My husband and I are traveling in May to Paris with our adult children (24/26). Would love to have some advice as to what Arrondissement and/or neighborhood to stay in. We are looking for an area where we can submerge ourselves into the Parisian culture and experience the markets, quaint cafes/restaurants, shopping (not high end) and enjoy some nightlife but still be close to the tourist areas. We are not museum people but will definitely want to go to the Louvre. We are looking for a hotel, either staying in a quad or 2 Dbls or would entertain an apartment. And nothing fancy, just need a place to sleep but not a hostel. Thank you in advance.
I would recommend the 4th, 5th & 6th arrondissements for a first visit. The closer to to river the better. These areas will keep you the most central and you should be able to walk to many places. There will also be activity in the evenings and a lot of places to eat.
How long will you be there? A quad hotel room will be crowded and offer little to no privacy. I would recommend an apartment. Most apartments require a minimum of 3 nights. It can be a cost savings and give you some space. I use vrbo.com, homeaway.com, airbnb.com and many people here also recommend vacationinparis.com. Most one bedroom apartments will sleep 4 people.
I agree with Andrea about location, though anywhere near a Metro station would work. Generally, closer to the river = more expensive and vice versa. I also agree about an apartment, if you're staying more than a few nights. A 2-bedroom apartment would let you spread out, have some meals in, keep different hours if you want, and do laundry easily if it's equipped. We've rented through homeaway.com with good results, the other services Andrea cited are good also.
There are street markets all over Paris, check a good guidebook. Quaint cafes/restaurants just about everywhere, likewise shopping and nightlife. May is a beautiful time to go, have fun!
Mary, we stayed in the 5th and enjoyed it, but this time will be in Le Marais, and while I'm not sure if it's considered the 3rd or the 4th where we will be-near Place Vosges-I do know that if I was 24-26 (again!) I would rather be there than in the 5th or 6th. But that's just me. That's really nice that you'll be traveling with your grown up kids!
I agree with Andrea. Highly recommend staying in the 4th, 5th or 6th. The 5th is very close to the Marais (4th), super easy to walk between the two. Most 24, 26 yo would be very happy in any of these areas.
My adult daughter and I had the same question with very similar interests as yours. After reviewing Rick's Paris book plus numerous web searches, we established a list of about 20 places we wanted to see in a 2 week period. We purchased a plastic map of Paris, and then used stick pins to id the 20 places we wanted to visit. 15 of the 20 sites were in the 6th, all within a short walk of a reasonably priced 2 star hotel referenced in Ricks's Paris book. I certainly was surprised by the result since I originally was inclined to pick the 5th. Good luck.
My young adult children particularly loved the 10 days we spent in an apartment in the Marais over Christmas and New Years one year. We now stay in outer arrondissements when we come to Paris and they still talk about how great the Marais was. I agree that the 4th 5th and 6th are good for first timers especially because of the proximity to the river. There is nothing more Romantic than an evening stroll along the river and around Notre Dame when it is illuminated. It is the one thing we miss staying further out.
We will be visiting Paris in May also with our adult children (23,27). An apt in Marais was first on my list--thank you for the confirmation!
Consider looking for an apartment away from the central, and therefore tourist, arrondisments. I like the 10th, 11th and 12th, although not too far north. The area near Canal St-Martin, north from Place de la Republique, for instance, has trendy pockets and also working-class apartments, which means you will see everyday life as well as the grand cultural monuments. The key is to be near a Metro stop, preferably one with two separate lines.
On a personal note, four adults travelling together do not have to do everything together. Agreeing that each individual can pursue special interests alone will make for more congenial gatherings around the table for the evening meal.