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Advice on picking a Paris neighborhood to use as a home base

Hi All,

I will be spending 5 nights in Paris with my family next summer. We will be utilizing AirBnB to find our accommodations. We want to be near nice food markets and cafes, and have easy access to a metro stop that can be our jumping off point for the full range of destinations that first-timers to Paris will be interested in.

Do any neighborhoods leap to mind for anyone that we should consider for our home base based on that criteria? (I'm guessing many will fit the bill!)

Thank you,

Michael

Posted by
2239 posts

Hi Michael, I think it's safe to say that many/most first time visitors find the 4th, 5th, and 6th Arrondissements to their liking-they're central, and they're near most of the key sights you want to see. If markets are a priority for you and your family, become acquainted with what happens when and where, and let that be your guide. It's worth noting that via the Metro-or bus-you can get around the city fairly easily. It takes time, sure, but there's so much to see on the way. Great cafes and restaurants are in every area, and the Metro is usually not far away. Our first time in Paris we stayed near the bottom of rue Mouffetard, a market street (not to be confused with markets). It was fabulous, it's all fabulous.

Don't feel that you need to be in the 4, 5, 6 to have a great time, there's the 10th, or the 14th, so many great neighborhoods and each has its own vibe.

Here's a link to a list of markets, and some photos of our first trip; see what hoe's your row!

Cheers

http://www.secretsofparis.com/paris-food-markets/

https://thecedarchest.smugmug.com/Paris-2013/

Posted by
31029 posts

Michael,

Many of the group here (including me) like the Rue Cler neighborhood in the 7th, as it's a nice area with small markets and restaurants and also close to some of the big sights such as the Eiffel Tower, Military Museum and the Rodin Museum. It also has easy access to the Metro via the École Militaire station.

This video will give you some idea of what the area looks like - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dP9ObS66tfs

Posted by
173 posts

Hi Michael, you don't say when exactly you will be in Paris this summer but I rented an apartment for a month this past July in the 7th arr. The first two weeks of July were wicked hot; the temps hit near 100F (32-34C) on a couple of days. No A/C in apartment; just one fan. The last two weeks it cooled down to about 70-75F and ironically the only all-day rain we had occured on the last Sunday of the month when the Tour de France arrived in Paris. My point: consider looking for someplace that has air conditioning especially if you are traveling with kids. Very few apartments have A/C but most of the chain hotels do. Where you base may depend on this option. For first time visitors, I agree with Dave above; central city is within walking distance of many of the sights. Think about reserving a place between now and January; the A/C apartments go quickly for the summer months. Hope you have a great time!

Posted by
14003 posts

I agree with Tom, get a place with AC. And I disagree with Ken, the rue Cler area is not convenient to most of the sights and the metro lines there won't help you much. One of the best places to shop for food is in the old Les Halles market area, along and around rue Montorgueil. Some of the vendors have been around for 200 years and more. You can get fresh produce, fish, etc., prepared foods, specialty foods, chocolates and more. It's in the 4th, roughly between the Sentier and Les Halles metro stations. The right bank (3rd-4th) is more residential, the left bank (5th-6th) is more lively and younger. Both are great.

Posted by
5714 posts

I would also say you don't want to be too close to Les Halles -- one of the ugliest shopping malls in the world and a nightmare to traverse for use of the metro. It isn't that swell in the immediate neighborhood either as they continue to do construction on the site.

5 nights is 4 days - - that means being central and within a walk of the things you want most to see is important. The 4th 5th and 6th fills the bill. Rue Cler is out of the way of everything except the Eiffel Tower. For a non central arrondissement, the 14th is nice -- well connected by transport, lots of amenities and less touristy. But a place in the 5th would probably be ideal, as close to the river as possible.

Posted by
129 posts

I agree that rue Cler area not as it once was perhaps and found the street market to be okay but not as good as others (rue Daguerre for instance). The area around the Eiffel Tower is packed with people pushing tourists to buy things from them which was quite unnerving and, not much else in the area. The 6th is lovely, safe, close to everything including many markets. Unsure if we can post VRBO sites on this forum but will try as it's a great unit, helpful landlord and, right on place St Sulpice. Couldn't be better! VRBO 142324.

Posted by
7244 posts

I like the 4th, 5th and 6th best, as close to the river as possible. And my favorite neighborhood of all, Ile St. Louis, in the 4th. It's the little island next to Notre Dame. Can't get more central than these areas.

I'm not a fan of rue Cler or the 7th. And I agree with Chani re: rue Montorgueil.. love it.

Posted by
11158 posts

Before using Airbnb in Paris, investigate the latest information about whether your particular apartment is legally allowed. Like in many cities around the world, Paris is cracking down on certain rentals. But there are many rental agencies for Paris that have apartments that are perfectly legal, if you can't find one through Airbnb.

Posted by
29 posts

Paris has the largest number of Airbnb rentals than any other European city. Most of my Paris-bound friends and acquaintances have used it and loved it. Most of these rentals have been upscale and are booked months in advance. No one is calling the poilce on their neighbors like in NYC. I am not inclined to use Airbnb -- I rent apartments from VRBO and I cannot afford an upscale Airbnb -- but my friends have been so enthusiastic about them that i don't hesitate to recommend the upscale properties. (I've read the reviews of the cheaper Airbnb properties and they don't impress me.)

Posted by
7676 posts

I agree with those that prefer the 4th, 5th & 6th arrondissements, as close to the river as possible. Those are central locations and within walking distance of many sites. The rue Cler area is nice enough, but it is not very central. Sure, you can take the metro, but why go underground when you can walk? Another nice way to get around is on the batobus. It is a boat bus that has stops along both sides of the river.

In the summer you should definitely get AC.

Posted by
5537 posts

Maddie -- sorry, disagree, people are calling the city authorities about AirBnB rentals here too. You'll find a few threads on this topic if you go back and look. Parisians and Romans can get just as tired of AirBnB renters coming in as New Yorkers can. (Not closing doors properly, not putting the trash in the right place, lots of noise late and night, lessened security in the building, etc. etc.). The city and AirBnB have actually come to agreement about collecting some city tax, but I think the fight is a long way from being over, since we are so short of rental housing in the city and it is illegal to rent one's secondary residence out . . .

Here's one discussion that happened earlier this year:
https://community.ricksteves.com/travel-forum/general-europe/paris-authorities-launch-three-day-raid-against-airbnb-type-rentals-in-the-marais

I'm not saying that AirBnB is a total no-go for anyone wanting to come to Paris. I'm just saying I wouldn't rent through it if I were coming here as a short-term visitor. Others' tolerance for risk will be higher.

Posted by
29 posts

Compared to the number of Airbnb properties available the problems are minuscule. I have a dozen friends who have repeatedly used it with nary a problem. I even have friends who use Airbnb in NYC and they tell me those places are booked solid -- mostly by Europeans, ironically.

And by the way, whenever I have stayed in apartments in Paris it is the residents of the building -- not the tourists -- who have been loud, with dinner parties til midnight or later (this must be pretty common because it happens no matter where i rent apartments).