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Areas to stay in Paris?

Hi I'm planning a trip to Europe in Aug-September this year.

Am planning to stay in Paris between 25-28 August, and am looking at options for accommodation now. I'll be arriving by the Eurostar from London, so I had wondered about staying out in Montmatre as that would be close to the Eurostar, and also I'd found a few nice AirBnBs out that way that seemed a bit more affordable than some of the options closer to the centre.

But, as a female travelling alone, and in light of some of the security issues that have affected Paris in the last few years, I just want to be sure that it is a safe area to stay in - or should I pay a bit more to stay somewhere else?

Also, is it still close enough to walk everywhere? I am very fit with no mobility issues, think nothing of walking 10-15 km in a day but I do want to be safe, still.

Thank you in advance for your help :)

Posted by
1229 posts

Hi Debbie,

I wouldn't worry so much about where you are arriving, and instead think about which area of Paris you would prefer to stay in, because the metro can take you to any of them so easily. Have you done any reading on the arrondissements? People seem to have preferences. I usually stay on the left bank. Ive stayed in the 5th or 6th on my last two visits, at places that were close to the sites I most wanted to see (Notre Dame, Saint Cappelle, Louvre, d'Orsay, Luxembourg gardens, Eiffel, etc). However, I also like the Marais and will probably stay there next time. Truly its so easy and fast to get around the entire city; what do you plan to do in Paris? Let that guide you

Best,
Jessica

Posted by
55 posts

Thanks,

Honestly by looking at maps it seems that everything is so close anyway - only a few km - no matter where I am staying - that I’d happily walk, rather than take the metro.

So my biggest concern is safety, which areas are safest to walk in. Especially in the evening?

Posted by
703 posts

I agree with Jessica, stay as close to the Seine as you can. That way you can easily walk most places you'd want to go. But the Metro is fast and very easy to use too. That being said, although I love to visit Montmartre for the day, I prefer to stay closer to city center.

Posted by
1025 posts

Agree with the posters. I find that while most areas of Paris are safe and accessible, the Montmartre area is a bit seedy for my tastes. Nothing too dangerous, but the street venders seem a bit too willing to separate me from my money, and the word sleazy seems to describe the area. For that reason, I tend to gravitate closer to the river (I like the 10th, even though it is not that near to the Seine) for sleeping and eating at night. For daytime visits north, I have no concerns.

Posted by
4062 posts

Like any big city, don't walk down dark alleyways after midnight alone. The "alone" part is the key. Stay where other people are. That includes in Metro stations for last trains: Centre of the platform should feel more secure.
In defence of a city I have visited at least 20 times, individual security has nothing to do with mass attacks (nor with being single or female.) Pickpockets, look-what-I-found scams and fake petitions to divert attention are all well-known hazards; shoo away little kids who want to help you with the ATM machines. Really, the most common physical harm results from the crazy traffic on Paris streets
Stay anywhere near a Metro station, especially one serving two lines. You can walk all the way across central Paris in a couple of hours, and enjoy it too. Bon voyage, that's the attitude.

Posted by
6734 posts

We stayed by Rue Claire at hotel Duquesne and thoroughly enjoyed the location. It’s close to Eiffel Tower, Napolean’s tomb/ army museum, and swan island (mini Statue of Liberty), and within walking distance to Alexander III bridge, Plaza de Concorde, and Arc de Triumph. A metro stop was a few blocks from the hotel.

Posted by
9429 posts

My favorite areas are Ile St Louis in the 4th arrondissement (the little island next to the bigger island where Notre Dame is) it’s like a charming little village surrounded by the river with mind blowing views and you can’t get more central. The Marais in the 3rd/4th arrondissement, the 5th (Latin Quarter) and 6th (St Germain) arrondissement - all as close to the river as possible.
I do not care for the rue Cler area which Rick Steves has hyped for decades. It’s not central and way too many loud Americans carrying his RS book.
All of Paris is very safe. Just use common sense like in any big city.

Posted by
6627 posts

All good advice above. With just a few nights in Paris, and apparently you haven't been there before, are you sure you want an airbnb instead of a hotel? I like apartments for longer stays but yours is a short stay. You might find it easier with a staffed lobby than arranging to pick up keys and learn about appliances. There's also an issue in Paris about whether an apartment is legally rented, If you want one, look for a 13-digit registration number on the website, or get one from the owner. Without that, there's a risk that the place won't be available when you arrive. Some of our Paris-based friends can explain this better than I can.

Not that you asked -- just adding my two cents FWIW.

Posted by
55 posts

Thank you - lots to think about. I’m definitely looking at places closer to the Seine river, now.

Regarding air bnb versus hotels - basically most Hotels are out of my budget, whereas I can happily afford a private room in someone’s home.

I didn’t know about the reservation number thing though - does that only apply if you are renting an entire apartment, or is it for private rooms too?
We don’t need that in New Zealand (where I live) so it is definitely something I may need to consider?

Posted by
9780 posts

The registration number isn't important if you're looking for a room in someone's home and not an entire apartment.

Montmartre is fine, but if there are other rooms available in the more central arrondissements, I think most people would prefer to be there. You're right, nothing is too far away (Paris is nothing like the size of London, for example), but Montmartre is really only by itself and everything else is further away.

Posted by
4684 posts

Montmartre isn't close to Gare du Nord where the Eurostar stops, either. You might be confusing it with the Boulevard de Montmartre, which confusingly to visitors isn't close to Montmartre the area.

Posted by
117 posts

Montmartre is too far out to convenient to anything. The Louvre/the Seine is a 35-40minute walk from Sacre Coeur. Most of the main sights are located near the Seine, so at least a 35 minute walk.

I would stay in the Marais, Arrondisement 4. Safe with Lots of eateries and lodging options. Close to the River, close to Metros that could get you quickly to Gare du Nord or other places in the city.

Posted by
9429 posts

I hear you about renting a room but just check out Hotel Marignan in the 5th. It’s very close to the river, close to Notre Dame, very central and a great location on a quiet street. It’s very budget and nice for the price, clean, safe. They have a kitchen guests can use and washer/dryers (unheard of in other hotels). My good friend stayed there a few months ago and liked it. I stayed there for 6 wks in 1975... I went in last Feb and talked w the owner for an hour (family owned hotel), son of owners when I stayed there. I liked him and enjoyed talking w him.

Posted by
14163 posts

What's your nightly budget, in Euro?

I travel solo most of the time to Paris and I prefer a hotel with a lobby that is staffed 24 hours a day. I like the hotel to be small enough that the desk staff know who I am after a couple of days and have the right key selected to hand me when I come in.

Some acquaintances stayed in an AirB&B room in a guy's apartment in Paris. He was perfectly nice, in his early 30's but it would have been creepy to me to stay with him and share his bathroom. In the end they wound up paying about the same as a friend and I paid at a nearby hotel and we had breakfast with our rooms.

I also have gotten notices of room deals if I sign up for a hotel newsletter or like their FB pages.

For that time of year I would also want AC. I've been in Paris in August in a heat wave and thought I would perish. I don't do heat well and would not have managed if I hadn't been able to retreat to a hotel room with AC. Plus eat gelato, hahaha!

Posted by
8000 posts

All budgets are different; stay in Montmartre only if you've hung in the area before; hence you know if you like it or not; it a'int for a first timer though. Otherwise with all the tourists lodging around the Seine, elevating the prices of everything, I would stay by the 20th near Pere La Chaise; it is safe no riff raff everything is a short metro ride connected or just walking as Paris is one of the great walking beautiful cities.

Posted by
776 posts

Given your short stay in Paris, unless you can find accommodation near a direct to center metro, best would be to spend more money for a central location. The area at Gambetta mentioned in the above post is very safe but the metro (#3) to the center requires a transfer at Republique to the #11, a very busy stop. The #69 bus from Gambetta has excellent connections but is slow and crowded.most of the time. What you gain in money saved you loose in time.

All in all, in your situation with limited time, I would not stay with a stranger or rent an apartment but would opt for a apt hotel closer in.
AC considerations lately have become essential in August.

Posted by
2466 posts

Hotel Ile-Saint-Louis was renovated about 2 years ago, and has air-conditioning, which you will probably need. No rental apartment has reliable air-conditioning.

You will not risk anything by walking around after 10 PM or even after that. The pickpockets have all gone home by then. You will have your own private island to explore.
If you walk down an empty street, all you risk are the troublesome cobblestones...

Posted by
55 posts

Thank you all so much.

I ended up choosing a very nice airbnb near the Bastille - bordering the Marais and the 11th arrondissement. The host is a "superhost" with lots of favourable reviews, and also the registration number that Kim mentioned, was listed on the advertisment too. (Thank you Kim, for making me aware of this!!) IIt;s also relatively near to the Gare de Lyon, where I'll be catching my train to Switzerland.

I did see some very nice places in some of the most central arrondissements, but they were either more expensive, or not as nice as the place I ended up with. Or didn't have the proven track record. I also looked up the Hotel Marignan that Susan recommended - unfortunately they were already booked out for the dates I wanted!!

By chance I picked up a French hitch-hiker a couple days ago - who ended up sleeping on my couch that night - and when I talked to them, they were EXTREMELY direct about their views on certain parts of Paris!! I'm so glad I hadn't booked when I first started looking - between you all, and the hitch-hiker, I realised my initial ideas were probably not the wisest and that where I've ended up, will be a much better selection :)

Posted by
31 posts

I would not stay in Montmatre, personally. It was OK in the day but it definitely had a bit of a seedy vibe, at least for me. I've been to Paris twice- the first time I stayed off Canal-Saint-Martin and while the area was OK, I didn't feel super safe at night (was alone with two kids). The second time we went back, we stayed just off the Seine- on the Right bank. 16th arr. if I remember correctly. We then moved up to the arc du triomphe. I enjoyed both places, my husband liked the one in the 16th better.

If I had to pick another area, I'd pick the 7th arr. I just liked the area.

Get a metro pass and a map. We walked and rode the metro and did perfectly fine.

Posted by
9429 posts

debbie, I think you made an excellent choice... both the AirBnB and the location. That’s a great area and central enough. I think you’ll be very happy. I hope you have a great time in my favorite place... : )