Where to Stay in Paris: The 10 Best Neighbourhoods 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.

1. Ile Saint-Louis

 

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.

Visit Notre Dame - guided tour 2019

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!

2. The Marais

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.

3. Montmartre

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!

4. Saint-Germain-des-Prés

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.

5. The 1st Arrondisment

Image sourced by Wikimedia Commons

The first arrondisement is where you’ll find the Tuileries Garden, the Louvre Museum, the Musée de l’Orangerie and the Place Vedome. That’s a lot amazing places to visit! This is definitely one of the best places to stay in Paris. 

In addition to the above mentioned tourist attractions, the area also has some lesser known places such as the Musée des Arts Décoratifs with gorgerous ceramics and furniture. In the 1st arrondissement, you can find the chic 17th-century Palais-Royal. which houses fashion boutiques.

In fact, the whole area was a former palace and it has the famous restaurant – Le Grand Véfour restaurant – rumoured to be the place where Joséphine was courted by Napoleon. Today, the Domain du Palais-Royal has contemporary art-filled park with Daniel Buren’s striped columns in its courtyard. You can also catch Molière’s plays at the Comédie Française theater. If you like Japanese cuisine, then there are tons of options such as Kodawari Ramen, Higuma and Sanukiya.

If you stay in this area, all these places and more are all within walking distance! Around the Pyramides metro and Les Halles, you can find some reasonably priced hotels but once you move towards the Seine and the Tuileries garden, the options are 5-star hotels such as the Ritz and Mandarin Oriental.

6. Oberkampf

Number ten on my recommendations list 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!

7. 8th Arrondissement

Champs Elysees – by Aswathy N – Unsplash

The posh 8th district is defined by the famous Avenue des Champs Elysées. This is where you can find the iconic Arc de Triomphe and at the other end the Place de la Concorde. It is defined by Parc Monceau in the north. The beautiful Parc Monceau is just a ten-minute walk from the Champs-Elysées. If you’re looking for a little escape from the hustle and bustle, this is an excellent place as the green spaces, waterfalls and flora will help you relax. For the young, you can try some pony rides, a merry-go-round and puppet shows.

If you’re a shopping fiend, then this is the place to be with high end shopping options and you can mingle with a mixed crowd of tourists, fashionistas and office workers. The district is home to art museums such as the Musée Jacquemart-André with an amazing European art collection, housed in a 19th-century townhouse. The elegant Musée Nissim de Camondo is housed in a Belle Epoque mansion furnished with French furniture & decorative arts. Of course, the Grand Palais with its glass domed roof has high profile exhibitions and fashion shows.

8. The 16th Arrondissement

Bridge Bir-Hakeim – by DXR – Wikimedia Commons

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.

9. Bastille

Bastille, also recognizable by the Place de la Bastille, was used as a prison by the French Kings. Today, it’s a bustling neighbourhood popular with locals who love their boutique cafes and trendy restaurants. The neighbourhood also has a good number of hotels for all budgets.

You should try Le Chardenoux, a posh restaurant run by celebrity chef Cyril Lignac and book your tables beforehand. The restaurant is housed in a 1908 bistro, and has beautiful fresco ceiling. Grab a pastry from La Pâtisserie Cyril Lignac – Paul Bert before you leave. Then there’s also the Le Chalet Savoyard for raclette, fondue & other hearty classics and for all-day brunch, you have to try Kafkaf, which serves avocado on toast, granola bowls & pancakes, pastries and much more. It seems Bastille has a taste for brunch and Italian food as you can find many more places serving them.

Bastille is also full of concert  halls such as the Opera Bastille. You can enjoy ballet and both modern and classical operas at the Opera which is built in a way that you can see the stage no matter where your seat is. For a night out, you have to try Supersonic, one of the best nightclubs with three different levels and they regularly have up and coming bands and musicians. Have an awesome night! 

10. Sentier

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:
  1. 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)!
  2. Trendy Marais tour: Fashion, mansion, parks and garden… the best of Parisian art de vivre in 90 minutes (rating: 4.7/5)!

What is the most beautiful Neighborhood in Paris?

Tuileries gardens

Paris is a beautiful city with many gorgeous districts. If you had to choose one then the most beautiful neighbourhood in Paris probably goes to the 8th district, that I also call the Louvre – Tuileries district.

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Home of the Louvre Museum, the “Mona Lisa,” as well as Haussmann-era boulevards and the statue-lined Jardin des Tuileries. The underground Carrousel du Louvre mall below the gardens features fashion boutiques and jewellers.

Rue de Rivoli – by Pedro Szekely – Wikimedia Commons

The Rue de Rivoli, Rue du Saint-Honoré and the Place Vendôme are all within the district and you can be sure to enjoy a stroll on these notable streets with beautiful buildings and some that even house some chic hotels.

Is Versailles in Paris?

Versailles Gardens

The magnificent gardens of Versailles by Le Nôtre – Source: Pixabay CC0

Versailles can be considered Paris’s closest suburbs. The distance between the places is just 12 kilometers but to get there you’ll have to travel around 16-18 kilometers. The easiest ways to get to Versailles is by car and takes under 45 minutes from the city center.

After visiting Paris landmarks and enjoying the city, consider learning more about French history and culture in Versailles and the stunning Château de Versailles. A visit to Versailles is a perfect day trip out of Paris!

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!

Discover Walks

Originally written by Jordan in May 2018 and updated by Arielle in February 2020 and Farah in March 2022

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