Where to stay in Paris for first time: 7 Best areas & safe arrondissements

Hi guys, on my website, I already wrote an article about staying in Paris without a car (I will put the links to it at the end of this article). In today’s article, I will help you to find the best places to stay in Paris for first-time visitors and tourists.

I will share with you what I believe are the best and safe areas to stay in Paris for first-timers and tourists, along with a helpful map and areas to avoid. I’ll also share where I stayed in Paris and recommend some of the best hotels in Paris for various budgets.

Before get into the detail of the main topic, let’s look at some facts about Paris:

Paris is the capital and largest city of France, located in the north-central part of the country. It is often referred to as the City of Light and is one of the most-visited cities in the world, attracting millions of tourists each year who come to explore its culture, history, and architecture.

Some of the most famous attractions in Paris are the Eiffel Tower, Notre-Dame Cathedral, Louvre Museum (home to the Mona Lisa), Arc de Triomphe, and Palace of Versailles, among others.

The city has a rich cultural heritage, with numerous museums, theaters, and art galleries. It has been a center for art and literature for centuries and has been home to famous figures like Pablo Picasso, Vincent van Gogh, and Ernest Hemingway.

Paris is renowned as a global fashion capital and is home to some of the world’s most prestigious fashion houses and designers. The city hosts renowned fashion events like Paris Fashion Week.

Paris offers a wide range of culinary delights. You can find traditional French bistros, Michelin-starred restaurants, and street markets with delicious food.

The Seine River flows through Paris, and its banks are dotted with beautiful bridges, historic buildings, and promenades. Boat cruises on the Seine provide picturesque views of the city.

The city has an extensive public transportation system, including the Paris Métro, buses, and trams, making it easy for residents and tourists to get around.

Paris is divided into numerous neighborhoods, each with its own unique character. Montmartre, Le Marais, Saint-Germain-des-Prés, and the Latin Quarter are some of the well-known areas.

Is Paris safe to visit?

Yes, Paris is generally safe for tourists, with a low crime rate, but it has a reputation for pickpocketing and tourist scams, especially in crowded areas and on public transportation. As you would in any city, it is essential to be vigilant and take care of your belongings.

While many areas of Paris are safe at night, it’s a good idea to stick to well-lit and populated areas. Avoid walking alone in quiet or poorly lit streets.

Demonstrations and protests occasionally disrupt the city, so be informed about any ongoing events. While terrorist attacks have occurred in the past, Paris has robust security measures. 

While no place is entirely without risk, exercise common sense, respect local customs, and adhere to any safety guidelines can help ensure your safety in Paris.

Where to stay in Paris for the first time?

The best and safe areas to stay in Paris for first-timers and tourists are Le Marais, Latin Quarter, St Germain, Montmartre, Champs Elysées, Eiffel Tower, and Le Louvre. It’s essential to always stay alert and take care of your belongings no matter where you stay. 

Keep in mind that Paris has an excellent public transportation system, making it easy to explore the city from any of these neighborhoods.

Additionally, the availability and cost of accommodations can vary, so be sure to book well in advance to have the best deals, especially during peak tourist seasons.

While most  central and tourist-friendly areas are safe, there are some areas tourists may want to avoid for safety and comfort. Avoid the Goutte d’Or area in the 18th arr. as it can be less secure at night. The Pigalle area in the 9th arr. is famous for its nightlife, it can be seedy in places. 

Keep a close eye on your belongings when you’re in crowded places, touristy spots, and busy train stations such as the Eiffel Tower, Châtelet-Les Halles, Gare du Nord, Gare de l’Est. These areas are known for pickpocketing and scams targeting tourists.

During my trip to Paris, I stayed in central Paris in the 5th arr. at Hotel du College de France. This is a good value for money hotel, within walking distance/short metro ride from major sights such as the Notre-Dame Cathedral, Pantheon, and Luxembourg Gardens. I also had a very good breakfast and comfortable rooms.

Below is a map of the popular areas in Paris for first-time travelers. You can scroll down to view the live map.

Map of the safe areas to stay in Paris first time
Map of the safe areas to stay in Paris first time

Let’s get into the details of the recommended areas to stay in Paris, especially for first-time visitors. I’ll provide you with some suggestions for the best places to stay in each area, catering to every budget. 

All hotels in Paris have been carefully selected by me, with guest review scores of at least 8.0 or higher at the time I chose them. If you don’t like my suggestions (perhaps they don’t suit your budget or preferences), you can click the “MORE HOTEL DEALS” button where you can choose your own hotel.

7 Best/ Safe areas to stay in Paris for first-timers and tourists:

1. Le Marais (3rd and 4th Arrondissement)

Le Marais is a fantastic choice for first-time visitors to Paris. This historic neighborhood in the 3rd and 4th arrondissements offers a unique and charming atmosphere, making it a popular destination. 

Le Marais is one of the few areas in Paris that retains its medieval and Renaissance architectural features. You’ll find narrow cobblestone streets, historic mansions, and charming squares that offer a glimpse into the city’s past.

The neighborhood is home to the Picasso Museum, the Carnavalet Museum (dedicated to the history of Paris), and the Centre Pompidou, a modern art museum. It’s a hub for art and culture.

Le Marais is known for its trendy boutiques and unique shops. You can explore fashionable clothing stores, vintage shops, and specialty stores offering everything from designer fashion to antique books.

There’s a wide range of dining options in Le Marais, from traditional French bistros to international cuisine. You can also find classic bakeries, patisseries, and food markets to indulge in delicious French treats.

Le Marais has a vibrant LGBTQ+ scene with bars, clubs, and a welcoming atmosphere. It’s one of the LGBTQ+ hubs in Paris.

Le Marais is centrally located, so you can walk to popular attractions like Notre-Dame Cathedral and the Seine River, or use the nearby metro stations to explore further.

The neighborhood comes alive at night with a variety of bars, cafes, and nightclubs. It’s a great place for enjoying the Parisian nightlife.

Best places to stay in Paris in Le Marais for first-time visitors:

  • Luxury ($$$): Le Pavillon de la Reine & Spa, 5-star hotel located on the famous Place des Vosges in the Marais, easy access to Chemin Vert Metro Station for exploring the city and access to Opéra Garnier. Within walking distance from the Louvre Museum, Victor Hugo’s house, and Place de la Bastille. It has free private parking and a fabulous breakfast.
  • Mid-range ($$): La Chambre du Marais, great 4-star accommodation located in the 3rd arr. District, within walking distance from Place de la République and Pompidou Centre. Easy access to metro stations to visit other sights. It has Superb breakfast and 24-hour front desk.
  • Budget ($): Les Tournelles, 3-star hotel located in the heart of the Marais , a few mins walk from Place des Vosges and Saint Paul Metro Station. You can easily find several bars and cafes nearby. It has very good breakfast, paid airport shuttle services, and comfortable family rooms.

2. Latin Quarter (5th Arrondissement)

The Latin Quarter is a wonderful area to consider for your stay in Paris, especially for first-time visitors. Located on the left bank of the Seine River, it has a rich history and offers a distinctive experience.

The Latin Quarter has a long and storied history, dating back to the Middle Ages. It earned its name from the Latin language spoken by scholars and students in the area during the medieval period. You’ll find historic streets and buildings that evoke the intellectual and academic heritage of the neighborhood.

The Latin Quarter is home to some of Paris’s most prestigious educational institutions, including the Sorbonne University. This gives the district a lively and studently atmosphere. You can explore bookshops, libraries, and academic landmarks.

The famous Notre-Dame Cathedral is located nearby, making it easy to visit this iconic Parisian landmark. The cathedral is a masterpiece of Gothic architecture and is a must-see for any visitor.

The Latin Quarter is known for its charming streets, narrow alleyways, and picturesque squares. There are numerous cafes, restaurants, and bistros where you can savor traditional French cuisine.

The Luxembourg Gardens, one of the most beautiful parks in Paris, is nearby. You can relax in the gardens, admire the fountains, and explore the Luxembourg Palace.

In addition to the Sorbonne, you can visit cultural institutions like the Pantheon, which houses the remains of many notable French figures, or the Cluny Museum, known for its collection of medieval artifacts.

The Latin Quarter has a bohemian and artistic vibe, with street performances, art studios, and a lively atmosphere, particularly in the evenings.

The Latin Quarter is located on the left bank of the Seine, and you can easily take a leisurely stroll along the river, enjoy the view of the Seine bridges, and even take a Seine River cruise.

In terms of accommodations, you can find numerous good value for money in this area. It is a great base for budget travelers who want a central location, and close proximity to famous landmarks of Paris.

Best places to stay in Paris in Latin Quarter for first-timers:

Luxury ($$$): Maison Colbert Member of Meliá Collection, 5-star 19th-century hotel set in a quiet area in the Latin Quarter, right next to the Seine River, easy distance from the Ile-de-la-Cité and Hotel de Ville. You can choose to stay in rooms with views of Notre Dame Cathedral.

Mid-range ($$): Les Rives de Notre-Dame, 4-star good value for money traditional Parisian style hotel according to 400 guests’ reviews on the booking platform. It has fabulous breakfast and a great base to explore the city and its major attractions.

Mid-range ($$): Hotel La Lanterne & Spa, great 4-star hotel located in the 5th arr. Featuring an indoor swimming pool, Good breakfast, and 24-hour front desk. It is a short walk from the  Cluny Museum – National Museum of Medieval Art and the Maubert-Mutualité Metro Station.

Budget ($): Hotel du College de France, popular 3-star good value for money hotel, centrally located in central Paris, short walk from La Sorbonne University and the Pantheon. Easy access to Sorbonne Metro Station.

Budget ($): Hotel Abbatial Saint Germain, popular 3-star hotel situated in Parisian Latin Quarter, a short walk from the Notre Dame Cathedral and Ile Saint Louis. Easy access to Maubert Mutualite metro station for access to the top tourist attractions in Paris.


3. St Germain (6th Arrondissement)

St. Germain, also known as Saint-Germain-des-Prés, is an upscale and elegant neighborhood located on the left bank of the Seine River. It is an excellent base in Paris for first-time visitors who want an upscale,  more relaxed and quieter experience.

St. Germain is home to the beautiful Luxembourg Gardens, a serene oasis in the heart of Paris. You can stroll through the gardens, admire the fountains, or simply relax in the peaceful surroundings.

The neighborhood is known for its art galleries and high-end boutiques. You can explore contemporary and classic art, as well as shop for luxury fashion, antiques, and specialty items.

St. Germain is famous for its classic Parisian cafes and fine dining restaurants. You can enjoy a leisurely coffee, indulge in gourmet French cuisine, or savor pastries at renowned patisseries.

St. Germain is home to historic landmarks like the Church of Saint-Germain-des-Prés, one of the oldest churches in Paris, and the Abbey of Saint-Germain-des-Prés. The neighborhood is steeped in history.

The neighborhood has a strong literary heritage, with famous literary figures like Jean-Paul Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir frequenting its cafes. You can visit the famous Les Deux Magots and Café de Flore, where many intellectuals and writers used to gather.

While the neighborhood is not known for major museums, it’s well-situated for easy access to other cultural institutions in Paris, including the Louvre and the Musée d’Orsay.

Best places to stay in Paris in St Germain for first-time visitors:

  • Luxury ($$$): L’Hôtel, 5-star hotel located on  rue des Beaux-Arts, 6th arr., featuring a hammam, Family rooms, and an indoor swimming pool. Easy walk to the famous Louvre Museum, Orsay Museum, and Pont Neuf Metro Station for trains to the Opéra Garnier.
  • Mid-range ($$): Hôtel Madison, 4-star hotel located on Boulevard Saint-Germain, in the front of the Saint-Germain-des-Prés Church, in the middle of Paris’ Latin Quarter. Easy access to major landmarks such as the Louvre and Orsay museums and Notre Dame Cathedral. Couples of metro stations are a short walk away from the hotel.
  • Budget ($): La Perle, great 3-star accommodation located in the heart of the Saint-Germain-des-Prés district, an easy walk from Saint Michel and Notre-Dame Cathedral.  Close to Saint-Germain-des-Pres Metro station for trains to the Montmartre area. 

4. Montmartre (18th Arrondissement)

Montmartre is a picturesque and historic neighborhood located on a hill in the 18th arrondissement of Paris. It is an attractive choice for first-time visitors who want to experience a charming and romantic neighborhood with panoramic views.

Montmartre has a long history as an artistic hub. It was once home to famous artists like Picasso, Toulouse-Lautrec, and Van Gogh. The district’s bohemian spirit can still be felt in its streets and studios.

At the summit of Montmartre Hill stands the iconic Sacré-Cœur Basilica. This stunning white-domed church not only offers a beautiful example of Roman-Byzantine architecture but also panoramic views of the city from its dome.

Montmartre is home to the famous Moulin Rouge cabaret, known for its vibrant nightlife and entertainment. You can catch a show at this historic venue.

Montmartre’s winding streets, cobblestone pathways, and colorful houses provide a delightful backdrop for leisurely walks. The Place du Tertre, a square filled with artists and street painters, is particularly charming.

In addition to the Sacré-Cœur, Montmartre is home to other historical sites, including the Montmartre Cemetery and the former artists’ studios at the Bateau-Lavoir.

Montmartre still has art studios and galleries where you can view and purchase works by contemporary artists. It’s a great place to experience the artistic side of Paris.

The neighborhood is dotted with cozy cafes, traditional French restaurants, and bakeries. You can savor French cuisine while enjoying the ambiance.

Montmartre’s romantic ambiance, combined with its sweeping views of the city, makes it a popular destination for couples and romantics.

Despite being part of a major city, Montmartre has a village-like feel that sets it apart from other parts of Paris. You can escape the hustle and bustle of the city in this charming neighborhood.

In the evenings, Montmartre comes alive with bars and entertainment options. It’s a great place to experience the nightlife of Paris.

Montmartre is located quite far from the city center but it is well-connected by buses and trains. You can find several metro stations in this area. Consider booking your accommodation close to public transportation for the best access to the major sights.

Best places to stay in Paris in Montmartre for first-timers:

  • Mid-range ($$): Hôtel des Arts Montmartre, popular 4-star good value for money hotel located in Montmartre, just a few mins walk from the Sacré-Coeur Basilica, Moulin Rouge, Place du Tertre. Close to metro stations at Abbesses and Blanche Metro Stations for trains to Concorde and Pere Lachaise. It has laundry services, soundproofed rooms, and luggage storages.
  • Mid-range ($$): Odalys City Paris Montmartre, 4-star hotel located in the 18th arr. Within a short walk from the iconic Sacré-Coeur in Paris, and 10-15 mins from Moulin Rouge, Anvers Metro Station and Lamarck – Caulaincourt Metro Station.
  • Budget ($): Timhotel Montmartre, 3-star accommodation located in Montmartre district, offering very good daily buffet breakfast. Short walk from Sacre Coeur Basilica, Moulin Rouge, Dali Museum, and Abbesses Metro Station for trains to Montparnasse.

5. Champs Elysées (8th arrondissement)

The Champs-Élysées is one of the most famous avenues in the world and is located in the 8th arrondissement. It is perfect for visitors who are interested in luxury shopping, fine dining, and the lively energy of a bustling part of the city.

The avenue is lined with luxury boutiques and department stores, including flagship locations for brands like Louis Vuitton, Chanel, and Cartier. It’s a paradise for shopping enthusiasts.

At the western end of the Champs-Élysées stands the Arc de Triomphe, a historic monument commemorating French military victories. You can climb to the top for panoramic views of the city.

The area offers a range of theaters, nightclubs, and entertainment venues, making it a vibrant place for those interested in nightlife and evening entertainment.

You can find a variety of cafes, restaurants, and brasseries along the avenue, where you can enjoy a meal or a drink while watching the world go by.

The Champs-Élysées is often the setting for parades and events, particularly on special occasions such as Bastille Day. Being in the area allows you to experience these events up close.

Staying in this central location provides easy access to other major landmarks, such as the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre, and the Seine River.

The Champs-Élysées is well-connected to public transportation, making it convenient for exploring other parts of Paris.

Best places to stay in Paris in Champs Elysées for first-time travelers:

  • Luxury ($$$): Hôtel Barrière Fouquet’s Paris, 5-star hotel situated at the corner of the Champs-Élysées and Avenue George V, within walking distance from the George V metro station, Arc de Triomphe, and 20 mins walk from The Eiffel Tower.
  • Mid-range ($$): citizenM Paris Champs-Élysées, popular 4-star hotel central location.
  • Budget ($): Hôtel Galileo Champs Elysées, 3-star hotel close to Avenue des Champs Élysées and  Arc de Triomphe. Short walk from Metro station George V for access to the rest of Paris.

6. The Eiffel Tower (7th Arrondissement)

Staying in the 7th Arrondissement of Paris, particularly near the Eiffel Tower, is an excellent choice for visitors who want to immerse themselves in one of the city’s most iconic and romantic landmarks. 

The most obvious benefit is being within walking distance of the Eiffel Tower. You can easily visit the tower multiple times, enjoying it during the day, sunset, and illuminated at night. 

If you stay near the Eiffel Tower, you may have the opportunity to enjoy stunning views of the tower from your accommodation. The Eiffel Tower and its surroundings create a romantic atmosphere, making it an ideal choice for couples and honeymooners.

The 7th Arrondissement is situated along the Seine River, providing beautiful riverside walks and opportunities for boat cruises, offering unique perspectives of the city.

The Champ de Mars park, which stretches from the Eiffel Tower to the École Militaire, is a lovely place for picnics, leisurely strolls, and relaxing in the shadow of the tower.

The area near the Eiffel Tower has a variety of upscale hotels, offering a luxurious and comfortable stay.

This area also offers easy access to cultural and historical attractions such as The Musée d’Orsay, the Rodin Museum, and Les Invalides (Napoleon’s tomb).

Best places to stay in Paris in 7th Arrondissement for first-time visitors:

  • Luxury ($$$): Juliana Hotel Paris, 5-star hotel located near the Seine River, around 15 mins walk from the Eiffel Tower and Champs-Élysées Avenue. You can choose the rooms with a view of the top of the Eiffel Tower.
  • Mid-range ($$): Hôtel le Derby Alma by Inwood Hotels, 4-star hotel set in a prime location short distance from the iconic Champs-Élysées and the Eiffel Tower. It is also only an 8-minute walk from Alma – Marceau Metro Station for further exploration. It has rooms with views of the Eiffel tower.
  • Budget ($): Hôtel Le Cercle Tour Eiffel, 3-star hotel conveniently located in the 7th arr, a short walk from Champ de Mars leading to the Eiffel Tower. Also close to Les Invalides Monument and Ecole Militaire Metro Station for trains to the Opéra Garnier. It has  nice view of the Eiffel Tower.

7. Le Louvre (1st Arrondissement)

The 1st Arrondissement of Paris is an ideal choice for art enthusiasts, history buffs, and those who want to be at the heart of Paris’s cultural and artistic scene.

The Louvre Museum is one of the world’s most famous art museums, and staying nearby means you can easily visit it multiple times and explore its extensive collection at your own pace.

The 1st Arrondissement is a hub of culture and history. Apart from the Louvre, you can visit the Palais Royal and the Comédie-Française, both of which are nearby.

The beautiful Tuileries Gardens are adjacent to the Louvre, providing a lovely place to relax, go for a stroll, or enjoy a picnic in a lush and well-maintained setting.

The 1st Arrondissement is home to the elegant Rue de Rivoli, a major shopping street with a mix of high-end boutiques, department stores, and cafes.

The area is known for its historic architecture, with charming streets, palaces, and grand boulevards, offering plenty of opportunities for leisurely walks and architectural appreciation.

Staying in the 1st Arrondissement means you’re centrally located and can easily access other parts of Paris using the city’s excellent public transportation system.

The area offers numerous upscale restaurants, where you can savor gourmet French cuisine and enjoy some of the city’s best dining experiences.

Beyond the Louvre, you’re within reach of other iconic landmarks like Notre-Dame Cathedral and the Île de la Cité, where you can explore the heart of Paris.

Best places to stay in Paris in 1st Arrondissement for first-timers:

  • Luxury ($$$): Hôtel du Louvre, in The Unbound Collection by Hyatt, a 5-star hotel has a prime location in the heart of Paris, a short walk from major attractions. Easy access to Palais Royal Metro Station for easy access to the Champs Elysees and the Place de la Bastille. You can choose to stay in the rooms with views of the Louvre Museum and Comédie Française theater.
  • Mid-range ($$): Le Pradey, popular 4-star hotel, located on Rue Saint Roch, 1st arr., in the very center of Paris, a short walk from the Louvre Museum, Tuileries Gardens, and  Place de la Concorde. You can easily find Tuileries Metro Station nearby for trains to Marais and La Défense business district.  
  • Budget ($): Hôtel Louvre Richelieu, 3-star accommodation centrally located, easy access to major sights and public transportation for exploring the city. Short walk from Jardin du Palais Royal, the Louvre and the Seine River. 

In conclusion, Le Marais, Latin Quarter, St Germain, Montmartre, Champs Elysées, The Eiffel Tower, and Le Louvre are the best places to stay in Paris for first-timers and tourists. These are generally safe arrondissements with a wide range of accommodations and attractions.

You can continue reading about Paris and other destination in France in these articles:

There you have it, my recommendations for the most popular and safest neighborhoods that you can stay during your first trip to Paris. I hope you enjoyed my article and find it both informative and helpful.

If you have any questions or would like to share your thoughts, please don’t hesitate to leave a comment below. Your feedback is invaluable and helps me continue to create more quality content.

About Author: Ocean Cameron

I'm Ocean, founder and main editor of travelhotelexpert.com. I’m a passionate traveler who specializes in uncovering the best hotels and locations in every city, especially for first-timers, all without the need for a car.

Disclosure: This page contains affiliate links. This means that, at absolutely no additional cost to you, I'll earn a small commission if you click through and purchase something I've recommended. I only recommend products that I use myself or firmly believe in. Thank you!

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