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3 nights in Paris, first trip

Hello All,

We are travelling to Paris for a 3 night stay in late August/early September. We will want to see all the main sites and spend some time just strolling around the city.

That said, it appears we can find good, affordable lodging near Gare de Lyon station. Is this a good spot to stay for first time visitors? It appears we would have access to plenty of public transport to get us to where we want to go everyday.

Trying to stay under $300/night if possible. The lady has fairly pricy taste when it comes to accommodations, so I was hoping to get a nice place at a decent rate.

Any help would be appreciated!

Posted by
7636 posts

Most first timers on a short stay chose a little bit more central. However that is a good spot to get to and from. I stayed in a hostel my first trip around there for 20 euros a night about 17 years ago

Posted by
744 posts

Using the Metro is kind of the key to getting the most out of Paris. So, being close to that connection is good. Gare de Lyon is a bit farther out from the city center than I’d want though. If you can get west of Bastille and/or west of Canal St Martin that would be better. There’s a good deal of nightlife around Bastille, but I’m not sure if that a plus for you.

Imho, you only have three nights in Paris. I’d splurge a little bit more for something a little more central, or at least close to some parks or something. You may find stuff around the south end of Luxembourg Gardens... just feels like you can do a bit better. It can be tough though.

Posted by
5260 posts

That is a generous budget for Paris. You should be able to find something nice. I would suggest looking in St. Germaine or Ile de st.louis. My own preference would be a hotel that "feels like Paris". So the exterior with elaborate plasterwork and the black rod iron windows and balconies.

Posted by
6929 posts

My go-to place on the last several visits to Paris is the Hotel Familia, or their sister Hotel Minerve, on the Left Bank. They may not be as Ritzy as The Lady has in mind, but I though I'd mention them, for you to consider.

Also, while the Rick Steves guidebook has lots of do-it-yourself sightseeing tips, if you'd consider a guide for a few hours, there's no better value in the world than Paris Muse ( . Their guides are art and history experts, who can really heighten a visit to, say, the Louvre. Check out their tours on their Website - well worth it!

Last, when you're in front of Notre Dame, be sure to duck into The Crypt, entrance on the square in front of the cathedral, for a quick visit. It's uncovered foundations (including an ancient heating system), from back when what would later become Paris was a small village in the Roman Empire.

Bon voyage!

Posted by
11294 posts

300 USD comes out to about 264 euros; that won't get you a suite at the Georges V, but should get you a nice room closer to the center than Gare de Lyon.

I agree with starting by looking at the hotels on the Ile St-Louis. It's lovely and very upscale - just what "the lady" is probably looking for when she thinks of Paris!

Posted by
227 posts


My husband are going to be in Paris for four nights in mid Sept. as well. I am being more practical in some ways than the other posters I have read so far but we are staying at Courtyard Paris Gare de Lyon. It is very close to the station which we liked because we will be coming from Avignon at that point in our trip and we can easily walk with our luggage to the hotel. In addition, it will be easy when we go to Versailles for one day as well as when we leave to fly home from CDG. And we can pick up the metro there or at Gare d' Austerlitz, about a ten minute walk. It is a Marriott hotel and since I am a rewards member, I should have points for one or two nights of our stay. The average price is around $300 give or take I believe, and it is a new hotel. Our preferences are for a little more modern with nice size bathroom so we have not been as inclined to go for the charm, especially since we are only in the room to sleep and get ready to go! From the reviews I have read, there are cafes and restaurants close by. We enjoyed having a nice cafe with a little bit of everything, great pastries, coffee, beer, wine and lunch and dinner items when we took our last trip to Budapest, Vienna, Salzburg and Munich so that was another criteria I had in mind when searching this time. Sometimes one is just too tired from all of the sightseeing to have a later dinner in a restaurant and my husband has simple tastes so the cafes are wonderful for variety. Of course we have not experienced the Parisian cafes yet, but I have looked at menus and they seem to be similar in the variety of offerings as those in Austria and Germany, just different cuisine.
That being said, we are going for the charm while in the French Riviera and we plan to stay at "The Welcome", one of Rick's favorite hotels in Villefranche sur Mer. It is right on the water and Rick says in the France book and I am paraphrasing, that it empties his wallet and calms his soul! And I am still looking for a place in Provence but I think it would be difficult to find anyplace there that is not charming! Good luck with your decision!

Posted by
2028 posts

The area around Gare de Lyon is fine, and it is certainly convenient for transportation options. It is near the Seine and from there it is a short walk to Ile de la Cite. It is true though, that for a first time visit, and one like yours that is short, it may be worthwhile to stay in a more central location, closer to the main attractions that you can walk to.

Posted by
5260 posts

I have also stayed at Hotel Familia in the Latin quarter (3 times). It is a modest property but it does have that Paris feel I was talking about. It is inexpensively priced. The staff is quite helpful. Its clean and I love the location. It's sister property is next door and its a step up in terms of decor but still has that Paris feel.

Posted by
6174 posts

I agree with others that your budget gives you many good choices. We've stayed near Gare de Lyon (on a lower budget) and it's fine, but you could get a room closer to the center, easier walking to major sights. I haven't stayed on the Ile St-Louis but you might check it out, location and atmosphere are very good. Or someplace near the river in the Latin Quarter (5th arrondissement) or St-Germain (6th). Look for a place near a Metro station where two or more lines intersect, to maximize your options using that excellent system.

Posted by
5 posts


That was the exact hotel I had in mind for many of the same reasons. Spacious, modern and new. Hard to go wrong.

That said, we might look more city center as others have suggested.

Thank you all for the responses. I have started searching in some of the areas suggested. There are a LOT of options, so the search is difficult.


Posted by
3956 posts

I have often stayed in the Gare de Lyon-Bastille area, more because I enjoy the area than for particular tourist sites/sights. But for Metro convenience, especially on such a short stay, you might consider Place de la Republique since the Place is served by five subway lines to move you around quickly. Lots of local activity, lots of restaurants and hotels, and adjacent to the Canal St-Martin for strolling.

Posted by
1348 posts

For my fist time in Paris I stayed within walking distance of the Saint-Michel/Notre Dame Metro Stop. You have the Metro 4 (North-South), RER B (North-South & CDG) and RER C (East-West & South-ish, if heading to Versailles). Walking distance to Notre Dame, Sainte Chapelle, the Louvre & Luxembourg Gardens. The 5th & 6th Arr. offer many hotel options and plenty of Cafes & eateries.
Enjoy your trip, I will be there in 3 months.

Posted by
5 posts

Thanks for the continued information. I have looked into the Place de la République area. This area does offer some good options. We have made a list and will begin to narrow it down and find our hotel.

Posted by
41 posts

We are going in September and found a great vrbo in Marais at a good price. There seems to be a lot of good cost-effective vrbo in that area if that is your thing