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 neighborhoods in Paris to visit for every kind of trip.
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 magnificent 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 to the Eiffel Tower, enjoying the glittering late night lights of the structure while tip toeing over the Pont des Arts or Pont Royal.
Paris Arrondissement Map
The 8 Best Neighborhoods in Paris
1st arrondissement: The City Center
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 Paris neighborhoods for tourism, will give you access to Paris attractions like the Rue de Rivoli, Île de la Cité (home to the Sainte-Chapelle chapel as well as the Notre Dame), Île Saint-Louis, the Louvre museum, the Les Halles neighborhood, plus a variety of Michelin starred restaurants and some of the most luxurious hotels in the world. 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.
For just one of Paris’s luxurious hotels, decked out in Art Deco, consider NOLINSKY Paris in the 1st arrondissement.
3rd/4th arrondissement: Le Marais
Another one of the best Paris neighborhoods is Le Marais, which covers the 3rd and 4th arrondissements of Paris. Le Marais’s central location, colorful artistic energy, and proximity to galleries and museums like the Centre Pompidou, makes this an ideal stomping ground for those visiting Paris and looking for one of the city’s charming neighborhoods 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 here, 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 Centre Pompidou, Paris’s modern art museum, is located in Le Marais, surrounded by 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. 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.
For a taste of Le Marais luxury, splurge on a stay at Sinner Paris, a luxury hotel in Paris’s 3rd arrondissement. For a budget hotel option, we recommend the boutique hotel, Hôtel Caron de Beaumarchais.
6th arrondissement: Saint Germain des Prés
Saint Germain des Prés in the 6th arrondissement is located right across the Seine from the 1st arrondissement, so you can hop between them over the Pont du Carrousel 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 Champs 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, 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 Flor and Les Deux Magots.
Saint-Germain-des-Prés’s L’Hôtel, the world’s first boutique hotel (known for being the place where Oscar Wilde died), is located in this upscale Left Bank Paris neighborhood, and is a great option for making your stay in Paris extra special.
5th arrondissement: Latin Quarter
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, is 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, 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 hidden garden of the Grande Mosquée de Paris, or go for a midnight showing of The Rocky Horror Picture Show at Studio Galande.
For a 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.
10th arrondissement: Canal Saint-Martin
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.
11th arrondissement: Rue Oberkampf
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 rooftop views in Paris at 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.
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 here.)
18th arrondissement: Pigalle and Montmartre
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. Just be warned—pickpockets abound around the Sacré Coeur, and Montmartre can get a little sketchy late at night after the tourists go back to their hotels.
Consider a reasonably priced 4-star boutique hotel like Maison Barbès if you stay in the 18th arrondissement.
20th arrondissement: Belleville
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.
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.
Neighborhoods in Paris – Frequently Asked Questions
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.