Best Areas in Paris: Living It Up in the City of Lights

Advisor - Heather Budd
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Heather Budd

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  • Arts & Culture

  • Food & Wine

  • Paris

  • France

  • Hotel Guide

Best Areas in Paris: Living It Up in the City of Lights
Curator’s statement

Choosing which neighborhood to stay in Paris can be overwhelming, especially if you have not visited before. I have curated a list of some of my favorites and what I consider the best areas in Paris to experience this enchanting city.

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Where to stay

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Hôtel Bel Ami

Occupying an enviable location in the center of Paris, Hôtel Bel Ami is an upscale hotel with restaurant, chic bar, spa and gym.

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  • $100 hotel / resort credit.

  • Breakfast daily.

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Le Pavillon de la Reine

Sophisticated hotel with contemporary, mosaic-tiled rooms and suites, located in one of Paris' oldest neighborhoods.

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  • $100 food / beverage credit.

  • Breakfast daily.

  • Upgrade & extended check-in/out whenever possible.

Hôtel de Buci

Nestled away in one of the liveliest streets of Paris, the Hôtel de Buci is an intimate and sophisticated address where guests seeking the quintessential charm of Paris love to stay in its palatial-style rooms.

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Le Marais

A historic district in the heart of Paris that is a favorite among locals and tourists alike. Wander through the narrow cobblestone streets and discover trendy boutiques and art galleries in centuries-old buildings. Le Marais has also long been known for its vibrant LGBTQ+ scene, charming cafes and bustling nightlife.

  • Distance from the center of Paris: Approximately 1.2 miles / 2 kilometers

  • Metro stations: Hôtel de Ville or Saint-Paul

  • Luxury hotel: Consider staying at Le Pavillon de la Reine. This chateau-styled boutique hotel has a prime location: on the Place des Vosges, in the Marais, in the heart of historic Paris.

  • Mid-range option: Hotel Duo offers comfortable accommodations with a modern twist at a reasonable price.

  • Restaurant recommendation: L'As du Fallafel is renowned for its delicious falafel sandwiches and Middle Eastern cuisine. It's a must-visit for its vibrant atmosphere and mouthwatering flavors. If you're in the mood for something more traditional, try Chez Janou, which offers a cozy atmosphere and classic French cuisine — namely, its Provençal dishes and extensive pastis list.

  • Sights to see: Don't miss the Picasso National Museum, which houses an extensive collection of the artist's works, providing insight into his life and artistic evolution.

Saint-Germain-des-Prés

Situated on the Left Bank of the Seine River opposite the Louvre, Saint-Germain-des-Prés exudes an intellectual and bohemian ambiance. Home to the iconic Café de Flore and Les Deux Magots, this neighborhood has been a gathering place for artists, writers and philosophers for centuries. Get lost in its quaint streets, browse independent bookstores and enjoy one of the best areas in Paris for soaking in the city’s literary heritage.

  • Distance from the center of Paris: Approximately 1.9 miles / 3 kilometers

  • Metro stations: Saint-Germain-des-Prés or Odéon

  • Luxury hotel: Hotel Bel Ami offers chic accommodations and impeccable service in the heart of Saint-Germain-des-Prés.

  • Mid-range option: Hôtel de Buci provides luxuriously decorated rooms with antique furnishings at an affordable price.

  • Restaurant recommendation: Assanabel offers fantastic Lebanese cuisine in a cozy atmosphere and is very accommodating for vegan diners.

  • Sights to see: Explore the nearby Musée d'Orsay to admire a vast collection of Impressionist masterpieces, including works by Monet, Van Gogh and Renoir.

Montmartre

My personal favorite! Ascend the winding streets of Montmartre to discover perhaps Paris's most picturesque neighborhoods and one of the best areas in Paris for taking in stunning views. It also is the home of the Sacré-Cœur Basilica — this iconic landmark is open every day and free to enter, but be aware some guards at the entrance frown upon clothing they consider inappropriate, such as shorts. Also, check out the daily artists’ market in the main square — perhaps you’ll discover the next Toulouse-Lautrec!

  • Distance from the center of Paris: Approximately 2.2 miles / 3.5 kilometers

  • Metro stations: Abbesses or Pigalle.

  • Luxury hotel: Hotel Particulier Montmartre offers a luxurious and intimate experience in a former private mansion, nestled in the heart of Montmartre.

  • Mid-range option: The Grand Pigalle Hotel offers elegantly styled rooms that overlook the higgledy-piggledy rooftops of Avenue Frochot.

  • Restaurant recommendation: La Maison Rose is a charming restaurant known for its traditional French cuisine and picturesque setting. Dine al fresco and enjoy panoramic views of the neighborhood.

  • Sights to see: Visit the iconic Sacré-Cœur Basilica and admire panoramic views of Paris from its dome. Explore the Place du Tertre to admire the work of local artists and soak in the bohemian atmosphere.

Latin Quarter

Nestled on the Left Bank of the Seine, the Latin Quarter is a lively and eclectic neighborhood known for its historic universities, bohemian atmosphere and vibrant street life. Stroll along the Boulevard Saint-Michel, browse the stalls of the famous Shakespeare and Company bookstore, and explore the winding alleyways of this intellectual hub.

  • Distance from the center of Paris: Approximately 1.6 miles / 2.5 kilometers

  • Metro stations: Maubert-Mutualité or Cluny-La Sorbonne

  • Luxury hotel: Stay at Hotel Les Dames des Artes, a modern hotel with lovely amenities such as a beautiful garden area for dining and a fabulous rooftop bar with views of the Eiffel Tower.

  • Mid-range option: Hotel Monge offers comfortable accommodations with a stylish décor and friendly service at a moderate price.

  • Restaurant recommendation: Au Pied de Fouet is a cozy bistro serving classic French dishes with a modern twist. Enjoy hearty meals made with fresh, locally sourced ingredients.

  • Sights to see: Don't miss the historic Shakespeare and Company bookstore, a beloved literary institution frequented by famous writers such as Hemingway and Fitzgerald.

A view of the lit-up Eiffel Tower at night.

Canal Saint-Martin

Escape the bustle of the city center and venture to the Canal Saint-Martin neighborhood in northeastern Paris. Lined with tree-shaded promenades, quaint cafes and trendy boutiques, this area offers a relaxed and laid-back vibe. This is one of the best areas in Paris for enjoying an impromptu picnic by the canal on a sunny day.

  • Distance from the center of Paris: Approximately 2.5 miles / 4 kilometers

  • Metro stations: République or Goncourt

  • Luxury hotel: Le Citizen Hotel offers stylish rooms and stunning views of the canal, providing a luxurious retreat in a trendy neighborhood.

  • Mid-range option: La Planque Hôtel, located in the heart of the 10th arrondissement, offers rooms with a retro theme. There's a charming library and a conservatory dining area and terrace. Well priced and positioned.

  • Restaurant recommendation: Holybelly is known for its delicious pancakes and specialty coffee, making it the perfect spot for a leisurely brunch by the canal.

  • Sights to see: Take a boat tour along the Canal Saint-Martin to admire the picturesque scenery and charming locks. Explore the nearby Parc des Buttes-Chaumont, a sprawling park with lush greenery and scenic viewpoints.


Need to Know

Want to have the best trip to Paris, but you don’t have time to do all the strategic planning? I can create an itinerary that is built around what your perfect trip looks like, including booking hotels, dinner reservations, tours and unique experiences you might not know even exist!

This trip report is part of our ongoing series on travel to Paris. Looking for more travel tips? Check out Fora Advisor Kris Weir's guide, Best Shopping Areas in Paris.

Advisor - Heather Budd

Travel Advisor

Heather Budd

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