When you think of Paris, you probably envisage staying somewhere by the River Seine where you can take romantic evening walks, in walking distance from Champs-Elysées so fabulous shopping is never too far, or somewhere with a top floor balcony where you can enjoy panoramic views over the Eiffel Tower.
That certainly defines an ideal stay in Paris, but it could also be a very expensive experience.
The great news is that you have a lot or choices for where to stay in Paris. If you are on a budget, seeking a local experience or just looking for a Parisian student night out, you have 20 locations to choose from.
Paris is divided in 20 municipal districts called arrondissements. The central ones, from 1 to 7, are home to some of the most renown Parisian landmarks, but as you go further into the outskirts you get a feel of ‘real Paris’.
The French capital is well connected via metro, so no matter what arrondissement you choose to stay in, there is always a connection to the city centre.
Here is a guide to the 20 arrondissements in Paris:
The 1st arrondissement is located on the Right Bank of River Seine and known as the centre of contemporary Paris.
The municipal district is home to some of the most famous Parisian landmarks, including The Louvre, the Palais-Royal and the Jardins des Tuileries.
Apart from the historical monuments, this district is also boasting with bars and restaurants and even one of the largest shopping centers in Paris, the Forum les Halles.
The area is well connected to the rest of Paris via metro. One of the main stations for this district is Chatelet/Les Halles, which is also the largest metro station in Paris.
If you are arriving by plane, the trains from the airports will be linked to the Chatelet/Les Halles station.
One of the benefits of staying in the 1st district is that the majority of tourist attractions are within walking distance, so you will rarely need to use the metro or bus.
You also have a great selection of accommodation, from 5 star hotels to guest houses and hostels. However, do expect to pay higher prices for the comfort of a central location.
The 2nd arrondissement is also located on the Right Bank of Seine and is known as the business district.
The Bouse, which is the stock exchange in Paris, is one of the financial centers of Europe.
The area is home to very few tourist attractions, but some visitors do chose to stay here as the accommodation is cheaper.
Shopping is very fun in this district, because it has a touch of history. Here you can visit Les Galleries, a shopping area with 19th century architecture.
The business district is also home to the national library, known as the Bibliotheque Nationale de France, the Opera-Comique and the beautiful Notre Dame des Victories church.
The 3rd arrondissement, also located along the Right Bank of River Seine, is one of the smallest districts in Paris.
Many famous museums are found in this district, such as Muse National Picasso and Muse National des Arts et Mitiers.
If you want a glimpse of the olden Parisian days, you can also visit Les Marais, which is the oldest neighborhood in Paris.
Don’t forget to stop by the beautiful Jewish Quarter or grab a bite in the Chinatown.
If you want to get lost in the narrow streets of lower Marais and be charmed by the boutique and speciality shops, local cafés and a lovely selection of bars and restaurants, the 4th arrondissement is the place to be.
This is also the home of some of the most renown museums and galleries, that you absolutely must visit whilst in Paris.
Here you will find Notre Dame and the National Museum of Art, the Hotel de Ville and the Place des Vorges. The latter is known as the oldest and most beautiful square in Europe.
The area has a great selection of accommodation, from 5 star hotels to budget rooms.
You will also be connected with other parts of Paris via the 4 main metro stations: Rambuteau, St. Paul, Citi and Hotel de Ville.
The 5th district is famously known as the ‘Latin Quarter’. This name is inherited from the prestigious Sorbonne University, where in the medieval times students and professors used to speak Latin.
Today the Latin Quarter still keeps an intellectual status as it is home to various universities and higher education institutions. Here you will find a great variety of English bookstores.
The arrondissement is famous for having the best food in Paris, all served on Rue Mouffetard.
You will also get a glimpse of the Gallo-Roman times, from the many archaeological ruins scattered across the district.
This is one of the most beautiful arrondissements to stay in Paris. Known as the St. Germain des Pres Quarter, it offers visitors a charming taste of Parisian life.
St. Germain des Pres takes you on a journey of picturesque streets, traditional food shops, French restaurants and cafés, and iconic monuments.
To start with, the 6th arrondissement is home to the Luxembourg Gardens, where you will find the Luxembourg Palace and Museum and the French Senate.
Here you also have the renown Boulevard of St. Germans, perfect for long walks.
If you have a taste for art, you can find the museum of Eugene Delacroix. An interesting fact is that the 6th district used to be a common hunting place for the artist.
The oldest church in Paris, St. Germain des Pres, can also be found here.
Located on the Left Bank of River Seine, the district is easily accessible via metro.
Night View From Eiffel Tower
It is very rare for anyone to visit Paris and not stop by the 7th district, as it is home to the most famous Parisian landmark, the Eiffel Tower.
If you are not on a budget, you can stay at hotels with views of the tower, which is particularly spectacular at night.
In this district you can also visit Napoleon’s resting place at Hotel des Invalides.
The district is located along the Left Bank of the River Seine.
Arc de Triumph
Considered one of the most elegant areas in Paris, the 8th arrondissement is home to the renown Champs-Elysées and Arc de Triumph.
Here is where the Parisian fashion comes to life.
Is not uncommon for tourists to visit Paris just for a shopping experience on Champs-Elysées.
In the 8th district you have a great choice of accommodation, especially for upper class hotels, but the prices are fairly high.
The area also has a government presence, as it is the home of the president of France and various embassies, including US and UK.
The 9th arrondisment is home to Moulin Rouge, that is fading with time but is still a common attraction for tourists.
Another place worth a visit in the 9th district is the Opera Garnier.
If you are feeling adventurous, you can also go on a hot air ballon ride at the Parc André Citroën.
You have plenty of choices for accommodation and prices will be cheaper than the central hot spots.
If you are coming into Paris by Eurostar train, you are arriving in the 10th district at the famous Gare du Nord. Here you also have Gare du East, so almost all EuroRail travelers have to pass though this arrondissement.
The district centers Canal St. Martin and its banks, where you will find a good variety of restaurants and bars.
This area is a bit less safer than other parts of Paris as the train stations have attracted an influx of thieves. Just watch your pockets and be careful in crowded spots.
Some of the highlights of the 11th arrondissement include the Opera Bastille and a lively nightlife.
Although most visitors will travel into the centre to see the famous Parisian landmarks, the accommodation is cheaper here.
There are lots of good restaurants and bars to choose from, and you can even go wine tasting.
The district is connected via metro with the center of Paris. Ledru-Rollin, Bastille, Belleville and Oberkampf are the main stations in the 11th arrondissement.
The 12th arrondissement is one of the largest districts in Paris.
It has a trendy and vibrant scene, with a youthful population.
If you stay here you will get cheaper accommodation and only a 10 minutes metro ride to the center of Paris.
The arrondissement is known by the name of Bercy, and also has a large Parc de Bercy, perfect for afternoon strolls.
Here you can get great food, especially if you are self catered, as you will find lots of traditional markets.
If you prefer a quiet stay in a typical French countryside location, visit the Bercy Village.
Bercy has the following metro stops: Picpus, Reuilly-Diderot, Porte Dorée, Bercy and Bastille.
The 13th arrondissement is a residential area of Paris, with very few tourists stopping by.
However, it does have a good selection of accommodation that is well connected to the rest of Paris via metro and train.
Here you will find the National Library and many cheap eateries. Located on the Left Bank of River Seine, the district is home to one of the main Parisian train stations, Gare du Austerlitz.
This is another residential area in Paris, mostly known for the Catacombs and Montpannasse skyscraper and station.
Here you will find the Cite University and a good variety of cafés and bars.
Although it’s not a touristic area, you do have a good selection of accommodation, and as all arrondissements in Paris, the 14th is well connected via metro.
The 15th arrondissement is located on the Left Bank of River Seine.
Although it’s a residential district with very few tourist sights, it has a good central location.
It is right next to the 7th district, where you can visit Eiffel Tower and many other famous landmarks.
If you want a central location on a budget, this is a good choice. The district also has an atmosphere often referred to as the ‘real Paris’.
Located on the Right Bank of River Seine, this district has quite a few tourist attractions.
The area has a charming presence, with beautiful 19th century architecture and a few museums to visit.
The Place du Trocadero is famous for offering beautiful views of the Eiffel Tower.
The arrondissement is also home to the famous Stade Rolland Garros, where the French Open is held.
The 17th arrondissement is an upper class residential area of Paris, where you can admire luxurious architecture and a real taste of how the wealthy locals live in the capital.
Although it is far from the city center, the district is located on the north side of Arc de Triumph.
The area is full of beautiful green spaces and parks.
If location is not a priority, this is a good area to experience Parisian life without the tourist vibe.
The 18th arrondissement, although located one the outskirts of Paris, is a very popular area for tourists.
Here you can visit the famous Montmartre, La Basillique du Sacre de Montmartre and even Moulin Rouge.
In the past, the 18th district was home to famous artists such as Picasso, Renoir, Max Jacob, Utrillo and Matisse.
The 19th arrondissement is a lovely residential area of Paris, that is perfect for a family holiday.
The district is mostly visited for the Cite des Sciences et de l’Industrie.
However, the area is covered in parks and has lots of activities for children.
Here you can find a good variety of French and international cuisine.
The district is located on the Right Bank of the River Seine and well connected with the rest of Paris via metro.
The 20th arrondissement, located east from the centre of Paris, is a typical working class area in the French capital.
The only well known tourist attraction in this district is the Pere Lachaise Cementery, which is a resting place for many national and international figures. There you will find the resting place and statue of Victor Noir.
As you can see, there is unlimited choice of where to stay in Paris. In the centre you can walk to your favourite landmarks, but on the outskirts you will get a local experience. Either way, the metro will keep you well connected, and any central location is never out of reach. Just pick your favorite arrondissement and have a great stay.
Where would you stay in Paris?
What district would you recommend?