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Where to Stay in Paris: 5 Amazing Areas to Stay

Paris was one of my first international travel experiences after I graduated from college and left the US for the first time in my life. I took French for years in school, and I was incredibly excited to put it to good use in Paris. I distinctly remember the first time I spoke French to a Parisian (she was the cashier at a gluten free bakery) and she spoke back to me in French, rather than English (which was the norm, at that point). I was elated – I’d finally made it! 

That elation continued for me throughout that first trip to Paris, which was full of walks along the Seine and museum-hopping, and immediately returned when I visited again two years later. 

That second trip was much less about hitting every museum, and much more about getting lost in the winding streets of Paris’ neighborhoods (my friends who I was traveling with still gripe about the fact that we got “lost” so many times in Paris, to which I would say “is getting lost in Paris a bad thing?”).

Fast forward almost a decade, and the ultra-romantic, cosmopolitan city filled with incredible food, art, and architecture has called me back a few more times, including for a weeklong Parisian adventure that gave us plenty of time to immerse ourselves in the city. 

For those in the planning stages, the first question that usually comes to mind is where to stay in Paris. 

Paris is a huge city, which means a couple of things when it comes to planning your trip. You need to dedicate more than a day or two to see Paris (we recommend at least 4 days in Paris), you’ll want to be prepared to utilize Paris’ public transit system, and your decision about where to stay is going to have a relatively big impact on your trip. More so than a smaller city where most things are walkable, which is certainly not the case here. 

In this guide to where to stay in Paris, we’re going to cover five excellent areas to stay that would make a good home base for your trip to the City of Lights. We’ll give you our experience with the neighborhood, a list of pros and cons of staying in each area, our favorite discoveries in the area (think coffee shops, bars, and parks), and some cool places to stay. 

Our intention is that, by the end of it all, you’ll have the information you need to choose the perfect place to stay in Paris based on your particular style, budget, and preferences. 

Sound good to you? Let’s get into it. 

Disclaimer: Some of the links in this post, like hotel links, are affiliate links, meaning at no additional cost to you, we make a little bit of money if you click through and book. That being said, we would never recommend something to you that we don’t stand behind 100%.

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Where to Stay in Paris: A Complete Guide to 5 Perfect Areas to Stay

Our philosophy when it comes to choosing a place to stay is to first choose the neighborhood, then move on to finding a great hotel, hostel, or apartment in that area. 

The beauty of Paris, like most big cities, is that each neighborhood has a unique personality. The best neighborhood in Paris for you totally depends on what you’re looking for. 

The downside of that fact is that it can be REALLY confusing when it comes time to decide on where to stay. 

With so many great neighborhood options, each with their own quirks and unique charm, which area should you choose? 

It seems impossible to do, but we’ve narrowed down the list of the best places to stay in Paris to just five neighborhoods. 

The reality is that, depending on what you’re looking for, there are other neighborhoods that probably meet your needs. But these are the five that we think are the best for 99% of travelers, and we’ve shown our work, doing our best to explain why we think that. 

For each of the five neighborhoods, we’ve created a structure to help you figure out if it’s the right home base for you. Here’s what we’ll cover: 

  • An overview of the neighborhood and our experience with it. We’ve personally been to and explored (more than once) all of the areas on this list, so we’ll try to give you a little bit of our perspective on what makes each area special. 

  • Pros and cons of staying in this area. The things you need to know to make your decision. 

  • A rating out of 50. This is a new thing we’re trying, and it involves scoring each area on location, bars and restaurants, transit connections, choice of hotels, and value, and assigning a score out of ten for each of those elements. It’s completely subjective, of course, but it’s our best way of organizing this for you!

  • Highlights of the neighborhood. Coffee shops, restaurants, parks, etc that we enjoyed, and think you probably will too.

  • A collection of a few places to stay that stood out to us. Sometimes it’ll be because they have rooms with Eiffel Tower views, sometimes it’s that the hotel offers a great value given the location.

One quick note here: We’d really suggest that you avoid staying in either the 8th Arrondissement (which is where you’ll find the Champs-Élysées) and the 1st Arrondissement (which is where you’ll find the Louvre – we loved this tour at closing time that we did last trip). Neither are worth the premium price you’ll pay to stay there, though you’ll undoubtedly visit both over the course of your time in Paris. 

Now, we’re well aware that a few of you are currently ready to throw your left shoe at the screen, saying “I don’t have time to read all of that, JUST TELL ME THE BEST PLACE TO STAY!” 

Well, here’s a quick summary of this guide if you’re short on time (though we’d recommend reading the section of the place you end up staying for tips and places to add to your list!). 

  • If it’s your first time in Paris, our recommendation is that you stay either in the 7th Arrondissement at the feet of the Eiffel Tower, or in Le Marais, the heart of medieval Paris. In the 7th Arrondissement, either splurge on a room with a view of the Eiffel Tower or stay in the more affordable standard rooms at Hôtel Duquesne Eiffel. In Le Marais, stay at the (relatively) affordable Hôtel National Des Arts et Métiers

  • If you’re looking for a cool neighborhood with lots of food and drinks, stay in the 2nd Arrondissement, our new personal favorite after our last trip. It’s also super central, which helps. Stay at the Hoxton, a gorgeous boutique hotel in a fantastic location with a variety of room sizes to choose from, or at these apartments, which is where we stayed for part of our last trip. 

  • If you’re on a budget and looking for an affordable area, stay in the 9th Arrondissement, which is central and affordable with great nightlife. For what it’s worth, we stayed in the 9th on our last two trips (first at the super affordable Hotel Joyce, then at the excellent Maison Mère), and it was a great home base for exploring the city. Plus, a bunch of our favorite wine bars / coffee shops / restaurants in Paris turned out to be in the 9th (or on the border), which is a major pro for staying here.

  • If you’re looking for a romantic getaway, you should absolutely stay in Montmartre (the 18th Arr.), where you’ll find cobblestone streets and a former village on a hill above Paris that has since been swallowed up by the ever-expanding city. It has all the charm of a medieval village straight out of a fairy tale, but the location up on the hill is a little further out than some people might prefer (especially if it’s a shorter trip). Stay at Terass (that rooftop bar looks incredible), or the bohemian Hôtel Monsieur Aristide

Where We’ve Stayed in Paris

Our own personal experience might be a good place to start this guide. 

For what it’s worth, we spent a week in Paris on our trip in 2021 and we split our time between two different areas to get a feel for both. Then, Matt returned to Paris solo in 2022, where he spent part of his time in a favorite from the first trip. 

We spent the first half of our week in Paris in the 9th Arrondissement, which is a budget-friendly, central location. We found it to be the perfect home base for Paris, and realized that some of our favorite food and drinks were in the neighborhood, so Matt decided to stay here again when he came back a year later (almost to the day).

We liked Hotel Joyce, which has free snacks and non-alcoholic beverages and is a great value given the location.

But the real star of the show is Maison Mère, which might be the best hotel in Paris that is still relatively affordable. Matt stayed there for a couple of nights on his latest trip, and loved it – the staff are super friendly, the beds are comfortable (though the rooms are relatively small, which is the case for most modern hotels), and there’s a co-working space and bar and restaurant on the ground floor. 

The second place we stayed was the 2nd Arrondissement, which we fell head-over-heels in love with.

Specifically, the areas called “Sentier” and “Montorgueil” at the northern end of the neighborhood. We stayed in an apartment-hotel called My Maison in Paris, and it was excellent. Perfect location, has a kitchen, and the apartment had everything we needed to use it as a home base for exploring the city. 

Now, onto a more in-depth analysis of different neighborhoods in Paris to help you find the perfect one for your style and budget.

While you’re in Paris, you’re probably going to want to see some of the main sights, like the Louvre.

Don’t miss the our favorite tours in Paris with Take Walks. We did this tour of the Louvre at closing time with them, and it was a highlight of our last trip to Paris in 2022.

If you’re going to do a tour of the Louvre in Paris, we’d do it with Take Walks.

We’ve now done at least four tours with them over our travels the past few years – you can read about our experience on their “Closing Time at the Louvre” tour here

Le Marais (the 3rd & 4th Arrondissements): The Best Overall Place to Stay in Paris

We don’t think it’s particularly controversial to say that Le Marais is the best place to stay in Paris. It’s within walking distance of every big tourist attraction in Paris (with the exception of the Eiffel Tower, I suppose), there’s a great selection of places to eat and drink, and its proximity to Les Halles makes getting around (and getting to and from the airport or Versailles) a breeze. 

It’s also home to the best covered food market in Paris (Les Enfants Rouges), a couple of excellent public parks (we like Place des Vosges, the oldest square in Paris), and some of Paris’ most famous museums (Picasso, for example). 

Le Marais includes two arrondissements – the 3rd and the 4th – and the layout here is a little bit confusing to us because the 4th is the part that’s closer to the river, while the third is further north (and thus further away from the river). We’d have swapped them if we were in charge of Paris’ layout, but we’re not, so here we are. 

Between the two, we’re big fans of the 3rd Arrondissement, which is a little further from the river, but has a much more down-to-earth vibe, and a better selection of places to eat and drink. The 4th has a little bit more of a commercial feeling, with big chains and a never ending sea of people. 

Pros and Cons of Staying in Le Marais

Pros of Staying in Le Marais: 

  • It’s super central. You’ll be roughly equidistant to the Louvre and Notre Dame, and you’ll be well connected to a bunch of different metro lines that can get you to other parts of the city quickly and efficiently.

  • Great food and nightlife. The narrow streets of Le Marais are packed with all sorts of bars and restaurants. You’ll find some of the best coffee in ParisKawa, Fragments, and I/O Cafe – along with great bars (La Candelaria) and restaurants of all shapes, sizes, and foods. Plus, the best market in Paris – Le Marché des Enfants Rouges – is in the heart of the neighborhood. You could easily spend an entire trip JUST in Le Marais.
     
  • It feels like what Paris looks like in your mind’s eye. Or at least mine, anyway. Narrow streets lined with shops, bars, and restaurants. It’s super romantic and charming. 

Cons of Staying in Le Marais:

  • It can be pricey. It’s conveniently located and in high demand, which means you’re going to pay a little extra to stay here. If you’re on a budget but still want to stay nearby, consider either Opéra (the 9th) or Canal St. Martin (the 10th), which are both nearby.

  • It can be loud. Depending on where exactly you stay, there could be loud music and people out and about until the early hours of the morning, but honestly, it’s Paris. That’s going to be true in a lot of places, so bring some earplugs and embrace the energy. 

Neighborhood Ratings for Le Marais

  • Location: 10/10. It’s central, and walking distance to many of Paris’ main sights. 

  • Bar & Restaurant Selection: 10/10. Especially in the 3rd, where the concentration of great places to eat and drink – both alcohol and coffee – is essentially unparalleled in the city. 

  • Transit Connections: 10/10. Multiple metro lines AND the RER (which will take you to the airports), which stops at Les Halles. 

  • Choice of Hotels: 10/10. This area is packed with hotels. And there are a ton of good ones. 

  • Value: 7/10. Of course, with 10’s across the board on the metrics above, something’s gotta give, right? Here, it’s value. Staying here is going to be both amazing and expensive.

Total Rating: 47/50

Highlights of Le Marais

Here are some places in Le Marais that we love, and think you might too. 

  • Marché des Enfants Rouges: We’ve now mentioned this place a few times, and for good reason. If you have the time, you should definitely swing by for lunch on one of your days in Paris. 

  • Kawa: This coffee is so good, I’ve ordered it to be shipped to me here in the States. Multiple times. Last time I was in Paris, I found myself here a couple of different times, and it didn’t disappoint. If you’re a coffee nerd, they have different coffee options prepared as either filter or espresso, along with a huge selection of both beans to take home, and brewing equipment. 

  • Place De La République: A bustling square with an important metro station and a big monument in the center. A corner turns into a skatepark in the afternoon, which makes for some really good people watching. 

  • Square du Temple – Elie Wiesel: We’re big fans of this green space, which is a bit of an oasis in the middle of the most bustling part of the neighborhood. 

  • Sainte-Chapelle: Technically, this cathedral is in the 1st Arrondissement (because it’s on the Île de la Cité in the middle of the Seine), but we’re including it here because it’s two minutes from the 4th Arrondissement. If you’re into stained glass, DO NOT MISS this place. It’s incredible. Book your tickets in advance here, and be prepared to wait in line despite your pre-booking if you’re there in the summer. 

The Best Places to Stay in Le Marais

Here are a few places to stay in Le Marais that caught our eye. 

Hôtel National Des Arts et Métiers: Our #1 Pick in Le Marais

This hotel, which is somewhere between a mid-range and boutique hotel (we’d say a little of both), is our number one choice in Le Marais, and we’ve bookmarked it for our next trip to Paris. 

Here’s why. 

The location could not be better. It’s in Le Marais, but it’s on the border of the 2nd Arrondissement, which SPOILER ALERT is the next area we’d recommend, and has quickly become our favorite part of Paris because of the sheer number of great places to eat and drink packed into the area around Rue de Montorgueil. 

The view from the rooftop looks amazing. Imagine a sunset cocktail with that view of Sacré-Cœur up on the hill. 

The hotel is designed around an interior courtyard, which is very Parisian to us. 

The rooms are designed beautifully. 

The price should probably be higher than it is (remember, we’re talking relative price here – this is the center of Paris after all).

The rooms are modern and stylish, with Nespresso machines and a mini bar in each room. Even the smallest room is relatively spacious at over 200 square feet, and the space is both well thought out and gorgeous. Some rooms also have balconies. 

Overall, if you want a stylish place to stay in Paris that is walking distance to great places to eat and drink, but you don’t want to break the bank to get it, this would be a great choice. 

Hôtel de Roubaix: The Best Value in Le Marais

As we noted above, staying in this very central part of Paris isn’t going to be the cheapest. However, we were surprised at how affordable the rates at Hôtel de Roubaix are given its location. 

Sure, it’s not the most luxurious stay in Paris. But it’s hard to think of a better price/location combination in Paris. You’ll be a few blocks from a key metro station, Chatelet les Halles (the train station that connects you with Paris’ main airport, Charles de Gaulle), and a quick walk to the heart of le Marais. 

All at a relatively affordable rate. 

So what’s the catch?

Well, rooms are simple, and while the words “no frills” get thrown around a lot, we think they very much apply here. Rooms are small and colorful, and almost remind us more of hostels we’ve stayed in than a hotel. However, each room does have a private bathroom. The furniture in each room isn’t particularly stylish, but it’s functional. 

The point is, it’s hard to find a better value in Paris. If you’re willing to go light on the extra luxurious amenities that come with many hotels in Paris, this place would be an excellent home base. 

Les Tournelles: Another Great Value in Le Marais 

The whole concept at this mid-range hotel in Le Marais is bringing together the services of a hotel with the ambiance of a home, so you can feel comfortable even when you’re thousands of miles away from your real home. 

The location is great. It’s a block from Place des Vosges (an excellent park), and a 10 minute walk from both the river, and our favorite part of Le Marais and the Marché des Enfants Rouges. 

They only have a couple of room types – one double bed, two twin beds, one twin bed – which takes away the stress of making a decision between the “standard,” “comfort,” and “superior” room types. 

It’s a small hotel, with just 24 rooms, which means you’re going to get personalized service. Rooms are simple and compact, but the price reflects that. Again, if you’re willing to forgo the fuzzy slippers and bathrobes, this would make a great home base for a few days of exploring. 

Sentier & Montorgueil (the 2nd Arrondissement): Our Favorite Part of Paris (Great Food & Drinks)

While the 1st Arrondissement (also called “Louvre”) is a little too manicured and touristy for our tastes, we spent the better part of a week in the 2nd Arrondissement on our last trip to Paris in 2021 (at My Maison Sentier, which we wholeheartedly recommend), and fell in love with it for a couple of different reasons.

First and foremost, you could pretty easily spend a couple of days exploring the neighborhood, which has a couple of great stretches including Rue de Montorgueil, a street that comes alive at night with a youthful, contagious energy. 

Perhaps more importantly, we basically walked everywhere when we were using the area as a home base. Canal St. Martin? We walked. Le Marais and the Marche des Enfants Rouges? We walked. The Louvre? Walked. The list goes on. 

The point is, this area is super central to basically everything you’ll want to visit during your time in Paris, though it’s not immediately adjacent to any one main attraction. And what you can’t walk to, you’ll be able to hop on the metro (there are two main lines that serve this part of the city and connect you elsewhere – 8 and 11) and be there in less than 20-25 minutes flat.

We specifically would recommend the area called “Sentier,” which is a little corner of the 2nd that we stayed in and loved. Anywhere within a couple of blocks of Sentier or Rue Montergueil at the north eastern end of the neighborhood (which is the furthest from the Seine, but oddly the most central feeling thanks to its proximity to Le Marais and Canal St. Martin) will do just fine, though.

Pros and Cons of Staying in the 2nd Arrondissement

Pros of Staying in the 2nd Arrondissement

  • It’s central, walkable, and well connected thanks to two metro lines that will take you to the other parts of Paris that are a bit far to visit on foot (like the Eiffel Tower or Arc de Triomphe, for example).

  • It’s packed with bars, restaurants, and coffee shops, including the place that tops our list of best coffee shops in Paris

Cons of Staying in the 2nd Arrondissement

  • It’s a bit expensive, but not really any more so than other parts of central Paris.

  • It’s loud and boisterous, which can be a downside if you’re like us and you value your sleep when, on summer evenings, the party pours out in the streets and plazas. 

Honestly, not too many cons that we can think of. It’s not immediately adjacent to any one tourist attraction, but that’s BARELY a con in our book. 

Neighborhood Ratings for the 2nd Arrondissement

  • Location: 9/10. It’s a little further from the river, which means it’s further from places like the Louvre and Eiffel Tower.

     
  • Bar & Restaurant Selection: 10/10. The area – particularly along Rue Montorgueil – is absolutely packed with great places to eat and drink. Walk through here at 9:00 pm to really feel the energy. 

  • Transit Connections: 10/10. Multiple metro lines run through the 2nd, and you’ll be able to go just about anywhere you want to go in Paris within 15 minutes or so. 

  • Choice of Hotels: 9/10. Not as good as, say, Le Marais or the 9th, but there’s still a solid selection of places to stay, including some nice serviced apartments. 

  • Value: 8.5/10. This area is a bit pricier than you’d expect, considering it’s not along the river. 

Total Rating: 46.5/50

2nd Arrondissement Highlights

Oh so many! Here are some of our favorite spots in the 2nd

  • Substance Café: If you like coffee even a little bit, this place will make you fall in love with it. Joachim, the owner and a decorated barista in France (he joked that he’s known for coming in second in France’s barista competitions), is about as passionate about coffee as anyone I’ve ever met (and as knowledgeable, too). This is not your usual café experience, where you briefly interact with the barista for a hot second when you place your order (maybe you even exchange a few sentences trying to decide which coffee you want to try as a pour over). There are no cups to go here – it’s all served at the counter of the minimalist coffee bar. You can choose from the coffee of the day, made as an espresso (with or without milk) or a filter coffee prepared right in front of you with commentary on how it’s being prepared (down to the grams of water per pour and water temperature, which us coffee nerds appreciate). It tops the list of best places to get coffee in Paris for a reason. It’s an immersive, slow coffee experience in a city known for being vite vite vite all of the time.

  • Ma Cave Fleury: Two words for you: Champagne. Bar. This is the storefront of a historic champagne house where you can try a bunch of different kinds (and vintages) of champagne. If you like bubbles like us, this is a fun spot to learn about the process and try some different expressions of champagne.

  • Basically all of Rue Montergueil: It’s worth walking down the bustling street that is Rue Montergueil at least once, preferably after dark when it really comes alive. Anything you could possibly want you can probably find here. Restaurants of all kinds (especially if you include all the little side streets that branch off). We like Kapunka for Thai and Grom for the best gelato around (both happen to be 100% gluten free, but you’d never know it). Chez Bouboule is a fun bar where you can play Petanque, a characteristically French game that, to the untrained eye, looks very similar to bocce (right down to the demographics who play, which is old men). 

The Best Places to Stay in Sentier & Montorgueil

Here are a few places to stay in the 2nd Arrondissement that caught our eye. 

The Hoxton Paris: An Ultra Charming Boutique Hotel

First of all, it’s worth noting that we’re basically in love with Hoxton hotels. They’re always warm and welcoming and unbelievably stylish. And the hotel bar is always a good time. It’s not going to be the cheapest option on this list, but it’s probably the nicest – not to mention coolest – hotel in the 2nd. 

This charming boutique hotel sits at the border of the 9th Arrondissement and the 2nd, putting you even closer to all the sights while enjoying a quieter setting. This is an 18th Century residence that has been artfully transformed into one of the coolest hotels in Paris.

It’s mere blocks from the northern end of Rue de Montorgueil, and a couple of blocks from the Strasbourg Saint Denis metro station, which has a few lines that will take you all over Paris. 

The design of the hotel is something like vintage-yet-modern, with a contemporary design and friendly vibe. They have multiple onsite bars and restaurants, from the brasserie on the ground floor, to the natural wine bar in the courtyard, to the cocktail bar accessed by an old spiral staircase (could you BE any more charming??). 

When it comes to rooms, you’re going to find compact spaces that are beautiful, and designed to make the most of the space to offer you a place to rest, and not much else. Rather than offering big, spacious rooms, they (along with other modern hotel chains) have decided to invest in inviting common spaces instead, which is where you can get some work done or do some reading. 

Choose from a range of room options, from downright tiny (“the shoebox”) to more spacious (“biggy”). The space is used well, so you won’t feel cramped. Plus, won’t you be out exploring Paris anyway?

If it’s a special occasion, book a top-floor room for a spectacular view of Paris – there’s even one with an Eiffel Tower view. 

Le 123 Sébastopol: A Great Mid-Range Option in the 2nd

This charming hotel is owned by the same group as the place we stayed in the 9th (more on that place below), but it’s a completely different vibe. While the place we stayed was effervescent and exciting, Le 123 Sébastopol is more sophisticated and modern. 

However, many of the reasons we chose to stay at another one of their hotels apply here too. They have free non alcoholic drinks in the rooms, and free snacks and drinks in the lobby for happy hour in the afternoon. 

They have a breakfast buffet (15 Euros a person, cheaper if you book in advance) and the cavernous, glass-ceilinged room you eat in is gorgeous. 

Rooms are small, simple, and decorated around the cinema theme that you’ll find throughout the hotel. The higher room tiers have balconies, and you can also find rooms with two twin beds and family rooms (which are just two adjoined rooms). 

Overall, a solid option in a nice location. Which is pretty par for the course with Astohotel. 

My Maison in Paris – Sentier: Great Apartments in the Heart of the 2nd (Where We Stayed)

Tucked away on a little plaza between Rue de Montergueil and Rue St. Denis, this apartment hotel is a gem. We generally need a kitchen when we travel thanks to Matt having Celiac Disease, so we look for places that have a full kitchen (stovetop included) as an amenity. 

Plus, the extra space that an apartment gives you versus a hotel room is nice when we spend a couple hours siesta-ing after mornings of sightseeing. 

Anyway, the point is that My Maison in Paris Sentier has everything you’ll need for a comfortable stay in Paris. They have studios, which is what we stayed in, along with larger apartments with more space, and each unit has a kitchen, washing machine, and a comfortable bed. 

They arranged a contactless check-in with us in advance, and it was as smooth as can be. They were readily available for a question that came up. 

The apartment was stocked with all the dishes we might need (mugs, espresso cups, plates, silverware), a Nespresso machine and some pods (if you want a quick cup of coffee in the morning before heading out), and even a dishwasher, which was a big surprise. 

Plus, there’s a printer so you can print boarding passes and other important things for your onward journey, which I can honestly say is a first in an apartment. 

Hotel Lucien: A Budget-Friendly Stay in a Great Location

Hotel Lucien is a few things.

Relatively affordable (in a city where that’s not the case for many places).

Simple, with minimal bells and whistles (think no robes and slippers) that you’ll find at other hotels.

And charming, with just 22 rooms in a small, 17th Century building. 

The location is good (for reference, it’s a block away from the apartment we stayed at in the area), a block or two away from an important metro station (Strasbourg Saint Denis) on the border between the 2nd and 10th Arrondissements. From here, you can easily walk to Rue Montorgeuil, or over to Canal St. Martin, which is another one of our favorite areas in Paris. 

The rooms themselves are small and minimalist. There is no TV in the room (which is fine because you’ll be out experiencing Paris anyway!), and the furniture leans practical rather than ornamental. They have a few different configurations, including a double bed or two twins. 

This is a small hotel, so there’s no onsite restaurant or bar, or rooftop terrace. It’s a simple, affordable place to stay within walking distance of a bunch of great places to eat, drink, and shop. 

Opéra / South Pigalle (the 9th Arrondissement): The Best Value in Central Paris

Paris’ Opéra district extends from the Opéra Garnier in the south to the foot of Montmartre in the north, providing a fantastic location that’s well-connected to the rest of the city, especially ideal for those who plan to catch a show at the Opéra. 

We spent the first half of our week in Paris in the 9th Arrondissement in 2021, which is a budget-friendly, central location. We found it to be the perfect home base for Paris, and realized that some of our favorite food and drinks were in the neighborhood, so Matt decided to stay here again when he came back a year later (almost to the day).

We think this is probably the best combination of location and affordability in Paris, which is why we’ve chosen to stay here on our past two trips.

However, while we once believed it was all about the value, as we’ve spent more time here, we’ve come to appreciate that it’s also packed full of cool places to eat and drink, especially in SoPi, which is the area immediately south of the Pigalle Metro Station (“SoPi” is an acronym for “South of Pigalle”, roughly). 

To summarize, a good value with lots of great places to eat and drink – what’s not to love? 

Pros and Cons of Staying in Opéra / South Pigalle

Pros of Staying in Opéra / South Pigalle

  • It’s relatively affordable. It’s still Paris – you’re still going to be spending more than 100 Euros per night, but it’s more affordable than more central neighborhoods like the 7th, Le Marais, and Saint Germain. We’d say that it’s the most affordable of Paris’ central neighborhoods (roughly the first 9 arrondissements).

  • There are a bunch of great hotels AND they’re relatively affordable. This area is packed with a nice range of hotels, from chain hotels to single-location boutique hotels, and from budget hotels to luxury hotels. There are a bunch of great options here, and we’ll cover a few (including the ones we’ve stayed in) below. 

Cons of Staying in Opéra / South Pigalle:

  • There’s not a whole lot going on besides the Opera. If you use this as a home base, you’ll be spending your time in other places, for the most part, and sleeping here. That’s not necessarily a terrible thing, since you’ll be saving money while you do it, but it’s worth noting. There are, however, some excellent places to eat and drink in the area, which is nice.

  • It’s not as sparklingly clean as other parts of Paris. This area is “up-and-coming” (like all hip areas), which means it’s a bit more gritty than the more expensive parts of Paris. That said, it’s perfectly safe, and the rest of Paris isn’t exactly clean either. 

Neighborhood Ratings for the 9th Arrondissement

  • Location: 8/10. The 9th is walkable to Montmartre, but it’s a little bit far from the river compared to some of the other neighborhoods on this list. Within the 9th, there are no major tourist attractions. 

  • Bar & Restaurant Selection: 9/10. Some of our favorite spots in Paris turned out to be in the 9th. You can find a few of them below. 

  • Transit Connections: 9/10. Multiple metro lines snake their way under the 9th, and you’ll be a couple of blocks from the nearest station anywhere you stay here. 

  • Choice of Hotels: 9/10. There are a bunch of hotels, especially on the affordable end of the spectrum.

  • Value: 10/10. It’s a central area, relatively speaking, and is probably the most affordable of the first 10 arrondissements.

Total Rating: 45/50

Highlights of Opéra / South Pigalle

Here are some places in the 9th Arrondissement that we love, and think you might too. 

Keep in mind, this area isn’t so much about the tourist attractions in the neighborhood (though there are a bunch in the areas adjacent, which is why it’s a good location). Instead, it’s full of bars, coffee shops, and restaurants, many of which make our lists of the best in Paris. 

Here are some spots to start you out. 

  • Soif, la Cave: A fantastic little natural wine bar in the 9th with a bunch of wines on tap and bottles on the wall to takeaway. They have an outdoor area that is full about 20 minutes after they open as well as a cozy interior. We hung out here for an hour or two in the evening, and the owner (?) was super friendly and happy to help us find wines that we enjoyed. She even gave us her favorite restaurant in Strasbourg and told us that should be our next stop in France (spoiler: Matt spent a week in Strasbourg and the surrounding area – Alsace – this year, and loved it). 

  • KB CaféShop: A coffee shop that makes our list of the best coffee shops in Paris. We stopped here on our first morning in Paris, in desperate need of a caffeine boost and it did not disappoint. Single origin beans, espresso drinks, pour over filter coffee – all prepared by friendly, expert baristas. It’s got a great outdoor patio too on a square with a carousel, which for whatever reason is very Parisian in my mind.

  • Aji Dulce Restaurant Venezuelien: We’re HUGE fans of Venezuelan-style arepas, which are basically a corn cake sandwich stuffed with things like fried sweet plantains, meats, beans, and cheese. Imagine our surprise when, on our way from our hotel over towards the Louvre, we stumbled upon a Venezuelan restaurant with a line out the door. Of course, we stopped for lunch and y’all, they were among the best arepas we’ve ever had (and all arepas were gluten free when we stopped by). Super friendly staff too, who complimented my French and stumbled through an entire conversation about arepas in French with me.

The Best Places to Stay in Opéra / South Pigalle

Here are a few places to stay in the 9th Arrondissement that caught our eye, including two places we’ve personally stayed.

Hotel Maison Mère: Our Favorite Hotel in Paris (Where We Stayed)
Our room at Maison Mère

There are undoubtedly some great boutique hotels in Paris, but we think that the real star of the show is Maison Mère, which might be the best mid-range hotel in Paris.

Matt stayed there for a couple of nights on his latest trip, and loved it – the staff are super friendly, the beds are comfortable (though the rooms are relatively small, which is the case for most modern hotels), and there’s a co-working space and bar and restaurant on the ground floor. 

It’s a fantastic location, within walking distance of Gare du Nord and Montmartre, and a couple of blocks from multiple metro stations which will connect you to the broader city. 

I, Matt, really liked this hotel, and would put it at the top of your list if you’re looking for a mid-range hotel in a solid location. In fact, I’d make the argument that this should be near the top of the list for the best mid-range hotel in Paris. 

Hotel Joyce: Great Location + Incredible Value (Where We Stayed)
Our room at Hotel Joyce in the 9th Arrondissement

Another excellent option for those on a budget – which is no surprise considering they’re from the same hotel group – Hotel Joyce is a value pick with upscale amenities that include rooms with iPhone docks and minibars that include free soft drinks. 

They have a range of different room sizes that can accommodate both couples and groups, including their small but perfectly adequate standard rooms, and family rooms with adjoining rooms and separate bathrooms. 

For what it’s worth, we stayed here on our latest trip to Paris, and we enjoyed the central location, spacious room, and complimentary drinks and snacks (duh). 

At breakfast time, you’ll enjoy a range of pastries, including croissants and pain au chocolat. They also can cater for gluten free folks with advance notice.

In the afternoon and evening, the hotel also provides complimentary non-alcoholic beverages and light snacks.

Hotel Joke: The Same Combo of Value and Style as Hotel Joyce

Hotel Joke is owned by the same hotel group as Hotel Joyce, and is literally a few blocks away. The location is the main difference between this hotel and the one above – here, you’re a few extra blocks west, which is a slightly (and we do mean slightly) worse location. 

However, we think it would still make an excellent home base for exploring Paris, since you’ll be within walking distance of Montmartre and a block and a half from a metro station. You’ll get outstanding value and lots of bright colors that make for a cheery feel even on the greyest of days at Hotel Joke.

The rooms themselves are cozy, clean and contemporary with minifridges stocked with free drinks. 

You’ll be able to choose from a pretty wide range of room types depending on your group. You have your standard rooms – either with a double bed, or two twin beds – for couples and pairs traveling together.

Then, for groups and families, they have several different options, including the family rooms, which are two rooms joined together around a common space, each with their own bathroom. 

They have a robust breakfast buffet, and a selection of free snacks and non-alcoholic drinks for guests that are available 24 hours a day (including sparkling water!).

Le Mattissia: Stylish Apartments in a Good Location for Longer Stays

Sometimes, hotels don’t really make sense, whether it’s because you have a big enough group where you’d need multiple rooms, or it’s a longer trip and you’d prefer a little more space (living out of a hotel room can be a little exhausting after a few nights). 

Perfect for families or groups of friends traveling together, Le Matissia offers studio, one bedroom, and two bedroom apartments which can accommodate up to 6 people. 

Each of the apartments here, which are in the same vicinity as Hotel Maison Mère above, have fully equipped kitchens including Nespresso machines, daily cleaning, and a safe. Instead of key cards, rooms are accessed via a unique code so you can check in at any time.

Luxurious touches like rainfall showers and Rituals bath amenities make it a nice stay. Le Mattisia is in a prime location with Gare du Nord and Gare de l’Est only a few minutes walk away. It is a short metro ride into the center of Paris to visit all the attractions, or if you prefer to explore on foot it is a nice long stroll. 

The 7th Arrondissement: Staying at the Foot of the Eiffel Tower

The 7th Arrondissement is quintessential Paris, at least to us. First of all, it’s at the feet of the Eiffel Tower, which means as you’re walking around the 7th, whether it’s to the market or to catch the metro, you’ll likely catch a glimpse of the Eiffel Tower peeking out to say hello. 

But the Eiffel Tower isn’t the only thing that we like about the 7th Arrondissement. Rue Cler, a charming, narrow street lined with shops selling all sorts of delicious food and drinks, is one of our favorite places to visit in Paris. 

The wafting fumes of freshly baked croissants and croque madames will greet you several blocks before you reach the street itself, and you could spend hours stopping in to sample everything the vendors there have to offer. 

If that’s not enough, the 7th is also right along the River Seine. There’s something magical about walking along the Seine at twilight. Or at dawn. Or anytime in between, really. 

We think that there’s something special about staying at the foot of the Eiffel Tower, especially on your first trip to Paris (we’d stay elsewhere if you’ve been before, more on that below!). 

Pros and Cons of Staying in the 7th Arrondissement

Rue Cler in the 7th Arrondissement

Pros of Staying in the 7th Arrondissement: 

  • Close to the Eiffel Tower, Champs Elysees, and the Seine. It’s further away from places like Notre Dame and Canal St. Martin, but it’s easy enough to hop on Paris’ amazing metro, which will whisk you away to those further away spots.

  • Rue Cler is mere blocks away. We love wandering down Rue Cler, and think you will too. Even if you’re not partaking in the wide array of food options, it’s one of our favorite streets in Paris.

Cons of Staying in the 7th Arrondissement:

  • It can be pricey. Staying near any major tourist attraction comes with a price tag, and the Eiffel Tower is no different. Still, we think it’s worth the extra 10-15% to be able to wake up early and enjoy a sunrise coffee at the Jardins du Trocadéro overlooking the Eiffel Tower (or a bottle of wine at dusk, take your pick!).

  • There will be a lot of tourists. It’s near the most popular tourist attraction in the entire country of France, after all. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing – you are a tourist, after all – but it’s something to keep in mind. If you like “local vibes” (to be honest, we do), then you’re going to be missing those if you stay here. 

Neighborhood Ratings for the 7th Arrondissement

  • Location: 9/10. It’s on the river, it’s walkable to the Eiffel Tower, and about 10-15 minutes to the Louvre. It’s a great location to stay. 

  • Bar & Restaurant Selection: 8/10. This area sees a lot of tourists, which usually correlates with places to eat and drink that aren’t necessarily great. There are definitely some gems here, but also a lot of “meh.”

  • Transit Connections: 8/10. Because the Eiffel Tower is here, you’re going to get a lot of metro lines. However, it’s far from the airport connections (it’s a ~15 minute metro ride to connect with the train that will take you there). 

  • Choice of Hotels: 10/10. Everyone wants to stay near the Eiffel Tower, right? High demand means that this area has a ton of hotels. 

  • Value: 8/10. I mean, you’re staying at the foot of the Eiffel Tower. It’s not going to be cheap!

Total Rating: 43/50

Highlights of the 7th Arrondissement

Here are some places in the 7th Arrondissement that we love, and think you might too. 

Let’s quickly touch on the Eiffel Tower, which is not only the premier tourist attraction in the 7th, but also probably in all of Paris. 

There are two things we think you should do at the Eiffel Tower that are completely free. 

  1. Picnic in the Champs de Mars. Grab some picnic supplies on Rue Cler (cheese, baguette, wine, etc) and head to the park at the foot of the Eiffel Tower, where you’ll find a huge group of people enjoying the view on warm sunny days in Paris. There’s some great people watching to be had here, including the people selling buckets of booze who have an intricate system designed to help them evade the police, who show up every once in a while. This is probably in the top 3 in terms of experiences in Paris.
  2. Walk over to the other side of the Seine, where you’ll find two worthwhile spots. First is the view from slightly above at the Jardins du Trocadéro (here on Google Maps). Second is the view of the Eiffel tower from the water level from here

Aside from the Eiffel Tower, there are a couple of other worthwhile sights in the neighborhood. 

Rue Cler: One of the best shopping streets in Paris if you’re looking for food, either to eat now, or to take home as a souvenir. Is it touristy? Of course it is. It’s roughly a half mile from the Eiffel Tower. Is it worth visiting? Also yes. It runs north-south, paralleling the Champs de Mars about two blocks over. Ice cream, macarons (at Ladurée), produce stands, chocolate shops, wine shops. The list goes on.   

Musée d’Orsay: The place to go to learn about Impressionism. Set on the river in a former train station, the building itself is beautiful. There’s a cool view of the Seine and the city from the inside of the window on the second floor. This, along with the Louvre, are quintessential Paris museums, and are both worth a half day to fully explore. We’d highly, highly suggest a guided tour (like this one) to get the most out of your visit. 

Les Invalides: The military museum in Paris that includes both Napoleon’s tomb and a cool history of the French army. It’s worth a stop if you’re into military history, but probably doesn’t make it onto most people’s itinerary. 

The Rodin Museum: As opposed to the Louvre, which is a vast collection featuring pieces from many, many incredible artists, the Rodin Museum zeroes in on one – Rodin. You know Rodin from his famous works like the Thinker and The Gates of Hell, and this museum is fantastic. It takes you on a chronological journey of Rodin’s life and career, showing you the process through which he went from small pieces exploring the human body to the final product – the Gates of Hell – which is a culmination of all of those explorations (you can find most of the figures from previous works somewhere in the intricate design). After the Louvre, this is probably our favorite museum in Paris. 

The Best Places to Stay in the 7th Arrondissement

The 7th has a wide range of hotel options, which isn’t particularly surprising given its location near the Eiffel Tower. From budget to bougie, here are four options that might be right for you. 

Hôtel Duquesne Eiffel: A Great Value Near the Eiffel Tower

This charming, mid-range hotel is one block southeast of the Eiffel Tower. It’ll take you under five minutes to go from your room to the Champs de Mars, where you’ll be looking straight up at Paris’ most famous landmark. 

The hotel dates back to 1797, when it was built after an accident leveled this whole area. It became a hotel in the 20th Century, and it has been renovated twice in the past two decades. There are still touches of the original construction – like exposed wooden beams in the lounge – but it has been brought into the present day quite nicely. 

This is another hotel that feels like it SHOULD be more expensive than it is. They have a nice lounge and bar area with a cozy fireplace, and rooms are clean and comfortable, with some adjoining rooms that would be perfect for families or groups traveling together. 

Choose from: 

  • Standard rooms, which have a single double bed and a courtyard view.
  • Comfort rooms, which have a little bit more space and either a single double bed or two twin beds with a courtyard view.
  • Superior rooms, some of which have Eiffel Tower views, which you should absolutely request if you’re interested!
  • Premium rooms, which ALL have Eiffel Tower views, and sell out FAST (book these well in advance, if you can).

Again, rooms are surprisingly affordable. At least until you get to the Eiffel Tower views, and even then they’re a solid value for what you’re getting. 

Rayz Eiffel: A Great Mid-Range Option (w/ Kitchenette)

This modern hotel is just one block from both Champs de Mars and Rue Cler, which might be the perfect place to stay in the 7th Arrondissement. It’s a 3-star hotel with comfortable rooms decorated in dark monotone color palettes.

You’re here for the Eiffel Tower right? Some of their rooms come with views of the tower from the balcony, though you’re going to pay a little extra for it.

One of my pet peeves with hotels is not having a mini-fridge in the room. I have Celiac Disease, which means I often cook for myself when we’re traveling, at least for some meals. The rooms here all are equipped with kitchenettes, with a fridge, coffee machine, and cooktop, so you can cook your own meals if you want (and save a bit of money while you’re at it!). 

There’s also a rooftop terrace, which also has views of the Eiffel Tower and would be a fantastic place to either grab coffee before heading out to explore, or a pre-dinner drink in the afternoon or evening. 

Hôtel Le Walt: A Beautiful Hotel with Eiffel Tower Views 

Hôtel Le Walt is a hop, skip, and a jump away from the Eiffel Tower, ideally located for exploring the best that the 7th has to offer. 

It’s at the southeast corner of the Champs de Mars, which puts you within walking distance of the Tower and the River Seine (which is where you’ll find the best views of the Eiffel Tower), Rue Cler, and the excellent museums in the 7th – the Musée de l’Armée and the Rodin Museum (two of our favorite museums in Paris). 

In terms of the hotel itself, you have a choice of rooms here. All of their rooms are generally very modern and comfortable, with extra touches like robes and slippers for you to use while you’re there. 

They have standard rooms and executive rooms – the difference being the amount of extra space, basically – and they also have adjoining rooms for families or groups traveling together. 

However, the clear winner is the rooms with a view of the Eiffel Tower, which sell out fast and you’ll want to book as soon as you know you’re going to Paris. They’re a little bit smaller than the standard rooms (probably so they could fit more of them, if we had to guess), but you’re here in the 7th for the Eiffel Tower, right?

Hotel Relais Bosquet by Malone: A Solid Affordable Hotel Option near the Eiffel Tower

Bright, floral wallpaper was the first thing that jumped out to me as I was looking at the pictures of the rooms here at Hotel Relais Bosquet. Not every room has that specific wallpaper, but they all have some added flair to them, whether it’s fun wallpaper or eclectic artwork. 

This mid-range hotel is a block north of Hôtel Le Walt (the one right above this), so the location is similarly excellent. I would say that this hotel is less on the luxury end of the spectrum, which means fewer gold things in the room and, crucially, a lower price. 

Rooms here are small, with comfortable beds and minimal seating, so if you’re planning on spending time in your room (for example, I like to do some writing while we’re traveling), then this might not be the place for you. They have a few room types, and all of them have very little additional seating aside from the bed. 

Hôtel de Lille: A Touch of Luxury

This hotel is on the eastern edge of the 7th, on the border with St. Germain (the 5th Arr.). It’s a great location, which is actually closer to the Louvre and Notre Dame, but is a bit further from the Eiffel Tower. 

This 4-star hotel is a significant upgrade from the options above, both in terms of style and luxurious touches, and also in terms of price. 

It’s a relatively small hotel, featuring just 15 rooms and suites. The rooms are going to be larger, and come with more amenities like breakfast in the historic cellar with vaulted ceilings, and an honesty bar in the lounge, plus safes, mini-bars, A/C, bathrobes, and more inside each room.

Montmartre (the 18th Arrondissement): The Most Romantic Place to Stay in Paris

Despite being in the middle of a gigantic city, Montmartre is an oasis of cobblestone streets that feels oddly cut off and separate from the rest of Paris. And we mean that in the best possible way. It feels more similar to a charming town from a fairytale than it does a neighborhood in France’s biggest city. 

If you’re looking for a romantic place to stay in Paris, we’d choose Montmartre. 

While it’s a bit further out than the other best areas to stay in Paris on our list, it’s well-connected via the Metro, close to Sacré Coeur which is one of the must-visit sights. High up on a hill, the neo-Byzantine basilica competes with Notre-Dame as the most magnificent church in the city, although savvy visitors will take their time to reach it, lingering in the narrow streets that have served as the artistic heart of Paris for centuries.

The main thoroughfare here is Rue des Abbesses, which runs east/west on the southern end of the hill, although the snaking network of smaller streets around the cathedral are also worth exploring, particularly Rue de l’Abreuvoir on the backside of the cathedral, which is peak fairytale vibes. 

Pros and Cons of Staying in Montmartre

Pros of Staying in Montmartre

  • All the charm. Seriously. All of it. Cobblestone streets. A great cafe culture, with Parisians and tourists alike sitting on the patios that line the streets. Leafy greenery. All of the charm.

  • Sacré-Cœur. Our pick for the best church in Paris (though when it’s open, Notre Dame Cathedral is pretty spectacular too), Sacré-Cœur is perched on a hill, which means incredible views over the city, including the Eiffel Tower. Sunset here is a must-do!

Cons of Staying in Montmartre:

  • It’s basically not walkable to anything. If you choose to stay here, plan on using the metro to go pretty much anywhere, which will add 15-20 minutes in each direction.

Neighborhood Ratings for the 9th Arrondissement

  • Location: 6/10. This is the major issue with Montmartre – it’s really not that close to, well, anything. The neighborhood is very charming, but it’s going to add 15-20 minutes to any journey you take in Paris. 

  • Bar & Restaurant Selection: 8/10. There are some really good spots in Montmartre, but there just aren’t that many of them (aside from Rue des Abbesses, which is packed with all sorts of places to eat and drink). 

  • Transit Connections: 7/10. You basically have to walk down the hill to find a metro stop, though there are buses that run through the neighborhood.

  • Choice of Hotels: 9/10. Lots of hotels along the Rue de Abbesses corridor, but not so many up the hill, which is the more charming part. 

  • Value: 8/10. It’s charming, it’s romantic, and there’s not that many hotels to choose from, which means you’re going to end up paying a bit of a premium to stay here. 

Total Rating: 38/50

Highlights of Montmartre

Here are some places in Montmartre that we enjoyed, and think you might too. 

Montmartre is charming AF, and aside from just wandering and picking your jaw up off the floor as you admire all of the incredible views, here are some specific places we enjoy. 

If you’re interested, here’s a guided tour of Montmartre we had on our list (but didn’t quite make it to because of scheduling issues). 

  • Sacré-Cœur: At the top of the hill is the white church on the hill – Sacré-Cœur – which boasts one of my favorite views in Paris. At the top, you’ll have an up close and personal view of both Sacré-Cœur itself, and the view from the platform just below it, which looks back towards the Seine and the center of Paris. You can also climb the tower of Sacré-Cœur for even better views – it’s 200+ steps, and like most church towers, they’re narrow and claustrophobic. 

  • A Food Tour: There’s a lot of great food to be had in Montmartre, and the best way to explore both the food scene and get some historical and cultural context on the neighborhood is to eat your way through it with a local guide. Here’s a highly rated guided food tour that we’d do if Matt could eat gluten, which is a pretty big problem for that kind of tour in Paris.

  • Clove: Tucked away on a side street a block away from Sacré-Cœur, you’ll find one of the best coffee shops in Paris. I spent part of a morning here chatting with the owners (one of whom is American) and getting to know their philosophy around coffee. They work with various European roasters that change every so often, and one of the things I noticed was the beautiful ceramics. When I asked the barista about them (and complimented the beautiful drinkware), she informed me that she had made all of them herself, which I think is a lovely touch. If you’re a coffee nerd like me, go here and have them help you explore some new coffees! 

  • Beans on Fire: Great coffee on the southern end of the neighborhood. They roast their own beans, and have a cozy cafe here in Montmartre (with another over in the 11th Arrondissement). 

  • Le Très Particulier: A fun cocktail bar with a garden patio on the western end of the neighborhood. It’s very stylish and trendy (and not cheap), but it’s a cool experience and has very “Moulin Rouge” vibes thanks to low lighting and red velvet barstools.

The Best Places to Stay in Montmartre

Here are a few places to stay in Montmartre that caught our eye. 

Hôtel des Arts Montmartre: A Charming Family-Owned Hotel in a Great Location

First of all, I like that this is a family-owned hotel in a city full of chain hotels. The hotel was first opened in 1901, but the current family took over in the 1960’s, and has run it ever since. 

The location here is great, just a block off of Rue des Abbesses, a few blocks to the metro, and a few blocks to the hill that will take you up to the cathedral. 

Rooms here are practical and well thought out, with USB charging and fun Marshall speakers (I’m not quite sure if they’re actually functional or not, though). Choose from either double bed or two twins, and various room arrangements from relatively small to larger, with more seating area.

At the higher end, you’ll find rooms with a balcony or terrace that has a view out over Paris’ rooftops, including the Eiffel Tower in some cases. 

They do have a breakfast buffet too, but our general preference is to eat breakfast out (even if it’s just a quick coffee and pastry), especially since it costs 19 Euros. 

Hôtel Monsieur Aristide: A Bohemian Oasis in Montmartre

This charming hotel is one of the more unique hotels in Montmartre, and it’s essentially what “boho-chic” looks like in hotel form. Even the photos of the rooms have the filter that I would expect to see on photos of someone in Joshua Tree posted on Instagram. 

The location, tucked away on a quiet alleyway just off of Rue des Abbesses, is excellent, and is walkable to great bars, restaurants, coffee shops, and the rest of Montmartre. 

It’s a small hotel with only 25 rooms, which generally means more personal service and, crucially, a quieter stay. In true Parisian fashion, it’s a building built around an interior garden, where you can have breakfast in the morning or a drink in the afternoon sun.

Room types range from classic hotel-style rooms, which are on the smaller side, all the way up to relatively spacious suites with terraces on the second floor. They even have a duplex suite, which has one bedroom and a pullout couch for groups of up to 4 people. 

In the rooms, you’ll find vintage touches – like a cool wooden bench in place of a couch – and warm color palettes. Overall, we were impressed with the design of this hotel, which feels straight out of a small town on the Italian coast. 

Terrass Hotel

This hotel is on the list because we walked by it as we were wandering down Rue des Abbesses in Montmartre, and I said “I bet that place is nice.”

It’s right on a busy corner at the western end of the best street in Montmartre, and while the location is a bit of a walk from the top of the hill (and Sacré-Cœur), it’s walkable to a bunch of great bars and restaurants. 

The best part about staying here is probably the rooftop bar up on the 7th floor, which has views out over Paris (including the Eiffel Tower). There’s also a restaurant onsite, group fitness classes, and a spa. 

The hotel has been a staple in the neighborhood since 1911, when it first opened. Rooms take inspiration from the artists who have called the neighborhood home for centuries, with nice touches like director’s chairs and travel trunk storage. 

They also have rooms with a view of the Eiffel Tower, but you’ll need to be prepared to pay a little extra. Some rooms have walk-in showers and/or bathtubs, if that’s something you’re looking for. 

A Quick Geography Overview (+ What IS an Arrondissement?)

Paris, like many European cities, is built on a river.

The River Seine runs right through the center of the city, and is the best landmark to use to orient yourself in Paris. Just about every main tourist attraction in the city – the Louvre, the Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame Cathedral – is along the river. 

As you dive into deciding where to stay when you’re visiting Paris, you’re almost certainly going to see the word “arrondissement.” The word functionally means “district” or “neighborhood,” and is an administrative tool that has been used to carve Paris up into smaller chunks. 

Paris is split into 20 arrondissements, starting with the 1st at the Louvre, and working their way out in a clockwise spiral from there.

Here’s a map to help you see what we’re talking about. You can see the layout of each of the areas we recommend, along with some of Paris’ important landmarks to help you visualize what we’re going to talk about below.

Pro tip: To figure out which arrondissement a place is in, look at the last two digits of the postcode (e.g. XXX09 means it’s in the 9th, XXX16 means it’s in the 16th, etc etc). 

As a general rule, we wouldn’t recommend staying outside the first 10 arrondissements (with Montmartre, the 18th, being the glaring exception to the rule). 

Why?

While Paris does have a great public transit system (at least coming from an American perspective), staying in an arrondissement outside the first 10 is going to add 15-30 minutes to your journey to the main sights, which as we mentioned above are concentrated along the river. If you have a short trip, that’s going to add up. 

However, if you’re on a budget, staying in one of the further out arrondissements may be something to consider. Because, as you might imagine, the closer to the river you are, the more expensive it’s going to be. 


More Paris Travel Guides

Planning a trip to Paris? Matt, who speaks French “really well for an American” (as multiple French people have told him – it’s his proudest achievement in life), loves Paris.

As you get into planning your trip, you might find some of these other detailed guides we’ve written about Paris helpful.

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6 Comments

  1. Thanks Matt! Your gluten-free recommendations really helped us in Paris. Loved Biglove restaurant, best pizza ever!!

    1. Glad to hear I could help! Hope your Paris adventure was everything you dreamed about and more!

  2. A problem we have is that we are travel as a family of 8 so need a kitchen and beds/space-so that becomes a problem staying in hotels. I agree about how Airbnb has caused problems but not sure what to do.

    1. I hear you! I have Celiac Disease and we often need access to a kitchen to cook for ourselves while we’re traveling, which can be a little hard to find without vacation rentals. We’ve started staying in apartment-hotels, which are basically a hotel where the rooms are apartments. It brings together the benefits of a hotel (like 24/7 reception and secure entry) and the convenience of an apartment. Most of them are studios and one bedrooms, though, so I can’t really help you there.

  3. Many thanks for taking time to write this detailed blog about Paris. It was just very helpful and just what was needed to start planning out vacation. I appreciate your opinion and that you had factored in all possible aspects considering varied audiences and what they might like to do. The succinct pros and cons on each neighbourhood was da bomb! Not to mention the last part about how these neighbourhood are numbered and logically arranged.

    1. No problem! When we wrote this, we set out to give the information you might actually need to choose a neighborhood (and find some new spots to eat and drink along the way). Enjoy Paris!

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