Paris is a huge, exciting and wonderfully diverse city. This means that it can be hard to choose exactly where in the city to stay when you visit. Some will want to be as close to the sights as possible, others will prefer the bohemian, youthful Latin quarter and others still may prefer a relaxed haven away from the hustle and bustle of the city centre.
Districts 1-4 and 7
These districts are home to most of Paris’ picture-postcard attractions including the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre and Notre Dame. Accommodation in these districts can be very expensive and mostly consists of major international hotel chains. The only independent hotels round here tend to be opulent five-star establishments which, while very nice, will put a serious dent in your bank balance. Prices at the usually cheap Ibis chain can be as high as €150 per night while the Four Seasons Georges V won’t even let you through the door for less than €1,000.
However if you’re looking for the hotel window with the Eiffel Tower view this is where you’re going to find it and, if you’re trying to impress someone or only have one or two nights in Paris this may be the place to go. An apartment could be a good alternative to a hotel stay but these tend to go quickly (and also aren’t terribly cheap). Check All Paris Apartments to find the right deal.
Districts 5 and 6
The city’s intellectual hangout the Latin quarter is here and while the tourists have started to arrive in droves over the last few years it is still far quieter than the city centre. Apartments and bed and breakfasts (Chambres D’hotes) rule the roost here and many will have private gardens or large terraces for you to relax on. The restaurants here are excellent and (most importantly!) far cheaper than in the city centre and there’s a far more relaxed ambiance than around the major tourist draws. Accommodation here is still expensive however, don’t expect to find a room for much less than €100 a night.
Districts 8 and 9
The 8th District is home to the Arc de Triomphe. While impressive the Arc is surrounded by France’s busiest (and most terrifying) roundabout so don’t expect to find your idyllic Parisian hideaway here. The 9th district is home to Paris’ two major department stores. The opulent Galleries Lafayette is now far more of a tourist attraction than a genuine department store for locals but it’s still worth popping in to see its beautiful dome and atrium. Printemps is a far better store but is still very expensive.
The 9th district is also home to Pigalle, the city’s red light district, so choose your accommodation with care. While not terribly unsafe the red light district is startlingly indiscreet and probably not a good place to holiday with your children.
Districts 10 and 11
The up and coming 10th and 11th districts are home to many of the city’s African immigrants giving them a buzzing and multi-cultural atmosphere. Some of the city’s best food can be found in this area and prices begin to fall from the dizzy heights they reach towards the centre of the city. The area is startlingly different from the tourist image of Paris and is an excellent place to stay (or just visit) if you’ve been to Paris in the past and feel like you’ve seen it all before.
Paris’ outskirts are as diverse as the city centre. Primarily residential they vary from the expensive and somewhat snooty town of Neuilly to the somewhat more down at heel neighborhoods around the Stade de France. If you’re visiting at the weekend then consider staying in La Défense, the city’s business district. Hotels here are usually of high quality and will often hire rooms for as little as €50 on Friday and Saturday nights in low-season. The district is less than 15 minutes from the major tourist attractions and is conveniently located on Métro Line 1 which serves several tourist attractions.
A final option worth considering is the Disney constructed town of Marne-la-Valée. Outside of the main tourist months of July and August there is a massive oversupply of rooms here and you can often pick up a basic room for very little money. Do keep in mind though that you’ll have to travel into the city by RER every day which costs around €10 return (less at weekends) and takes around 40 minutes.