Go Back  Fodor's Forum > Destinations > Europe
Reload this Page > Best Arrondissement to stay in for first time in Paris

Best Arrondissement to stay in for first time in Paris


Apr 14th, 2017, 08:30 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Apr 2017
Posts: 31
Best Arrondissement to stay in for first time in Paris

Sorry for double posting. I forgot to tag my post.

Which is the best Arrondissement to stay in if we want lots of cafes, restaurants, quaint neighborhoods. We also want to see the usual tourist attractions.

Which do you prefer?
Edward671 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Apr 14th, 2017, 08:46 AM
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 14,853
5, 6 or 7 work for me

"quaint" really?
bilboburgler is offline  
Reply With Quote
Apr 14th, 2017, 09:00 AM
Join Date: Sep 2016
Posts: 6
After a lot of research I am staying in an apartment on Isle Satin-Louis for my honeymoon. Appears to be the best of both worlds- quiet and in the middle of it all.
avmiller88 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Apr 14th, 2017, 09:20 AM
Join Date: Feb 2007
Posts: 1,573
I like the Marais, in the 4th. Close to the river, which we like to walk along each night on Ile Saint-Louis (which is also in the 4th)...with ice cream! Walking everywhere in the Marais is a treat.

ssander is offline  
Reply With Quote
Apr 14th, 2017, 09:25 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 42,143
Forget "quaint."There's nothing "quaint" about Paris. It's one of the world's most famous cities. Most first-timers seem to gravitate toward the 1st through 6th arrondissements. The Isle St-Loius (it's not satin) is one of the most expensive, touristy places on earth, but maybe that would appeal to you.There are loads of cafés and restaurants in every single one of Paris's 20 arrondissements. The tourist attractions weren't all planned at once like a theme park, but rather built one by one over many centuries, so they are of course spread out over the entire city. You can't jut plonk yourself down somewhere and have them all right at your disposal.
StCirq is online now  
Reply With Quote
Apr 14th, 2017, 09:26 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 32,640
There isn't just "one" best arrondisement to stay at in Paris nor any other city (or district for cities that use that term). I think in almost any city that a tourist goes to for the first time, the conventional wisdom is to stay in the city center around typical sites of interest to a tourist, as that was usually the center of the city and of historical interest. I can't think of any city where most tourism is in the suburbs or outer areas of the city, but perhaps somewhere that I don't know of.

So just look for anywhere most centered around the dead center of the city which is Notre Dame. that is arrondisements 1-7 as Paris numbered them in a circle starting at the center. I left off 8 as it is more the expensive business area (and expensive residential areas for part), except for some far out parts, say NW of gare St Lazare, and that would probably not be the "best" area for a first time tourist although not terrible if you were there. 8 isn't so "quaint" either, nor is 2 which is a lot of business, also. Others are quaint enough.
Christina is online now  
Reply With Quote
Apr 14th, 2017, 10:09 AM
Join Date: Jul 2010
Posts: 3,955
Everyone has a favorite for a myriad of reasons, mine is the 6th. It is close to many of the attractions we like, has good Metro service and I love all the cafes and boutiques. I love the areas around the Odeon metro station and also around the St Germain des Pres church. There are lots of small hotels throughout the area. Click on my name to see my trip reports and pictures if you are interested.

I have never stayed on Isle St Louis but enjoy it.

We have stayed in the 7th, 5th and 9th in the past...there isn't an area that isn't good but of those I liked the 7th the least and the 5th the best.

Enjoy your trip....if you are in Paris you can hardly go wrong.
denisea is offline  
Reply With Quote
Apr 14th, 2017, 10:23 AM
Join Date: Oct 2010
Posts: 5,565
6. Very chic.

Pepper_von_snoot is online now  
Reply With Quote
Apr 14th, 2017, 10:25 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 18,933
It's not entirely easy to generalise, since any one arrondissement may well have a range of areas, some not so nice as others and others less typical of the stereotypical image of the arrondissement as a whole, e.g., 9 covers the Opera and the big department stores, and parts of the neighbouring business-oriented areas of 2 - but also the muckier bits of Pigalle. Here's a summary for people thinking of finding somewhere to live in Paris:

Personally, I don't care for the upmarket and grand areas, broadly in the west, or those oriented around business and government offices. Parts of 5 and 6 strike me as particularly tourist-oriented and crowded, and what was once quirky and alternative about a lot of 3 and 4 is now very much more blandly gentrified - and it's creeping east into what were much more workaday areas of ordinary daily life in 10 and 11 that I've liked a lot over the years. But all that may be to someone else's taste.

The other thing to be said is that you won't everything you want to see on your doorstep anywhere in Paris. The numbered arrondissements are still a fairly concentrated area by comparison with London, but you will need to use public transport.
PatrickLondon is offline  
Reply With Quote
Apr 14th, 2017, 10:35 AM
Join Date: Apr 2013
Posts: 3,106
"Isle St-Loius (it's not satin)..."

I don't think it's St-Loius either ;-)

FWIW, the Île Saint-Louis can be a pleasant place to stay in low season. I think of it as the Bruges of Paris. When it's crowded, it's very crowded. But in the off season, in the off hours, it's absolutely lovely.

To the OP: when are you traveling? Do you want to be at the very heartbeat of the area you pick or a quiet corner?

You can make a case for almost any arrondissement. Lots of posters here adore the Marais; we didn't like it that much, esp for a warm weather stay (we prefer leafier, greener spots).

Yes, leave out quaint. It doesn't fit 21st century Paris any more than it would fit Manhattan. Which still leaves you lots of richly satisfying adjectives to choose from, depending on where you are: elegant, romantic, vibrant, energizing, inspiring...
WeisserTee is offline  
Reply With Quote
Apr 14th, 2017, 10:45 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 87,167
1, 4, 5, 6, 7 all work
suze is offline  
Reply With Quote
Apr 14th, 2017, 11:06 AM
Join Date: Apr 2016
Posts: 358
Most of the advice given to stay in low numbered arrondissements close to the river is directed toward visitors who are here for only 3-5 days. Your 9 night visit (mentioned on another post)gives you time to explore areas outside of the tourist area. So my advice is to get in to your Paris guide and pick out an area away from the center that appeals to you. Because of excellent transportation everything is relatively close. In 2017, if any areas still could be described as quaint, they're in the outer arrondissements away from the hordes, just waiting for you to find them. You can google such topics as hidden Paris, secret Paris to give you an idea, while keeping in mind that Paris is still one of the most touristed city in the world
Envierges is offline  
Reply With Quote
Apr 14th, 2017, 11:38 AM
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 12,405
I've stayed all over Paris regularly since the mid-70s. However, I've stayed the most in the 6th as it's very walkable to meet my needs and needs of where I' going and what I'm doing. Plus, since I also take the buses far more than the metro, as I'm not found of subways, the bus routes work out very well for where I need to go from the 6th and into other areas of Paris.

Happy Travels!
Guenmai is offline  
Reply With Quote
Apr 14th, 2017, 11:40 AM
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 12,405
I forgot to add that I usually stay in Paris from 7 nights to 10 nights.

Happy Travels!
Guenmai is offline  
Reply With Quote
Apr 14th, 2017, 11:42 AM
Join Date: Sep 2016
Posts: 2,302
1-6 are infested with tourists.
No problem as such but if you want to experience the real Paris life I'd recommend 14e or my all time favorite 18ème.
WoinParis is offline  
Reply With Quote
Apr 14th, 2017, 01:51 PM
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 20,187
The best arrondissements for a first trip are the outer arrondissements, because you will see so much more of Paris. Absolutely everybody will end up along the Seine to see Notre Dame, the Louvre or the Eiffel Tower, and the poor sould who stay in those areas will rarely stray away from the river. If you stay in the outer arrondissements, besides saving at least 30% on accommodations and foord, you will still go to the center to see various sights but you will also discover more of the real residential areas of Paris and not just the tourist ghetto.
kerouac is offline  
Reply With Quote
Apr 14th, 2017, 02:43 PM
Join Date: May 2010
Posts: 2,218
First time I visited I was in the 16th.

It has its charm but to see the usual attractions, it was a long metro ride.

I've stayed only in the 5th or 6th since, whenever I've visited.

And these arrondissements, like others, have real neighborhoods where residents live.
scrb11 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Apr 14th, 2017, 04:49 PM
Join Date: Jun 2016
Posts: 1,362
I love the 14th now. We ride the metro or bus wherever we need to go but really got into the whole vibe of the neighborhood and like the peaceful slower feel after a busy day. First time I would stay in 1-6 probably. I do love the 2nd but last trip was so glad to head back to the 14th at night.
Macross is offline  
Reply With Quote
Apr 14th, 2017, 06:33 PM
Join Date: Oct 2013
Posts: 862
@Macross. Any specific hotel recommendations? This will be my fifth trip (my husband's second) and am overdue for a new neighborhood. I've tentatively decided on the Lenox Montparnasse.
indyhiker is online now  
Reply With Quote
Apr 14th, 2017, 07:16 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 12,553
I have, over the years, stayed in the third, fourth, fifth, sixth, eleventh, fourteenth, and seventeenth arrondissements. I have enjoyed them all. There are nice residential neighborhoods all over Paris. There are some areas that are too full of business or government buildiings for my taste. You can get a sense of the neighborhoods by taking a virtual walk around the area using Google street view.

I would look for a place that is close to a metro station, no matter which arrondissement you end up in.
Nikki is offline  
Reply With Quote

Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On

All times are GMT -8. The time now is 05:52 AM.