What is the Best Arrondissement to Stay in: Paris Travel Tips

View on Eiffel Tower, Paris, France

Paris is a relatively small and compact city, but it fits a lot of character into a walkable metropolis that is easy to navigate by metro, bike, or on foot. You can have a completely different experience depending on where you stay in Paris, from a quiet, family-friendly tour of museums and beautiful Paris parks, to a raucous time out on the town at some of the coolest bars and restaurants in the city. Where you stay will heavily influence the experience you have, so here are some of our thoughts on the best arrondissement to stay in Paris, depending on your vacation needs.

Paris Arrondissements

There are twenty arrondissements, or districts, in Paris. They spiral around the city like the shell of a snail (just pretend you’re enjoying escargot the next time you get lost!). The first arrondissement is in the very heart of the city, and starts at kilometer zero, steps from the famous Notre Dame cathedral on Île de la Cité, and the higher the arrondissement number, the farther you are from the center. (Which doesn’t mean you’re far from some of the coolest Paris neighborhoods, many of which are farther away from central Paris, but easily accessible by nearly any metro station.)

On this list, you won’t find any Paris neighborhoods near the Eiffel Tower, which is located in the 7th arrondissement. That’s because this neighborhood tends to be crowded and expensive, and you can get your Eiffel Tower views from plenty of other locations in the city. (Perhaps from one of our favorite rooftop bars in Prais.) But staying in the 1st arrondissement gives you the option to take a leisurely stroll along the Seine river all the way from the Notre Dame to the Eiffel Tower and surrounding Champ de Mars, enjoying the glittering late night lights of the structure while tip toeing over the Pont des Arts or Pont Royal.

Paris Arrondissement Map

paris administrative map

The 10 Best Neighborhoods in Paris

  1. 1st arrondissement: The City Center
  2. 2nd arrondissement: Just Off-City Center
  3. 3rd arrondissement: Le Marais
  4. 4th arrondissement: Le Marais (part 2)
  5. 6th arrondissement: Saint Germain des Prés
  6. 5th arrondissement: Latin Quarter
  7. 10th arrondissement: Canal Saint-Martin
  8. 11th arrondissement: Rue Oberkampf
  9. 18th arrondissement: Pigalle and Montmartre
  10. 20th arrondissement: Belleville

1. 1st arrondissement: The City Center

Apartments on Ile Saint Louis, Notre Dame Cathedral on Ile de la Cite and Pont de la Tournelle over Seine river, Paris, France

First time visitors probably want to stay closer to Paris’s city center, especially if it is a short trip, to give you the opportunity to explore as many of the city’s famous tourist attractions as possible. Staying in the 1st arrondissement, one of the best neighborhoods for tourism, will give you access to famous landmarks like the Sainte-Chapelle chapel and the famous Notre Dame cathedral (both located on the Île de la Cité) and the Louvre Museum, plus a variety of Michelin starred restaurants and some of the most luxurious hotels in the world. When you stay in the 1st arrondissement, it’s no trouble to spend an afternoon wandering down the Rue Saint Honoré or the Rue de Rivoli, two of the best shopping streets in Paris, or popping in for a quick bite at Les Halles, a major Paris food market. Or you could spend some time exploring Paris’s two islands in the middle of the Seine River: Île Saint Louis and Île de la Cité. The downside of this is that it is a pricey neighborhood, and generally full of tourists, but will put you at the heart of everything.

Hotels in the 1st arrondissement

For one of Paris’s luxurious hotels, decked out in Art Deco, consider NOLINSKY Paris in the 1st arrondissement. For something a little less outrageous, the Hôtel Londres Saint-Honoré might be your speed. But there are very few budget hotel options in the 1st arrondissement, so be prepared to shell out if you plan on staying here.

2. 2nd arrondissement: Just Off-City Center

PARIS, FRANCE - MARCH 8, 2015: Galerie Vivienne (1823). Vivienne Covered Passage is 176 meters long, with shops, restaurants and tourist attraction.

The main drag through the 2nd arrondissement is the Rue Montorgeuil, where cafes, bakeries, wine shops, grocery stores, and cute little shops abound. This tiny neighborhood is very high end, but a little less bustling than the 1st arrondissement. This is a great place to explore the famous covered passages of Paris, like the Galerie Vivienne, Passage des Panoramas, and Passage du Grand Cerf. This is one of the best neighborhoods for high end shopping, and it offers easy access to attractions like the Louvre and Notre Dame by foot, and the Eiffel Tower, Champ de Mars, and Arc de Triomphe by metro.

Hotels in the 2nd arrondissement

Splurge on a room at the Hôtel du Sentier, with its elegant rooms and central location, if your stay in Paris brings you to the 2nd arrondissement. But for a more affordable option, consider something like the Hôtel Bonne Nouvelle. For a mid-range hotel option, the citizenM Paris Opera hotel offers a modern, funky vibe.

3. 3rd arrondissement: Le Marais

Fountain on Vosges square (Place des Vosges), Paris, France

Another one of the best Paris neighborhoods is Le Marais, which covers the 3rd and 4th arrondissements of Paris. The centrally located Marais neighborhood is distinguished by its colorful artistic energy and its proximity to chic art galleries and fantastic boutiques. The Marais is a great option for those visiting Paris and looking for a charming neighborhood with a lot going on. Le Marais is a Right Bank Paris neighborhood that was historically both Paris’s Jewish neighborhood, and Paris’s gayborhood. (Looking for a guide to gay Paris? Check out our favorite tour guide and our favorite Paris guidebook here.) Le Marais is a bit like a Parisian Soho, full of high end stores and art galleries, but with a plethora of nightlife options for folks of any gender or sexuality. The 3rd arrondissement offers great options for thrifting, falafel, and art all within walking distance. For calm moment in one of Paris’s gorgeous parks, take a stroll through the Place des Vosges and stop for a picnic in this beautiful historic garden. Then pop in to the Picasso Museum or one of the 3rd’s great restaurants or iconic cafes. And don’t forget to end your night, if you can, at Little Red Door, one of the most famous cocktail bars in the world.

Hotels in the 3rd arrondissement

For a taste of Le Marais luxury, splurge on a stay at Sinner Paris, a luxury hotel in Paris’s 3rd arrondissement. Or you might opt for the Pavillon de la Reine, a 5-star hotel right on the Place des Vosges. For a more affordable hotel option in the Marais, look to Hotel Georgette, with its quirky artistic vibe.

4. 4th arrondissement: Le Marais (part 2)

PARIS, FRANCE - 09 AUGUST, 2017: Stravinsky Fountain (1983) is a fountain with 16 works of sculpture. Sculptures spray water, representing works of composer Igor Stravinsky

When you cross through the beautifully manicured Place des Vosges, you’ll find the other half of the Marais neighborhood, the 4th arrondissement. This is one of the best neighborhoods to stay in Paris for modern art lovers, as it houses the spectacular Centre Pompidou museum, with its unmissable postmodern architecture–a far cry from the Gothic Notre Dame or the Neoclassical Arc de Triomphe. The 4th arrondissement cozies right up to the Seine river, encompassing the Île Saint Louis and overlooking the Île de la Cité. Pay a visit to the massive Renaissance Revival complex that makes up the Hôtel de Ville, Paris’s City Hall, and the surrounding courtyard, which is the site of rotating art installations and festivals. This fantastic location puts you just a short metro ride from anywhere in the city, which means you could enjoy your stay in Paris relaxing on a quiet side street, then pop over to any of the nearby metro stations and be at the Eiffel Tower or Arc de Triomphe in no time.

Hotels in the 4th arrondissement

For a budget hotel option in the 4th arrondissement, we recommend the small boutique hotel, Hôtel Caron de Beaumarchais. But for a truly unexpected experience, stay on the tiny Ile Saint Louis at the luxe Hotel des Deux-Iles, in the middle of the Seine.

5. 5th arrondissement: Latin Quarter

Paris, France - circa May, 2017: Latin Quarter. Narrow street of Paris among old traditional parisian houses and cafe

Right next to Saint-Germain-des-Prés is one of the undisputed best neighborhoods in Paris for the young and reckless or the old and historically inclined: the Latin Quarter. Home to the Sorbonne university, the Latin Quarter is largely a student neighborhood, packed with great street food and cheap eats, boutique hotels and cheap hostels alike, and unmissable landmarks like the Panthéon, Jardin des Plantes, and Boulevard Saint-Michel. It’s also home to the iconic Shakespeare & Co. bookstore with its eclectic Parisian charm, still a hub for writers and lovers of literature in Paris. For something a little off-menu, enjoy a tea service and hammam in the lovely garden of the Grande Mosquée de Paris, or go for a midnight showing of The Rocky Horror Picture Show at Studio Galande.

Hotels in the 5th arrondissement

The Hotel Monte Cristo in the 5th arrondissement stands out for its ultra-cool ambiance, luxurious features like a light-filled rum bar, and an indoor pool, offering a unique luxury hotel experience. For a centrally located mid-range hotel, opt for something like Hôtel Le Petit Paris, or opt for a bit of Latin Quarter luxury at the Maison Colbert, where a hotel room will easily cost you more than $300 per night. But you can also save money when you next visit Paris by targeting affordable hotels, like the Hôtel Europe Saint-Séverin.

6. 6th arrondissement: Saint Germain des Prés

Paris, France - September, 2006: The Cafe de Flore in Saint-Germain-des-Pres

Saint Germain des Prés in the 6th arrondissement is a relatively quiet neighborhood located right across the Seine from the 1st arrondissement, so you can hop between them over the Pont du Carrousel or Louvre Museum in no time. It’s also easy to get to the Eiffel Tower from the 6th, by taking a casual stroll through the 7th arrondissement and towards the Champ de Mars. Saint Germain is located next to the Latin Quarter, with the Jardin du Luxembourg bordering both Paris neighborhoods, and is part of the historic Left Bank, where famous writers, artists, and musicians lived and created during much of the mid-20th century. In Saint-Germain-des-Prés, one of the best neighborhoods for literary buffs, you can visit the famous stomping grounds of the 20th century’s great artistic minds, like Jean-Paul Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir, at bars and restaurants like Café de Flore and Les Deux Magots. This neighborhood is quite expensive, so be prepared to splurge on a hotel if you stay in the 6th arrondissement.

Hotels in the 6th arrondissement

Saint-Germain-des-Prés’s L’Hôtel, the world’s first boutique hotel (known for being the place where Oscar Wilde died), is located on a quiet street in this upscale Left Bank Paris neighborhood, and is a great option for making your stay in Paris extra special. But if you’re willing to spend upwards of $700 a night, you can lounge in absolute luxury at the Villa-des-Prés.

7. 10th arrondissement: Canal Saint-Martin

People hang out by the Canal Saint Martin in Paris. Beautiful sunset. MARCH 25, 2017.

For those looking for nightlife, trendy brunch spots, and innovative bars, there’s no better place than the Canal Saint-Martin, which shoots up through the 10th arrondissement, starting near the hub of République and ending at Le Bassin de la Villette in the northeast corner of the city.

Some favorite spots along the Canal Saint-Martin are Le Comptoir Général, one of the best bars in Paris (with brunch and markets as well); Le Paname, a comedy club where you can see performances in either French or English; Du Pain et des Idées, considered one of the best boulangeries in Paris; and Ten Belles, a beloved café with some of the best coffee in Paris. Basically, if it’s in a “best” category, it might be here. But just as fun as going out is grabbing a bottle of wine and some cheese, and sitting by the Canal Saint-Martin to people watch locals doing the same.

Hotels in the 10th arrondissement

There are dozens of affordable hotels by the Canal Saint-Martin, like the Hotel Garden Saint Martin and the Hotel Absolute. For something a little more upscale, book a room at Bloom House Hotel and Spa.

8. 11th arrondissement: Rue Oberkampf

Place de la République

For more of a trendy, local feel, consider going to the 11th arrondissement for your next stay in Paris. Formerly a largely immigrant neighborhood, the area has transformed into a hipster haven, full of places to go dancing, see live music, or enjoy a craft cocktail.

It’s the best Paris neighborhood for nightlife, and you can check out live music at Pop In or L’International, go dancing at Nouveau Casino or Le Marilyn, or enjoy some of the best views in Paris at the rooftop bar Le Perchoir Ménilmontant.

The 11th is full of life during the day, too. Just head over to Place de la République, surrounded by restaurants and shops, where you’ll either find vibrant protests or kids skateboarding and hanging out, depending on the day.

On Thursday and Sunday mornings, pop down to the Marché Bastille for the weekly food market, or visit the Place de la Bastille or Opéra Bastille, where the 11th arrondissement intersects with the 4th and 12th arrondissements.

You can also find quirky shops for thrifting or gift shopping, and don’t miss out on the Atelier des Lumières, an immersive art museum specializing in French Impressionist artists like Monet and Cézanne.

Hotels in the 11th arrondissement

Think about renting an Airbnb if you stay in the 11th, since there are plenty of chic, affordable options in this neighborhood. (Check out our guide to Paris Airbnbs.) But you can also opt for luxury at Maison Breguet, or mid-range comfort at the Hôtel Fabric.

9. 18th arrondissement: Pigalle and Montmartre

Cozy street with tables of cafe in Montmartre in Paris, France. Architecture and landmarks of Paris. Postcard of Paris

Rue des Martyrs on Paris’s right bank runs from the 9th arrondissement into the 18th arrondissement, through south Pigalle and into Paris’s former red light district. If hang out in the 18th arrondissement on your next stay in Paris, it will give you access to both Montmartre, the city’s historic bohemian artist haven, and Pigalle, a red light district that has kept the sex shops but bulked up on the vibrant nightlife, with jazz clubs and absinthe bars and all manner of fabulous restaurants.

This is where you’ll find both the Sacré Coeur and the Moulin Rouge, as well as painters cosplaying Van Gogh and Monet on top of the hill. Wander the cobblestone streets and admire the stunning architecture of the Montmartre neighborhood from sunup to sundown. Just be warned—despite the distracting Parisian charm of this neighborhood, pickpockets abound around the Sacré Coeur, and Montmartre can get a little sketchy late at night after the tourists go back to their hotels.

Hotels in the 18th arrondissement

Consider a reasonably priced 4-star boutique hotel like Maison Barbès if you stay in the 18th arrondissement. For something a step up, the Mom’Art Hotel is a charming contemporary hotel with modern amenities with mid-range prices. Montmartre is a great neighborhood in which to find affordable hotels, so even more upscale hotel options like Terrass”are relatively affordable.

10. 20th arrondissement: Belleville

PARIS, FRANCE -15 JUNE 2015- Graffiti art line the street walls and back alleys of the Belleville neighborhood between the 11th and 20th arrondissements of the French capital.

While Belleville might not have luxury hotels on the Seine river, it’s worth thinking about for your next stay in Paris. Though widely referred to as Paris’s Chinatown, it is strongly influenced by the city’s Vietnamese population, and you can get a bowl of phô or spring rolls almost anywhere on Boulevard de Belleville. (Everyone has an opinion on which restaurant has the best, though.)

On Tuesday and Friday mornings, pick up some Asian fruits and vegetables alongside your cheese and charcuterie at the Marché Belleville. Later on, stop for a pint and some people watching at Aux Folies, and check out some street art at the adjoining Rue Denoyez.

You can visit the graves of Jim Morrisson, Édith Piaf, and Marcel Proust at the Père Lachaise Cemetery, or take a charming (and less morbid) picnic in the Parc de Belleville. Though technically in the 19th arrondissement (but still in Belleville), Buttes Chaumont is one of the best parks in Paris, with steep, winding hills topped with romantic bridges and the Temple de la Sybille at the park’s highest point. While you’re there, stop for a drink at Rosa Bonheur.

Hotels in the 20th arrondissement

There are many affordable hotels, hostels, and Airbnbs in Belleville, so you’ll save a lot of money by staying a little farther out in the city. One high rated and affordable hostel is The People – Paris Belleville, bordering the 20th and 11th arrondissements. Mama Shelter Paris East is another great budget hotel for those looking for a design-oriented stay. There aren’t as many luxury hotels out in the 20th arrondissement, so look farther towards the city center if luxury is your priority.

Neighborhoods in Paris – Frequently Asked Questions

Where is the best area to stay in Paris for the first time as a tourist?

If you’re visiting Paris for the first time, staying in a centrally located arrondissement like the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, or 5th will put you close to major tourist attractions. Keep in mind that these neighborhoods can be quite expensive, however.

What is the coolest neighborhood in Paris?

The coolest neighborhoods in Paris are the 10th and 11th arrondissements near the Canal Saint-Martin and rue Oberkampf.

What is the safest arrondissement in Paris?

Quiet, upscale neighborhoods like the 16th arrondissement tend to be safer since they are far from pickpocket-heavy tourist sites.

What is the best neighborhood in Paris for families?

Quiet neighborhoods like the 13th and 14th are great for a low key family-friendly trip to Paris

What is the cheapest neighborhood in Paris?

More affordable neighborhoods tend to be close to the outskirts of Paris, like the 13th, 14th, 15th, and 17th arrondissements.

What is the best neighborhood in Paris for shopping?

Upscale shopping is centered in neighborhoods like the 1st, 2nd, and 7th, while there is great thrifting in the 3rd, 4th, 10th, and 11th.

Which arrondissement is sketchy in Paris?

Areas like Montmartre and Pigalle in the 18th arrondissement, and Ménilmontant and Belleville in the 20th arrondissement, can get a little sketchy at night. In general, you want to avoid the outermost reaches of the city, or any train stations or abandoned streets at night.

What is the most prestigious arrondissement in Paris?

The 1st and 2nd arrondissements are some of the most prestigious and expensive places to stay in Paris.

What is the best neighborhood in Paris for couple for a romantic stay?

For a romantic stay in Paris, you’ve definitely got options. Neighborhoods like the 1st and 6th arrondissements are fully of beautiful and historic architecture and experiences for you to share with a loved one.

What is the best arrondissement to stay in Paris for a more local experience?

For a more local experience, you want to look to the outer arrondissements of Paris. While many of them are more residential, neighborhoods like the 10th, 11th, and 20th arrondissements are very hip and have a vibrant, local vibe.

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