Guide to Paris Neighborhoods: 7 Best Areas to Stay & Explore

Having stayed myself in countless Paris neighborhoods, I have lots of insight to share about the best areas to stay in Paris for a range of preferences and budgets! From Montmartre and its artistic history to Canal Saint-Martin and its hip shopping, I’ve rounded up all the neighborhoods you need to check out on your next visit to Paris.

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If you’re wondering which Paris neighborhoods are the best to spend time exploring, or where in Paris you should stay for your upcoming trip, this post is for you!

Because Paris is a city I go back to over and over, I’ve had the chance to stay in a pretty wide variety of Paris neighborhoods, including Bastille, Montmartre, and even the very off the beaten track (yet very trendy) Auteuil area of the 16th arrondissement.

In this post, I’m going to walk you through all the best Paris neighborhoods to stay in (plus a few that are a bit more off the beaten path) and let you know which ones are the coolest, and most worthwhile, based on my experience with them.

I’ve also written dedicated guides to each of these neighborhoods, which I’ll link, as well as my top Paris hotel picks in each area in case you need some help looking!

It doesn’t feel possible to “rank” the neighborhoods in Paris, because I really do love almost all of them for different reasons, so the list is not written in any particular order of preference for where to stay in Paris. Every option is a great one!

Okay, let’s get into it!

Map thanks to Wanderlog, a trip planner app on iOS and Android

Delve into France

Best Neighborhoods in Paris to Stay & Explore

1. Montmartre: Where to stay in Paris to have a main character moment

paris neighborhoods: montmartre

Montmartre has been, and continues to be, one of my favorite Paris neighborhoods. I mean, let’s be real, with its quaint streets, long artistic history, and cute little cafes it’s hard to not fall in love with Montmartre.

Sitting on top of a hill in the 18th arrondissement, on the north edge of Paris, Montmartre still manages to feel like it’s right in the middle of things because there’s a ton going on there. It’s also reasonably well connected to the rest of Paris with two metro stops in the neighborhood and several others around the edges of it.

This is one of a couple Paris neighborhoods known for their bohemian spirit and artistic past. Montmartre, in particular, was home to painters like Picasso and Van Gogh. It’s also well known for its famous cabarets—including the Moulin Rouge. Today, you can stroll through the Place du Tertre to see the ways that Montmartre’s artistic spirit is still alive with painters and caricaturists lining the whole square.

It’s worth noting this part of the neighborhood feels very touristy, but it’s one of the few touristy areas in Paris that I do feel is worth at least a quick stroll—especially because it’s also just a stone’s throw from the equally famous Sacré-Cœur Basilica and its iconic view over Paris.

paris neighborhoods montmartre Place du Tertre

If you’re someone who prefers to avoid the beaten tourist path, never fear!

From the lesser know Montmartre Museum (one of my favorite museums in Paris) to the nearby flea markets at the Porte de Clignancourt (a very cool off the beaten track activity in Paris), this part of Paris definitely has not lost its charm.

On our most recent trip to Paris we decided to have dinner in Montmartre one night and were pleased to find that most of the tourist hoard had departed after dark. So rest assured that the romantic hilltop will offer much quieter and more romantic evenings for those who decide to stay here.

👉🏼 Check out my full Paris travel guide to Montmartre! 👈🏼

Looking to stay in a Parisian fairy tale?
🛏️ Here’s my top hotel pick in Montmartre: Hôtel Monsieur Aristide

P.S. When you book using my links, you help support Rachel IRL at no extra cost to you. It’s a win-win!

2. Canal Saint-Martin: Where to stay in Paris for a local experience

Canal Saint-Martin is definitely one of the more hipster, off the beaten track Paris neighborhoods to explore and stay in. Nestled in the 10th arrondissement, north of Le Marais and Bastille, Canal Saint-Martin is full of (somewhat hidden) gems making it one of the best Paris neighborhoods to stay in for those who will feel energized being surrounded by cool Parisians.

It has a notably more quiet energy than some other nearby Paris neighborhoods, but despite the chiller vibe, it’s absolutely packed with some incredible restaurants, craft coffee shops, wine bars, bistros and independent boutiques.

The canal that the area is named after is of course worth mentioning, and you can walk or cycle along it and simply enjoy the calm. I’d also recommend having a nice lunch or breakfast on a terrace along the canal, or even getting some snacks and have a little picnic.

Some of my favorite food spots in Canal Saint-Martin include: Le Comptoir General, Holybelly, Osè African Cuisine, Du Pain et des Idées, Breizh Café, and La Bécane à Gaston.

Basically Canal Saint-Martin is one of the best Paris neighborhoods to stay, or simply explore, if you want to see a local, slightly younger side to Paris. The slower pace, the independent shops, and diversity of cuisine are all a real treat, and it’s one of the best Paris neighborhoods to stay in.

👉🏼 Check out my full Paris travel guide to Canal Saint-Martin! 👈🏼

Looking to experience Paris like a local?
🛏️ Here’s my top hotel pick in Canal Saint-Martin: La Planque Hotel

3. Saint-Germain-des-Prés & the rest of the 6th: Where to stay in Paris that’s safe & stunning, without sacrificing culture

paris neighborhoods Saint-Germain des Pres the 6th arrondissement: jardin du luxembourg

Saint-Germain-des-Prés (along with the Latin Quarter, but we’ll get there next) is one of the Paris neighborhoods with the richest history and culture, due to its legacy of being an artistic and literary hub in the 1920s. Ernest Hemingway and Gertrude Stein, to name only a couple of the big names who have resided in this neighborhood, lived and drew inspiration from the 6th during their careers. 

Today, it’s a very sophisticated and beautiful neighborhood that’s often considered one of the safest Paris neighborhoods. Situated squarely on the Left Bank, Saint-Germain will only disappoint if you really were hoping to be more in the thick of things on the Right Bank (north of the Seine). Because Paris is so compact, though, I don’t think you should worry about this!

In fact, plenty of amazing sights will be well within reach from Saint-Germain! One of the most notable parts of the 6th arrondissement is of course the Jardin du Luxembourg—and a huge perk to staying in this area is easy access to it! The area is also well located close to the Eiffel Tower, Musee D’Orsay, and Notre Dame.

I also think you’ll find better shopping in Saint-Germain than you will on the Champs-Élysées. Le Bon Marché and La Grande Épicerie de Paris, a fancy department store and neighboring food shop, are both located in this neighborhood. Though it’s not all bougie shopping—one of my favorite used bookstores, San Francisco Book Co. is also located here.

For those looking to get a glimpse of the golden age of the Lost Generation’s Paris (guilty), there is plenty to check out in this area. Head over to my complete Paris travel guide to Saint-Germain for the deets!

For food and drink I love the Prescription Cocktail Club, Kodawari Ramen, Café d’Auteur (all conveniently located near one another), and L’Avant Comptoir du Marché.

👉🏼 Check out my full Paris travel guide to Saint-Germain-des-Prés! 👈🏼

Looking for a quaint & cultured stay in Paris?
🛏️ Here’s my top hotel pick in Saint-Germain: Hôtel Saint-André des Arts

4. Latin Quarter: Where to stay in Paris for artistic Left Bank energy

paris neighborhoods Latin Quarter the 5th arrondissement bistro cafe

Located to the east on the Left Bank is the Latin Quarter, a vibrant and historic neighborhood that sits mostly in the 5th arrondissement, but overlaps into the 6th as well. 

The Latin Quarter’s name is derived from the area’s universities, which once used Latin as the dominant language. Today, while they no longer speak Latin, the university spirit is still alive and well in the Latin Quarter.

This neighborhood is home to the Sorbonne, The World Arab Institute, the Botanical Gardens, the Panthéon, and comes right up on the border of the Jardin du Luxembourg. Also, the Roman-era Arenes de Lutece offers a look at ancient Paris, which is very unique compared to the rest of what you can see in the city!

paris neighborhoods Latin Quarter the 5th arrondissement shakespeare and co

You’ll also find the world famous Shakespeare and Company in the Latin Quarter. It’s definitely a bit of a tourist attraction, but in my opinion is totally worthwhile to visit.

Stroll up toward the Place de la Contrescarpe and down along the charming Rue Mouffetard, known for its market and medieval buildings. I also really enjoyed L’Eurydice bar! Other honorable mentions are Bonvivant, narro, and Le Cèdre.

The Latin Quarter is the best area to stay in Paris if you’re looking for a central location that still remains relatively quiet most of the time.

👉🏼 Check out my full Paris travel guide to the Latin Quarter! 👈🏼

Looking to pick up on Paris’s artistic vibes during your stay?
🛏️ Here’s my top hotel pick in the Latin Quarter: Hôtel Jardin de Cluny

5. Le Marais: Where to stay in Paris that’s trendy, high end & quintessentially Parisian

marais courtyard in paris things to do in paris

Le Marais is my recommendation for the best overall Paris best area to stay in. The historically Jewish neighborhood (and currently queer neighborhood) is located between the 2nd and 11th arrondissements and is very centrally located.

It’s also quintessentially Paris—from the energy, to the aesthetics, to the abundance of nice shops and places to eat. You’ll find a lot of vintage shopping in this neighborhood.

There aren’t many specific attractions in Le Marais, which I think adds to its charm, because you’re able to be quite close to the main sights, without having to stay on top of them. That being said, Place des Vosges (a lovely manicured square) and the former home of Victor Hugo are in Le Marais, as is the Musée Carnavalet, which covers the history of Paris, and the Picasso Museum. 

Place des Vosges garden for a picnic in the marais fun things to do in Paris

Additionally, The Centre Pompidou, one of the best modern art museums in the world, is just outside the border of the neighborhood. (For more of my top museum recs, check out my full guide to Paris museums!)

There’s tons of shopping to be done in Le Marais, from high end boutiques to vintage and thrifting. Not to mention the abundance of bistros, cafes, bars and markets.

A personal favorite stop of mine is the Marché des Enfants Rouges, which is full of delicious lunch stalls. Although, my favorite stall has actually moved into their own shop space nearby, and you can now get the amazing sandwiches from the shopfront of Chez Alain Miam Miam

I also love the Little Red Door, La Belle Hortense, Chez Janou (try to stop by to get a reservation a day or two before you want to go!), and Au Passage, which is technically just outside of Le Marais, but well worth a mention.

👉🏼 Check out my full Paris travel guide to the Marais! 👈🏼

Looking to be right in the center of Paris’s trendiest neighborhood?
🛏️ Here’s my top hotel pick in the Marais: Le Grand Mazarin

6. Bastille: Where to stay in Paris for hip vibes without paying a premium

If you love the sound of the Marais, but are still recovering from looking at the prices there, Bastille might be worth considering. Situated in the 11th, just east of the Marais, Bastille is a trendy and fun neighborhood that would be a great base for your time in Paris. It’s actually one of my favorite places I’ve stayed while in Paris, and I highly recommend it.

You may have heard of Bastille before, since it holds historical significance to the French Revolution, and of course, is the namesake for the famous French holiday Bastille Day on June 14th. The infamous Bastille Prison once stood in this neighborhood, and today you can visit the Place de la Bastille and the July Column to remind you of the neighborhood’s legacy.

july column in bastille in paris

Explore the Marché Bastille for a taste of local life, but also a great opportunity to buy some wine, cheese, or other yummy snacks (even desserts!). I’ve also really enjoyed exploring the vintage area of the market, and have bought some nice jewelry from some makers there. 

You can also enjoy the Promenade Plantée, which is the predecessor to New York’s High Line, and makes for a lovely and unique walk through the area.

One of the best pastry shops in Paris is located in Bastille: Ble Sucre. Many people will say to get the pain au chocolat, but personally I think the real draw are the madeleines. I’m also a fan of Les Caves de Prague wine bar, East Mamma, Café des Anges, and Le Café des Chats.

7. The 7th arrondissement: Where to stay in Paris for convenience, first time visitors, and families

Situated on the west side of the Left Bank, the 7th arrondissement is ideal for anyone who cares less about a “local” or off the beaten track experience, and instead really wants to prioritize being near all the most beautiful and main sights Paris has to offer. 

The Eiffel Tower and Musee D’Orsay are both located in the 7th, and it sits between the 8th, with the Arc du Triomphe and Champs-Elysées, the 1st, with the Louvre and Tuileries Gardens, and the 6th with the Jardin du Luxembourg. Not to mention that it’s stunning. So it’s pretty easy to see why someone would want to stay here!

One huge draw of staying in the 7th is that you have the opportunity to stay somewhere with a view of the Eiffel Tower, which is especially beautiful at night. You also don’t have to make a special trip down to visit it, and you can just stroll on over at your leisure. 

You should also walk down Rue Cler and Rue Saint-Dominique, two beautiful and notable streets.

The 7th is definitely going to be one of the best Paris neighborhoods to stay in for a quieter experience, which might be exactly the right choice. Sometimes it’s a hassle to come back to your hotel and have the whole neighborhood be awake and buzzing! If you want that bit of separation, and don’t mind paying for the quiet and luxury of the 7th, I highly recommend it.

Looking for a convenient & quiet stay in Paris?
🛏️ Here’s my top hotel pick in the 7th: Alberte Hôtel

haussmann buildings in paris neighborhoods

Best Paris Neighborhoods FAQs:

What is the best part of Paris to stay?

The best part of Paris to stay is going to be heavily influenced by your budget, preferences, and travel style. However, the best overall part of Paris to stay in is Le Marais

Le Marais in Paris is often compared to the West Village in New York, and I totally see the similarities. It’s steeped with history, and packed full of loads of cute bars, restaurants and independent shopping. Plus, it’s so well located—quite central but not in the thick of things. 

The Marais is definitely not going to come cheap, but sometimes you pay a premium because it’s worth it! It’s well located between trendy Bastille, Canal St. Martin, the Left Bank/Latin Quarter, and the touristy center. You’ll be able to easily walk to most of these areas, meaning you’ll have to spend less time in transit, and more time exploring!

Aesthetically, I think the Marais is also giving quintessential Paris. Quaint buildings, loads of terraces, markets… it kind of has it all! I think Le Marais will definitely satisfy the widest range of people looking for the best place to stay in Paris.

paris neighborhoods golden hour in the marais

What area is best for first time visit to Paris?

I find that first time visitors to Paris (and any city) usually fall into one of two categories.

Either you’ll want to stay somewhere pretty and central to the main sights, prioritizing convenience over neighborhood or local vibes…

Or, you’ll want to prioritize vibes with a neighborhood that might be a bit less central to the tourist sights, but has more of an authentic energy to it.

If you fall into the first category, and want ease in your accommodation, I recommend staying in the 6th arrondissement. It’s centrally located, just south of the 1st and 2nd arrondissements (the most central), and just east of the 7th arrondissement, which is home to the Eiffel Tower. 

If you identified more with the second description, I’ll repeat my answer from above: Le Marais is the Paris best area to stay for a first time visit. It’s well located to tons of other desirable Paris neighborhoods, and still maintains a lot of local charm and energy. It’s also close to Notre Dame, and the Centre Pompidou.

paris neighborhoods buildings outside musee d'orsay

Where to avoid staying in Paris?

Unless you’re really trying to stretch your budget, I would avoid staying in any Paris neighborhoods too far out of the center. This is mainly because I find it to be really frustrating to have to waste time on getting to and from your accommodation when you’re trying to pack in your itinerary. Sometimes, of course, this is unavoidable (like my most recent trip to Paris where we stayed in the 16th!), but it’s definitely preferable to aim for proximity to the center. 

In general, a rule of thumb I have anywhere I visit is to avoid staying near train stations, and Paris is no exception. I find that in most cities the area right near the train stations (like the main stations, not metro stops) are always a bit more run down and sketchy. You’ll also always be more vulnerable to pickpockets in high traffic areas like that.

I also would personally avoid the Paris neighborhoods of Belleville and Barbès, only because they’re really in the midst of gentrification, and while it feels impossible to entirely disengage from the ways that cities are gentrifying, I think that choosing to not stay in these areas can help. 

I’ve seen some people online claim that staying in Barbès—and much of the rest of the 18th—should be avoided because it’s dangerous. Obviously you should listen to your gut, but personally I can tell you that I’ve never felt unsafe in any of these areas. 

I actually did stay in Barbès in 2019 and I felt super safe. Paris is a safe city, you just have to know how to handle yourself! That said, we all have different base levels of comfort for a city, and mine might be skewed (I’ve only ever lived in cities!).

What is the safest area of Paris to stay?

As I’ve said, here and elsewhere, Paris is overall a pretty safe city. That said, if you’re particularly concerned or nervous, and want to stay in the safest area possible, I’ve got you covered.

It’s pretty agreed upon that the Latin Quarter, Le Marais, and Saint-Germain are three of the safest Paris neighborhoods to stay in. The Latin Quarter and Saint-Germain are both on the Left Bank, and will put you near the Jardin du Luxembourg. 

Le Marais is a bit more central, but also a bit more crowded and probably pricier. All are great options though, and I would happily stay in any of these Paris neighborhoods.

boulangerie in canal st martin paris neighborhoods

What is the most trendy neighborhood in Paris?

The most trendy neighborhood in Paris is Le Marais. It’s often likened to the West Village in New York, and is home to a lot of celebrities, cool shops and restaurants, and a whole bunch of history. That being said, it’s also a bit more mainstream, as far as “trendy” areas go. 

This means, of course, that it’s also going to be more expensive.

A few other trendy neighborhoods that I would classify as more up and coming are Canal St. Martin, Bastille, and Belleville. Bastille has been “cool” for a minute, and Canal St. Martin is kind of a sweet spot combination of Le Marais and Bastille. Honestly, it is one of my favorite neighborhoods in Paris. 

Belleville, on the other hand, is one of the trendy Paris neighborhoods because it’s one of the main spots of gentrification in the city at the moment, so you’ll find a lot of new trendy restaurants in between all the existing local infrastructure. 

As a travel blogger I try to be sensitive to the ways I may add to gentrification with my recommendations, and while I don’t presume to have the perfect solution, I typically err on the side of caution, and so I’ve chosen not to cover Belleville very much in my Paris posts.

montmartre la maison rose cafe in paris neighborhoods

What is the prettiest neighborhood in Paris?

The prettiest neighborhood in Paris is going to have to go to Montmartre. While I think that literally all of Paris is pretty, Montmartre just takes the cake. 

It benefits from being up on a hill, so not only do you get stunning views of the city from plenty of different parts of the neighborhood, but you also get lots of steep and winding roads with quaint buildings and not too many people. 

It’s also got a lot of old buildings, in many cases older than the rest of the city, so it feels almost like a little village. Montmartre feels like a movie in a lot of ways, and is definitely the prettiest neighborhood in Paris.

If you want a main character moment (and don’t mind potentially wading through tourists) Montmartre is your spot.

P.S. When you book using my links, you help support Rachel IRL at no extra cost to you. It’s a win-win!

Ready to plan the perfect Paris trip?

Honestly, no matter where you stay or hang out in Paris, it’ll probably be amazing. The city truly never gets old, and every Paris neighborhood has something special to offer, so I know you’ll have a great time.

If you’re still planning, be sure to check out all my other posts about Paris so you can have the best trip ever.

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Discover Montmartre in Paris: Best Things to Do, See & Eat

Montmartre, Paris is a captivating blend of winding streets, artistic flair, and iconic landmarks like Moulin Rouge and Sacré-Cœur. While touristy in parts, if you give this neighborhood some time it will reveal its authentic charm. My guide—based on multiple visits over the last several years—outlines quaint shops, walking tours, museums, must-see sights, eateries, and accommodation options, ensuring an unforgettable experience in this bohemian haven.

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