Go Back  Fodor's Travel Talk Forums > Destinations > Europe
Reload this Page >

Why would anybody spend time in the 9th arrondissement?

Why would anybody spend time in the 9th arrondissement?

Old Oct 14th, 2011, 09:47 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 23,814
Likes: 0
Received 6 Likes on 1 Post
Why would anybody spend time in the 9th arrondissement?

I see so much talk here about Saint Germain des Prés and also the 7th arrondissement that I have to admit that it sometimes dismays me. Many people seem to consider it to be the only acceptable area for North American tourists, except for those iconclasts who prefer the Marais and who feel smug about it;

From time to time, I mention the fact that the 9th arrondissement is the one with the most hotels in Paris (followed by the 10th arrondissement), but I think that most of you will agree with me that these arrondissements are rarely recommended by the crowd here. And yet, they are the areas most preferred by European tourists. Are these people completely wrong in their choice?

I can't really give the answer, because obviously different cultures prefer different experiences. So no matter where you stay in Paris, I would like to suggest that some of you explore a bit more rather than fearing to stray from the Seine.

I just made a little report about the Faubourg Montmartre, which might interest a few people. Perhaps it can convince some of you to wander farther afield: http://tinyurl.com/fbgmontmartre
kerouac is online now  
Old Oct 14th, 2011, 10:04 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 34,900
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I didn't know what to expect from your title, I thought you were going to say it was a place no one should go. I've stayed there a couple times and like it, I have 3-4 areas of Paris I always stay in (mostly Montparnasse, but I also like the area around Censier metro/Gobelins, the 15th around rue St Charles, and the the 9th around place Toudouze or Trinite. I am surprised the 9th is the place with the most hotels, but the area you are referring to isn't really the area I choose to stay in either (in the 9th). I don't like it that well up along bd Clichy for an area to stay, and I wouldn't like it down near the dept stores, either. A lot of tourists who stay in hotels in those areas do it just because that has become the custom for their travel agencies or something (and hotels can be cheaper along Clichy), and people think it is romantic and "montmartre". A lot of tourists like to shop a lot and buy things, it seems to me (I won't name names or countires, but there are a couple in particular I'm thinking of), and like being around those dept stores. And they aren't doing anything that great in their free time, either, nor having outstanding experiences in a lot of the places either around the dept stores. The area between the dept stores and bd des Capucines is expensive and not that great an ambience, either, in my opinion.

So I don't like either of those areas in the 9th but do like the area in0between fairly well.
Christina is offline  
Old Oct 14th, 2011, 10:17 AM
Join Date: Dec 2010
Posts: 373
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Years ago I worked in the 9th on Rue Clichy and lived in the 18th on Rue Tholoze. So the area is one with which I'm familiar and it's true that the average N. American tourist is not. But I'm perfectly happy to leave it that way. I like leaving the sound of American accents behind, not from a false sense of superiority or the like but for the opportunity to feel a bit more immersed.
joannay is offline  
Old Oct 14th, 2011, 10:27 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 15,427
Likes: 0
Received 11 Likes on 4 Posts
Kerouac the disco king, who knew??

Meanwhile, this is an area where there are a lot of hotels that cater to packaged tours. I stayed there as a teenager when I went with a group, and I have had friends stay there in recent times when they bought packages from travel agents.

I think a lot of people on Fodor's try to avoid the areas that are filled with tourist hotels in order to be in areas that are more charming, especially if they have not visited Paris before.

The feeling, at least in the streets with many hotels that I have seen, is more hectic and more commercial than the areas many recommend here. I myself would not pick this area for a first visit to Paris. But I have come to believe that I could stay just about anywhere in Paris and come to enjoy the neighborhood.
Nikki is offline  
Old Oct 14th, 2011, 10:49 AM
Join Date: Apr 2009
Posts: 142
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
We just got back from our 7th trip to Paris last week ~ in 1 week, we ate, visited or passed through almost every arrondissement (I think we missed the 13th this time). It's a big beautiful city out there and there is so much to see that even with with almost 70 days spent there in the last 4 years, we have yet to even scratch the surface.

ParisJo is offline  
Old Oct 14th, 2011, 12:33 PM
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 636
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I took the 85 bus to and from Montmartre quite often and saw lot of the streets you shot. One of my favorite used book stores for art is in that Passage near Grands Boulevards metro.
nancy1652 is offline  
Old Oct 14th, 2011, 01:33 PM
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 2,012
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Thanks, Kerouac. This last trip, we went farther afield than ever, but still not in your league!!
taconictraveler is offline  
Old Oct 14th, 2011, 11:06 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 1,962
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
We stayed last month on Notre Dame-de-Lorette and thoroughly enjoyed the area. We ate at a mom-and-pop diner and were the only non-locals in the place. The neighborhood vibe one street over (for the life of me can't remember the name!) was amazing--both in the early evening when everyone was picking up dinner supplies at all the local commercants and the next morning at all the boulangeries when they were getting their fresh breads. Thank you for bringing back such fond memories, K! We would definitely stay here again.

However, I still "get" why many N. Americans stay in the 5th/6th St. Germain/Latin Quarter, especially for a first and what frequently they think will be a "once in a life-time" event. It is just so close and convenient to many of the sights. Not everyone is as fortunate as we are to be able to discover the wonderful nuances of Paris through repeat visits, and I feel that enters into the choice of arrondissement for many.

As usual, your vignette on a particular subject is most interesting and well presented. Merci bien!
klondike is offline  
Old Oct 15th, 2011, 01:31 AM
Join Date: Aug 2009
Posts: 2,056
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I love your photos of A La Mere de Famille and the feast of packaging there. But, when let off the lead, my sons were more likely to spend time staring into the windows of hunting knife and gun shops, and once had throwing stars confiscated on their way onto Eurostar to their parents' amazement.
tarquin is offline  
Old Oct 15th, 2011, 02:56 AM
Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 8,247
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
As one of those Europeans, I assume that for us a trip to Paris is less of that "big deal" which some tourists from further away make out of it. It's just one of the 3-5 weekend trips, so the budgets are probably more modest than for those "once in a lifetime" tourists.
Personally, I like to stay in areas with less tourists. Not out of snobbery but more from being closer to restaurants or cafes where locals eat and are usually less pricey. And I also like to watch the everyday life of "normal people".
In return, I accept to ride the metro a bit more often to get to where there sights are.
I think I could have as much fun in Paris staying in one of the Etap hotels on the Peripherique as in the Ritz. Probably even more out there, as I also like the 1950s/1960s relicts of the then "modern Paris" - guess I watched too many Tati movies ;-)
But to each his own...
Cowboy1968 is offline  
Old Oct 15th, 2011, 03:58 AM
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 10,169
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Cowboy 1968 writes "I think I could have as much fun in Paris staying in one of the Etap hotels on the Peripherique as in the Ritz"

I too am a big fan of those business hotels, esp elswhere in France. I tend to look mostly at the inner arrondisements so I can wak, though you know from past posts that I like riding buses into the outer reaches and walking around to enjoy all the diversity. We spent time in the 9th shopping on our trip last March and both had the experience of eating in cafe with no English spoken (good, since they understood my request for directions to a shop and I understood the answer) and of following a rowdy student tour group down the street (bad if they are staying in your hotel -- ask me to tell you about the Arkansas State Rodeo some time.

On our next trip, we will have to look a little farther afield for our lodging.
Ackislander is offline  
Old Oct 15th, 2011, 03:58 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 495
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Love your posts and pictures. Always makes me want to return to paris.
Nlingenfel is offline  
Old Oct 15th, 2011, 06:30 AM
Join Date: Jul 2010
Posts: 4,596
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Kerouac-I promise to venture from the 7th on my trip this time. You would be shocked to know that we did spend a little time in this area, last trip! (I also don't understand the fascination with the Marais and so far, it's my least favorite part of Paris).
denisea is offline  
Old Oct 15th, 2011, 06:37 AM
Join Date: Aug 2007
Posts: 4,109
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Once again, Kerouac, you have shared a slice of life with us. Thanks for all the photos and details!
irishface is offline  
Old Oct 15th, 2011, 06:59 AM
Join Date: May 2011
Posts: 170
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Excuse me, Miss Dawn Davenport, but when I am in Paris I want to be able to walk from my hotel to the Seine in 10 minutes. The Seine defines Paris for me, and I think it defines Paris for a lot of tourists. Not many want to stay in some far-out location where you have to get on the Metro or bus or take a cab to get to the Seine.

Now go get your cha-cha heels and quit criticising the Great and Powerful Thingorjus.

P_Peppington is offline  
Old Oct 15th, 2011, 10:52 AM
Join Date: Apr 2011
Posts: 2,356
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Kerouac what you describe is completely true....
Greeks ( i am Greek) won't accept any hotels that are not located near the Opera.... in the worst case they would go to Etoile, but never, and i see never would they book a hotel in
Saint Germain des Prés ..
They like the Opera area due to the proximity to the Grands Boulevards, the restaurants, cafes and many shops.....
Strange that Americans are more enthusiastic for Saint Germain des Prés , while Europeans are not.......
clausar is offline  
Old Oct 15th, 2011, 11:16 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 3,301
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I have been going to Paris for years and I've stayed in many arrondissements (my favorite being the 15th, I think. Or the 12th. Maybe the 19th.)

Anyway, I like the Marais, but I wouldn't say I'm "smug" about it. That's a weird thing to say to people because they like the food, streets, history or culture of an area. Kind of painting people with a broad brush, IMHO.
MelJ is offline  
Old Oct 15th, 2011, 11:19 AM
Join Date: Apr 2011
Posts: 210
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
That's really interesting actually! My grandmother and I stayed in the 1st, and we didn't actually see many tourist-looking people staying in the area. It was mostly French businessmen etc. staying in the same hotel, the Grand Hotel Dechampanie, which I found surprising considering the convenience of the area. But then, perhaps there is something that we didn't know... It was amazingly easy to get to Notre Dame, Ste. Chapelle, the Louvre, and the Seine was literally a two minute walk from our hotel, so I'm not sure why there was a lack of tourists..especially with the metro station Chatelet-Les Halles two minutes away as well. It was a very convenient location!
Irishwhistler90 is offline  
Old Oct 17th, 2011, 07:58 AM
Join Date: Oct 2011
Posts: 10
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
The area around Opera has always been catered for tourists, it's quite central, close to shops, restaurants and close enough to the Louvre.
Lelaina is offline  
Old Feb 24th, 2014, 03:09 AM
Join Date: Feb 2014
Posts: 1
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I stumbled across this post completely by chance. I grew up in the States, but a fair portion of my maternal family resides in Paris. Thus unlike the majority of the people posting, I speak fluent French and I know the city as less of a tourist spot and more of a second home. I must say many of you have a skewed view of Americans-there are plenty of adventurous ones who veer well off the trodden path! Onto Paris. Whether you stay near Marais/Bastille, Pigalle, the Golden triangle, Bobo or in Saint Germain the location (unless perhaps it is St. Denis) does not dictate your Parisian experience. There is much to see and do (including the dept stores-Printemps has a great food hall for lunch). If you stay in the 9th it is very quiet at night-a plus, it is very central too. You can go to many points of interest by foot from here. Since it is the center of town there is great metro/rer/bus access to take you around the city. I am constantly visiting people but I also love to explore. AllI can say is if you are there don't miss Musee Rodin.
Nelisabeth is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Manage Preferences Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Your Privacy Choices -