The best neighbourhoods to stay in Paris: where to find the cutest areas

The best neighbourhoods to stay in Paris: where to find the cutest areas
Written by Travel Adventures

Paris is one of the best city breaks in Europe – but planning a trip to the French capital can be overwhelming, especially when it comes to discovering the best neighbourhoods to stay in Paris. So, which are the best areas in Paris to base yourself in? It all depends on the type of trip you’re hoping for. Luckily, the best hotels in Paris are scattered across the city’s arrondissements, as are the top restaurants in Paris. The good news, then, is that you’ve got options – this a city where you could take to a different neighbourhood each time you stay and have a different experience. Here, we break down our favourite arrondissements to call home for a weekend – for everything from shopping to nightlife to seeing the classic sights and things to do in Paris.

Here, we answer some of your questions about staying in Paris – and share our favourite neighbourhoods in town for those who don’t know the city well.

Which area of Paris is best for tourists to stay in?

As we said above, it all depends on what you’re looking for from a trip to Paris. The 7th arrondissement (more on these below) is where some of the most iconic attractions such as the Eiffel Tower and lots of the museums sit, while the area around Pigalle is where you’ll find nightlife (including the Moulin Rouge). Montmartre is one of our favourite areas – it’s touristy, but the steep hilly streets and sweet street markets offer a postcard-pretty take on the city.

What does arrondissement mean in Paris?

An arrondissement is just a district – much like London’s boroughs or New York’s neighbourhoods. There are 20 in Paris, and they are numbered in a clockwise spiral, starting in the city centre and sprawling outwards.

Streets of Montmartre and SacreCoeur Basilica on the hill Paris France

Montmartre, ParisGetty Images

Which is the best neighbourhood to stay in Paris for first time visitors?

If it’s your first time in Paris, we’d recommend booking a hotel or Airbnb in one of the central neighbourhoods – that way, you’re able to visit a lot of the city on foot (walking is one of the best ways to explore here) or jump on a metro. The Marais is near Notre Dame and the Louvre, with streets that fringe the Seine and lots of places to eat and drink within the neighbourhood. Or splash out on a stay in the 8th arrondissement, which is near the Arc de Triomphe and puts you right in the thick of it.

What is the prettiest area of Paris?

Much of Paris is very beautiful. But we’d argue that Montmartre is the prettiest area of them all. Set on a hill in the 18th arrondissement, there are views across the entire city from the grounds of Sacré-Cœur, the white-domed church. Streets are narrow and filled with restaurants, cafés and shops that seem to have been dropped in from a French arthouse movie. There’s an artists’ market for perusing, too.

Is Paris very walkable?

Yes, in some ways. Other than Montmartre, it’s a fairly flat city and lots of the landmarks are clustered together. You can walk from the Arc de Triomphe to the Eiffel Tower in under 30 minutes, for example, while a stroll from the Louvre to Notre Dame should take less than 20 minutes. Plan to spend some time in each area, grouping the neighbourhoods that are close together into one day – you can always catch the metro if you’re less mobile or get tired. Much of the metro is wheelchair accessible, but you can also get buses or taxis to move about the city.

What are the safest neighbourhoods in Paris?

Paris is a big, bustling capital city – so while most travel here goes smoothly, it’s always worth being aware of your surroundings. As with lots of big cities, crimes such as thefts and pickpocketing do happen. Apply common sense: in busy areas, ensure that bags are well-fastened; don’t keep all your valuables (passport, credit cards, phone) in one place; and stay vigilant in crowded tourist areas and on the metro.

Data from International Citizens, where a team analyses annual crime statistics provided by the French Interior Ministry, suggests that the safest areas (to live) in Paris include the 15th arrondissement, in the southwest of Paris, which juts up against the Champ de Mars and the 11th arrondissement – a lively, artsy neighbourhood.

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