So you’re going to Paris for the first time?! I’m SO excited for you (and a little jelly)!
Paris is one of those places that I wondered what all the fuss was about, but now that I’ve been there three times I still can’t wait to go back! From the world-class art collections, to the Eiffel Tower, to amazing architecture, patisseries and culture – there’s something for everyone.
Paris is quite a large city, which makes it a little tricky to know where to stay if you haven’t been there before. Fortunately, they have a great metro system that makes it easy to get around to all the sights. Before I get into specific recommendations, here’s a few quick tips of what to look for in a place to stay:
- Stay somewhere close to a metro station. Like I said, Paris is large but easy to get around with the Metro. One day we managed to walk 20km and still caught the metro to get back! As long as you’re within a couple hundred metres of a station, it’ll make it easier to get around.
- Check if your accom has a lift (elevator). For all the hundreds of cute old buildings in Paris, you’ll want to know you won’t have to drag your bags up six or seven flights of stairs. If you’re backpacking or carrying your bags doesn’t worry you, no big deal.
- Stay away from the Moulin Rouge area on Boulevard de Clichy. This is the red light district of Paris and probably not where you’d want to stay. See a show or walk past in daytime, but choose somewhere else to set up camp.
Where to Stay in Paris (for First Timers)
To start with, it’s good to know that Paris is divided up into what they call arrondissements. There’s twenty of them, and they’re basically like districts, or boroughs. Check out the map of the arrondissements below, which shows how they branch out from the centre of the city, kind of like a snail shell. Now, on to the recommendations!
Map via Wanderlust Crew
The first is home to the Louvre, Tuileries Gardens, Les Halles shopping mall and the Palais-Royal. It also runs along the Seine River in the centre of Paris. It’s a great central location, where walking in any direction will take you to another Parisian sight! It’s a safe bet to stay here. Check out the boutique Hotel Lumen with Neo-Baroque decor and location with a short stroll to the Louvre and other attractions.
Le Marais (3rd-4th Arrondissements)
This is a trendy area of Paris which we stayed in the first time we visited. It’s close to Notre Dame, Bastille markets and home to a bunch of cute cafes and shops. Hotel France Louvre is a great affordable option, with french doors that open out to the street view (so pretty!).
St Germain & Latin Quarter (5th & 6th Arrondissements)
Across the Seine to the left bank lies St Germain and the Latin Quarter. It’s where a lot of tourists stay, and for good reason! Its close to Notre Dame and has a history of being called home to a host of literary and artistic celebrities. Along the Seine you’ll find a range of stalls selling vintage books, posters and postcards. Stroll not far to find the famous Shakespeare & Co bookshop-cafe, and wander the tiny, cobblestone streets to find a range of eateries and things to see.
Hotel Luxembourg Parc is a great choice for accommodation, with its drool-worthy classic French interiors and location right next to the Park.
Ahh the seventh, home to the Eiffel Tower! If being close to this iconic landmark is what Paris is about for you, look no further than this district! The 7th can be a little pricier and for good reason. A lot of this area is quite residential, so if you want to feel like you’ve ‘lived’ in Paris, this may be the arrondissement for you! Here, you can also wander the picturesque markets on Rue Cler and window shop through chic stores, bakeries and of course take your pick of the array of restaurants.
If you’re going to stay in the Seventh, you may as well have a view! Check out Derby Alma for accommodation that’s so close to the Eiffel Tower. And while you’re at it, you may want to read my post on finding the best views of the Eiffel Tower.
The ninth is where we stayed the last time we visited Paris. And while there aren’t any major attractions in the immediate area, we really enjoyed it! There’s still a range of restaurants and cafes nearby, and a bunch of smaller, lesser known sights to explore such as the different shopping passageways and the Palais Garnier opera house. It’s still in walkable distance of major sights, such as the Louvre, Moulin Rouge and Montmartre area.
The architecture is classic Paris and we just happened to have an amazing street view of it all on the sixth floor. If you’re interested in staying in this area, check out Millennium Hotel, which boasts beautiful interiors and a classic street-side brasserie, perfect for people watching.
What about the other neighbourhoods in Paris?
Just because I haven’t mentioned other neighbourhoods in the above, doesn’t mean they’re not any good to stay in! Paris is so picturesque, there’s something to see no matter where you are. The above neighbourhoods would be my pick for visiting for the first time, getting your bearings and being reasonably close to some of the main sights you’ll want to see.
The 8th Arr. is home to Champs Elysees which is worth visiting, but perhaps not for staying in the area. It’s known for its high-end stores and prices, and if you’re staying close to the Arc de Triomphe at the end of Champs Elysees, it may be a little far to walk your way around Paris.
The 12th – 20th Arrondissements are on the outer edges of Paris, so I’d recommend staying somewhere a little closer to the action. Similarly, Montmartre is a popular area for visitors but I’d recommend staying somewhere a little more authentic.
Have any questions? Comment them below and I’ll get back to you! You can also Pin this post to save it, if you found it helpful!