All the clichés about Paris are true – stylish, romantic, glamorous and utterly compelling. Yet it retains surprises that continue to delight even the most seasoned visitors. The landscape of the city changes as you cross from quartier to quartier. From historic St-Germain to the vibrant Marais, Paris is abuzz with bars and cafés. But where should you base yourself when you visit? Whatever kind of trip you’re planning, this guide will help you pick where to stay in Paris.
Around the Champs-Elysées - for shopping & dining
You’ll find some of the city’s most famous landmarks around the Champs-Elysées, including the Place de la Concorde, Tuileries Gardens and the Arc de Triomphe. It’s also one of the most exclusive parts of Paris, home to an array of luxury hotels and high-fashion shops.
At the lower end of the ChampsElysées is the Grand Palais — a grandiose Neoclassical building with a fine glass and ironwork cupola. It was created for the 1900 Exposition Universelle. The cupola forms the centrepiece of the nef (nave) — a huge, impressive exhibition space, used for large-scale installations, fashion shows and trade fairs.
In the north wing of the building is the Galeries Nationales, Paris’s prime venue for major art retrospectives.
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- Best for Eiffel Tower views: Hôtel De Sers Champs Elysées Paris. This chic hotel offers swish rooms with sleek decor and flashes of quirky colour. Some top-floor suites have fabulous panoramic terraces. Hotel de Sers is a 5-minute walk from public transit, which gives guests access to all of Paris’s famous sites.
Where to stay in Champs-Elysées:
- Best if you're feeling flush: Le Bristol Paris - an Oetker Collection Hotel. Le Bristol Paris - an Oetker Collection Hotel is located in the prestigious rue du Faubourg Saint Honoré. This area is renown for art galleries and shopping, with famous brands such as Gucci and Hermès found nearby.
Marais - best central area
Full of splendid old mansions, narrow lanes, designer boutiques and buzzing bars and restaurants, the Marais is one of Paris’s more striking quartiers. This chic district also holds a slew of sleek galleries, and the old Jewish quarter centred on rue des Rosiers. You'll also find here a number of excellent museums, not least the splendid Musée Picasso.
The Centre Pompidou’s radical “inside-out” architecture looks just as ground-breaking as it did when it first opened in the 1970s, and its modern art museum is a knockout.
The opening of the Centre Pompidou gave rise to some violent reactions. Since then, however, it has won over critics and public alike. Architects Renzo Piano and Richard Rogers freed up maximum space inside by placing all infrastructure outside.
The transparent escalator on the front of the building, giving access to the Musée National d’Art Moderne, affords superb views over the city.
The Place des Vosges, at the eastern end of rue des Francs-Bourgeois, is a masterpiece of aristocratic elegance. It is a grand square of symmetrical pink brick and stone mansions built over arcades.
It stands hidden by chestnut trees in the middle of the grass and gravel gardens at the square’s centre. The gardens are popular with families on weekends.
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- Best for medieval meets bordello: Hôtel Bourg Tibourg. Boasting a garden, Hôtel Bourg Tibourg is situated in Paris in the Ile de France region, less than 1 km from Pompidou Centre and a 10-minute walk from Notre Dame Cathedral. This 4-star hotel offers a 24-hour front desk, room service and free WiFi. The hotel has family rooms.
Where to stay in Marais:
- Best for bold fusion: Hôtel du Petit Moulin. Located in the Marais district of Paris, Hotel du Petit Moulin is a boutique hotel entirely decorated by Christian Lacroix. The Picasso Museum is only 300 m away and Notre Dame is 1.5 km from the hotel.
Quartier Latin - a budget-friendly stay in Paris
The Quartier Latin has been associated with students ever since the Sorbonne was established in the thirteenth century. Many colleges remain in the area to this day, along with some fascinating vestiges of the medieval city.
Some of the quarter’s student chic may have worn thin in recent years as rents have risen, but this is still one of the most relaxed areas of Paris.
Just off “La Mouff” — the city’s famed rue Mouffetard market has now mostly given over to classy food shops. This authentic market is set around the pretty Monge fountain and sells fabulous, pricey produce. Organic stalls on Sundays.
Sorbonne University is a public research university located in Paris. The institution's legacy reaches back to 1257 when Sorbonne College was established as one of the first universities in Europe.
The Faculty of Arts and Humanities has its sites in the heart of the Latin Quarter and in the north of the city.
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- Best for traditional and homely vibes: Hôtel des Grandes Ecoles. A cobbled private lane leads through to a big surprise: a large and peaceful garden, right in the heart of the Quartier Latin, with the feel of a country house. Hotel des Grandes Ecoles is set in Paris, in the 5th arr. District. Located around 900 m from Notre Dame Cathedral, the hotel is also 1.6 km away from Opéra Bastille.
Where to stay in Quartier Latin:
- Best for the cash-strapped: Hôtel Marignan. Ideally situated in the historical Latin Quarter in central Paris, the Marignan is just 600 m from Luxembourg Gardens. It offers budget accommodation with free high-speed fibre optic connection. This welcoming budget hotel, in the same family for three generations, is totally sympathetic to the needs of rucksack-toting foreigners.
St-Germain - for a bohemian atmosphere
St-Germain, the westernmost section of Paris’s Left Bank, has long been famous as the haunt of bohemians and intellectuals. A few famous cafés preserve a strong flavour of the old times, but the dominant spirit these days is elegant, relaxed and seriously upmarket.
Fronting onto rue de Vaugirard, the Jardin du Luxembourg is the chief green space of the Left Bank. Its atmosphere is a beguiling mixture of the formal and the relaxed. At the centre, the round pond and immaculate floral parterres are overlooked by the haughty Palais du Luxembourg, the seat of the French Senate.
Students sprawl on the garden’s famous metal chairs. Children sail toy yachts, watch the puppets at the Guignol, or run about in the playgrounds. Old men play boules or chess. The southwest corner is dotted with the works of famous sculptors.
The shady Fontaine de Médicis, in the northeast corner, is a pleasant place to sit, and there’s a delightful café nearby the central pond. The pond is overlooked by the Palais du Luxembourg, seat of the French Senate.
The western side of the park is the more active area, with tennis courts and a puppet theatre that has been in the same family for the best part of a century, and still puts on enthralling shows. The quieter, wooded southeast corner ends in a miniature orchard of elaborately espaliered pear trees.
- Best for a quirky boutique: L’Hôtel. This hotel epitomizes louche Left Bank opulence, with twenty sumptuous rooms. Located in the historical district of Saint-Germain-des-Prés, this 5-star hotel features a hammam and an indoor swimming pool. It offers Baroque-style guest rooms equipped with a flat-screen TV and DVD player.
Where to stay in St-Germain:
- Best for a hotel with bohemian character: Hôtel de Nesle. Book for the themed rooms (some decorated with love-‘em-or-hate-‘em cartoon murals) and a charming courtyard garden. Hotel de Nesle is an original hotel located in the heart of Saint Germain des Près, just a 10-minute walk from the Louvre and a 15-minute walk from Notre Dame Cathedral. It is 500 m from Saint-Germain-des-Près Metro Station.
Montmartre - where to stay in Paris for couples
One of Paris’s most romantic quarters, Montmartre is famed for its association with artists like Renoir, Degas, Picasso and Toulouse-Lautrec. It long existed as a hilltop village outside the city walls, and today the steep streets around the Butte Montmartre, Paris’s highest point, preserve an attractively village-like atmosphere.
Though The Moulin Rouge's environs have lost the glamour they once had, you can’t help but be drawn towards the tatty red windmill. Its windows are filled with photos of beaming showgirls.
When Toulouse-Lautrec immortalized the Moulin Rouge in his paintings, it was one of many such bawdy, populist cabarets in the area. Nowadays, it survives on its reputation, offering expensive Vegas-style dinner-and-show deals.
- Best for a warm welcome: Hôtel des Arts Montmartre. This hotel manages that rare combination of homeliness and efficiency. Courteous staff and quiet and comfortable accommodation. Hôtel des Arts Montmartre is located in the centre of Paris, in the Montmartre district, a 9-minute walk from the Sacré-Coeur Basilica, is just 400 m from the Moulin Rouge and close to the Place du Tertre, made famous by generations of artists.
Where to stay in Montmartre:
- Best for a treat or retreat: Hôtel Particulier Montmartre. Boasting a restaurant, bar, garden and free WiFi, Hôtel Particulier Montmartre is situated in Paris, 1.4 km from Sacré-Coeur and 2.3 km from La Cigale Concert Hall. Featuring room service, this property also provides guests with a terrace.
Canal St-Martin and La Villette - for a mix of romantic and hipster vibe
La Villette and the Canal St-Martin, in the northeast of the city, were for generations the centre of a densely populated working-class district. Since then, they have undergone extensive renovation.
Today the quais have been made more appealing to cyclists, rollerbladers and pedestrians and the area is peppered with trendy cafés and bars. For those who like an up and coming vibe, this a where to stay in Paris.
- Best for the perfect setting: Le Citizen Hotel. An eco-friendly, beautifully designed hotel with just twelve rooms and great views of the canal. Set in Paris’s 10th district, near Place de la Republique, Le Citizen offers modern-designed accommodations and views of Saint-Martin Canal.
Where to stay in La Villette:
- Best for slick hostel beds: St Christopher's Inn Paris - Canal. This eye-catching, renovated former boat hangar overlooks the Bassin de la Villette. It has a lively bar, inexpensive restaurant, waterfront terrace, café, book exchange and dozens of activities. The Cité des Sciences is 950 m away while the Louvre Museum is a 20-minute metro ride away. Gare du Nord is a 15-minute metro ride away. Les Docks de Paris Event Venue is 2.6 km away.
Belleville and Ménilmontant - Paris' best cosmopolitan area
Northeastern Paris, comprising the Canal St-Martin, Belleville, Ménilmontant and La Villette, is one of the most diverse and vibrant parts of the city. It is home to sizeable ethnic populations, as well as students and artists.
You won't want to miss Père-Lachaise cemetery, the final resting place of numerous famous artists and writers. Or worth seeing is the leafy Canal St-Martin, with its trendy cafés and bars.
Some of the city’s best nightlife is concentrated on rues Oberkampf and Jean-Pierre Timbaud. While two attractive parks, the Buttes-Chaumont and Parc de Belleville, reward visitors with fine views over the city.
- Best for contemporary minimalism: Cosmos Hôtel. Hotel Cosmos is located in Paris, 700 m from Place de la République and 1.2 km from Père-Lachaise cemetery. Pompidou Centre is 1.6 km from Hotel Cosmos, while Opéra Bastille is 1.7 km from the property. Paris - Orly Airport is 15 km away.
Where to stay in Belleville:
- Best for an authentic Parisian experience: Babel Belleville. Featuring a bar and a shared lounge, Babel Belleville is set in Paris, 2.4 km from Gare de l'Est Metro Station and 2.6 km from Gare du Nord Metro Station. The hotel features family rooms.
Le Louvre - for a luxurious experience
The Louvre is one of the world’s truly great museums. Opened in 1793, during the Revolution, it soon acquired the largest art collection on earth, thanks to Napoleon’s conquests.
Today, it houses paintings, sculptures and precious art objects, from Ancient Egyptian jewellery to the beginnings of Impressionism. Separate from the Louvre proper, but within the palace, is the museum Les Arts Décoratifs.
The largest of the museum’s collections is its paintings. The early Italians are perhaps the most interesting, among them Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa. If you want to get near her, go during one of the evening openings, or first thing in the day. Other highlights of the Italian collection include two Botticelli frescoes and Fra Angelico’s Coronation of the Virgin.
- Best for a cultural experience in the heart of Paris: Cheval Blanc Paris & Dior Spa Cheval Blanc Paris. Boasting a bar, Cheval Blanc Paris & Dior Spa Cheval Blanc Paris is situated in Paris in the Ile de France region, 400 m from Louvre Museum and 400 m from Sainte-Chapelle. Located in the 1st arr. District, the property provides guests with access to an indoor pool, a fitness centre, a spa, and four restaurants.
Where to stay near Le Louvre:
- Best for a holiday in luxury: Nolinski Paris. Nolinski Paris is set in the 1st arr. District in Paris, 500 m from Tuileries Garden and within easy reach from the Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré shopping area. This Parisian 5-star hotel features a spa with a pool, a sauna, a hammam and massage rooms. In the spa, guests can enjoy La Colline beauty products.
South Pigalle - best area for a local Paris vibe
The southern slopes of Montmartre are bordered by the boulevards de Clichy and Rochechouart. At the Barbès end of bd Rochechouart crowds teem around the cheap Tati department stores.
African street vendors hawk textiles, watches and trinkets. The area where the two roads meet, around place Pigalle, has long been associated with sleaze, sex shops and shows.
The area is changing, however: the streets just south of place Pigalle have been rebranded SoPi (“South Pigalle”) and are now some of the city’s hippest. Most of the sleazy bars have closed and been replaced by trendy cocktail bars, bistros and organic grocers.
Rues de Douai, Victor-Massé and Houdon sport a large number of electric guitar and hi-fi shops. Rue des Martyrs is one of Paris’s most enjoyable gastro-streets.
- Best for enjoying the nightlife: Grand Pigalle Hotel. Located in Paris, Grand Pigalle Hotel is 550 m from the Moulin Rouge. This hotel offers free WiFi, air conditioning and luggage service. Grand Pigalle Hotel is 100 m from Pigalle Metro Station and 800 m from the Sacré-Coeur Basilica.
Where to stay in South Pigalle:
- Best for comfy relaxation: Hotel Saint-Louis Pigalle. Located in Paris, 800 m from Sacré-Coeur, Hotel Saint-Louis Pigalle boasts free WiFi throughout the property and a 24-hour reception desk. Opéra Garnier is 1.2 km from Hotel Saint-Louis Pigalle, while Tuileries Garden is 2.2 km from the property. Paris - Orly Airport is 17 km away.
Where to stay in Paris with kids
Big cities tend to have a good variety of cheap establishments. In small towns and rural areas, you may not be so lucky, particularly as the cheaper, family-run hotels find it increasingly hard to survive.
Swanky resorts, particularly those on the Côte d’Azur, have very high prices in July and August, but even these are still cheaper than Paris. If you’re staying for more than three nights in a hotel it’s sometimes possible to negotiate a lower price, particularly out of season.
Note that many family-run hotels close for two or three weeks a year in the low season. In smaller towns and villages they may also close for one or two nights a week, usually Sunday or Monday. Details are given where relevant in the text, but dates change from year to year; the best precaution is to phone ahead to be sure.
- Hôtel de Roubaix. This family-run budget hotel has been around for years (and started to look like it), but it's been given a complete lift with a bright new refurb. Vintage furniture and chandeliers are still dotted about the 53 small rooms, but the overall look is contemporary with a quirky touch lent by comic-book art on the walls. The staff are very welcoming and the location is pretty quiet, yet close to all the Marais action and the Pompidou Centre.
Best places to stay in Paris with kids:
- Hôtel De La Porte Dorée. A welcoming, family-friendly hotel tastefully refurbished by an American–French family. Preserves period features such as ceiling mouldings and fireplaces, and many of the furnishings are antique, but all rooms have private shower or bath, TV and comfy beds.
- Hôtel Saint-Charles. Located in the Butte-aux-Cailles quarter of Paris, just 1 km from Parc Montsouris, this hotel offers air-conditioned rooms and a bar with a terrace. The hotel’s reception desk is open 24 hours a day. Additional facilities available at the Saint-Charles include luggage storage and free newspapers.
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