The City of Love, or Paris as it’s known to some, is a city that spreads far and wide. Choosing a suitable area to stay, especially for your first time, is critical the overall impression you have of the city, and it can mean ultimately returning or opting to not come back. If you want to truly experience everything Paris has to offer, there is no doubt you will need to come back…and a few times at that.
If you are reading this list, and it is your first time experiencing the French language, do not be alarmed, ‘Arrondisement’ simply refers to the subdivision of a French department, or for the lack of a better term, just an area/region. With that in mind, take a look at the best 10 areas to stay in Paris for your first time!
Ever seen Paris in a movie or TV show? Well, they are probably filming from the 7th Arrondissement, and it is the perfect area for a beginner in Paris. Why, you ask? Because what you see when you walk around is what you would have anticipated Paris to be; architecturally magnificent, the Effie Tower, beautiful gardens as well as many museums and brasseries. Wherever you walk in the 7th Arrondissement, there will be something worth checking out and may even be called for photo to be taken.
Like much of Paris, Montmartre is architecturally flawless, and it has been a special area within the Parisian landscape.
Located in the north of the capital, the city, despite its heavy load of tourists, has still managed to keep its village charm which put it on the map in the first place. Montmartre is one of the best places to stay if it’s your first time in Paris, as there are many bars, restaurants and sights to see, without the hustle and bustle of the center.
Ile Saint-Louis is an island in the center of Paris and is amid the Seine River, which if you did not know, is the river that divides the city in to Left and Right. If you are looking for a modern suburban oasis amongst the historical surrounds of mainland Paris, then Ile Saint-Louis is for you. With cobblestone streets, narrow alleyways and signature Parisian architecture, there shouldn’t be a doubt to stay in this area.
The XI, or 11th Arrondissement, is a haven for foodies. If you are coming to Paris to experience some of the world’s best culinary flare, then you’ll want to base yourself here. The area is well-known for its food and restaurant, and because it is positioned just outside of the 1st Arrondissement, prices are generally cheaper. It is recommended that you try the local cuisine, as most of the restaurants are independently run by local chefs who have grown up in the immediate area. The chefs have strived to provide local French cuisine in a relaxed atmosphere and succeeded and no matter your budget, there is something in the 11th Arrondissement for you.
Known as the hip center of Paris, let’s be honest, every city has one, and The Marais is where you will find many hip bars and cafes lining the streets. If you love walking and exploring a city on foot, then this could be the perfect area for you as it is centrally located on the Right side of the Seine River.
As soon as you step foot in The Marais, you will think you’re in Brooklyn, due to the shear diversity and Indi culture you see. Nevertheless, it is a perfect base for exploring the City of Love.
If you’re after glitz and glamor, then Saint-Germain-des-Prés is definitely worth considering. Once the Jazz hub of Paris, Saint-Germain still embraces its musical history through cafes and brasseries. As you are walking through the area, you will more than likely stroll down Boulevard Saint-Germain. Here, you will find many bookstores, bars, restaurants and boutique shops and perhaps come away with a piece of Parisian history.
In the north of Paris, Oberkampf is the place to be if you’re looking for a fun night out, in a club, bar or somewhat civilized atmosphere. Known as one of Paris’s trendiest areas, Oberkampf is far enough north that not too many tourists venture there, but not so far away it is only a 15 minute subway ride away from the center; but why go anywhere when you have the place everyone wants to be right at your doorstep?
Head to the 1st Arrondissement if you want to be extra touristy. Many of Paris’s attractions are located here and it is a very easily accessible area by foot. Some of the sights in the area include The Louvre, Tuileries Garden, Sainte-Chapelle and Place Vendome, and with others such as the Notre Dame, Champs Elysees and Eiffel Tower either a short walk or subway ride away, it is a perfect location.
You must, however, be ready to mentally prepare yourself for the sheer number of tourists in the area, no matter what time of year.
With sweeping views of Paris, it is no wonder why Belleville-Menilmontant has made this list. Tranquil and relaxing by day, and becoming increasingly vibrant by night, this area is an up-and-coming hub of Paris for families and solo travelers at any time of the day. Be sure to head to Place St Marthe for a fusion of a multicultural and Parisian cuisine, comprising of foods from all corners of the globe! Oh, and ever heard of Edith Piaf, the famous French singer? She just happened to call Belleville-Menilmontant home, too!
Wanna be cool? Ok, maybe not too cool for school, but if you want to hang out where the cool kids do, then base yourself in the Canal Saint-Martin area. Get your hand on some street food and plonk yourself down on one of the canal’s many viewing points and watch the tourist boats fly…or sail by. If you prefer to be more sophisticated, then dine at a local bistro overlooking the canal and tourists who have opted for street food.