Paris: The city of Lights. With 20 arrondissements (neighborhoods), attractions throughout the sprawling city, and thousands of hotels, hostels, and apartments to choose from, finding the best place to stay can be a challenge for first-time visitors with a lot of questions:
What’s the best overall neighborhood?
What’s the cheapest neighborhood?
Where do all the cool kids stay?
Where’s a good spot for families?
What’s close the city center?
Over the course of dozens of visits to Paris, I’ve stayed all over town and in all types of different accommodations. Every neighborhood in Paris has its own unique personality and its own pros and cons. There’s always a trade-off to be made here.
So, I’ve taken my experience and created this guide to the neighborhoods of Paris to help you figure that out! I’ve included a brief description of each area, why I like it, and my favorite accommodations.
Bastille takes its name from the famous prison that used to occupy this neighborhood (the storming of which started the French Revolution). Today, the prison is gone, and this animated part of town has become known for its bars and clubs that are popular with Parisian youth. If you are looking for a fun arrondissement to stay in, I’d recommend this one. It’s centrally located, and the tiny cobblestone streets give you the most Parisian feeling!
Best places to stay in Bastille
- BUDGET: Auberge Internationale des Jeunes – This is a safe and well-maintained hostel, but the amenities are basic: there is no kitchen for cooking your own meals, but there is a microwave and free breakfast is served daily 7-9:45am. There is also a common room with vending machines where people like to hang out, and a secure luggage storage area. Note: You have to be under 30 years old to stay here!
- MID-RANGE: Paris Bastille – Located right across from the Opera House and near the Gare de Lyon, the Paris Bastille is an elegant, quiet hotel with soundproofed rooms and large walk-in showers. You can start your morning with a coffee and fresh croissant in the hotel bar while reading one of the free newspapers.
- LUXURY: Hôtel l’Antoine – This boutique hotel was once a 17th century convent, but its modern décor of brightly patterned cement tiles and wallpapers make it an eccentric space. No two rooms are alike here. There’s an snack bar and lounge, and a hearty breakfast buffet each morning. The fitness room has a sauna with a cold shower too!
The Latin Quarter, one of my favorite areas of Paris, is filled with narrow streets that turn at weird angles and open onto little café-lined squares. I love wandering around here: it always feels like you’re stepping back a few hundred years in history. It’s a busy area and not as quiet as other sections of Paris — there are a lot of restaurants, bars, and jazz clubs — but you’ll be in the middle of the action!
Best places to stay in the Latin Quarter
- BUDGET: Young & Happy Hostel – This hostel has pretty simple rooms but comfy beds, small but well-cleaned showers, and a large kitchen space. The common room is an old cellar lined with stone, making for a cozy and unique spot to hang out. The staff will sometimes host evening events, and there’s a daily happy hour for mingling with other travelers. They also offer a free breakfast of croissants, coffee, and juice.
- MID-RANGE: Hôtel Minerve – On a quiet street near Notre Dame and the Sorbonne, Hôtel Minerve is housed inside a historic 1864 Haussmannian building complete with flowered balconies. This place has been recently renovated to give it some quirky charm, like walls of stone, visible beams, and original artwork throughout. There’s a large central courtyard as well. You can get a decent breakfast spread each morning for 9 EUR, and there’s a handy airport shuttle.
- LUXURY: Grand Hôtel Saint Michel – Grand Hôtel Saint Michel is within walking distance to the some of the area’s best attractions, like the Jardin du Luxembourg and the Panthéon. It caters quite a bit to business travelers, but it isn’t stuffy, and the location is unbeatable. There are a bunch of high-end services on-site, like a concierge, a fitness center, and even a hammam!
The most famous and upscale street in Paris is lined with cinemas, cafés, luxury specialty shops, big brand-name stores, and chain restaurants. It’s a fun place to club-hop at night or snap photos and shop during the day. The area surrounding the street is one of the most upscale and luxurious in Paris. If you stay off the main street, you’ll find it to be very quiet. It’s nice and centrally located to everything, but there’s not a lot of “cool” things to do in the area.
Best places to stay in Champs-Élysées
- BUDGET: BVJ Champs-Elysées – This hostel in a former mansion is one of the most historic in Paris, having been around since 1948. They have a free French breakfast each morning, free luggage storage, and a sunny private courtyard to hang out in.
- MID-RANGE: Hôtel Magda Champs Elysées – This hotel has modern, clean, and stylish rooms. The bar makes for a good spot to work while having a cocktail (or some complimentary coffee). They even put smartphones in the room so you can make free phone calls, watch Netflix, and more. There’s an excellent courtyard here too.
- LUXURY: Marquis Faubourg Saint-Honoré – This is a chic hotel! The rooms are super plush (if not a bit small) with marble fixtures and clawfoot bathtubs. Skip the breakfast; it’s overpriced.
Le Marais (meaning “the marsh”) has been revitalized in the last few years and is now a stylish, lively area filled with hip art galleries, boutiques, and cafés. The tight, winding streets are lined with old architecture, half-hidden courtyards, and quite a few museums. You’ll also find some of the best restaurants and bars in town here. It’s my favorite area of Paris. Additionally, it’s the center of Paris’s gay life, so you’ll be able to find a lot of gay bars, cafés, and shops here, as well as plenty of gay-friendly restaurants.
Best places to stay in Le Marais
- BUDGET: Auberge de Jeunesse MIJE Fourcy – This is a unique budget hostel, as it’s three 17th century buildings renovated to create a hostel trio: MIJE Fourcy, Fauconnier, and Maubuisson. The rooms are pretty basic, but there’s a free breakfast. Don’t miss the beautiful courtyard.
- MID-RANGE: Villa Beaumarchais – This tiny and attractive hotel is on a quiet side street within walking distance of the Opéra Garnier and Place de la Madeleine. The rooms are antique, with a lot of wood furniture and floral wallpaper. It’s very cozy. Try to get a room that overlooks the interior courtyard. The American-style breakfast buffet is also good!
- LUXURY: Pavillon de la Reine – Pavillon de la Reine is in the Place des Vosges, one of the most beautiful and oldest squares in the world, and the vine-covered building is gorgeous. The rooms have amazing, unique décor, with antique furnishings and enormous windows, and there’s a spa and a fitness center on-site. This is a wonderful little hideaway, and Queen Anne of Austria actually once stayed here. Eat at Restaurant Anne if you feel like splurging.
Home to starving artists for decades, Montmartre offers a stunning view of Paris, arty cafés and bars, cobblestone streets, and the only winery within the city limits. It’s one of the hipper parts of Paris, even if it has lost some of its old grandeur. It’s home to a lot of students, as the rents in this part of town are much cheaper than elsewhere. It’s also pretty loud at night, so try to stay on one of the beautiful side streets.
Best places to stay in Montmartre
- BUDGET: Le Village Montmartre By Hiphophostels – This small, cozy hostel with a view of Sacré-Coeur is literally surrounded by bars, restaurants, and supermarkets. There’s a French breakfast each morning for 6 EUR, or you can just take advantage of the large kitchen to cook your own meals.
- MID-RANGE: Le Relais Montmartre – This hotel is on a quiet street in Montmartre. It’s a great value. The rooms have a rustic charm with exposed beams and vintage furniture. Check out the breakfast – it’s really good and the cellar restaurant is unique.
- LUXURY: Terrass Hôtel Montmartre by MH – The hotel bar’s views of Paris are stunning, and the sunset is spectacular. The rooms are larger than most in town and have beautiful décor in a classic Parisian style. The hotel offers yoga classes and spa treatments. Make sure to have brunch on the terrace.
Île de la Cité and Île Saint-Louis
These two islands in the Seine are the historic center of Paris. The Romans set up camp on Île de la Cité in 52 BC, and the island is now home to Notre-Dame, Sainte-Chapelle, administrative buildings, and the Conciergerie. It’s also super loud. Île Saint-Louis, on the other hand, is a quiet neighborhood for Paris’s rich and powerful, filled with well-preserved historic homes and streets. If you want luxury and quiet, stay here. It’s fancy hotels and little else.