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Best Section of Paris To Room In

Greetings All, after much research I am stumped. I will be in Paris with my small family for 5 nights in October. I've narrowed down all the things I want to do and see (Walk, eat at the cafes, see the sites (Notre Dame, Tour Eiffel, Louve, de Orsay, Montemartre, la Marais, etc))

The problem is I can decide which neighborhood to stay in. Rue Cler seems touristy. St. Germain or the Latin quarter seems ideal to just walk out and be in the thick of the shops/cafes/markets. Montmartre seems lively and different with a unique feel. The outer arrondissments seem quiet and variously crowded/commercial/safe.

I want a place that is not loud. That is 5 minutes walk max from good food shopping and cafes. That is safe. That is not touristy.

I'm not asking for a specific hotel or such just advice on specific neighborhoods or streets.

You will be a life saver!!

Posted by
632 posts

Kitty,

Everyone has their favorite Paris neighborhood(Arrondissement). I have a long term love affair with the Montparnasse section, just south of the Jardin de Luxemburg and near metro stop Vavin...for others it will be in the heart of the Latin Quarter, maybe near metro stop Saint-Germain des Pres, or the Marais including Ille St Louis (14th, 6th and 4th Arrondissements respectively). All are steeped in the history of Paris and all are safe with great walking neighborhoods, cafes and markets...ironically, the outer arrondissements are not always quite and safe...I would suggest picking a site that gives you easy access to more than one metro line and is already close to some or many of the attractions you will visit while in Paris.

Posted by
10344 posts

You asked for advice on Paris neighborhoods--I'm copying and pasting in this one from Jona of Paris,which is the best succinct description I've seen of all the Paris neighborhoods:1ère: This is the geographical center of Paris and a haven for tourists. The Louvre, Les Halles and the Palais Royal are all here.2ème: A primarily business district. The Paris Stock Market (the Bourse) and the Bibliothèque Nationale Richelieu are here.3ème: Along with the 4ème arrondissement, this neighborhood makes up the Marais, one of the oldest neighborhoods in Paris. Many 17th century mansions that once housed the noblest families in Paris are still to be seen in this quiet and ungentrified neighborhood. 4ème: The center of the Marais, this is a lively neighborhood with a strong alternative lifestyle scene as well as lots of trendy bars, shops, and restaurants. The rue des Rosiers is a centerpiece of Jewish lifestyle in Paris and the Ile St. Louis and the Ile de la Cité are the oldest parts of Paris. 5ème: The fabled Latin Quarter. This neighborhood takes its name from the Sorbonne, where Latin was the common tongue for all students during the Middle Ages. The neighborhood has the feel of a small village and students mix freely with professionals in its winding streets. The rue Mouffetard is a primary artery where shops, international restaurants and student bars and cafés are found. 6ème: St. Germain. Once the hangout for bohemians and intellectuals, this neighborhood has undergone gentrification and is now newly chic. Upscale boutiques, art galleries, and restaurants can be found throughout this district. 7ème: The Eiffel Tower, the Musée d'Orsay and lots of international residents can be found in this very wealthy neighborhood. (continued)

Posted by
10344 posts

Neighborhood Description (part 2 from Jona)8ème: This upscale neighborhood is in fact quite diverse. The area around Champs Elysèe, has lots of shopping and lots of tourists, while in the area to the East, between the Champs Elysee and Place de la Madeleine you will find a mixture of 19th century buildings that are mixed with businesses. 9ème: A diverse residential area popular among an artistic crowd. Ths Southern portion is similar to the 2nd arrondissement, with a mix of residential and business buildings. The Paris Opera is located here as well as the big Gallery Lafayette. Farther North is Pigalle, the fading Red Light district as well as the famous Moulin Rouge. Staying here can be sketchy. 10ème: The two main train stations in Paris are here, the Gare de l'Est and the Gare du Nord. This multi-cultural neighborhood also contains a bohemian element. Can be a bit far for typical tourists - but prices will be cheaper.11ème: Place de la Bastille and the New Opera are found here. This is a primarily residential district. Lots of night life and great walks. A lot of bike paths too. And an Apple repair store...as we are still waiting for our own Apple store.12ème: Residential neighborhood bordered on the east by the Bois de Vincennes ( a nice park ). Cimitiere du Pere Lachaies is here too. 13ème: Residential neighborhood, as well as Paris' Chinatown. Place d'Italie. 14ème: Montparnasse and the Cité Universitaire are found in this residential district traditionally known for its lively cafés and restaurants around the Blvd. Montparnasse. 15ème: This large primarily residential neighborhood ranges from very upscale in the area bordering the 7th arrondissement and the Seine, to relatively safe and affordable in the more outlying areas. One of Rick's recommendations.

Posted by
10344 posts

Neighborhood Description (part 3)16ème: Bois de Boulogne, Trocadero. Bateaux Mouche rides (Alma Marceau). Very residential with lots of the worlds Embassies here. Residential considered to be THE wealthy district. OECD is near La Muette.... something to research. :o)

17ème: This diverse district really contains more than one neighborhood, with the portion, in the west, near the Arc de Triomph and Parc Monceau, being very upscale. Although a great area - this too can be hard to get to all the tourist items - because it is just a little "too far out".

18ème: Montmartre. This artsy residential neighborhood has a small village feel and lots of tourists. Let's not forget the hills. If you love your stair master - you will love Monmartre.

19ème: The Parc des Buttes Chaumont. A residential neighborhood with many ethnic restaurants and shops.Bassin de la Villette is here - great for walks and bike rides.

20ème: Belleville and the Père-Lachaise cemetery. This is an outer residential area - not much tourist attraction.

Posted by
506 posts

It is really good that Kent added this - because I don't think I saved this post anywhere.

I am partial to the 16th because this is where I live and I love the specialty shops and the Wed/Sat market. Auteuil is perfect for what you are indicating - but very few hotels here and can be expensive - try the Queens Hotel - rue Batsien Lepage http://www.hotel-queens-hotel.com/ to get an idea of the area.

When you mean good food shopping - are you meaning for an apartment during your stay? Or for taking home as gifts? There are some things in Paris that you do just have to travel to - such as Polaine bread - although my Monoprix has it - I still like to venture to the bakery.

Posted by
506 posts

missing text - at a guess from the 8eme -

buildings that are mixed with businesses.

Posted by
689 posts

All of the other neighborhoods you listed--Montmartre, Latin Quarter and St. Germaine--are WAY more touristy than the Rue Cler area! Latin Quarter has that budget/backpacker tourist feel, with lots of cheap ethnic restaurants, while St. Germain is where every upscale tourist goes to shop (and correspondingly, it's quite expensive). The area around Sacre Couer in Montmartre is probably the most touristy part of Paris, though other parts are charming (definitely not undiscovered by tourists, though). There are charming parts of Latin Quarter and St. Germain, too--I don't mean to diss these places--you just need to know they get a LOT of tourists. There are tourists in the 7th but the Rue Cler area doesn't cater to tourists with souvenir shops, etc, at all. I've stayed in the 7th 3 times and it's the most "neighborhood-y" place I've stayed in--you see way more parents walking kids to school, locals visiting the markets, etc, than you do tourists.

Keep in mind that Paris is the most touristed city in the world, and if you find someplace that is devoid of tourists, it's probably an area without a lot of charm. Anyplace that is in the thick of shops, markets and cafes, like you want, will have some tourists.

Posted by
632 posts

and London, and Rome, and Barcelona, and New York, and Hawaii...Vancover (BC).... Tahiti. Yep, there's just no place worth going to..or as Yogi Berra used to say: "No one goes there anymore...it's too crowded."

Posted by
15 posts

You might want to consider proximity to public transportation. That's why I wouldn't recommend Montmartre. It's farther out and not as connected to many Metro lines, so you'd lose time getting there/back each day. Parts of it are a bit sleazy, so if you're travelling with kids that might also not make it a great choice.

I love the Marais A LOT, however if you've got small kids I might recommend the Latin Quarter (especially a bit further from the river, closer to Jardin Luxembourg/Pantheon) or Rue Cler over that. The Latin Quarter is probably the most convenient, and Rue Cler is probably the quietest. The Marais certainly isn't dangerous, but it's got a bit more of a nightlife.

Posted by
40 posts

Hi Kitty,

I chose to stay close to Luxembourg gardens so that my son (8 going on 11) would have somewhere to run off steam during our down time, sorry my down time haha. I think when you have children with you it's a good idea to stay near someplace they can run and play and isn't going to disturb too many people.

doesn't have to to be this area, lots of places have parks.

just a thought on how I plan to keep my guy's energy level on key.

have a good trip

Kelly

Posted by
22 posts

We have stayed in the Rue Cler on two different occasions and it was great. Very close to Eifel Tower and river.

Jackie
Bowling Green, Ky

Posted by
53 posts

I am unsure of the arrondisement but we were about a block from Gare St. Lazare last fall. I believe this is considered the shopping district. Being so close to the Gare was great when we first arrived but then the metro went on strike so we had to do a lot of walking. It seemed that many things were within walking distance but when I'm in Paris I seem to have a much higher tolerance for long walks than anywhere else on earth.
Thought it was a great location though.
P.S. We are neighbors.

Posted by
174 posts

We just visited Paris and were in the 5eme at the Best Western Serotel Lutece. The hotel was nice, but a little out of the way for our tast. The Clunny-Sorbone area (right by the Eiffel Tower) was really cool, we went there every afternoon to sit at a cafe and people watch. There are several hotels in this area - I guess its really the Latin Quarter. The best part was the subway was right there, as well as an RER train in the subway station, so getting around all of Paris is SO EASY (we found the metro to be extremely easy to use, more so than NYC). It was lively at night, but not obnoxiouslz noisy, and there are plenty of hotels within a reasonable price. We liked it a lot. Rue Cler was also night, but for our taste, too touristy and quiet at night.

Posted by
16 posts

just to tag along in this thread, my cousin has stayed at a place in Paris at Rue de Fauborg, Saint Martin. Is this a good area to stay for myself and my Gf? we are both in our 20's and not looking for something too touristy, but still in an exciting part of the city.

c.

Posted by
238 posts

Where is Polaine bakery in relation to the above districts?
What are would you call it? I have been there many years ago and would like to make a top there. Can't remember the area.
thanks

Posted by
3580 posts

I like the 5th because when I stay there I can walk to almost everywhere I want to go. I have a low tolerance for the Metro. I prefer above-ground. Poulaine this and that, Montmartre area. A cafe, I think, near Blanche Metro. Gare de l'Est is featured in that film ("Amelie"). Maybe you could find that foto booth. Check underneath.

Posted by
110 posts

OK...here's what I dont like about Rue Cler..Rick Steves!! The whole street is filles with Steve-ites. Every single one of them carrying the blue book!

The one (and only) time I had dinner there the entire retaurant was filled with North Americans carrying that book...talking about which RS recomennded sight they were going to see next, after which they were going to the next RS recommended restaurant.

Dont get me wrong, I'm a big fan of Rick and have total admiration for his mission.

But at some point ya gotta put down the book and create your own adventure.

Posted by
11 posts

My husband and I were sorry we did not stay at Rue Cler as advocated by Rick. Rick is always right!! In October it will not be so touristy -- it is a residential area. It is a short walk to the Eifel and transportation. It is a very charming neighborhood and, after all, you will be spending little time there and will not be wasting your time traveling all over the place. Most hotel rooms in Paris are very small -- we were very unhappy with ours but was told that was standard fare! We could barely fit into the shower or sit on the toilet the bathroom was soooo small. We could barely walk around the bed, it was practically wall to wall. Ask about size of room -- and beware of the subway. My husband was pick-pocketed by a gypsy at the Bastille Station -- who got away with the VISA card and 100 euros. CB

Posted by
359 posts

Kitty, contrary to some negative Rue Cler/7th area remarks, the streets are not full of RSteves' lemmings. We were there in May (Hotel Muguet), about a 5 minute walk to Rue Cler, and will return to the area next fall as our first choice. We'll do an apartment rather than hotel next time but after walking all the other popular locations during our trip, we found the neighbourhood around RCler the least touristy. We ate breakfast on RCler every morning (Muguet wanted too much) and watched the locals going to work, often with their children in tow (going to school I guess), the local merchants chatting and joking with each other and the cafe we used rarely had any tourists for breakfast (except us). It's near the Eiffel Tower, the Seine (where we caught the BatOBus every morning to head out for our day's adventures, the Metro, and many decent restaurants, shops, etc. where we heard people speaking French around us, not English. The main streets and boulevards around RCler are shady, tree lined and without the hustle and bustle of the 1st, 4th, 5th, 6th and other 'recommended' arrondisements. Extra bonus, you can wander over to the ETower in the evening to watch the lights and you're only a few minutes from your hotel; delightful. Geoff

Posted by
262 posts

Stew,
Poilane Bakery is in the 6th. The address is: 8 rue du Cherche-Midi. The have best bread I ever ate!They have a website, www.poilane.fr. Hope that helps.

Debi
Sherman Oaks, CA

Posted by
2 posts

My wife & I have stayed in a couple of different areas of Paris & prefer Rue Cler by far because we seem to feel at home there. The venders harking their goods, the smell of the cheese, the fresh bread baking & the friendliness of the people. We have stayed at the Grand Hotel Levegue three times & rented an apartment across the street on the fifth floor I think, a couple of doors down. We liked the Hotel Leveque & did not think that the room was too small or that the bathroom was on the smallish side either. We plan on staying there the next time we gto to Paris. Good travels all.

Posted by
11450 posts

JB,, first, the Cluny / Sorbonne ( 5th arrondissomont) area is not near the Eiffel Tower, you are mistaken. They are both on the Left bank, but are seperated by the 6th arr. ( St Germain ) .

Second, Rick is not always right ,, do some of you have little altars in your homes ,, LOL . If you admire Rick then I assume its because of his travel style and philosophy,, which means being open to being off the beaten track and making your own discoveries,,

Ricks tours do not always stay in the 7th,, we did not this past July on our RS tour. Our hotel was lovely, and in the 14 th, which actaully borders on the 6th where we stayed.

Posted by
359 posts

And third, Kitty, I suspect from reading your post that you'll decide on your own where to stay based on your research which happens to includes this helpline. And fourth, I doubt whether anyone on this board have shrines to RSteves, rather, they are enthusiastic travellers who like to help and in many cases have built up much experience based on many years of independent travel. And fifth, I personally took a sabbatical from the board for many months because of a few self-important, adversarial posters who leave bad tastes in everyone's mouth; now I remember why. Just ignore them Kitty (and JB) and have a wonderful time while exploring the City of Lights regardless of where you hang your hat at night.

Posted by
11450 posts

Geoff, why would Kitty ignore a fact . Only a fool ignores facts. I do not think Kitty is a fool. I do not think JB is a fool either, since mistakes happen, but advising someone to ignore a correction shows a stubborn, prideful spirit.

Perhaps you find the board too stressful ,, and should take another sabbactical and try and determine why your post is so combative , maybe Geoff ,, maybe its not " everyone else" may be its you!

Larsen, the last line of your post was perfect.

Caryl perhaps you were joking " Rick is always right" ,,, right?