Where to stay in a typical neighbourhood of Paris?

by Jannis

Hello from Topeka Kansas,

We spend every july in North Spain, and this year we are so lucky as to arrive in Paris France for a couple days before trecking south to Spain.

I know nothing about Paris, I am reading and researching …

What area would you recommend to get a room? We typically only are in the room long enough to shower and sleep a few hours … I enjoy a real life neighborhood. Not an expensive tourist area. Thank you so very much!

If you need help with the North Spain let me know!


Where to stay in a typical neighbourhood of Paris?

Jannis, hi!

Lovely to see your photo so I know who I’m talking to :-)

Thanks for your offer of info on Spain – I might just take you up on that one day in the future.

Now, as for staying in non-touristy parts of Paris, that’s a good question. If you look at the map of Paris (if you click this link it will open in a new page for you), you’ll see the River Seine which runs through the centre of Paris. The areas closest to the River are the most touristy, but a few streets away could also be a quiet little pocket of Frenchness.

The numbers on the map are the districts of Paris, and in French they are ‘arrondissements’. You can see arrondissements 8, 1, and 4 above the river (Right Bank) and 7, 6 and 5 below the river (left bank) are the main tourist attractions. There are also great tourist areas outside of this, like the 18th where Montmartre is.

I could say that anywhere outside these areas would be the most typical neighbourhoods, but I would also like to say the French live right in the heart of the tourist areas as well.

Last year I stayed in a fabulous street – Rue Saint Andre des Arts – in a centuries-old hotel with no elevator, and when I stepped into the cobblestone street I was really in the thick of it.

I was in the heart of touristy stuff, plus fabulous shops, restaurants, pubs and monuments.

Several streets away in several directions I could be in a quiet little pocket of Paris. I found wonderful tiny little patches of parks to eat a quiet picnic lunch, and fabulous little greengrocers and markets, etc to browse through.

If you plan to rent an apartment, you will get a great ‘feel’ for living in a neighbourhood, rather than being in a hotel, but that will depend on your own preference.

A few questions for you:

– How long will you be in Paris?

– Do you like to visit all the monuments, churches etc?

– What’s your budget?

To be honest, Paris is pretty small, so wherever you choose to sleep will be a few streets away from both tourists and nice quiet areas. The prices of hotels aren’t based on the districts, but are based on the quality of the hotels.

I think that if you stay anywhere except on the outskirts, you’ll be no more than 20 mins by public transport from everything you need to see and do.

This June I’ll be spending a week renting an apartment in the 18th, and two weeks in the 11th – I love to live like a local in different locations, and I’m sure you will be able to as well.

Have a fabulous time and do pop back and update this page (it’s now yours!) with details of your adventure – I’d love to hear how it goes.

Ciao for now,

PS – I’ll be in Paris until the 30th June, 2008 if you arrive before then let me know and we can meet for a coffee.

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