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4 days in Paris... where to stay for the "local experience?"

Hello! I am taking my brand new wife to Paris for part of our honeymoon in September. On our honeymoon, she wants to not feel so compelled to SEE, GO, and DO everything. Rather, she wants the easy-going local experience, spending plenty of lazy afternoons lounging in cafes, picnicking along the banks of the Seine, strolling along the streets, poking in and out of shops, etc. Of course she still wants to do SOME of the touristy things (go to the top of the Eiffel Tower, walk through some of the Louvre, etc). Where is the BEST place to stay (looking for at least a 4 star hotel) with great access to the best little cafes and the fun/relaxing parts of Paris, while also maintaining great views and proximity to the major sites and the metro? Should I look closer to the Champs Elysees? The Louvre?

Thanks for any advice you could give.

Merci beaucoup!

Posted by
9110 posts

Four stars ain't exactly the local experience.

But if you gotta do it, stick a compass on the Concorde metro station and draw a semi-circle whose radius is about five hundred yards further than the Madeleine metro station (staying on the north side of the river). Maybe concentrate on the area around the Canadian and American embassies and the Elysees Palace.

Please put me in your will in exchange for the advise. You'll be spending close to ten times per night more than I do.

Posted by
245 posts

For a really special hotel experience in arguably the best and most sought-after area in Paris, try the Hotel de Lutece on Ile St. Louis. It's a 3-star boutique hotel (not a big, touristy, antiseptic kind of hotel). Prices are probably between $175-200 per night. Google them for their url. You really can't get more central than Ile St. Louis and can walk to 80% of whatever you want to see. If you really must spend more money, try Hotel du Jeu de Paume on the same street.

Posted by
7 posts

Thanks to both of you for the advice. Again, this is for a honeymoon. I wouldn't normally prefer to spend so much, but I am going high end since I want these days in Paris to be as magical as they can be. Even if we stay in the hotel a tiny fraction of the time we're in Paris, I want her coming "home" to what she feels is her castle.

She deserves it.

Next time, we'll go budget. I'll post where I end up booking... thanks so much!

Posted by
1806 posts

It's definitely not a local experience or a tourist experience, but for a honeymoon...Plaza Athenee! Big expensive once-in-a-lifetime splurge...but sure to be memorable. Afterall, it was good enough for Sex & The City to want to film the series finale there.

Posted by
262 posts

I love the first arround, close to the Louvre, the rue to Rivoli and close to all main attractions to visit. You cannot gone wrong in the 3, 4, 5 or 6.
I am staying in a lovely apartment in the 1st.
It isn't cheap but divided by 3 is not that bad.
Look at Lots of nice places where you can feel like you are a temporary Parisian.
I only stay in apts because I hate small hotel rooms and like you want to spend time relaxing in the place that I stay.

Happy Travels!

Posted by
8419 posts

I was going to recommend Hotel de Lutece on Ile Saint Louis and saw that Dale already did. We love this hotel and Ile Saint Louis is my favorite neighborhood in Paris.
It's very romantic, surrounded by the Seine and in the heart of Paris. It's like a little village of it's own. I highly recommend it!

Posted by
7 posts

Wow, thank you all! We are REALLY excited about the trip in the Fall, and now I've got a ton of great leads. Picking a place to stay in possibly THE most popular city in the world is a challenge, to say the least.

Thanks so much for taking the time to share your thoughts.

Posted by
7 posts

The 7th Arris.-----definitely the 7th!!!!!!

Rue Cler, Eiffel Tower, Les Invalides, Patisseries, Rotisserie Chicken and all the ingredients for a great picnic all within walking distance. (And you have to experience Rick's Italian restaurant recommendation! Sergio makes you feel most welcome----even if you have to listen to one Frank Sinatra song (Strangers In The Night) over, and over and over----but it made for great memories! Plus the Pesto was fantastic as were the free Lemoncello shooters. Go early (5 pm?)and you will get undivided attention.)

We stayed budget-conscious both times, so I can't make hotel recommendations, sorry.

Take a trip to Pere-Lachaisse Cemetery. Go to Notre Dame EARLY (we went before it even opened and had the chance to have coffee with locals a block away) Learn the Metro---it is EASY---and explore!


Posted by
7 posts

My wife just reminded me we stayed at the "Splendid Hotel" (29 avenue de Tourville) E-mail is (she saved a matchbox from the room!)

We stayed on the top floor (6th or 7th?) with a view of the Eiffel Tower as it sparkled at night from your bedroom; it was a one-of-a-kind experience. We went on Valentine's Day week-end.

Can't claim it to be 4-star...but it was more than adequate.

Posted by
875 posts

I would recommend either the Hotel Relais Christine ( or Relail Hotel du Vieux ( in the 6th just off the Seine, about a block away from the St. Michel Plaza -- so convenient to the metro, RER, St. Chapelle, Notre Dame (and ND Plaza with all its fun free street entertainment at nights and on Sundays), so close to Jacques Cagna's wonderful restaurants and to so very many wonderful sidewalk cafes (Cafe du Flore, Cafe Les Deux Magots, Procope Cafe (oldest in Paris), so wonderful for evening walks along the Seine. We stay in an apt in this area, and would never stay anywhere else as this is so convenient for so many things and transportation also. Also easy to get to the Louvre and the Musee d'Orsay!

Posted by
776 posts

I have stayed in the 7th arrondisement at the Hotel Londres Eiffel twice (once on a RS tour and again on my own). I have booked a few nights again this fall. It is a lovely hotel on a quiet side street. There are a few rooms with a bit of an Eiffel tower view. 5 minute walk to the Eiffel Tower (my favourite thing in Paris) Not sure how many stars. Watching the sun rise and set at the Eiffel tower is THE BEST.

Just a few minutes from the hotel, is a great cafe just outside the Ecole Militaire Metro stop, La Terrasse (? spelling) that I love; there are some tourists, but many locals stopping for a drink on their way home from work. Lots of other great restaurants within walking distance of that hotel too. (see Rick's recommendations)

Great food markets within walking distance, the Saxe Breteuil market (from avenue de Ségur to place Breteuil, Thursday, Saturday morning) and the Grenelle (Boulevard de Grenelle, from rue de Lourmel to rue du Commerce, Wednesday, Sunday morning). That is a great local thing to do. And you can picnic in the Champs du Mars park, by the Eiffel tower.

I enjoy this area of Paris. Wonderful to walk along the Seine. Bus and Metro connections are good to everywhere in Paris.


Posted by
239 posts

To have an easy-going local experience, I would rent an apartment. We have used vacationinparis with great success, and they have some beautiful luxury apartments as well as less-expensive ones. Most of their apartments require only a three-day minimum stay.