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Favorite Paris Neighborhoods

Old Apr 20th, 2005, 09:34 AM
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Favorite Paris Neighborhoods

I'm trying to figure out the best neighborhood in Paris for a long term stay. Cost is always an issue but so is location! Can anyone give me an opinion on a neighborhood that is nice to be in but won't kill my bank account?

I've been reading a lot of guidebooks but they only seem to praise each area. I'm trying to make sure that I don't get talked into a bland area when four blocks away is paradise! On the other hand, I don't want to spend all my euros on a studio when four blocks away I could get the same atmosphere and still be able to afford dinner!

Thank you for all your thoughts!
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Old Apr 20th, 2005, 09:40 AM
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It would probably be easier to get a 'short list' of specific apartments that meet your needs and budget, then ask about the locations of those apartments.
We could talk all day about our favorite neighborhoods, doesn't mean you'll find an apartment right there.
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Old Apr 20th, 2005, 09:46 AM
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What do you consider "nice to be in" ? Do you want nightlife, loads of restaurants and easy access to tourist sites? Do you want a larger apartment for less $$ that is outside of the tourist area so that it is has a more quite neighborhood feel?

I lived right off of place St Michele for several months and hated it. It was certainly central but it was packed with tourists at all times and tended to be noisy. I moved to the 12 arrondisement just off of Blvd Daumesnil / Place Felix Eboue. Its a quiet neighborhood with few tourists yet has an attractive parisian feel about it. There are several grocery stores and a few restaurants. I have lived here for 4 years and love it.
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Old Apr 20th, 2005, 09:58 AM
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There are a lot of nice areas all over Paris, so there isn't a good way to answer this question briefly. Also, what is your definition of a neighborhood? That's going to be hard to define. A lot of people refer to how noisy and crowded etc the Latin Quarter is, for example, but they are only referring to a very small part of it (near place St Michel probably). And even though some arrondisements might not have any parts that would be absolutely horrendous in quality, they still would have parts that are probably pretty far from transportation and kind of dull. Let's say someone says the 7th is wonderful, for example. There are parts of it not so convenient.

YOU haven't even said how long term you are referring to and what kind of accommodations you are seeking and what your budget is, which is going to be necessary for someone to give good advice. It's possible that what you want to spend just isn't feasible in someone's favorite neighborhood. Also, try to be realistic -- if you are in a bland area and like the place you rented (which I assume you would or wouldn't have booked it), any place this is paradise a few blocks away is going to cost a whole lot more if it's really such a nicer area. It isn't likely that some area is going to be drastically different in a couple blocks, but if it is, no one will be able to pinpoint areas for you that specifically, I'm afraid.
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Old Apr 20th, 2005, 10:33 AM
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Thank you for the advice on the St. Michele area. The problem I've been having is that an apartment listing will describe "noisy and touristy" as "lively". It was also helpful to hear that the 12th is not way out of town. I'm searching for a quiet neighborhood that still has a good number of restaurants, shops and easy transportation. After looking at countless apartments I thought that eliminating a few areas would help me to focus.
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Old Apr 20th, 2005, 01:50 PM
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LaraM,

Paris is very compact. Any arrondisement will feel somewhat central. Its only when you go into the burbs that you start to feel the disconnect from the city. I would suggest looking for an apartment that is near a station with a minimum of two metro lines. This gives you alot more options when moving about the city. Also good bus service is a plus.

In addition to the 12th, I like the area around Place d'Italie called "Butte aux Cailles". It has a nice village feel about it and is charming but is near Place d'Italie for good metro service. Let us know where you are looking and we can give more precise feedback.
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Old Apr 20th, 2005, 03:38 PM
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I have a map..can't remember where I got it that has the arrondisments overlayed so you can see exactly how they connect and what streets etc. run through each one. Sorry I can't remember where I got it but maybe if you got a map like that it would help you by knowing where each one is. You might try Googling for maps and see what comes up. Good luck.
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Old Apr 20th, 2005, 06:43 PM
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You may want to investigate the 16th and 17th.
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Old Apr 20th, 2005, 06:49 PM
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Aren't those areas some of the more expensive ones...?
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Old Apr 21st, 2005, 04:56 AM
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Morgan:

I like the area around Place d'Italie called "Butte aux Cailles". It has a nice village feel about it and is charming but is near Place d'Italie for good metro

Please tell me more. We're planning our second trip to Paris. Last time we pretty much stayed in the center. I'm wanting to research other areas, but could use a little guidance. Where exactly is the area you mentioned?

Other areas I'm curious about: Montparnasse, Denfert-Rochereau, suburban 16th, Parc Monceau, Nation vicinity(?). We would appreciate any suggestions about these (or other) less-beaten-path areas.
Shopping, restaurants, landmarks, museums, charming neighborhood...all would qualify as a reason to find our way there.

PS: For all I know, Denfert-Rochereau IS Montparnasse. I think my problem is that I've learned my way around Paris by researching hotels, which means the center. As a result, Montparnasse looks huge and I have no idea what area to head for.
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Old Apr 21st, 2005, 05:18 AM
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JeanneB, you might want to read my trip report from when Marcy and I went to Paris in January. We made a trip to the 13th, the Butte aux Cailles, to see what that neighborhood looks like. Unfortunately, we weren't impressed. (Only goes to show how subjective different people's tastes are about things!)

http://www.fodors.com/forums/threads...=2&tid=3455440
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Old Apr 21st, 2005, 05:21 AM
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Sorry! I didn't link it correctly.

http://www.fodors.com/forums/threads...2&tid=34554408
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Old Apr 21st, 2005, 05:42 AM
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If you opt for the 16th, you would probably most enjoy the Place Victor Hugo area or the Auteuil section. The VH is chic, residential, full of good little cafes, restaurants, shops, and good mass transit. The Auteuil section is like a small, upscale village, with its own excellent outdoor food market, several casual restaurants (and a couple of under-visited really good ones like the Relais d'Auteuil). It's nice and relaxed except during the French Open, when it's packed, because it's within easy walking distance of the FO venue.
The streets that border the Bois de Boulogne are, IMHO, just TOO quiet. That area is long on apartment buildings (very nice, luxurious and expensive apartment buildings) but short on restaurants, cafes, and so on.
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Old Apr 21st, 2005, 06:30 AM
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Great input! I love Fodors.

I'll check out the d'Auteuil. Maybe a good place to head in late afternoon and then have dinner.

What about Montparnasse? Can someone get me headed to the "right" area?
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Old Apr 21st, 2005, 07:06 AM
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There are good maps of Paris, showing the various arronds at www.mappy.com and www.viamichelin.com.

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Old Apr 21st, 2005, 07:17 AM
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The area right around metro Vavin has a number of decent hotel choices, many shops and cafes, and is a brief walk to Jardin de Luxembourg. Wouldn't want to have "Montparnasse Bienvenue" as my main metro stop, but others along Line 4 would be fine. Your classic cafes, le Select, la Coupole, le Dome are right there, and the rollerbladers roll by on Friday nights. Hotels right on blvd Montparnasse might have noise issue but there are loads of them tucked into side streets. Roving street market along Edgar Quinet, and the arts market on Sunday also.

Denfert Rochereau is a bit more 'downscale' but there are still shops all down ave du General Leclerc, and rue d'Alesia (although I haven't followed rue d'Alesia yet). There are more budget hotels in this area - only one upscale hotel (Villa Montparnasse ****). Lots of 1* and 2* hotels, most of which are not "known" (for reviews). Rue Daguerre market street, Monoprix, metro line 4, RER-B, and 2-3 bus lines. Architecture takes a detour from typical Parisian-Haussman but can sometimes be interesting. Not much of particular interest except the cemetery and catacombs, but nothing wrong with the area either.

The area around metro Villiers in the 17th is another great spot, if you're wanting to be a bit out of the center. Again, Monoprix, daily market on rue de Levis, cafes and shops. Parc Monceau just a couple blocks away, and you could probably walk to Sacre Coeur if you felt like it...could also spread out to "Batignolles" area, supposed to have some 'quaint' factor remaining around the square.

We also enjoyed a stay in the 15th at metro Convention...just another ordinary but nice neighborhood, no sights, but the usual carousel on the corner, shops, cafes,etc. Not as many metro connections so make sure your closest stop is open (not being worked on).

I always look at streets and buildings on www.pagesjaunes.com to see if there is a high graffiti/boarded up factor.
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Old Apr 21st, 2005, 07:26 AM
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JeanneB

Butte Aux Cailles is the area surrounding Rue de la Butte aux Cailles between Rue Bobillot and Rue de la Glaciere. Dont expect the Hausseman Paris of the Opera area. This was indeed a small town that merged into Paris. The buildings tend to be small and low, 2 or 3 stories. The tend to be white stucco rather than cut stone. There are a few trendy restaurants and cafes. The streets are narrow. Think Montmartre without the throngs of tourists and without the view. I think it is a very interesting area of Paris with its own charm. Now depending on which direction you head away from Place d'Italie, you may find yourself in chinatown or which has alot of ugly giant towers build in the 60s. Head more towards Gobliens when leave Butte aux Cailles. You would also be close to Parc Montsouris which is an attractive park frequented by university students.

Montparnasse can be an attractive area . I like the area towards Blvd Edgar Quinet and Blvd Montparnasse towards the tip of the Luxembourg gardens at Port Royal. Place Denfert is also nice.
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Old Apr 21st, 2005, 07:28 AM
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By the way, the 16th is indeed lovely. It is also amoung the most expensive area's in Paris. It's not a value for your money kind of place but it is certainly clean and beautiful.
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Old Apr 21st, 2005, 09:13 AM
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Thank you all.

T'nut: Not looking for a hotel, we're staying at the Bonaparte. Just trying to get the basics on each area to know where to start...i.e., which metro to get off at.

IRA: I have those maps, but needed to know where to aim my pointer, so to speak.

Here's another great map for street detail. Hot maps...I love how it lets you click on the compass point to quickly move in any direction:
http://www.hot-maps.de/europe/france/paris/homeen.html


Again, I really appreciate all the help. I can now start doing searches and getting more detailed info about each area.

LaraM: Didn't mean to hijack your thread. But I'm glad you posted it...very helpful.
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