Where To Stay In Paris – The Best Neighborhoods & Top-Rated Hotels

Where To Stay In Paris – Best Areas & Top-Rated Hotels

Paris is a city of quartiers — neighborhoods — and even today, with an efficient transportation system that blurs district boundaries, there are still distinct differences between the quartiers, whose names are familiar and alluring. The Latin Quarter, Saint Germain des Prés, the Marais, Paris Centre. Even the Champs-Elysées are has its advantages. As luck (and history) would have it, these iconic zones are also the best places for travelers to Paris to settle in. Here's our guide to where to stay in five distinctly-Parisian quartiers.


Map of central Paris Map of central Paris, highlighting our five recommended quartiers


  1. The Marais – cobblestone streets of the 3rd & 4th Arrondissements…
  2. The Latin Quarter – the historic 5th Arrondissement…
  3. Saint Germain des Prés – history, literature & shopping…
  4. Champs-Elysées – the trendy & lively 8th Arrondissement…
  5. Paris Centre – in the middle of all things Parisian…

1. The Marais

Walking The Cobblestone Streets of the 3rd & 4th Arrondissements


Place des Vosges in the Marais Place des Vosges in the Marais, the oldest square in Paris. Photo by Mark Craft.


Why Stay in The Marais?

It's only a slight exaggeration when we call the Marais "everybody's favorite neighborhood". The Marais — the 3rd and 4th Arrondissements — with its rich history was once the favored district of the French nobility; the grand mansions lining its streets serve as a testament to its prestigious past. The narrow cobblestone streets, hidden courtyards, lush gardens and boutique shopping all contribute to creating a magical atmosphere for visitors.

Exploring the Marais on foot is the best way to fully experience all it has to offer. This area is filled with boutiques, outdoor cafes, and small museums, such as the Picasso Museum, Musée Cognacq-Jay, and the Musée Carnavalet, the newly-renovated museum of the history of Paris. For a memorable culinary experience, consider joining a highly-rated food walking tour of the district. And don't forget to visit the lovely and historic Place des Vosges (1610), the original Paris square and the first park to be open to the public. To make the most of your stay in this wonderful neighborhood, here are our three top-rated places to stay in the Marais.


1. Hotel du Petit Moulin – Fashion & Design

Any hotel involving fashion designer Christian Lacroix is going to be fabulous, and the Petit Moulin is exactly that. The designer made use of unusual shapes of the original building (part of it was a boulangerie) to create distinctive, quirky rooms and suites. It's a perfect location in the historic neighborhood.


2. Maison Proust – Luxurious Elegance

The picture (above) says a thousand words about Maison Proust's evocation of the splendor of the Belle Epoque. Period wallpaper antique furniture and paintings take to to another era. The location is grand, the service is superb, and, with Junior Suites at 30 sq metres, there's plenty of space for you to settle into.


3. Le Grand Mazarin – Our New Marais Mid-Range Pick

This new opulent hotel leaves no design detail overlooked. Everything is perfect, colorful, even quirky. It's been a while since we stayed at a hotel with such attention to detail. You know those white smoke detectors that are fastened to the ceiling of every hotel room in the world? At Le Grand Mazarin they were custom painted to blend in with the rouge ceiling color. From our three windows we had lovely views on the streets of the Marais. You'll love it.

2. The Latin Quarter

Ancient Rome & Medieval Paris Meet in the Historic 5th Arrondissement


The Pantheon The Pantheon, just one of the attractions of the Latin Quarter. Photo by Mark Craft.


Why Stay in The Latin Quarter?

The Latin Quarter got its name from the scholars who studied here at France's first university — where the language of instruction was Latin. Built by the Romans, the Quarter is, in fact, the oldest district in Paris. The narrow, winding streets in the heart of the Latin Quarter remind us of what the medieval city of Paris looked like. There's still a student vibe to the place with many branches of the Sorbonne located here. It's lively area with a lot to do and see for the visitor.

The district starts at the Seine and Boulevard Saint Germain and then reaches out to the Jardin des Plantes with its Natural History Museum and the most pleasant zoo in Paris. Rambling through the old quarter you'll see the Pantheon, the Rue Mouffetard market, and iconic bookstore Shakespeare & Company. And don't forget about a cabaret at Paradis Latin still performing in a building constructed by Gustave Eiffel himself. A great way to get introduced to the area is by signing up for a private Latin Quarter Discovery Tour. Let's look at our top-rated hotel picks in the quartier.


1. Hotel Monge

Hotel Monge has long been our top hotel recommendation in Paris. We love the elegance, the design details, the staff, and the high-tech coffee machine in the lounge! We've stayed here so often that we've lost count. However, our praise has had a downside: the Monge sells out and we now usually need to book months in advance. Rooms are small, but typically Parisian size; we always opt for the 18-square-meter Deluxe Double Room.


2. Hotel des Grands Hommes

With views onto the Pantheon and its grand place, You can't go wrong with this classic Latin Quarter hotel. The Grands Hommes is close to many must-see places — Jardin du Luxembourg is just down the hill, Rue Mouffetard (the market street where Julia Child shopped) is just around the corner, and Boulevard Saint Germain and the river Seine are a short walk downhill.


3. Residence Henri IV

"Residence" hotels in Paris offer larger rooms and suites — the Henri IV is a highly-rated example of this. We choose a residence when we're looking for more space, particularly during a longer stay. Henri IV is a classic French hotel, with a decor that reflects the history and charm of the quartier. We prefer the large Suite Prestige. We also like that the hotel is named for our favorite French monarch, Good King Henry.

3. Saint Germain des Prés

History, Literature & Shopping in the 6th Arrondissement


Jardin du Luxembourg Jardin du Luxembourg, 57 acres of Paris greenery. Photo by Mark Craft.


Why Stay in Saint Germain?

Perhaps most well-known for the literary celebrities who frequented the district in the late 19th and 20th centuries (think Picasso, Hemingway, Sartre, Simone de Beauvoir, and Baudelaire), Saint Germain des Prés started as a church located in the fields (prés) outside the Paris city walls. That was back in the 7th century. Today the district is all cafes, brasseries, fashionable stores, art galleries, theaters, and street markets.

In the center of this bustling neighborhood is Place St Germain des Prés. Standing there you realize right away that you're no longer in the country. In front of you is the ancient church itself, and all around are famous names like Cafe de Flore and Les Deux Magots, the haunts of the literati. Across the Boulevard Saint-Germain are Brasserie Lipp, and the Michelin-starred Armani Ristorante. Musée d'Orsay is a short walk in one direction (15 minutes) while our favourite Parisian supermarché, Le Grand Epicerie de Paris is equidistant in the other direction. Nearby is the most Parisian of the city's parks, Jardin du Luxembourg and its 57 acres of greenery. There's much to do and see here, and we're particularly fond of the Saint-German chocolate & patisserie walking tour because, well… chocolate.


1. Hotel d'Aubusson

By far our readers' favorite hotel in Saint Germain, the Aubusson features that rare thing in a vintage building: a swimming pool. Built in the 17th century as a private mansion, Aubusson retains the period charm, with oak beams, giant fireplaces, and antique furniture. The rooms are charming, well-maintained, and equipped to modern comfort standards. All that adds up to a Paris Insiders rating of Superb-Plus!


2. Hotel Le Saint Gregoire

Le Saint Gregoire is a sentimental favorite for us; we stayed here regularly on our early visits to Paris. But the place keeps improving, it's affordable, travelers reviews are great, and we still rate it Superb. It's in a very nice location — lively, yet away from the crowds, close to Le Grand Epicerie and restaurants, and steps away from a good Metro station. We always ask for room 36.


3. Relais Christine

Another great location is found on Rue Christine, a narrow, one-way street with little traffic. In the middle of the block is where you find Relais Christine, a hotel for which the word "charm" might have been created. This is old-fashioned Parisian charm and comfort with plush fabrics, draping curtains, and a welcoming staff. If you want quiet in the very center of Paris, with large rooms, this is your hotel.

4. The Champs-Elysées

On & Around The Most Famous Avenue On The Planet


The Champs-Elysees Arc de Triomphe, with the Champs-Elysées to the right and Parc Monceau to the left. Photo Ville de Paris.


Why Stay Near the Champs-Elysées?

Avenue des Champs-Elysées is surely one of the grandest and most famous streets in the world. Rising up a slight incline from Place de la Concorde to the Arc de Triomphe, Champs-Elysées is one long display window for famous luxury goods and even French automakers. Our top luxury hotel pick, Fouquet's Paris – La Barrière, is here on the avenue, but the surrounding 8th Arrondissement holds many attractions and top-notch accommodations.

To experience Parisian life there's no better place than Parc Monceau, where mothers meet up and children from the nearby schools play. The Greek temple inspired Église de la Madeleine is worthy of a detour and, while in the neighborhood, a visit to truffle experts La Maison de la Truffe is mandatory! Delve into the lives of wealthy Parisian families of the 19th century at Nissim de Camondo Museum and Musée Jacquemart André. Climb the steps inside the Arc de Triomphe for a human-scale view of central Paris.


1. Fouquet's Paris – La Barrière

Our top Paris luxury choice. The entrance is hidden just off Champs-Elysées, but once inside you are impressed by the comfort and service. Though you are in the center of bustling Paris, Fouquet's is an oasis of serenity. Fouquet's standard room is called the Superior, and it certainly was for us. The complete experience — the lobbies, the staff, the restaurant — made us feel like the celebrities we always yearned to be.


2. Hotel Keppler

Hotel Keppler seems to be a close cousin of our top Paris pick, Hotel Monge, with the same design sensibility and presentation. The rooms, though, are comfortable larger at 25 or even 35 square meters; plenty of space to stretch out and spread your stuff around. The location is great: on a quiet street tucked in between Champs-Elysées, Avenue George V and Avenue d'Iéna, yet only a 10-minute walk from the Arc de Triomphe. (It's an even shorter walk to the Louis Vuitton flagship store!)


3. Fauchon Hotel Paris

The move from a gourmet food brand to a luxury hotel was an easy one for Fauchon. For decades the Fauchon food store occupied two buildings on the opposite corner of Place de la Madeleine, until changing tastes and the pandemic forced them to close. But, like a phoenix, the Fauchon name arose again, this time in a brand-new luxury hotel located just across the street from Église de la Madeleine.

The rooms are bright and colorful, each one featuring Fauchon's signature pink. Even better, they're surprisingly large for Paris at 25, 27, and 32 square metres, with the suites even larger.

5. Paris Centre

Royal Gardens & The Greatest Museums


Jardin des Tuileries Jardin des Tuileries with Rue de Rivoli left and the Louvre right. Photo by Diane Shaskin.


Why Stay in Paris Centre?

Place de la Concorde, Jardin des Tuileries, and the jewel in the Paris crown, the Louvre — these are some of the reasons we sometimes refer to Paris Centre as the Heart of Paris. But it didn't become the heart until French king Francis I transformed the Louvre from a fortress to a grand royal residence and Catherine de Medici created the Tuileries in the 16th century.

Staying in Paris Centre, the Louvre isn't the only museum nearby. Musée d'Orsay is just across the Seine from the Tuileries, a short stroll cross a pedestrian bridge. The garden & courtyard of Palais Royal provide solace and a break from the Louvre crowds. Walk the colonnaded Rue de Rivoli (thanks, Napoleon!) and take in the new museum, Hôtel de la Marine with its stunning furnishings and decoration. Stroll over to Place Vendôme for the Ritz Hotel and the historic Vendôme Column (thanks, Napoleon!).


1. Le Meurice

Le Meurice is the only hotel in this article with the Palace Distinction, a rating awarded only to the best, better-than-five-stars hotels in France. Does that mean it's the most expensive on this list? Of course it does, but we treat the Le Meurice as a once-in-a-lifetime splurge. (Okay, maybe twice.) The location couldn't be better, looking onto the Jardin des Tuileries and a few steps from both the Louvre and the magnificent Hôtel de la Marine.

The hotel itself is sublime with the most highly-rated staff delivering top service. Hungry? Not to worry: multi-starred French Chef Alain Ducasse has created the epicurean address in Paris in the hotel's gold and white dining room.


2. Hotel Ducs de Bourgogne

A visitor to France will have high expectations for a place named for the dukes of Burgundy, and this hostelry doesn't disappoint. The location is perfect; just off Rue de Rivoli on a street where bicycles and pedestrians predominate. Inside there are just 37 rooms (a good sign of personal service) decorated with copper, fabric and wood. The Deluxe Rooms are nicely sized at up to 25 square meters. And all this right in the center of Paris.


3. Grand Hotel du Palais Royal

On an appealing street bordering the gardens of the Palais Royal is the hotel named for the palace, itself lodged in an elegant building. Rooms are lovely and cozy, many with sweet views of Paris. And, yes, you are again smack dab in the middle of everything with amazing access to the Seine, the Louvre, the Tuileries… the list goes on. Our room choice is the Executive Chambre; at 27 square meters it's the perfect size for us.

How We Select The Best Hotels

Hotel Monge Check Availability Hotel d'Aubusson: our top-rated hotel in Saint-Germain des Prés

There are thousands of hotels in Paris, hundreds in each of the best neighborhoods, so making a selection can be a daunting project. We've tried to take the work out of it for you by by sharing what we consider the best hotels in each of our favorite areas. Our selected hotels have a dash of charm, a nice level of comfort, a great location, and often a peu de saveur of something distinctively Parisian. All of these hotels have garnered very positive traveler reviews and have received from us a rating of "Superb" or Superb-Plus!". (Yes, the exclamation point is part of the rating.)

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