Where to stay in Paris
Picking the best area to stay in Paris all depends on your plans. Are you hoping to hit the shops or see the sights? Are you travelling à deux, with friends or taking the kids? Are you fitting everything into a weekend, or taking things at a more leisurely pace?
To give you a head start on your search, we've rounded up a few places to stay near Paris's tourist attractions and the best shopping areas.
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Best areas to stay in Paris
Before you decide where to base yourself in Paris, it's a good idea to get your bearings. Then you can start to pinpoint the perfect location for your pied-à-terre.
Paris is divided up into 20 districts, called arrondissements. You can always tell which arrondissement you're in by looking at the street signs. Above the name of the street, you'll see a number, followed by Arrt., this is the number of the district you're in.
The districts are numbered from 1, starting on the Île de la Cité in the centre of the town and spiralling out clockwise to 20.
The south side of Paris is called the Rive Gauche (left bank) and the north, the Rive Droite (right bank).
The Rive Gauche was historically considered the more arty, bohemian part of the city, but some of the outer northern districts, once a bit rough and rundown, are seeing regeneration and have become quite cool and edgy.
Best areas to stay in for sightseeing
If it's your first trip to Paris and you want to immerse yourself in culture and see as many sights as possible, the best areas to stay in are the 1st, 8th and 7th arrondissements. And, as they're all next to each other, you can walk easily between them.
In the 1st you'll find the Louvre, the Jeu de Paume and the Musée de l'Orangerie clustered around the Jardin des Tuileries.
It's a short walk from there to the Jardin du Palais Royal for coffee and to browse the shops under the arcades.
When you're ready for a sugar break to boost your energy, pop in to Angelina on rue de Rivoli for the best hot chocolate in town, or treat yourself to an extravagant afternoon tea in the spectacular Le Meurice hotel.
This district is just next to the 1st, and across the stunningly ornate Pont Alexandre III from the 7th. Don't miss the Grand Palais and the Petit Palais.
Spend a couple of hours visiting the exhibitions, then, for a bit of fresh air, walk the 1.2 miles up the Champs-Élysées and do some window shopping, or 'lèche-vitrines' (literally 'lick the windows') as the locals say.
At the far end, pay a visit to the Arc de Triomphe to see the flame of the unknown soldier and take in the fabulous views from the top.
Just across the river, the 7th is a lovely area to base yourself in to enjoy Paris.
The small characterful streets are full of bars, cafés and restaurants and there's no shortage of wonderful things to see.
Don't miss the fabulous Musée d'Orsay or the Musée Rodin, set in an elegant 18th-century mansion. Just around the corner you'll come to Les Invalides, site of Napoleon's tomb and the Musée de l'Armée.
In the distance you'll see the Eiffel tower. Walk along rue de Grenelle towards it and you'll see rue Cler market on your left. It's a great place to stop and buy everything you need for a picnic on the Champs de Mars while you're taking selfies in front of the world's most famous tower.
Best areas to stay in for shopping
If you're heading to Paris for some serious retail therapy, you don't want to waste any precious shopping time on getting around. To get the most out of your trip, consider staying in Le Marais or the 6th, 7th, 8th or 9th arrondissements.
Le Marais, meaning marsh or swamp, is an historic area of Paris extending over the 3rd and 4th arrondissements. In the 16th and 17th centuries, wealthy Parisians built their mansions here, then in the 19th century it became the Jewish quarter.
Today, it's a glorious mix of narrow streets and imposing mansions, many of which have been turned into museums and hotels.
If you like to multi-task, Le Marais will suit you down to the ground.
There's great shopping around the rue des Francs-Bourgeois and rue des Rosiers, fabulous bars and restaurants and plenty of culture with Place des Vosges, the Pompidou Centre and the Picasso Museum all waiting to be explored.
For high-end boutiques and the super-chic Bon Marché department store (don't miss the food hall), the 7th around Sèvres–Babylone Métro station is a good starting point.
If that's a bit out of your budget, head towards Saint-Germain-des-Prés in the 6th, just a few streets away, where you'll find a good mix of familiar high street names and smaller boutiques along rue du Four and the streets around St Sulpice.
You can shop till you drop – into a seat on a café terrace, and watch the world go by until you're ready to go back for more.
When the weather is bad, or you just want everything under one roof, head for the 'Grands Boulevards' in the 9th. Paris's biggest department stores, Galeries Lafayette and Printemps, can be found on Boulevard Haussman, just behind Palais Garnier, the Opera house.
Then, if you're feeling flush, take a stroll up rue Tronchet to Madeleine in the 8th and give your credit card a bashing in the high-end shops of rue Royale and rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré.
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