Discover the 7 Best Neighborhoods to Stay in Paris

Planning a Paris vacation can be both exciting and overwhelming, especially if this is your first trip. And while you want to find the best neighborhoods to stay in Paris, how do you know which one is right for you? 

I have been there, and I know there is a lot to figure out when you’re planning a trip. In this article, we’ll explore the best arrondissements to stay in Paris, what to expect in each neighborhood, food recommendations, and famous attractions in each area.

best neighborhoods to stay in Paris - pretty streets in the city

7 of the Best Neighborhoods to Stay in Paris

1. Saint-Germain-des-Prés (6th Arrondissement)

This is my favorite neighborhood in Paris. Even though I’ve stayed in other areas, I come back to Saint-Germain over and over again. What makes Saint-Germain-des-Près one of the best neighborhoods to stay in Paris?

What Saint-Germain Has to Offer

Saint-Germain is known for its chic and sophisticated vibe. The streets are beautiful and have a classy feel to them. You’ll find several high-end shops, unique boutiques, and antique shops here. In addition, this is a family-friendly area with many attractions and activities for kids.

Famous Attractions

The 6th arrondissement includes Luxembourg Gardens, the Church of Saint-Germain-des-Prés, and Saint-Sulpice. Saint Germain is also in close proximity to the Orsay Museum, the Louvre, the Eiffel Tower, Île Saint Louis, and the River Seine.

luxembourg gardens in Paris - best neighborhoods to stay in Paris
Luxembourg Gardens in the 6th Arrondissement

As a side note, Luxembourg is the most beautiful garden in Paris. Every time I go to Luxembourg, I pinch myself a little. I always think, how is this place real?!

The Location

Saint-Germain is in the center of the city, and there are several metros in the area. I never choose a hotel or Airbnb unless it’s within a 5-minute walk to a metro. Why? I don’t like to walk far from the metro to my hotel late at night, and a close metro stop helps me feel safe.

Saint-Germain Food Scene

Saint-Germain is brimming with drool-worthy boulangeries, patisseries, chocolate shops, creperies, and restaurants. Some of the best patisseries to try include Pierre Hermé, Christophe Michalak (a can’t miss!), and Aux Merveilleux de Fred.

Restaurants to try include Chez Fernand (for the best bœuf bourguignon), La Jacobine, Boutary, La Brasserie Vagenende, and Joséphine Chez Dumonet. For those who love both food and history, Saint-Germain is also home to the famous Café de Flore and Les Deux Magots.

Bœuf Bourguignon at Chez Fernand in a black cast iron pot on a dish with a red and white checked tablecloth underneath
Bœuf Bourguignon at Chez Fernand

Who Should Stay in Saint-Germain

Saint-Germain is one of the best neighborhoods to stay in for literature buffs, art lovers, dessert enthusiasts, foodies, families, and those who love high-end art and shopping. In addition, it is one of the safest areas in Paris, where even solo travelers can feel safe.

2. The Latin Quarter (5th Arrondissement)

What the Latin Quarter Has to Offer

The Latin Quarter is another of the best neighborhoods to stay in Paris. It’s not as much of a shopping district in terms of fashion and boutiques, but it still has a lot to offer in other ways. Here you’ll find family-friendly activities and accommodations. You’ll also find bustling bistros, cafes, and other affordable eats.

Famous Attractions

Jardin des Plantes in the Latin Quarter
Jardin des Plantes in Latin Quarter

The Latin Quarter (Quartier Latin) has much to offer, including the Jardin des Plantes, Le Sorbonne, Shakespear & Company, and the Panthéon. This neighborhood is in close proximity to Luxembourg Gardens, the Seine, La Cuisine Paris (perfect for baking classes!), the Louvre, Notre-Dame Cathedral, Sainte-Chapelle, and Le Marais.

Because of the university population at Le Sorbonne, this area has a vibrant and intellectual vibe.

The Location

The 5th arrondissement is just to the east of Saint-Germain and south of the Seine River. It’s a prime area in the city because you have quick access to many major sites, and the neighboring arrondissements are fabulous!

Latin Quarter Food Scene

The Latin Quarter is home to the famous Rue Mouffetard, which is one long street filled with food shops, creperies, restaurants, and specialty food stores (like a shop that only sells poulet rôti (rotisserie chicken).

Au P'tit Grec on Rue Mouffetard in Paris
Au P’tit Grec on Rue Mouffetard

If you want to put together a pique-nique française to take to Jardin des Plantes or Luxembourg Gardens, Rue Mouffetard is the perfect street to find everything you need.

Food Recommendations: Food places to try in the Latin Quarter include La Maison D’Isabelle, Patisserie Carl Marletti, Au P’tit Grec, Alliance, and Restaurant L’Initial. The food scene is not quite as grand as in Saint-Germain, but you can still find some good options.

Who Should Stay in the “Quartier Latin”

The Latin Quarter is the best area to stay in Paris for students, young adults, history enthusiasts, those who enjoy an intellectual vibe, and those who want to be in the center of the city. It’s also one of the safest areas to stay in Paris, so I highly recommend it for solo travelers, women, and families.

3. Le Marais (3rd & 4th Arrondissements)

No list of the best neighborhoods to stay in Paris would be complete without Le Marais. Literally translated, Le Marais means “swamp.” Today, the Marais is anything but a swamp. In fact, it’s one of the most beautiful areas in the city.

pretty street across from Musee Carnavalet in Le Marais
Pretty Street by Musée Carnavalet in Le Marais

What Le Marais Has to Offer

Le Marais is one of the best places to stay in Paris for those who love trendy and eclectic boutiques, thrift shopping, lively nightlife, history-rich streets, and beautiful French architecture.

Famous Attractions

Famous sights in the Marais include Place des Vosges, Musée Carnavalet, the Centre Pompidou, Hôtel de Ville, BHV Marais, and several more museums.

The Marais is known for its LGBTQ+ community and Jewish population. This is the area where many Jews lived and were rounded up by the Nazis during WWII. Today, the main Jewish street is Rue des Rosiers, which is a beautiful street worth visiting.

Exterior of BHV Marais
BHV Marais

The Location

Le Marais is in the center of Paris, making it a great area to stay. As you search for hotels and accommodations, look at a map to see where the accommodations are in relation to the places you want to visit.

Le Marais Food Scene

Undoubtedly, one of the best places for food in the Marais is the Marché des Enfants Rouges. I have been here several times, and it still has just as much charm and beauty as I remember it having the first time.

This is the oldest covered food market in Paris. The vendors sell fresh produce, cheese, meat, and fish. Restaurants in the market serve a variety of international foods, including Moroccan, Japanese, American, and more.

Food Recommendations: This district offers dreamy pastries, ice cream, and other treats you have to try! Make it a priority to include Edwart Chocolatier, Les Chambres aux Confitures, Une Glace à Paris, Jacques Genin, and Bontemps Patisserie.

Edwart Chocolatier exterior in Le Marais
Edwart Chocolatier in Le Marais

Recommended restaurants include Bistrot des Tournelles, L’as du Falafel, and Bistrot Instinct (I had the best steak of my life at Instinct).

Who Should Stay in Le Marais

Le Marais is one of the best neighborhoods to stay in Paris for those who love beautiful architecture, quaint neighborhoods, and great food. While this neighborhood is typically safe, there can be a bit of unrest at times. But overall, it’s a safe choice.

4. Eiffel Tower and Invalides (7th Arrondissement)

The word “Paris,” is almost always synonymous with the Eiffel Tower. It’s no surprise that many first-time visitors choose to stay near Le Tour Eiffel. But let’s see if this is the right arrondissement for you.

What the 7th Arrondissement Has to Offer

The 7th arrondissement is one of the best neighborhoods to stay in Paris because it offers many upscale and affordable accommodations near the Eiffel Tower, which is perfect for those wanting to be close to this famous monument. This district includes museums, high-end shopping, and several boutiques.

Eiffel Tower at dusk
Eiffel Tower at Dusk

Famous Attractions

While the 7th district is home to the Eiffel Tower, there is so much more to do in this neighborhood! The 7th is also famous for Champs de Mars, Les Invalides, Musée d’Orsay, Rue Cler, Le Bon Marché (high-end shopping), and La Grande Épicerie (heaven on earth!)

The Location

On my second trip to Paris, I stayed near the Eiffel Tower. It was amazing, but getting around the city took a little longer than I expected. For example, if you stay at a hotel near the Eiffel Tower and want to go to the north end of the Marais, it will take 40 minutes by métro.

While the 7th is close to the Arc de Triomphe, the Orsay, and the Louvre, it isn’t as close to other popular neighborhoods.

7th Arrondissement Food Scene

A word of warning, and this goes for restaurants near any major attraction in Paris. Don’t eat at restaurants in the vicinity of the Eiffel Tower (excluding the restaurants located in Tower). Many restaurants near major attractions are tourist traps. They overcharge you, and they don’t typically serve the best food. Walk 1-2 blocks away from the Eiffel Tower, and you’ll find much better food.

Food Recommendations: For sweets, visit Jacques Genin, Chocolat Chapon, Philippe Conticini, Des Gateaux et Du Pain, and La Grande Épicerie (for pastries and hot sandwiches).

chicken, salad, and baked potato at Le Petit Cler on Rue Cler
Chicken and potato dish at Le Petit Cler

For Restaurants, visit Chez Germaine, Le Petit Cler Café (the chicken and baked potato are amazing!), and Le Florimond. For a truly “wow experience,” eat at Jules Verne in the Eiffel Tower. It’s pricey, but you will have an unforgettable.

Who Should Stay in the 7th Arrondissement

The 7th is a good choice for luxury seekers (as there are many upscale hotels near Le Tour Eiffel), first-time visitors, and those wanting to stay near popular attractions.

Undoubtedly, the 7th is one of the best neighborhoods to stay in Paris, but it may not fit your personal needs if you want to be more centrally located. If your goal is to walk to most places from your hotel, there may be better hotels for this experience.

5. Montmartre (18th Arrondissement)

What Montmartre Has to Offer

The 18th arrondissement is one of the best neighborhoods to stay in Paris, but it’s quite different from the others we’ve explored so far.

Montmartre is a beautiful area with quaint, cobbled streets and beautiful buildings. This area is known for its Bohemian vibe and decades-old art scene. The 18th arrondissement is the perfect area if you want to meander through pretty streets rich in history. It’s also a great place to do a food or history tour.

Pretty street in Montmartre
Pretty street in Montmartre

Famous Attractions

Montmartre is one of the most famous areas in Paris, and for good reason. Here, you’ll find the stunning Sacré-Cœur Basilica and Place du Tertre (the Artist Square). This area attracts many artists because famous artists, such as Van Gogh and Picasso, once lived here.

The Location

I stayed in Montmartre on my first trip to Paris. I had no idea how the city’s layout worked, so I didn’t know what to expect. Here’s what I wish I had known.

While Montmartre is beautiful and has an amazing art scene, it is not in the center of the city. The nearest attraction (aside from Sacre Cœur) is a 30-minute walk away. Because it’s a long jaunt, you’ll likely want to take a métro from Montmartre to almost anywhere in the city. Keep this in mind if you choose to stay here.

Sacré Cœur in Montmartre
Sacré-Cœur in Montmartre

Montmartre Food Scene

Montmartre has some good food choices, including Le Moulin de la Galette, L’Annexe, La Crêperie Mon Ami, Coco Bello, and Boris Lume Boulangerie.

Who Should Stay in Montmarte

Montmartre is best for artists, romantics, and those looking for a picturesque stay in a beautiful area. It’s also a good choice if you don’t mind the long metro rides to get to other major attractions. If you love the art scene and bohemian vibe, then a stay in Montmartre may be well worth it.

6. The 1st Arrondissement (Louvre and Tuileries)

What the 1st Arrondissement Has to Offer

The first arrondissement includes several noteworthy things to do and see, including museums, gardens, and shopping. If you want to shop but don’t want to pay for designer prices, then shop on Rue de Rivoli. This famous street is known for good shopping that doesn’t break the bank as well as upscale shopping.

Famous Attractions

The 1st arrondissement is famous for the Louvre Museum, the Tuileries, Sainte-Chapelle, the River Seine, Place Vendôme, E. Dehillerin, and Musée de l’Orangérie.

The Seine river with the Orsay Museum in the background
The Seine River and the Orsay Museum

The Location

As you might imagine, the first arrondissement is at the center of the city. It includes part of the Île Saint Louis, which is a small island in the middle of the Seine. You won’t get any more central than this! there are metro stops all around that will help you get to anywhere in the city. This is a prime location for visitors in many ways.

Louvre and Tuileries Food Scene

As I mentioned in the Eiffel Tower section, beware of restaurants in the vicinity of the Louvre. You’re better off walking a few blocks away to find higher quality, better-priced food.

Food recommendations include Louise Café (a personal favorite!), Angelina, and Cedric Grolet. In addition, the 1st arrondissement is close to one of my favorite streets in the entire city – Rue Montorgeuil. Here you’ll find Stohrer, G. Detou Boulangerie Collet, several cafes and dining options, and a few baking stores.

ravioli dish at Louise Café in the 1st arrondissement
Dinner at Louise Café in 1st Arrondissement

Who Should Stay in the 1st Arrondissement

The 1st arrondissement is best for museum lovers, luxury travelers, and those who want to be in the center of the city. It’s a beautiful area and feels very grand if you stay near the Louvre and Tuileries or near Place Vendôme.

One word of warning though. Avoid staying in Les Halles (I speak from experience), which is part of the 1st. This area has a much greater homeless population and isn’t as clean or pretty as the areas near the Louvre and Tuileries.

7. Opéra District (9th Arrondissement)

What the Opéra District Has to Offer

What makes the Opéra district one of the best neighborhoods to stay in Paris? Several things! This district has a lively atmosphere that reminds me of Times Square (but much safer). Here, you’ll find high-end shopping, specialty shops, art, ballet, and Haussmann architecture, which gives many of the buildings their characteristic beauty.

Exterior of Palais Garnier in the Opera District in Paris - best neighborhoods to stay in Paris
Palais Garnier in Opéra District

Famous Attractions

The 9th arrondissement offers several famous sights and attractions, including Palais Garnier (aka Opéra Garnier), Galeries Lafayette, La Maison Gourmet, Rue des Martyrs (major foodie street leading to Montmartre), and Église de la Sainte Trinité.

The Location

The Opera District is sandwiched between Montmartre to the north and the 1st arrondissement to the south. It’s not as central as Saint-Germain or the 1st, but it’s still one of the best neighborhoods to stay in Paris.

Opéra Food Scene

This is one of my favorite places for food in the city for one reason, and that is Galeries Lafayette La Maison Gourmet. I can still remember the first time I walked into this massive food hall. Pastries, chocolates, croissants, pasta, Asian food, spices…this place has it all!

desserts and pastries at Galeries Lafayette Gourmet
Pastries at La Maison Gourmet

Food recommendations: Via Emilia (best Italian food I have ever eaten), Aspic, Mamiche, Pierre Hermé, Alain Ducasse Chocolat, and Le Comptoir Boutary.

Who Should Stay in the Opéra District

If you love the lively energy, don’t mind being slightly less central, and want to experience the ballet and high-end shopping, then the 9th arrondissement may be the best area to stay in Paris.

You really can’t go wrong with any of these neighborhoods! Decide what you want to do and see on your trip, and then choose the neighborhood that best fits your needs. But no matter where you stay, soak in the joy of being in Paris because it’s an unforgettable experience.

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