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Which Arrondissement to Stay in Paris?
One of the most frequently asked questions from visitors coming to Paris is ‘what is the best arrondissement to stay in Paris?’ The truth is, when it comes to where to stay in Paris, there is no one right or wrong answer.
The Paris best arrondissement to stay very much depends on the sort of trip you’re planning. If this is your first trip to Paris and you’re planning on visiting many tourist attractions, then you’ll look for the best Paris arrondissements for tourists.
If perhaps you’re planning a trip to Paris with kids, you’ll probably be interested to know about the safest arrondissements in Paris or which arrondissements to stay in Paris close to everything.
To help you decide on what arrondissement to stay in Paris for your upcoming trip, we’ve written this guide which contains the best Paris arrondissements ranked for different types of vacations. This guide covers the best areas to stay in Paris for a family trip, a first-time tourist trip, a romantic trip, a five-star experience, and more.
So without further ado, let’s find which is the best arrondissement to stay in Paris for your upcoming vacation.
Table of Contents:
- What is an Arrondissement?
- Best Arrondissement to Stay in Paris for First-time Visitors
- Best Paris Arrondissements for Tourists
- Best Area to Stay in Paris for a Romantic Weekend
- Best Arrondissements to Stay in Paris for a Five-star Parisian Experience
- What Arrondissement to Stay in Paris for a more Local Experience
- Best Arrondissement to Stay in Paris for families
- Best Arrondissement in Paris for UK travelers (and Thalys travelers)
What is an Arrondissement?
Before we start discussing which arrondissement to stay in Paris, let us explain what precisely an arrondissement is.
Arrondissements are simply administrative areas within Paris, which in most cases include many neighborhoods or different historical areas. In Paris, there are 20 different arrondissements, all with their own town hall (Mairie) and a mayor (Maire), as well as elected officials, a council, a politician, and so on.
An arrondissement is not to be confused with the Parisian quartiers (Paris Neighborhoods) as an arrondissement is a much larger area than the Parisian quartiers and, as stated above, quite often includes several different neighborhoods.
The 1st Arrondissement of Paris is in the center of the city, then the other Paris arrondissements are located, forming a spiral turning clockwise, to finish in the 20th arrondissement in the east.
In this article, we provide not only the best arrondissements in Paris for your trip type but also the specific area or neighborhood inside the arrondissement that we recommend.
We suggest reading this article together with our Arrondissements of Paris Quick Guide, so you have more details on the local vibe and things to see and do in each district.
Best Arrondissement to Stay in Paris for First-Time Visitors
Below we’ve provided our recommendations for the best area to stay in Paris for first-time visitors. You may also want to read our quick guide to Paris for first-timers, with many local tips.
Le Marais is located just east of the city center, in both the 3rd and 4th Arrondissements. Yes, that’s right, half of Le Marais is in the 3rd Arrondissement, and half of it is located in the 4th Arrondissement. We recommend staying in the area of Le Marais located in the 4th Arrondissement due to its central location.
Le Marais is our personal best place to stay in Paris close to everything. First-time visitors will love walking around the area’s narrow laneways, which are all lined with historic private mansions and gorgeous gardens. The area is also home to some of Paris’ top tourist sites, such as Place des Vosges, Hôtel de Ville, Centre Georges Pompidou, and Victor Hugo’s house. Nearby attractions also include Notre Dame Cathedral (temporarily closed), and the Sainte Chapelle, located on an island in the center of the River Seine.
Le Marais of Paris 4 is also home to the gay district of Paris (particularly around the streets of Hôtel de Ville), and so you will see many rainbow flags in this area. Also, in Le Marais, you will find lovely cafés, typical Parisian bistros, vintage shops, and hidden gardens.
With its lovely surroundings and proximity to various tourist attractions, it’s easy to see why Le Marais – Paris 4 is regularly suggested as the best arrondissement to stay in Paris for first-time visitors and the best hotels in the Marais usually sold out fast!
2. Paris 5 (The Latin Quarter)
The Latin Quarter in the 5th Arrondissement is another one of the best areas to stay in Paris, particularly for first-time visitors. Located on the Left Bank of the River Seine, just south of Notre Dame, the Latin Quarter is one of the city’s most central districts and perfect for sightseeing.
The 5th Arrondissement is well known as having a significant student presence, with several universities and higher education schools being close by. As such, you can also expect a lively student atmosphere with many little bars and cafés.
In this area, you will find beautiful medieval churches, charming squares, the Panthéon, the Cluny Museum, the Roman Arena, and the Jardin des Plantes.
Other top sights nearby include the Saint Germain-des-Près neighborhood and the Luxembourg Gardens.
Best Paris Arrondissements for Tourists
Below we’ve provided our recommendations for the best area to stay in Paris for sightseeing.
1. Paris 1 (The Louvre)
The 1st Arrondissement of Paris is full of popular tourist attractions, world-famous landmarks, and some of the city’s most beautiful parks and museums. The area is well serviced by a range of hotels and public transport to enable you to quickly get around, making it a great choice if you’re after the best area to stay in Paris for sightseeing.
Some of the most popular tourist attractions in the 1st Arrondissement include the Royal Palace, the Tuileries Gardens, the Conciergerie, the Louvre Museum, and the Seine River. The hotels near the Louvre Museum are specially researched because it is a lively historical neighborhood close to everywhere.
Other places to explore include elegant squares such as Place Vendôme, Place Dauphine and Square du Vert Galant, the Covered Passages of Paris, and Les Halles, which historically is ‘the belly of Paris,’ with many restaurants, food streets, and markets. You’ll be close to attractions such as the Champs Elysées and its luxury shopping, the Opéra Garnier, and the Grands Boulevards.
Given this is the most central area in Paris, do expect to pay a bit more for hotels than you would in the nearby arrondissements. You may find cheaper places to stay around Les Halles.
2. Paris 4 (The Islands of the Seine)
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As well as the 1st Arrondissement, another one of the best areas to stay in Paris for sightseeing is Ile de la Cité in the 4th Arrondissement. Located on a small island in the middle of the Seine, this river island was the center of religious and civil life in Paris during medieval times, and as such, there are many interesting sights here to explore.
The most famous landmark here is Notre Dame Cathedral (temporarily closed), but other popular tourist attractions include the Sainte Chapelle and the Flowers Market. Given that Ile de la Cité is located in the middle of the Seine, this is also the perfect place to explore life along the river.
Within close proximity to Ile de la Cité, you’ll also find Ile Saint Louis, which is a smaller and less touristy island than Cité but very pleasant with seductive boutiques, historical buildings, and a small-town feel.
For those visitors wanting to stay by the River Seine and being close to some of the most popular attractions in the city, Paris 4 – Seine islands is the best area to stay in Paris.
One of the nice places to stay in Paris for a weekend of romance is Montmartre, a historical area of Paris which is in the 18th Arrondissement. Here you can spend hours with your loved one wandering the narrow laneways, lined with ivy-clad buildings, stunning multi-colored buildings, and trendy little cafes.
Perhaps the most well-known attraction in Montmartre is the Sacré Coeur, which sits high on top of a steep hill. Climb the stairs to the church for romantic views across Paris, where you can even see the Eiffel Tower in the far distance. During your wanderings in Montmartre, be sure to see the nearby Wall Je T’aime with ‘I Love You’ written in various languages.
Other attractions in the area include the romantic Museum of Montmartre, the Montmartre Cemetery, and various locations where the movie “Amélie” was filmed. Nearby you can also see the world-famous cabaret, the Moulin Rouge.
For couples looking for the best area to stay in Paris for a romantic weekend, Montmartre is a great choice!
Located in the 7th Arrondissement, as well as being home to the Eiffel Tower, one of the world’s most recognizable landmarks, this is another area perfect for a romantic weekend away.
Other wonderful things to do on a weekend away with your loved one include a relaxing dinner cruise down the Seine or a more casual picnic at Champs de Mars. You can also explore the Musée d’Orsay and the gardens of Musée Rodin.
Nearby why not enjoy the stunning views from the top of the Arc de Triomphe at sunset or go shopping at the Golden Triangle on the other side of the Seine?
If you’re really out to impress on your weekend away with your loved one, the 7th Arrondissement is undoubtedly one of the best districts to stay in Paris.
Best Arrondissements to Stay in Paris for a Five-star Parisian Experience
Below we’ve provided our recommendations for the best arrondissement in Paris to stay for those after a five-star Parisian experience.
For a five-star Parisian experience, look no further than Saint-Germain-des-Prés. Located in the 6th Arrondissement, Saint-Germain-des-Près is one of the most expensive Paris residential areas to stay in. Here you will find charming narrow streets filled with beautiful architecture, fancy art galleries, luxury boutiques, first-class restaurants, and lovely boutique hotels.
There is a great café culture alive in Saint-Germain-des-Près, and one of the best things to do here is to wander the cobbled streets until you find the perfect café to sit and relax while people-watching. Some of the great cafés that come to mind include Café Flore or Café Les Deux Magots.
Other things to do in the area include visiting the Saint-Germain-des-Près Church, joining a chocolate and pastries tour, or taking a stroll in the Luxembourg Gardens.
Saint-Germain-des-Près is also within easy reach to the River Seine and the Quartier Latin, making it an excellent base for exploring the attractions in these areas too.
While above we recommended the area of Montmarte in the 18th Arrondissement as a wonderful place to stay for a romantic weekend away, it’s also the place to stay to explore the quintessential, bohemian side of Paris.
Montmarte is known as being the center of the flourishing artist community from 1907 through 1914. During this time and in later years, artists, including Picasso, Toulouse-Lautrec, Dali, and others, lived and worked here.
Still today you can visit Place du Tertre, where the local artists can be found. Stop by and have one of these talented artists paint your portrait or simply purchase one of their paintings as a great souvenir from your trip.
One of the best things to do in Montmarte is just to spend hours exploring the narrow laneways. The streets are lovely, lined with ivy-clad buildings, stunning multi-colored buildings, and trendy little cafes. Other things to do include seeing the stairs of Montmartre, visiting Montmartre Cemetery, the vineyards of Montmartre, and seeing little cabarets such as Au Lapin Agile.
Also, close by, you can visit Marché des Puces de Saint Ouen for some vintage shopping.
Just be warned that there are many stairs in Montmartre and lesser metro stations so this may be an issue for the elderly or people with physical health problems.
What Arrondissement to Stay in Paris for a More Local Experience
Below we’ve provided our recommendations for the areas of Paris which are perfect for those after a more local experience.
1. Paris 10 (Canal Saint-Martin)
If you’re not so much interested in all the Paris tourist attractions but instead would like to have a more local Paris experience, Canal Saint-Martin in the 10th Arrondissement is the perfect district to base yourself on.
The area of Canal Saint-Martin is one of the coolest areas in the city. Spend your days and nights strolling along the banks of Canal Saint-Martin, where you’ll find a range of little bars, vintage boutiques, and great restaurants and cafés. You can even take a canal cruise or hire a bike to explore the area along the canal.
Foodies will love the area of Canal Saint-Martin. There are many organic wine and cheese stores, as well as craft coffee shops and restaurants serving fantastic cuisine from across the globe.
Other things to do in and around Canal Saint-Martin include the Canal de la Villette, the new Atelier des Lumières (digital art), and nearby Parc des Buttes-Chaumont with its waterfall in a grotto, and Italian-style Temple de la Sybille.
Located in the northeast corner of the city, Belleville in the 20th Arrondissement of Paris is another excellent place to stay for those that want a more local experience during their trip to Paris. Belleville is quickly becoming not only a trendy area to live in but a great place to stay and explore the city away from all the typical tourist attractions.
Perhaps the most well-known attraction near Belleville is the Père Lachaise Cemetery. Other things to do include exploring the Asian markets in rue de Belleville, seeing Parisian street art, hanging out at trendy low-key bars, and exploring charming village-like streets dating back to a time when Belleville was outside the limits of Paris. Also, head to Parc de Belleville for great views of Paris (Eiffel Tower included).
Belleville is also well located to explore nearby sights such as the Parc Buttes Chaumont in the 19th Arrondissement and the banks of Canal Saint-Martin in the 10th Arrondissement.
Best Arrondissement to Stay in Paris for Families
If you are wondering where to stay in Paris with kids, our best recommendation is to stay central, where you can easily walk or take the metro to most places.
Paris 4 and Paris 5 are two of the best Paris arrondissements for families. These two arrondissements of Paris are lively and safe, with a wide range of typical cafes, restaurants, and crêperies.
Paris 4 and Paris 5 are ideal for a family trip to Paris because they keep you central, with access to amenities, great transport connections, and quick access to city sights.
1. Paris 5 (Quartier Latin)
This is the district of students, easy-going and relaxed. There are lots of cheap restaurants in the area and rue Mouffetard is a cool street market to browse.
Paris 5 is also between two beautiful parks, the Jardin des Plantes and the Luxembourg Gardens, so if the weather is good, you can opt for a picnic in the park where you can relax while the kids play on the grass. The food market on Place Monge (Wednesdays, Fridays, and Sundays) has everything you need for the picnic.
2. Paris 3 and 4 (Le Marais)
Le Marais is the best district to stay in Paris also for families. This part of Paris is more about cobbled streets, private mansions, and cute corners. It is also well surrounded, with lots of choices when it comes to cafés and restaurants.
The area is served by line 1 (Bastille – Saint Paul – Hotel de Ville), the main metro line in Paris. Metro line 1 gives easy access to many top sights, which makes commuting with kids very easy. Line 1 is also one of the two automatic metro lines in Paris, so you know it will be working all the time even if there are transportation strikes in Paris.
Best Arrondissement in Paris for UK travelers (and Thalys travelers)
If you want to visit Paris from London or the neighboring countries of Belgium, Germany, and the Netherlands, Paris 10 may be the best district in Paris to stay.
1. Gare du Nord (Paris 10)
What is the best arrondissement to stay in Paris for UK travelers and Thalys travelers? A real Parisian crossroads, Gare du Nord is close to Gare de l’Est and several metro lines (4, 5, 2), but also the Eurostar, Thalys, and Charles de Gaulle airport making it easy to visit Paris for UK travelers and other European travelers.
Admittedly, after a certain hour, the Gare du Nord district is not always the most pleasant, but the neighborhood does not lack charm and is located near interesting places to see (the Canal Saint-Martin, Montmartre, and the Grands Boulevards), and the number of metro/RER lines stopping at the station makes it easy to get around the capital during a short stopover.
If there’s a metro strike in Paris, a hotel near Gare du Nord means that you can reach the train station without any stress and on foot. This neighborhood in Paris is also ideal for early departures from Gare du Nord or Gare de l’Est.
Logically, there are quite a few hotels near the Gare du Nord, but a reservation is often necessary to secure a bed. You will find hotels in the ”triangle” formed by rue de Dunkerque, rue La Fayette, and Boulevard Magenta. Small hotels or chain hotels, the choice will be from one to three stars, usually at better prices compared with the most-touristy neighborhoods in Paris.
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