Where to stay in Paris: the best places in detail
In this guide, I will give you details of the most visited and best places to stay if you happen to be visiting Paris for the first time in 2019 with a price comparison of each district.
Where to stay in general? The nice hotel has to be for a reasonable price, close to public transport, with breakfast and has good reviews. I will show you several great tips in this article.
And where to not stay? Make sure you would not stay close to the busiest streets and sights because it can be overcrowded here (specially in the summer). And also you needless to pay extra money, that you are a few steps at a monument. Also, try to avoid places like a main train or main bus station where you do not have to feel safe and comfortable at night - especially when travelling with children.
Here's what I cover in this article:
- Short brief about arrondissements in Paris
- Infographic ─ a price comparison of each describing area
- Saint Germain area - tips for 2 hotels, 3 restaurants, and 3 wine shops
- Le Marais area (video included) - tips for 2 hotels, 3 restaurants, and 3 wine shops
- 1st Arrondissement area - tips for a hotel, 2 restaurants, and a wine shop
- 7th Arrondissement area - tips for 2 hotels and 4 restaurants
- 11th arrondissement area - personal tips for 2 hotels and 1 restaurant
Districts and arrondissements in a nutshell
Paris has twenty zones which in France are referred to as 'arrondissements municipaux.'
These areas are divided by the River Seine, as you can see in the picture below. Parisians often speak about living on the 'left bank' or the 'right bank.'
The lower the number of the arrondissement, the closer it is to the centre. As you can see, number 1 – 7 are the main historical city centre and of course, the most expensive.
Also, as you can see, the marking system continues clockwise in a spiral around the centre.
One district can cover several arrondissements, and in reality, it does. Do not worry, the term arrondissement, in most cases, is only used by the city authorities. As a tourist, you will be fine using the expression district or neighbourhood.
So, the question is — which neighbourhood is the best for a first time trip?
I asked the locals what they think and made own research of each arrondissement so you can better decide where to stay in Paris.
Each district has its particular attributes and vibe. An ideal approach to selecting where you stay in Paris is to understand what each area presents.
All the five options are listed detailed below:
Saint Germain or the Saint-Germain-des-Prés district (no. 6 on the map) is the best neighbourhood for people who want to discover the real Paris. And the bonus is the reasonable price.
Saint Germain also holds the timeless charm of the Left Bank while buzzing with a lively array of galleries, restaurants, and jazz clubs.
Price of accommodation and food: $$ — good ratio between price and quality and our winner.
Top sights in Saint Germain and surrounding areas: This district is more suited for accommodation as opposed to sightseeing. However, in this case, it's an advantage.
You may have seen some of the romantic pictures of Paris and its boulevards. They appear so tempting that you just have to buy flight tickets and go and see them for yourself. The images you've seen, we can certainly vouch for, and you'll have no trouble finding them in Saint Germain.
From the upscale shops, which lay along the bustling Saint Germain Boulevard, to the aristocratic peace of the Luxembourg Gardens (excellent in summer), the district is popular with locals and tourists alike.
This neighbourhood also attracts a well-heeled crowd who come seeking only the biggest of names in fashion and food.
This area may feel overrun with tourists during the summer, but the most significant benefit is that you'll find countless shops and restaurants open, while other areas of the city are closed.
Where to stay in the Saint Germain area?
Which hotels are reasonably priced in this area? For example, there is a list of the hotels in the Saint Germain area, and you can check it out for yourself. The average price is about $450 (€400) for 3 nights.
My personal choice ─ Hotel Lorette
For my first stay in this location, I would choose hotel Lorette: http://bit.ly/hotel-Lorette-Paris-score-87percent
If the Lorette is unavailable, then the next choice is this one: http://bit.ly/newhotel-le-voltaire-paris-score85percent
Why these hotels? With a score of 8.7 and 8.5 they are excellent value for money — about $470 (€412) per 3 nights (with breakfast!). The hotels are very clean and close to the metro station.
The options for public transport are excellent: two central metro stations and twelve bus stations.
Metro: purple line No. 4 (station Saint-Germain-des-Prés) and yellow line No. 10 (station Mabillion). The purple line No. 4 runs around the main monuments like the Louvre or Notre Dame.
How to get to Saint Germain from Paris airports?
- From Charles de Gaulle Airport (CDG) always take RER line "B" and go to the Saint-Michel-Notre-Dame station. After that, you have three options to get to the district. If you don't have heavy luggage, you can go on foot. From the station it is about 10 minutes' walk away. Alternatively, you can go to the metro — purple line No. 4 and take two stops to the station Saint-Germain-des-Prés. Also, the third option is to take a taxi. All the public transport routes take about 45—55 minutes, and taxi roughly 1 hour.
- From Orly Airport (ORY), always take the Orlybus and go five stops to the station Denfert-Rochereau-Métro-RER. From here you can swap to the metro — purple line No. 4, from station Denfert-Rochereau and go six stops to Saint-Germain-des-Prés station. This way takes about 45—50 minutes. Taxi takes about 40 minutes.
Where to eat
1) The Cezembre Restaurant is exquisite. The full menu is around $33 (€29) with the weekend price at $40 (€35).
If you have visited the Cezembre, and really enjoyed it, please comment on this site and give any tips about the food so that others can get a feel for the place.
2) If you want something cosier, try Freddy's restaurant/bar, it is a lovely hidden gem in Paris!
3) If you are on the budget or want to eat late at night, try this fantastic restaurant — Cook'n Saj. Again, if you are happy here, please leave your comments on this site.
Want to buy wine for a great night?
Relatively good French wine can be purchased easily from supermarkets. For example, this one, in the area.
Do you want something special? Then you will need to go to a wine shop. In this area, it is this regional seller La Derniere Goutte (and don't be put off by the outside appearance of the shop!).
My next tip for you is the wine shop La Maison Des Millésimes close to metro station Mabillon.
2. Le Marais
My favourite area.
The trendiest district in Paris is Le Marais. Everyone knows Marais as the uber cool quarter where Parisians come to eat, drink and shop.
Price of accommodation and food: $$$ — not cheap, but still, if you want to meet the real Paris, it is worth it.
Top sights in Le Marais: This district is more suitable for accommodation, but you will be very close to Ile De La Cité, Pont Neuf and Notre-Dame cathedral.
Charming performance of Marais neighbourhood from France 24 channel
Though the character of the neighbourhood leans towards a younger audience, Le Marais' diversity offers something for everyone.
For visitors who've already checked off every place on their checklist, Le Marais is the perfect place to understand the authenticity of Paris.
Where to stay in Le Marias?
Which hotels are beautiful in this district? Check this list of the best hotels in the Le Marais district. The average price should be around $750 (€660) for 3 nights.
My personal choice ─ Hotel La Nouvelle Republique
Le Marais district should be overpriced now. However, if you are on a budget, but still want to stay in this district, take this hotel: http://bit.ly/Le-Relais-du_Marais-score80 breakfast included, and you are just on the metro station Temple. For $452 (€400) for 3 nights in Le Marais — it's a great deal.
Another option is to pay an additional $67 (€60) and take this boutique hotel: http://bit.ly/hotel-la-nouvelle-republique-score92 with fabulous breakfast included, excellent score, and close to two metro stations.
There are nine metro stations and a large number of bus stations. Metro: green line No. 3, pink line No. 8, yellow line No. 1, brown line, No. 11, and orange line No. 5.
How to get to Le Marais from Paris airports?
- From Charles de Gaulle Airport (CDG) take RER line "B" and leave the Châtelet — Les Halles station. After that, you can change the metro brown line No. 11 and go two stops to Rambuteau station. This route takes about 50—60 minutes, and by taxi about 45 minutes.
- From Orly Airport (ORY), you can take the T7 train and go sixteen stops to the station Villejuif — Louis Aragon. From here you can change to the metro; pink line No. 4, from the station of the same name to the station Pont Marie (12 stops). This option take about 1 hour, and via taxi, 40 minutes (in this case it is a better alternative).
Where to eat
1) If you want to save money, there is an excellent baguette buffet called Miznon where you can find yummy products at a reasonable price.
2) Another excellent option is this cosy bistro Le Chanard. However, you should know that they only accept cash here!
3) Do you want to try some original French cuisine? Go to the Restaurant L'Ange 20, another hidden gem which is perfect for those with a sweet tooth!
Where to buy good wine in Le Marais district?
In this area there are many small supermarkets, where you will NOT be able to buy the good wines, so, you will need to seek out a wine shop. I can recommend the following:
1) Wine Touch wine shop, close to Le Centre Pompidou and metro station Rambuteau.
2) "Lot" Of Wine is a wine shop, which is close to river Seine.
3) Nicolas Bretagne is a wine shop, which has two shops with wine in the Le Marais district.
Price of accommodation and food: $$$ — it is a city centre, and much better for sightseeing than for a stay (however, choose 4* star hotel which is a bit cheaper than 3* in this location).
Top sights in the 1st arrondissement: The leading places for sightseeing are The Louvre, Jardin des Tuileries and in the east, Pont Neuf as well.
Sightseeing is unquestionably something you should do in this location.
The Louvre is the star attraction of the 1st Arrondissement, and you can honestly spend days there.
The outdoor gardens are a must. Walk from the Louvre to the Place de la Concorde via the Jardin des Tuileries, and marvel at the incredible statues, gardens, and fountains.
Ponte Neuf Bridge is the oldest bridge in Paris and one of the favourites in the city. Take a walk along this centuries-old bridge linking the Right and Left Banks through the Île de la Cité.
Also, if you like walking, the area around Les Halles and the River Seine are home to many pedestrian streets.
You could shop at the in the elegant boutiques and trendy cafés along the Rue de Rivoli.
There's also a premier underground shopping centre called Les Halles. It was formerly the Paris food market; now it's a place to shop and see a movie.
Palais-Royal is home to the ministry of culture, but you can visit its gardens and surrounding boutique shops.
Where to stay in the 1st Arrondissement area?
There is a list of the top 3* and 4* hotels in the 1st arr. The average price here is about $620 (€550) for 3 nights.
My personal choice ─ Hotel by Elegancia
This one provides excellent value for money: http://bit.ly/hotel-by-elegancia-score85 continental breakfast included, close to a park, one RER and, two metro stations. $650 (€570) for 3 nights.
It is not such a huge place, but still, there are 7 metro stations with 5 metro lines (yellow 1, pink 7, purple 14 and 4, and green 3). Because it is a historical centre, there are not too much bus stops or vehicles on the streets.
How to get to the 1st Arrondissement from Paris airports?
- From Charles de Gaulle Airport (CDG) take the RER line "B" and after three stops leave the Châtelet — Les Halles station. That's it! This way takes about 50 minutes, and by taxi about 45 minutes.
- From Orly Airport (ORY), take Le bus direct ($13.6/€12) to the station Paris — Gare Montparnasse. From here you can pick up the metro — green line No. 12, from the station Gare Montparnasse to the Concorde station (7 stops). This way takes about 50 minutes. By taxi, up to 40 minutes.
Where to eat
You should not expect cheap buffets, although of course, fast food is always available.
1) If you want that heaven on earth experience, try to book a table in the Mumi restaurant. Approximate prices are Lunch $35 (€30), dinner $56 (€50). Bottle of wine $45─350 (€40—300).
2) Michelin restaurant Pur' - Jean-François Rouquette can attract you with its exceptional French food. However, please don't ask me for a price list.
Are there any cheaper alternatives? Of course, there are.
Chez la Vieille — more easterly than the 1st arrondissement., but not that far away. À la Carte menu $17─28 (€15—25), a cake $7 (€6).
Where can you buy good wine?
In this location, definitely in LQV Le Quinze Vins wine shop.
Tip for backpackers; try to buy wine in the Monoprix supermarket, close to the Pyramides metro.
A visiting to Paris wouldn't be finished without seeing the Eiffel Tower. If it's your first time, this could be the best place for you where you should stay in Paris.
Price of accommodation and food: $$$$ — they are better areas to stay. This district is overpriced now. Nevertheless, this doesn't mean that you won't find a hidden gem or two for a reasonable price here.
Top sights in the 7th arrondissement: Of course, the Les Invalides and the Eiffel Tower! In the summertime, there are beautiful green parks. Napoleon's tomb is situated in Les Invalides, and you can have an exciting tour through the military history of France. The Musee d'Orsay (museum) is a vision to be hold for those who are fond of Impressionism.
With Monet, Van Gogh, Cezanne, Degas, Surat, Manet, and Gauguin hanging from its walls, it keeps the most wide-ranging collection of impressionist art in the world.
You may have seen the giant green area from every aerial view of Paris; that's the Champs de Mars park which offers stunning views of the Eiffel Tower and is a perfect spot for a Parisian picnic.
Where to stay in the 7th arrondissement?
There is a chance to catch a good hotel for a reasonable price, especially if you book ahead.
There's also a great opportunity to stay for less in the nearby centre. Check out yourself these best 3 and 4-star hotels in the 7th arrondissement in Paris.
My personal choice ─ Hotel de Varenne
In the 7th arrondissement, you can find many good hotels for reasonable prices.
For example, this one is cute: http://bit.ly/hotel-de-la-motte-picquet-score85 but not ideal for tall people. They have typical small French hotel beds and rooms. If you don't mind that, it's a good choice.
If you want more comfort headroom, choose this hotel: http://bit.ly/hotel-de-varenne-score86 continental breakfast included, soundproofed rooms, close to metro Varenne. An excellent choice!
In this area, there are very many opportunities to use public transport. Several metro lines with stations, and bus stop every few meters.
How to get to the 7th arrondissement from Paris airports?
- From Charles de Gaulle Airport (CDG) take the RER line "B" and after four stops leave the Saint-Michel — Notre-Dame station. Here change to the yellow RER-C line and go two stops to Invalides station. This way takes about 1 hour, by taxi approximately 40 minutes.
- From Orly Airport (ORY), take Le bus direct ($13.6/€12) to the station Paris — Gare Montparnasse (two stops). From here you can catch the metro — light blue line No. 13, from the station Gare Montparnasse to the station Varenne (3 stops). This way takes about 40 minutes, taxi up to 30 minutes.
Where to eat
1) If you want to celebrate a special occasion or wish to surprise your wife with a perfect dinner, this luxury restaurant inside the Eiffel Tower with a beautiful view of Paris will be the right one — Le Jules Verne. They have a classic French restaurant on the first floor, with a dinner menu starting from $100 (€86).
2) Another option is restaurant Philippe Excoffier. If you want something more quiet and decent, it is a perfect choice. Food from $35─56 (€30—50). A classic menu for $55 (€49), degustation (small samples of the chef's signature dishes) menu for $80 (€70).
3) My tip and a personal winner will be L'Antre Amis restaurant. They have a cosy environment and fantastic food. 3-course menu for $40 (€35), 5-courses for $56 (€50). Very nice choice.
4) Do you want something cheaper? At the border of 7th and 5th is the excellent restaurant which I have already mentioned as reasonably priced — Cook'n Saj.
Alternatively, in the summer, there is a great buffet/restaurant Cannelle, where you can grab a takeaway. Prices are excellent for this location.
$$─$$$ An excellent price tip for your first stay: If your budget is restricted, but you still want to stay near the city centre, it is also a perfect location like Saint Germain.
I was there and can confirm it myself. Going to the 11th arrondissement will give you an understanding of the Parisians culture.
The 11th arr. is also the best neighbourhood for foodies.
Located just outside the central arrondissements and with lower rents, many of the city's up and coming chefs have started their careers in this area.
Regularly catering to a local crowd, prices are comparatively inexpensive in the 11th where the focus is on relaxed eateries with excellent food vs. traditional haute cuisine.
You'll find everything here from newly created Michelin star establishments to the most trend-setting chefs and amazing natural wine bars.
Where to stay in the 11th arrondissement?
You can choose your next stay from these hotels in this location.
My personal choice ─ Grand Hotel Francais
Again, I have to vote for the hotel La Nouvelle Republique: http://bit.ly/hotel-la-nouvelle-republique-score92 if this one is full, choose this cute hotel: http://bit.ly/grand-hotel-francais-score87
Probably the most covered with metro stations from all arrondissements.
How to get there from Paris airports?
- From Charles de Gaulle Airport (CDG) take the RER line "B" and after 11 stops leave the Gare du Nord station. Here change to the orange metro line No. 5 and go two stops to Oberkampf station. This way takes about 50 minutes, by taxi about 50 minutes as well.
- From Orly Airport (ORY), take Ouibus ($13.6/€12) from Paris — Aéroport Orly Sud - Sortie L to the station Paris — Trocadéro (3 stops). From here you can jump on the metro — yellow line No. 9, from the station Trocadéro to the station Voltaire (16 stops). This way takes about 1 hour by train or taxi.
Where to eat in the 11th arrondissement?
1) For a reasonable price and another of my personal tips, you can taste French food in La Cave de l'Insolite restaurant. They have a menu ranging from $15 to $22 (€14 to €20). They have many positive reviews which speak as to their quality. They also have great wines.
Your choice of where to stay in Paris will probably also depend on the season.
Where to stay in Paris during the summer?
If you visit Paris during the summer, you should consider places where there are great parks.
The hotel will not be so important at this time of year because you will spend a good deal of your time outdoors.
Where to stay in the winter time?
If you want to take a trip in winter, you will likely concentrate more on visiting museums and careful to choose a hotel in the event of bad weather and would perhaps enjoy, for example, a sauna complex.