Welcome to your complete guide on where to stay in Paris for first-time visitors. Paris is chock-full of some of the best luxury, boutique, budget, and hostel accommodations in the world.
It can be quite overwhelming! From districts, safe areas, sights, prices, public transport and so on.
This guide will cover ALL your questions!
We share first-hand the best areas for first-time visitors, families, couples and solo travelers.
We even included a big map with all neighborhoods and handpicked hotels for couples, families, and friends.
(This guide is always up to date, the last updated September 2023.)
But, first things first:
Question: Where to stay in Paris for a first-time visit?
Answer: My rule of thumb for first-time travelers is always STAY CENTRAL!
That means, aims to stay in the first 10 arrondissements or in English “neighborhoods”. The city of Paris is arranged into different districts, starting in the center of the city, moving outward in a spiral direction.
The very city center includes
Check the map below to get a better idea.
Why do I recommend these areas?
There’s so much to do and see in Paris, you need to savor every minute possible. The first 10 arrondissements provide you with easy access to all of the best museums, tours, and famous landmarks.
They also have easy transportation to the airport, bus and metro lines. That being said, don’t be afraid to venture outside the first 10, as some of Paris’ hidden gems lie off the tourist path.
Do you prefer staying close to the Eiffel Tower? Would you rather stay near the train station? Or do you want a hotel room overlooking the Seine River?
Here’s a full map for you to understand the different areas.
We highlight the districts, main tourists sightseeing in Paris and our handpicked accommodations.
Please note: those are not the exact names of the districts, neither its absolute borders. I just tried to simplify this information.
1. Best areas and handpicked hotels for Paris
As mentioned, the city center of Paris is the perfect place for first-time visitors.
I also understand that different travel styles match different needs. I created an overview of this.
You will notice some areas are excluded or added to the previous recommendation.
Let’s see handpicked hotels.
Continue scrolling or pick your group and travel type on the menu:
Traveling with kids can be tough. European hotels can be small and cramped, you have to hunt down outdoor space for kids to play, and finding a family-friendly restaurant can sometimes feel impossible.
Luckily, we’ve done the leg work for you and tracked down the best family-friendly places to stay in Paris.
6th Arrondissements – St. Germain
7th Arrondissement – Eiffel Tower
This map shows you the areas, recommended for families:
Handpicked accommodations for families
Figure out what’s most important for your family before booking. Would it be useful to have a kitchenette in your hotel room?
Are playgrounds nearby imperative? Are children too young to make public transportation easy?
Make a list of must-haves and narrow down your accommodation search from there. Here are some of our favorites:
If you have a big family, then you know just how hard it is to find comfortable accommodations for families over 4 in Europe. Résidence Charles Floquet is an apartment-style hotel that can accommodate up to 8 people comfortably and is only a stone’s throw away from the famous Eiffel Tower.
Located in the 7th arrondissement of Paris, next to the Eiffel Tower.
Kitchen, washing machine, balcony and living rooms available.
Look at a list of “The Most Romantic Cities in the World” and 9 times out of 10, Paris will be ranked #1. The French “City of Love” is chock-full of some of the most romantic sites, streets, restaurants, and hotels. If you’ve never been to Paris as a couple, you’re in store for a wonderfully love-filled trip.
The best areas for couples to stay in Paris are:
5th Arrondissement – Latin Quarter
8th Arrondissement – Champs Elysées
9th Arrondissement – Opera
This map shows you the areas, recommended for couples:
Handpicked accommodations for couples
It’s hard to go wrong when looking for a couple’s accommodation in Paris. Each neighborhood offers its own romantic ambiance, however, there are areas and hotels that will help set the mood for your perfect romantic holiday.
Hôtel Particulier Montmartre
A hideaway in Montmartre!
Take advantage of having all the privacy in the world while being just steps away from the best sights in Paris.
If you’re looking for true luxury, the “Triangle d’Or” or Golden Triangle is the place to be in the 8th arrondissement. However…it’s Paris, you can find luxury hotels, restaurants, bars and shopping in every neighborhood all over the city.
8th Arrondissements – Champs Elysées
1st Arrondissement – Heart of Paris
6th Arrondissements – St. Germain
This map shows you the areas, recommended for Luxury Travelers:
Handpicked accommodations for luxury
Paris is luxury, and for luxury travelers, there’s no shortage of accommodations.
Four Seasons Hotel George V
You may have spotted Hotel George V in a few different movies over the years, as it’s the quintessential Parisian hotel.
The hotel is located in the 8th arrondissement, right off the Champs-Élysées and near the city’s most upscale shopping quarter. The stunning views, Michelin dining, and swanky amenities make Hotel George V one of the most romantic hotels in the city.
This means as well it is an easy walk to the Eiffel Tower and L’Arc de Triomphe. Personally, this is our favorite areas in the city.
Although, normally a very safe city – when traveling solo, I always like to use the motto “safety first”.
Stick to busy, well lite neighborhoods. If something doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t. That being said, I highly recommend a solo trip to Paris! Having flexibility when exploring a major city like Paris is a priceless experience.
On the outskirts of the 11th arrondissement, right on the border of the 3rd is Le General Hotel. Popular bars, cafes, music venues, theatres, and restaurants make this the perfect hotel for a nightlife enthusiast.
Paris can be an expensive city. Save your money on accommodation and put it towards the rest of your travels.
Whether you’re looking for a hostel, budget hotel or apartment-style lodging, your price range can be found. Despite the low price tag, each of our budget recommendations offers something special; an outdoor garden area, a rooftop bar or the perfect location.
Here are some of our favorite budget hotel areas:
9th Arrondissements – Opera
18th Arrondissement – Montmartre
5th Arrondissements – Latin Quarter
This map shows you the areas, recommended for budget travelers:
Handpicked accommodations for budget
Traveler’s tip: The farther from the city center, the cheaper the accommodation. As long as you’re near a metro station, the city is at your fingertips.
Les Plumes Hotel
You will find Les Plumes Hotel near the famous Galleries Lafayette Shopping Centre. It is just a few minutes’ walks from Cadet Metro Station.
Each room is soundproofed and offers stylish rooms. There is also an LCD TV and a minibar for your convenience.
Sainte Chapelle is a Gothic style wonder, maybe best known for its truly remarkable stain glass windows.
Only a quick walk from Notre Dame, Sainte Chapelle was built to house priceless Christian treasures, including the Crown of Thorns.
When given the opportunity, it’s always smart to purchase tickets in advance – especially in a busy city like Paris.
Tickets range in price depending on if you want access to Sainte – Chapelle, the Conciergerie or rental of a HistoPad, all of which can be purchased online.
Bring your printed e-ticket or be prepared to show your e-ticket on your mobile device.
Tip: Free entry is available on the Saturdays and Sundays of the European Heritage Days (the third weekend of September) as well as the 1st Sunday of each month on off-season (January 1 – March 31 and November 1 – December 31).
The iconic Arc de Triomphe is one of those renowned Parisian landmarks that must be seen on any visit to Paris.
Built by the order of Napoleon I to honor the conquests of his army, the monument stands at the head of the famous Avenue des Champs-Élysées (also on the list of our must-see sights).
For a beautiful view day or night, the Arc de Triomphe viewing deck is worth the quick trip to the top.
Note: Don’t run across the street. Find the underground pass to get to the actual structure.
You can absolutely still see, touch and take pictures of the Arc de Triomphe without purchasing a ticket to the top.
Tip: Free entry is available under 18 years old, for EU residents between 18-25, on the Saturdays and Sundays of the European Heritage Days (the third weekend of September) as well as the 1st Sunday of each month on off-season (January 1 – March 31 and November 1 – December 31).
For a truly unique experience, I highly suggest visiting the Paris Catacombs. Take a tour 20 meters underground to visit the remains of several million Parisians.
Opened in 1809 to the public, these concealed mazes only allow 200 visitors at a time, due to preservation and safety reasons. Because of this, lines can stretch for 1-2 hours in the middle of the day during the busy season.
Note: Try to avoid mid-day and weekends.
Unfortunately, the catacombs are not wheelchair accessible.
Plan on wearing comfortable shoes and warmer clothes. It stays cold down there even in summer!
If you’re planning to see and do all you can while in Paris, it might be worthwhile to check out the Paris Pass. This pass will allow guests easy access to over 60+ museums, landmarks, and attractions.
While providing an easy one pass ticket, it also allows holders to skip the line at various attractions, unlimited use of public transportation as well as access to discounts and special offers.
Attractions include the Louvre Museum, Palace of Versailles, Paris Aquarium Cineaqua, Arc de Triomphe, The Orsay Museum, Pantheon, Opera Garnier Guided Tour, Orangerie Museum, Saint-Chapelle, Hop-On, Hop-Off Bus Tours and many more.
Get a sneak peek of the 17th-century mansions that once housed the noble families of Paris.
3.4 The 4th Arrondissement
Chic and trendy is the name of this neighborhood, which is popular with both tourists and locals.
This is the perfect neighborhood to have your dreamlike “Parisian café” moment, complete with red and white striped awnings and street cafes.
Home to Notre Dame Cathedral and the Place des Vosges.
Walk along the Seine and notice the scattered bookshops along both the right and left banks.
3.5 The 5th Arrondissement
The Latin Quarter is my absolute favorite neighborhood in Paris!
Originally named for the Latin language commonly spoken at the Sorbonne, the streets are the perfect mix of students, professionals, historic landmarks, Roman ruins, along with inspiring shops and restaurants.
Stroll down Rue Mouffetard and enjoy the shops, international restaurants, bars, and cafes. You can find a fantastic three-course meal for next to nothing.
Visit The Sorbonne, one of Europe’s oldest universities.
Once the old stomping grounds for the writers and intellectuals of the 20th century, the 6th arrondissement – better known as Saint-Germain des Prés is now one of the most coveted neighborhoods in Paris.
Expect pockets of lavish gardens, designer boutiques, coffee shops and art galleries on your walk through the 6th.
Take a stroll through the lovely Luxembourg Gardens.
Enjoy a coffee at Le Procope, which claims to be the oldest café in Paris and was frequently visited by Thomas Jefferson and Voltaire.
Although my recommendation has constantly been to stay central, my favorite exception is Montmarte, in the 18th arrondissement. The artsy neighbor oozes a cool vibe and feels like its own village outside of Paris.
Shop the local galleries, watch the artists’ paint and take in the incredible views. Also home to Sacré-Cœurthe, the famous Moulin Rouge and the Salvador Dali Museum.
Not all areas of the 18th arrondissement are safe – keep to well lite and populated areas.
4. Safest area to stay in Paris
Now that you’ve gotten a feel for the best places to stay, eat and explore during your stay in Paris, let’s talk about safety.
Overall, Paris is one of the safest tourist cities in the world. And visiting the City of Light is no different than visiting any other major city in the United States when it comes to security.
Just like traveling through any large city, always use precautions and research the areas before you go. If something doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t.
Now that we’ve established that Paris isn’t a major security threat, is pick-pocketing an issue…absolutely yes!
Pick-pocketing and petty crimes have been an age-old problem in Paris forever. Although no area or neighborhood in Paris is completely safe, you should always be more mindful when riding the metro and around crowded tourist sites.
The Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame, and the Champs-Elysées are well known pick-pocketing areas to be cautious of.
Here are a couple of Parisian pick-pocking scams to be aware of:
The thief pretends to find something on the ground; money, a bracelet, an unused ticket and asks if it’s yours.
If you say yes or act interested, they strike up a conversation or try and sell it to you…while their friend robs you. Or if you say no, their friend robs you anyways while you’re looking at the item.
It’s an old trick and the best thing to do if someone approaches you with this is to hold on tight to your belongings, say no and walk the other way.
Sign My Petition
I’ve seen this one a million times, both in Paris and all over Europe. Nice, young women approach you and ask you to sign a petition; while you’re signing your name or writing out your email you get robbed by their friend.
Another old trick. Again, just say no and keep walking.
The Metro Grab
Of all the people I’ve known to be pick-pocketed in Paris, this one has happened the most. (Including my six foot three, 240-pound father)
The thief picks a crowded metro car, or possibly someone distracted by their music or phone waits for the metro doors to open grabs a phone or wallet and takes off running. Usually, the target is too slow to realize, the metro doors close and the item is gone forever.
These types of robbers usually work in groups, so even if you think you can chase them down, most likely the item of choice has already been traded hands a couple of times.
To avoid this, always keep your phone in your bag. If you have a backpack or purse, make sure everything is buttoned or zipped and hold it in front of you. Keep all phones and wallets out of your back pockets.
This one is simple and the goal is to get you while your guard is down.
Thieves dress up like tourists at crowded sites, they ask something simple like if you can take their photo or where the nearest metro station is, and while you’re bothering with that, they rob you.
All of these scams are avoidable as long as you stay aware and keep your wits about you. For now, I leave you with some basic tips to avoid being pick-pocketed:
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