin of French café culture at Les Deux Magots or Café de Flore and catch a jazz show at Chez Papa Jazz Club.
The Boulevard Saint-Germain is lined with luxury boutiques, bookshops and lots of great restaurants, ideal for an afternoon stroll. The Seine river is just a five minute walk away, and along the riverbanks there are Parisian bouquinistes, or booksellers. Hawking vintage books, artwork and trinkets, these little stands are the perfect place to pick up some souvenirs. The must-see Musée d’Orsay (read more about Orsay Museum | or buy online tickets), the lovely Luxembourg Gardens and the Latin Quarter are also within walking distance. No matter what you decide to do in Saint-Germain, I’m sure you’ll fall in love with this iconic Parisian neighborhood.
My final recommendation for the best neighborhoods to stay in Paris is the Oberkampf area. This super trendy, upbeat district is in Northeastern Paris, and is definitely full of life. Formerly a working-class neighborhood, Oberkampf has developed into one of the most fun and hipster areas of the city. Known for its young art and music scene, Oberkampf is the perfect area for a night out in Paris! Check out a concert at Café Charbon, or enjoy an a beautiful view of Paris from the rooftop bar at Le Perchoir.
In Oberkampf, you’ll be far enough away from the throngs of tourists in the city center, but central enough to visit all of Paris easily. If you’re in the mood for some tasty food, don’t miss the Bastille farmer’s market, the go-to spot for excellent street food and fresh groceries. Oberkampf is a great neighborhood to explore on foot, you never know what treasures you’ll find wandering these streets!
The 16th Arrondissement
The 16th district is the Paris you’ve seen in the films. This neighborhood is fantastic because it gives off the cinematic charm you’ve imagined about Paris. The location is prime, nestled right between the 7th, 8th, and 17th districts, all wonderful areas to be in close proximity.
One of the most underrated shopping streets in Paris is rue Passy, right in the heart of the 16th off of the line 9, metro Avenue Mozart. Another reason why I suggest staying in the 16th is that it is a much less touristy neighborhood, mostly full of locals and expats. It’s a bit on the quieter side, especially at night, but is extremely safe and low key. One of my favorite bakeries is a favorite of many locals, called Bechu on Avenue Victor Hugo. This one of the great bakeries in the area to grab a typical French Breakfast. Another great food spot is Brasserie Auteuil, further south. It is one of the top brasseries in Paris with phenomenal food and an ambiance that feels Californian French, a classy and perfect combo.
Another reason why staying in the 16th is a good idea is that even though it is not a very busy neighborhood, you have some great nightlife. The 16th district is just a stone’s throw away from the Champs Elysees area full of nightclubs and dance bars. Among the fun ones are the famous Raspoutine nighclub, L’arc, and Speakeasy.
The 16th district is also known for some gorgeous hotels. One of my favorites is the Brach hotel on Rue de la Pompe, with a really cute rooftop and a nice view of the Eiffel Tower.
Sentier is another underrated area that I find to be extremely lively and charming. Located in the 2nd arrondissement in between Palais Royal and Grand Boulevards, this is a young, hip, and vibrant area known as a great spot for after-work hangouts among city locals.
Check out Rue Montorgueil, a street lined with restaurants, cafés, bakeries, fish stores, cheese shops, wine shops, and more. For socializing, I really enjoy the bar at the Hoxton hotel, where they have a gorgeous indoor bar and outside patio.
Let’s make the most of Paris
Now that you know a lot about Paris – and whether you just stay for a few days or for longer – I’m sure you want to make the most of your trip in France. How to make your trip special?
- Plan your trip in advance and read as many articles online to make sure you have all the necessary info. We have more than 1000 blog articles on Discover Walks – I’m sure you will find something interesting!
- Paris is a popular destination so you will find many walking tour companies in the area. We run several tours everywhere in Paris and the most popular ones are:
- Montmartre walking tour: you will discover the secret side of Montmartre with our local guides. This fun walking tour runs every day at 11am, 2.30pm and 5pm. If you have time for only one tour, it must be this one (rating: 4.9/5)!
- Trendy Marais tour: Fashion, mansion, parks and garden… the best of Parisian art de vivre in 90 minutes (rating: 4.7/5)!
Now you’ve read my recommendations for the top 7 best areas to stay in Paris. I hope this guide has been helpful for you, and that you’ll find the perfect Parisian neighborhood to stay in. Let us know if you have any questions, and see you soon in Paris!
Originally written by Jordan in May 2018 and updated by Arielle in February 2020