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Looking for advice on which arrondissements to stay with first time family trip in an airbnb.

We are a family of 4 (two adults and two teenagers) and will be arriving around May 29th and flying home on June 4th. We have not been to Paris before and will be arriving to Paris after a 4 night stay in London (also a first time). We would like to take the Chunnel over to Paris just to say we did and it seems to be fairly economical.

I know its hard to give advice because everyone has a different agenda, so let me describe ours. Our favorite thing to do when we travel to Europe is to walk around and experience the culture and neighborhoods, purposefully staying away from Americanism. Standing in line for hours is NOT something we will do and we are not big museum people. Going to see the highlights in Paris (Eiffel, Versailles, etc) is obviously a must but its the restaurants, shops, cafe’s, people we love. Sitting next to the Seine eating a crepe and watching/talking to people is what we love to do.

The reason we like the AirBNB option is that it allows us to possibly get 3 rooms. Our budget can easily be 285 euros/night but cheaper is nice too. We don’t mind taking the metro, but I don’t want to stay so far away that half my experience in Paris is riding the metro. I know each arrondissement has its own character and that is the advice I’m looking for. As we will be traveling with our teen children, going to bars/clubs is out of the picture.

Posted by
3961 posts

Hands down the 4th Arrondissment will meet your wish list! Our favorite area to base ourselves.

Posted by
3246 posts

You will need to read up on the newest regulations around vacation apartment rentals in Paris.
A rental now must have a 13 digit registration number to be a legal rental.
Lots of info on this site about this, and on TripAdvisor.
Although, I'm not sure how you would prove that a number displayed has indeed been registered with the government!
Be informed before you book any apartment in Paris.

Posted by
8235 posts

4th is good but so is the 14th. The 4th is entirely given over to tourism. Most of the lodging is tourist based; most of the charming bakeries and butcher shops are now boutiques. It is beautiful, but it is IMHO the most touristy part of Paris with some of St. Germain in contention. The 14th is well connected with transport, near the great brasserie and crepe restaurants, has all the local amenities of bakeries, cafes etc and a lot less touristy. Hard to beat the 4th for beauty of the streets and buildings though.

Posted by
1806 posts

Our favorite thing to do when we travel to Europe is to walk around and experience the culture and neighborhoods, purposefully staying away from Americanism.

If that's really what you prefer, then the 4th is not the place for you. While it might be a pretty neighborhood with lots of nice restaurants and boutiques, it's a neighborhood that is overrun with other tourists, so while you may get to sit near the Seine and eat a crepe, it's far more likely you'll be watching/talking to Bob and Suzy from Wisconsin than you would with a couple of actual Parisians.

I've stayed in the single digit arrondissements when traveling with friends and yes, it's convenient if you want to walk to many big museums and other major sights, but quite frankly, the Metro and buses are so easy to use that it really doesn't take that long to get where you want to go from some of the double digit neighborhoods.

Posted by
1172 posts

Another one for the 4th. That is where we stayed last summer with our kids and we loved it!

Posted by
2 posts

Thank you everyone for your advice. It just dawned on me that staying in a more Americanized area might be better for the teens. Although my wife and I like to experience a more true culture, the kids may get bored. From what I’m reading, maybe being closer has more entertainment for the kids. We were looking at the 3rd and 14th districts (arrondissements) due to the price and size of the apartment. We will definitely check out the 13 digit rental registration.

Posted by
796 posts

In 2014, I stayed at a rental named Le Lutece from this website: I don't know about a 13 digit number though.

It looks like it has been updated a bit since I was there. It is in the lower 5th arrondisement, about 25 minutes walk to the river, 5 minutes to rue Mouffetard where there are many good restaurants and food shops, maybe 10-15 minutes walk to the Luxembourg gardens. There was a bus stop right at the door of the building, I think it was bus 21 and bus 27. The apartment is on rue Claude Bernard. Censier-Daubenton is the nearest metro. The Monge market is near too (twice weekly and a fabulous market).

There were 3 of us sharing this apartment and it worked well. There is an tiny elevator which we only used when we had our luggage. Everything worked well with the apartment. We often had morning breakfast and coffee at a local cafe on rue Claude Bernard where we certainly were the only tourists. There is a polytechnic college on the street so the cafe had students and retired people meeting for coffee. Nothing special about the cafe, but it was cool to be surrounded by locals.

While it is not so close to the Seine, it might do for you and your family. The bedroom with the double bed is quieter than the one with the 2 single beds.

Have a great holiday.

Posted by
9436 posts

I grew up in Paris, lived there as an adult, and visit fairly often, my top favorite is the 4th followed by the 5th and 6th, as close to the river as possible. I don’t like being in crowds of tourists, or Americans when I’m in Paris, and I’m able to avoid most.

Be sure to check out the street performers on the pedestrian bridge behind Notre Dame day and night, and in front of Notre Dame at nght.

Posted by
3961 posts

We fondly remember spending several evenings watching performers in front of Notre Dame. As another contributor mentioned, the 4th Arrondissment is less touristy, and close to the Seine and cafes. It was our favorite area in Paris.

Posted by
369 posts

I've reserved a hotel room in the 1st Arrondissement. I've noticed that I've never seen anyone recommend staying in the 1st, but the hotel I reserved had great reviews and it is pretty centrally located, as in close to the Louvre and Notre Dame, a few blocks from the Seine. Wondering why no one recommends the 1st. Is it too touristy? This will be my first trip to Paris.

Posted by
9436 posts

The 1st arrondissement is fine. It’s just not charming imo. It’s where the Louvre museum is, the Tuileries gardens (park), the end of the Champs Elysées, Place de la Concorde, large boulevards, very expensive designer boutiques, expensive hotels, and rue de Rivoli which is full of tourists and souvenir shops. It’s not the quaint, cozy, charming part of Paris, imo. But it’s central enough and perfectly fine.

Posted by
2466 posts

You will be taking the Eurostar to Gare du Nord, not the Chunnel.
You should purchase your tickets 90 days in advance for the best deals.

I doubt you'd find an AirBnB with 3 rooms with a 13-digit registration number, though.
Most apartment buildings do not have connecting rooms, are not that large, and you will probably not find the 2 extra rooms you are seeking.

The Citadines at Richard Lenoir has air-conditioning - which you may need - and is steps away from the Bastille open-air market. A Casino supermarket is the option for the other things you might need. There is a small kitchen. Sleeping arrangements may vary. It is legal.

A 24-hour room desk service is very handy, if you have not been to Paris before.

I think that this neighborhood is fascinating...