Paris fantasy -- which area to stay?

Mar 2nd, 2005, 10:09 AM
  #1  
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Paris fantasy -- which area to stay?

This is my first trip to Paris, so I'd like to pick a place that can provide me at least a glimpse of my Parisian fantasy-- ok, I have a constraint budget too.

I've found two hotels within my budget and that seem to be convenient. I'd like to get your opinions on their neighborhoods, so I could decide which one to pick.

The first is in the Marais area on St. Antoine, close to St. Paul Metro and Rue Rivoli. The 2nd is near the Eiffel Tower on avenue de la Motte Picquet, and some say it's close to Rue Cler.

I know they're close to different attractions, but which area you think would excite a first-timer in Paris more?

I appreciate your help and enthusiasm so far. Maybe I'm going overboard here trying to perfect my trip too much!
JC98 is offline  
Mar 2nd, 2005, 10:13 AM
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Planning is so much fun! I personally favor the Marais area and would pick your St. Antioine hotel, but that doesn't mean your other choice is a "bad" one. Did you compare both on tripadvisor.com?
Margie is offline  
Mar 2nd, 2005, 10:25 AM
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As long as the hotels are comparable in terms of comfort and price, I don't think it matters much whether you stay in the 7th or in the Marais. Just make sure you visit both areas, no matter which one you end up sleeping in. They are both very nice and very interesting.
ckenb is offline  
Mar 2nd, 2005, 10:26 AM
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This is an easy one. The Metro St. Paul area is the much more exciting (and convenient) area.
bardo1 is offline  
Mar 2nd, 2005, 10:30 AM
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I don't know the specifics of your Parisian fantasy.

But have stayed at Hotel de la Motte Piquet twice, on the corner of Avenue de la Motte Piquet and Rue Cler. It is a perfectly fine little hotel, and the location is good. It fulfilled at least a part of my Parisian dream because it is in a nice, residential area. And, every morning for breakfast we could wander out onto Rue Cler (it's still pretty quiet that early) and buy fruit, pastries or croissants, or crepes and go eat them in the park in front of the Eiffel Tower.

On our next trip I'd like to try staying somewhere else, though. Am thinking of several areas, with the Marais being one of them.

As the others have said - both are good, and you're unlikely to be disappointed staying in either area, unless you have very specific requirements that you haven't posted here.
jlm_mi is offline  
Mar 2nd, 2005, 10:50 AM
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Believe me, I'd stay in either area if I got a good price, but if everything were equal I'd pick the Marais, hands down.

I like the 7th, but (for me) it's a little dull/staid. Good restaurants but not a very youthful vibe, if that's of any importance to you--and perhaps it isn't.

Regardless, you will have an absolutely wonderful time in Paris!
Leely is offline  
Mar 2nd, 2005, 12:30 PM
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Just to mention that the "rue St Antoine" is a major axis hence very busy. So, you might want to avoid a room on the street side if you choose this hotel.
clairobscur is offline  
Mar 2nd, 2005, 01:25 PM
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Hi JC,

If you gave us the names and the cost, we could probably help you better.
ira is online now  
Mar 2nd, 2005, 02:32 PM
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I'd never pass up an opportunity to go to Paris . . . however, although the 7th arrondisment is very nice, I'd pick the Marais hands down. I find the 7th to be great during the day (Rue Cler is wonderful), but somewhat quiet at night.

The Marais, on the other hand, is more colorful and interesting both day and night.

Wherever you end up, have a great trip!

Check out the Paris portion of our journals on our website.

Bon Voyage,
Carol
www.davidandcarol.com
clehrman is offline  
Mar 2nd, 2005, 02:36 PM
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Another vote for rue St. Antoine in the Marais. The commerce in the area is dense and varied, from great food stores near the St. Paul Metro to antigues in the Village St. Paul, to all kinds of speciality boutiques in in the Marais. And I like all kinds of architecture of a smaller "scale," more the case there.
Dave_in_Paris is offline  
Mar 2nd, 2005, 03:45 PM
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I totally agree with the above posters. I had the same problem making my choice and I almost chose an inn on the Rue Cler. It sounded so nice being in the market area at first. But, the as one poster mentioned, the train stations are harder to get to in this area AND there really is not much going on in the area- except for the Eiffel tower (which is further than it looks) it in not centrally located at all. The Marais is the way to go!!! If I were to return and especially if I am looking for value I would check out the latin quarter as well!!!!
wtggirl is offline  
Mar 4th, 2005, 05:07 PM
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Thanks all for your replies and insights into those neighborhoods! It looks like overwhelming vote is for Marais, so Marais it is.

Since I'll be Paris for 8 nights, I wonder if it's worth it to actually stay in 2 different neighborhoods? Worth the hassel? If yes, after Marais, which other neighborhood would you recommend?

My husband and I are in our early 30's, so we like to hang out late and walk around. But we're not into clubbing.

Thanks!
JC98 is offline  
Mar 4th, 2005, 05:10 PM
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I love the 7th - lots of great cafés and restaurants yet quiet enough to get a great sleep at night.
StCirq is online now  
Mar 4th, 2005, 05:23 PM
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Hi JC98:

I just moved back to LA from Paris (but still live there part time) and was living in the Marais near St. Paul. Given your age, I think the posters are definitely right. It would be my first choice.

In terms of moving, the other area where most first time visitors like is the Latin Quarter, so it might be worth it to you to stay on the other side of the river for a few days, but Paris is really pretty small and easy to get around, so it would be easy to stay the whole time in the Marais go all around town if you don't want the hassle. Also, you didn't mention when you are going to be there, which may make a difference in terms of both available rooms and where you want to stay. The July/August summer season is packed with tourists in both the Marais and Latin Quarter, so if you want to get a bit more removed from all that action you might even want to try neighborhoods a bit further from the river like between the Luxembourg Gardens and Montparnasse. There are lots of well priced budget hotels there as well.
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Mar 4th, 2005, 05:32 PM
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JPie, the Latin Quarter is just right across the river from Marais, so not sure it's worth moving there midweek. I'll be there the first week of May.

Since you said you just moved back from Paris, could you tell me what the Parisians take their holidays? The week I'm in Paris, there are 3 "legal holidays" -- May 1 (Labord Day), 5 (Ascension Day), and 8 (Veteran Day ?). All museums are closed May 1, but in general you think the French would close shops around those time as well? And hopefully, there won't be a strike, else I have to prepare for Plan B -- get out of the country altogether. Maybe go to London or Belgium!

Thanks.
JC98 is offline  
Mar 4th, 2005, 05:58 PM
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JC98

Ordinarily, I would suggest splitting your time between 2 hotels. You really do get a different perspective on Paris from different neighborhoods. Even though it's right across the river, I'd still say you can't go wrong with the Latin Qtr. If I'm not wrong, your budget is around 110E per night. That's pretty tight for the 6th, but I think the Latin Qtr has several good hotels in that price range.

It's hard to say whether it's worth moving with only 4 nights in each location. If it were me, and I didn't think I was going to get to Paris a lot in the future, I'd go for it.
JeanneB is offline  
Mar 4th, 2005, 06:39 PM
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Hi JC:

Yes, the early part of May is kind of a pain for tourists sometimes because of all the holidays. The 1st is the more "important" one in some ways in terms of things closing, but the because the 5th is a Thursday this year and the 8th is a Monday, locals are likely to do what they call "making a bridge" and take Friday off as well and make it a 5 day holiday. So train travel could likely to get very booked, just FYI. But a lot in Paris should still be open especially in the Marais, the Latin Quarter and near Montparnasse....and of course the Champs Elysee.

Also, yes, I do agree with JeanneB. Even though they are only about the 1/2 mile apart, the Marais and Latin Quarter are very different in feel. So if you don't think you will be back in Paris for awhile, you may want to move. Maybe, as I mentioned before, down on the far side of the Latin Quarter towards Montparnasse could be interesting. But it also depends on your own temperament-lots of people just like to settle in, and find there own personal cafes to visit every day, visit the same little markets etc.

Anyway, have a great first trip-I will be there as well visiting family. Hopefully it will be warm then. My mother-in-law told me today it is snowing---brr sounds cold to me here in LA


jpie is offline  
Mar 5th, 2005, 10:30 AM
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Ok, I will probably be in the minority here, but I wouldn't move. The day you move you will lose a half day due to packing, checking out of 1st hotel, going to 2nd hotel, checking in (if you room is ready) and unpacking and settling back in. You can experience different areas without changing hotels. You have researched your hotel; you know that it is a good location, and that it is a budget hotel (nothing wrong with that - that is what we always look for and I will be considering your Marais choice for our next visit) but if you wanted to "Splurge" for a few nights and move to fancier digs, that would be an option. Either way, you will be in Paris and you'll have a fabulous time!
Margie is offline  
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