Please sign in to post.

Where to Stay in Paris?

Will be my first time in Paris in May 2022. I've been reading blogs and travel books (which is helpful but also so overwhelming) and still torn on where to stay in Paris that is best location to see most of the major sights. We (my hubby and another couple) will have 3 nights. We are in our early-mid 60s & can walk fairly long distances. Of course we wish to see Arc de Triomphe, Eiffel Tower, Rue Cler, Champs des Elysees, Jardin des Tuileries, St Chapelle, Notre Dame (exterior), Le Marais, the Louvre; if time Sacre-Couer and Montmartre area + 1/2 day at Versailles. Based on my readings here are the areas that were recommended locations to stay:
*Montmartre -said to be prettiest area but further from sites so more time on metro. Or is it worth more metro; and will we be on the metro a lot anyway?
*Isle de Loius is supposedly pretty and quiet - are there enough restaurants on the Isle? If is too secluded?
*hotel near Rue Cler and Eiffel Tower highly recommended by several bloggers, however I read that area near Eiffel Tower has much less to see so not recommended?
*Great bnb near Galleries Lafayette/Opera. This appears to be a good central location. Thoughts?
*Le Marais- read that is highly recommended area w many restaurants, etc. Will that require more metro time too?

Would appreciate any input anyone may have. Thank you!

Posted by
6741 posts

Very subjective question. We stayed in the Rue Cler area at Hôtel Duquesne Eiffel. We enjoyed the location. Unlike many cities where the major sights are close together, I found the major sights in Paris to be fairly spread out. We did a lot of walking and used the metro when we got tired. The sights close to Rue Cler are the Eiffel Tower, Napoleon’s tomb and military museum, and Swan Island with the miniature Statue of Liberty at one end. The Alexander III bridge is within walking distance (1 mile). For a longer walk, just continue on to the Arc de Triumph (1 mile from the bridge).

Posted by
3258 posts

My first choice always ile Saint-Louis - it's centrally located and an easy walk to restaurants in the Marais and other neighborhoods. There are a few restaurants on Ile Saint-Louis but you might want to explore other neighborhoods for dinner options too.

Montmartre is too far to use as a base but if you have time, you'll want to go there.

The Metro can take you everywhere on your list.

Enjoy Paris!

Posted by
115 posts

Jamiee, I know it is subjective. I agree that everything is pretty spread out so we'll have to use the bus or metro regardless of where we stay. Thanks for your input.

Posted by
3961 posts

We enjoyed staying in Le Marais at Hotel Caron de Beaumarchais. We stayed 5 nights. We love the vibe of the Marais. There are many restaurants in walking distance. We walked to most sites and used the Metro occasionally. We were 4 minutes to Saint-Paul Metro Stop.

If you are looking for walking tours, we took 2 with www.sightseekersdelight.com. We enjoyed “Time Travel To Montmartre” and “Jewish Paris (Le Marais).” They offer many walking tours. The guides were knowledgeable and engaging. We enjoyed the small groups.

https://www.carondebeaumarchais.com/m/index.html

Posted by
9429 posts

Ile St Louis is my first choice too. It is the little island next to the bigger island where Notre Dame is. All distances in France are measured from Notre Dame, it is the most central area and where Paris actually started. You cannot get more central than Ile St Louis. It is very charming, surrounded by the river and amazing views. Lots of fun shops, cafés, restaurants. The pedestrian bridge from ISL to Notre Dame usually has fun street performers or musicians. There are 4 good hotels on ISL. You can easily walk from ISL along the river and to many sites you’ll want to see.
My second favorite area is the Marais, in the 3rd and 4th arrondissement. Tons of hotels, shops, cafés, restaurants and just pure charm.
My third favorite area is the Latin Quarter, in the 5th arrondissement.
All of these areas are central, so is the St Germain area, in the 6th.
Rue Cler is not central and I’m not a fan.

Don’t miss visiting the Luxembourg Gardens in the 6th arrondissement. It is wonderful, my favorite place on the planet.

Posted by
1552 posts

Avoid: arrondissements 9, 10, 18, 19, and 20.
13 is OK but not quite scenic.

Posted by
115 posts

Thanks Sharon. I'm definitely considering Ile Saint-Louis & Le Marais as my top picks. Good to know we can easily walk to Le Marais from Ile Saint-Louis. I had read similar opinions on Montmartre - good to visit but not to stay since too remote.

Janis, thanks for the info on walking tours. We'll check those out. I saw that hotel recommended on a blog site. It doesn't seem to be booking out into spring 2022 yet but I'll check it out again later.

Posted by
115 posts

Good to know what to avoid Bark-in-the-Park.
Susan, sounds like I definitely need to consider Isle St Louis then along w/the Marais.
Merci beaucoup everyone for the feedback. It's always helpful to get input from those who have been there!
Have a great evening.

Posted by
2355 posts

St.Germain, specifically the Hotel Residence des Artes. Perfect area one block from the Seine, across from Notre Dame. Metro and RER stops within half a block. Tons of cafes nearby. Super charming area in the oldest park of Paris. The hotel has character, with all the comforts you’d hope for (a/c, mini bar, comfy beds, tiny elevator, spacious rooms). We stayed for 5 nights in Nov. 2019 in a Jr Suite and double room. Couldn’t have been happier. This was our 3rd trip to Paris, and we’d stay there again.

Posted by
3258 posts

As an example, I checked Google Maps from Hotel de Lutece (just one hotel…Susan mentioned that there are at least 3 other nice hotels ) on Ile Saint Louis to the Saint-Paul Metro stop in the heart of the Marais (using this Metro stop as a point of reference) and it’s an 8 minute walk.

There are several Metro stops near Ile Saint Louis depending on your destination.

Posted by
325 posts

We prefer the Marais, very close to many sights, full of cafes and shops and bustling with Parisian life! Zero tourist vibe. Our last stay was in Hotel de la Bretonnerie and it was terrific. They went out of their way to make us happy with an upgrade and finding us a doctor when needed. https://www.hotelparismaraisbretonnerie.com/en/ They aren't super cheap so we're trying Jeanne d'Arc for our next trip in December! https://hoteljeannedarc.com/

Posted by
6 posts

Rather than a recommendation of a specific area/arrondissement, here's a strategy that has worked well for me. Get a good map of Paris (large, with some detail of the streets and metro stops). Use some of those sticky-note arrows and label all the sites that are of interest to you. If you're so inclined, you can even color-code them with must sees, would like to see, might see, etc. Then, simply look for accommodations in an area close to most of your high priority arrows and, voila! The perfect location for you and yours.

Posted by
4999 posts

There's a lot to be said for staying in the center of town and being able to go anywhere easily. The Hotel des Deux-Iles is as centrally located as can be on Ile St. Louis There are also a couple of other hotels on the same street. Cross the river and you will be in the Marais -- cross it the other way and you'll be in The Latin Quarter. Walk to the end of the island, cross the bridge, and you'll be at the back of Notre Dame -- such as it is now as some of the immediate area is closed off. The Metro is near enough that getting anywhere is not a problem. There are also several restaurants on the island. If you decided to stay there, we can steer you to a great little place for breakfast as all hotel breakfasts seem to be over priced for what one gets.

Posted by
115 posts

Thank you everyone for the addt’l input. I will take this all into consideration. I’ll talk this over with my hubby and travel friends and see what they think. Looks we need to choose btw ISL, Le Marais or St Germain. Our decision may end up being based on hotel availability and pricing. Given we will be in France for 3 wks we don’t want to blow ALL the budget on Paris (although we know it is one of the priciest areas).

TC -what is the breakfast place you would recommend if you don’t mind sharing? We usually like to skip the breakfast at hotels (most often too much same or not that great) and get breakfast on our own on our way out.

Much appreciated everyone!

Posted by
1384 posts

My first time in Paris, 2014, I stayed near the Saint-Michel Metro/RER station. This area has many restaurants/cafes and was within walking distance to Notre Dame, St. Chapelle & of course the Latin Quarter. Saint-Michel station has Metro Line 4, which runs North & South and RER-C running East & West along the Seine as well as RER-B, which I used to and from CDG Airport. For me it was a good starting or end point for my daily site seeing that was further than what I wanted to walk & of course being able to connect to other Metro/RER lines as needed.

Now that I am more comfortable with the city, my fourth visit coming this Nov/Dec, I have stayed on Ile St. Louis, the 4th arr. & soon to be 2nd arr.

Enjoy your trip.

Posted by
885 posts

Have stayed in 3 different areas on our last 3 trips to Paris……each as different as the next. First trip, Rue Cler……used the subway that was close by and did a lot of walking….loved the closeness and ease of the grocery, bakeries and laundry and sidewalk cafes there-great for first timers. Trip #2, we stayed on the Isle St. Louis….loved the convenience of being in the heart of the city and the ease of walking anywhere we wanted……walked, did not use the metro and loved seeing more of the city on foot. Trip #3, we stayed at the Vendome Westin, across from the Tuileries Garden….loved the hotel but a little far from the center of activity in Paris and all of the places we wanted to revisit…..going again for trip #4 and will stay at the Isle St. Louis……LOVE the island and its location center in the city…..PLENTY to do and see and places to eat on the Isle……and MAKE CERTAIN you go get a falafel at L’ As du Fallafel in the Marais!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by
1168 posts

You will get great suggestions here for all the different areas. It's a personal preference for many and all make compelling suggestions with their favorites. With that in mind, and having spent a lot of time in Paris, we really enjoy the Relais Bosquet in the 7th. The Rue Cler market is a block away and full of restaurants, shops, bakeries, flower shops, butcher shops, cheese, and the bus #69 covers that area with the stop nearby to take you to the sights. The hotel is lovely, clean, great breakfast, and very nice staff. There are lots of restaurants for last minute or late night dinner all within a couple of minutes walk. The hotel has some rooms with Eiffel Tower view, and an easy 7-8 minute walk to the Eiffel Tower as is Les Invalides. The Seine is less than a 10 minute walk. There is also a laundry facility just down the street in case anyone needs one. There are also several groceries all within a 2 3 minute walk from the hotel. It's quiet at night, which we like, and the rooms are of good size and very comfortable beds. Recently remodeled with several meal plan options that are awesome. https://hotel-paris-bosquet.com/

Posted by
3961 posts

Another vote to have lunch at L’ As du Fallafel in Le Marais! We went there with our tour guide from Sightseekers Delight. The plus of going there with our walking tour was avoiding the long line to get in! ;)

Posted by
25 posts

We just got home after 2 weeks. Our last hotel was Hotel Londres Saint Honore. 5 minutes from the Louvre and Garden. There are metro stops within 10 minutes. Monoprix is close by and there are some great restaurants around the corner, particularly a nice Italian place that had amazing food. It is a budget hotel with a small elevator for 1 bag and a person. We are rarely in our room so it was all we needed. Eric, the host, speaks very good English and was a wealth of knowledge on history and how to make your stay incredible.

Posted by
3025 posts

More time on metro or is it worth more metro?

No, the metro is underground and is only good to get to and from the places of interest. Furthermore, Montmartre is not the prettiest section of Paris, it’s still worth spending time there but it’s also very touristy and the evening crowds can be hectic to maneuver through.

Isle de Louis is supposedly pretty and quiet - are there enough restaurants on the Isle? If is too secluded?

Île Saint-Louis is the smaller of the two islands in the River Seine and is a residential area with good restaurants and no, it is not secluded, you won't even know you're on an island.

Hotel near Rue Cler and Eiffel Tower highly recommended by several bloggers, however I read that area near Eiffel Tower has much less to see so not recommended?

Not true, this area is fantastic and is close to the top attractions by foot. I stayed on Rue Cler and recommend sleeping on the pedestrian market street or nearby. Furthermore, the restaurants on Rue Cler are good and a perfect way to end your evening. You’re very close to Napoleon’s tomb and the ornate Pont Alexander III bridge.

Great bnb near Galleries Lafayette/Opera. This appears to be a good central location. Thoughts?

I believe the most central is the 1st arrondissement where the Louvre is located but staying near the Galleries Lafayette / opera house works too. If you want to stay there than do it.

Le Marais- read that is highly recommended area w many restaurants, etc. Will that require more metro time too?

Nope, great area to explore.

Posted by
4554 posts

I would suggest the area near the Opera Garnier is pretty frantic and not necessarily oriented to tourists. It seems I'm a Left Bank or Ile St. Louis guy myself. I would also suggest for your first visit, it's really not all that important - you will not be in your room much at all, just stay roughly near the Seine not in an outlying arrondissement.

Posted by
1340 posts

I tend to like the area around the Opéra,the Faubourg Montmartre, and Alésia/Montparnasse area. But it is all so personal.

For the opera area I say the Rue de Caumartin to me doesn't feel particularly touristy though it is quite near some key tourist sights---and metro wise it is a great location.

For the Faubourg Montmartre it's near the opera but a bit grittier. A bit down from Opéra Garnier, but close. I love the restaurants in the area.

For Alésia/Montparnasse I love that it doesn't feel touristy and feels more like a neighborhood.

Now that I no longer stay at hotels when in Paris, I am with my significant other smack dab in the Auteuil / Passy area and I absolutely love it. Chic, feels like the Paris of my imagination.

Posted by
115 posts

Thanks everyone for the additional input. We ended up finding a place that met our budget and dates in St Germaine-des-Pres. We really wanted to stay on Isle-St-Louis but they didn't have 2 rooms available for our dates. Maybe we'll stay there next time.
Happy New Year everyone!

Posted by
9429 posts

That’s great Patti, I’m sure you’ll be very happy. Check out Ile St Louis to see if you like it for next time.

“you won't even know you're on an island.”

You absolutely will know you’re on an island. It is surrounded by water and you have to cross a bridge over that water to get anywhere.

Posted by
9429 posts

On Ile St Louis, Hotel des Deux Iles and Hotel de Lutèce have the same owner. They’re a block apart on rue St Louis en l’Isle.

Hotel du Jeu de Paume is on the same main street.

The 4th hotel, Hotel St Louis en l’Isle,
also on the same main street, is closed for renovation.

Posted by
4554 posts

St. Germain is an excellent location with a wide variety of options. Even a Gap if you long for a taste of home (or need some last minute clothing). Be sure to visit the church.

Posted by
26 posts

Going to Paris on May. What was the great BNB? Thanks.

Posted by
3025 posts

“you won't even know you're on an island.”
You absolutely will know you’re on an island. It is surrounded by water and you have to cross a bridge over that water to get anywhere.

Ile St Louis is very developed and big enough that it does not have an “island” feel. Unless you're walking along the edge that overlooks the river or walking over a bridge, you'll forget that you are on an island.

Posted by
1 posts

May will be lovely. I'm 55 and travel to Paris annually. I always stay at Hotel Diana about two blocks from Notre Dame and across from the Sorbonne. I found it through Rick Steeves. You can easily walk to Luxembourg Gardens. the metro is just a block away. If you've never been to Paris, I highly recommend taking the HopOn HopOff Bus next to Notre Dame and taking a full day or two tour. It's such an easy way to see the tourist sites and you can also stay at spots for as long as you like. Also, book your ticket to go up the Eiffel Tower in advance. The ticket line can be very long. The metro is fine but I like to see the city from street level.

Posted by
9429 posts

I could not disagree with you more MaryPat.

Posted by
46 posts

Dear Jnugent,

I am so glad to see that you have stayed at Hotel Diana! I found it in another guidebook, and their rates look good. I am thinking about booking it for late April/early May. Any other feedback regarding this hotel?

Thanks in advance!

Posted by
14580 posts

I don't know about staying in the 20th, haven't done that yet but the 20th is a hidden gem. It was featured on a program on TV5 as an well worthy of one's time and cultural interest in Paris. I will surely have to go there next time in Paris, which as of now is earmarked for July.

Posted by
1025 posts

Comment about L’ As du Fallafel for lunch - No tables, no plates, and wall to wall Gen Z tourists and budget lookyloos. Craving a seat, you'll spend your lunch break with a messy pita as you stand in the street.

If it's falafel you want, go around the corner to Miznon where you can at least sit down.

Posted by
14167 posts

There are tables inside L'As du Fallafel. You have to get in the line to eat "Sur Place" instead of the take away window.

I prefer the Mi-va-mi across the street as I like their mix better.

Posted by
3961 posts

We were at L’As du Fallafel a number of years ago and it was a positive experience. As mentioned up thread we were on a walking tour and the tour guide took our group there. Yes, they had indoor tables.

*Thanks Pam for your recommendations as well.

Posted by
14167 posts

@Janis...another forum member (Donna&Denis) put me on to Mi-va-mi a couple of years ago.

BTW, if you do choose to get takeaway from either L'As or Mi-va-mi you can take it just a few steps away to Jardin des Rosiers Joseph Migneret where there are benches and a pleasant atmosphere (as long as it's not raining!).

https://goo.gl/maps/FgPtVrcVk6u12jr4A

Posted by
209 posts

A lot of info already posted. Best to see the comments and align with your interests. We all have different tastes. For example, there was a comment to avoid the 9th. When I worked in Paris, I stayed in the 9th given the location to the office. I rather enjoyed the area, and found it to have much more a local vibe. To each his/her own. Bottom line though, you can't go wrong staying anywhere centrally located.

Glenn

Posted by
14167 posts

Janis...good article. I first went there on the Best of Paris tour when we did a Marais Walk with a Paris Walks guide. I do not remember her mentioning this:

"Through that door, first walk by the remnants of the Wall of Philip II Augustus, the former city wall of Paris, and you can even see the interior of one of the towers. Then, several gardens open to you, each with their very own atmosphere."

I couldn't get to the article from the link, somehow it kept taking me to the home page but if you just do a search on Joseph Migneret the article comes right up.