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Paris: Do I want to stay in the Marais or Saint Germain area?

Paris: Do I want to stay in the Marais or Saint Germain area?

Aug 6th, 2012, 06:24 AM
  #1  
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Paris: Do I want to stay in the Marais or Saint Germain area?

Dreaming of lots of cafes/restaurants, old buildings....maybe cobblestone streets? Not into nightclub scene but don't want it completely dead at night either...
rattravlers is offline  
Aug 6th, 2012, 06:46 AM
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RJD
 
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They are both fine. You pays your money and you takes your choice. Maris is quieter more elegant and less touristy. But SG particularly the 5th has a greater density of cafes etc. We're staying in the 5th this time but we stayed in the Marais near Place de Voges last time. Like them both.
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Aug 6th, 2012, 06:56 AM
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Yes.
Nikki is offline  
Aug 6th, 2012, 07:11 AM
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There are areas that you describe on Ile de St. Louis, in St Germain area, and in the Marais--and elsewhere. There are also seedy (not unsafe) areas, commercial areas, etc in all. So I'm uncomfortable with a blanket statement about a neighborhood.

What I do tell people who are visiting Paris for the first time is that generally, use Notre Dame as your visual center and work out from there for a feel of "old" Paris. Again, though, certain streets look prettier than others.

For a look-see, pick a hotel or two in these areas, Google the address, and then do Google Streeview. You can "walk" around the blocks to get a feel.
AlessandraZoe is online now  
Aug 6th, 2012, 07:19 AM
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Either area is good for what you want.
adrienne is offline  
Aug 6th, 2012, 07:20 AM
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I disagree with RJD that the Marais is quieter and more elegant than the St Germain des Pres area (I'm assuming that you are referring to the St Germain des Pres area - not just the street St Germain). I also don't think that the St Germain des Pres touches any part of the 5th - the latter is the Latin Quarter.

IMO, the St Germain des Pres is more centrally located. I usually recommend that first time visitors stay in this area, then move to the Marais on about the 3rd visit, then the 7th or maybe the 14th.

Stu Dudley
StuDudley is online now  
Aug 6th, 2012, 07:29 AM
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Agree with Stu.
grandmere is offline  
Aug 6th, 2012, 07:45 AM
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We've stayed n both -- the Marais many times and prefer the Marais. That said, they are both fine. Agree that St Germain des Pres is a touch more centrally located, but not by much. Both are vibrant at night.
yestravel is offline  
Aug 6th, 2012, 07:50 AM
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The Marais is jumping and busier than St Germain.
The number of dining places and boutiques is staggering.
The styles are wilder than St Germain. Lots of gay places,
Sing-a-longs. Both have wonderful restaurants, interesting buildings. After staying in Both places, it is hard for me to make a choice because I had a wonderful time in both.
cigalechanta is offline  
Aug 6th, 2012, 08:06 AM
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The Marais is Grace Jones.

St. Germain des Pres is Catherine Deneuve.


Thin
Pepper_von_snoot is offline  
Aug 6th, 2012, 08:17 AM
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Oh Thin, you always make my day.
AlessandraZoe is online now  
Aug 6th, 2012, 08:39 AM
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Great comparison Thin.

IMO, for a first time stay as close to the Seine as possible. We prefer the Notre Dame,Ile St. Louis area. Another good location is the St. Severin area. Is it touristy? Yes, but the pedestrian streets are fun and lively. Transportation by Metro or the boats on the river is close at hand.

There are Metro stops everywhere but you will definitely walk a lot in Paris. On our 1st 3 trips we chose by price and found ourselves about a mile or two from the Seine in diferent locations. We were always walking toward the Seine, especially at night. Trips 4 thru 8 we stayed near Notre Dame or on Ile St. Louis. The Marais is just OK for us, we prefer the St. Germain area.

Just another Paris lovers take on a great city.
TPAYT is online now  
Aug 6th, 2012, 09:14 AM
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thin darling, you always make me smile!
cigalechanta is offline  
Aug 6th, 2012, 09:38 AM
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And I will continue to say that there are far more than 2 areas of Paris where people can stay, even for a first visit.
kerouac is online now  
Aug 6th, 2012, 11:14 AM
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I know, Kerouac....forgive me....st Germain is my favorite (especially at the Carrefours de Odeon area). Several small hotels, patisseries, cafes and the Odeon metro and bus stop makes it so convenient.
St Sulpice is also right there...it is a very individual choice and I can't explain it but I can always visualize the scene right around the corner from Hotel Louis II facing Le Danton and Le Comptoir, and I have to smile (and always wish I was on my way there).

I don't love the Marais, so I don't stay there. I know others really love it...it is Paris, so I doubt you can really go wrong.
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Aug 6th, 2012, 11:38 AM
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Don't worry, denisea, I know it is a very individual choice, and everybody's choice is valid -- except for first time visitors, who have to go on faith -- and information mixed with misinformation. ("It's noisy." "It's calm." "It is convenient for everything." "It's only convenient if you want to go to..." etc.)

There is constant competition on all of the travel forums to "sell" one's own favourite area, which is fine as far as I'm concerned, except that it often degenerates into saying why other opinions are bad, even though there is no correct answer regarding where is the best place to stay.

I would just like every first time visitor to know that there is practically no "bad" area to be in Paris. So many things balance out, depending on one's priorities. Saint Germain des Prés is wonderfully central -- and also the most expensive area in the city. Rue Saint Cler puts you near the Eiffel Tower -- except that the Eiffel Tower is not close to very many other things. The Marais is old and atmospheric -- but the bars can be very noisy at night. Outlying areas are incredibly much cheaper -- but you have to take the metro to get to other places... The fact that each nationality of visitor has a different favourite area in Paris is also worthy of consideration. Why do Gulf tourists prefer the Champs Elysées? Why do Germans and Benelux visitors prefer the Grands Boulevards? Are most of the English in the 10th arrondissement merely because of Gare du Nord? What draws the Japanese and the Iranians to the 15th arrondissement? Sometimes it appears that each tourist group is creating its own ghetto.
kerouac is online now  
Aug 6th, 2012, 12:44 PM
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I think it is true that certain nationalities tend to stay in certain areas, partly because they may hear about it from other people or that is where the local travel agents send people. I think that is true of Asians and middle-Eastern, anyway, and also sometimes hotels own certain places and that is where packages put them. The Japanese go to the Nikko in the 15th, I believe that is why they are there.

Tell me why French people often go to where the Sofitel is in Washington DC.

Personally, I don't agree with Peppervonsnoot at all in regards to either of those places. I don't think it makes any difference when you are comparing those two. I think other places can differ more, but not those two choices.
Christina is online now  
Aug 6th, 2012, 02:24 PM
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"There is constant competition on all of the travel forums to "sell" one's own favourite area, which is fine as far as I'm concerned, except that it often degenerates into saying why other opinions are bad, even though there is no correct answer regarding where is the best place to stay."

Kerouac--Well said. When RJD said that the Marais was more elegant, my knee-jerk reaction was, "Wait a minute! On the Marais block where I was staying, there were no cute buildings, 3 a.m. was 'coming home from the club' time, etc."

But we were also just a five-minute walk from Ile de St. Louis. And I LOVED that walk.

So that's why I agree--you just can't generalize, and I think there are a lot of great places to be in a lot of different areas for a lot of different reasons.

I am admittedly opinionated--actually persistently stubborn-- about two things:

1) If time is short, staying far out to save money wastes your time, which in the end = money.

2) I HATE the atmosphere of the Champs Elysee. I can't tell you how many friends who stayed out that way--no matter how I tried to explain why they should not--came home either hating Paris or not feeling as though they actually "saw" Paris.

AZ
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