Our Expert Guide to Where To Stay in Paris
We're sharing our suggestions on where to stay in Paris. Whether you're a first time visitor or a seasoned City of Light goer, you'll want to read this.
Ah, Paris – the city of light, love and the best pastries we've ever tasted. Whether for its art, culture or sheer charm, Plum Guide's insider tips on where to stay in the city will help you capture a little bit of that 'je ne sais quoi' that makes Paris so iconic.
The aristocratic Jewish quarter in the 4th arrondissement has turned into somewhat of a bustling artistic hub teeming with fashion boutiques, great galleries and popular new restaurants run by the city's hottest young chefs. This is one of the greatest places to stay in Paris with children. When it comes to staying in the neighbourhood, there's nothing quite like starting the day with a leisurely morning in the Marais. While you’re waiting for shops and cafes to open up, grab a fresh buttery pastry or two from Du Pain et des Idées – a bakery with a seriously cult following. (You'll understand why once you try.) Explore Paris’s most popular local designers and vintage luxury stores. If you're into modern designs and trend-setting brands, make their way to Merci, an eclectic fashion and home concept store housed in an old wallpaper factory.
When you're feeling peckish, head into one of the many bistros in the neighbourhood. And come evening, get ready for a party because the Marais truly comes alive at night. Sip a few decadent cocktails inside a swanky bar like Le Mary Celeste. And if you’re the curious type, enter through the little red door of the aptly named Little Red Door bar. You’ll soon be falling down the bartender’s rabbit hole of inventive and delicious cocktails. Fancy staying in this neighbourhood? You're spoilt for choice with our collection of homes like The Globetrotter.
The Latin Quarter is perfect for all you sophisticated bookish types looking to show off your smarts. Home to a number of universities including the world-famous Sorbonne (the oldest university in Paris) and bookshops like the landmark Shakespeare and Company, the area is teeming with academics, intellectuals, and the well-read. Head out from your beautiful Plum home and start your day in the neighbourhood with a trip to Rue Mouffetard street market to pick up fresh produce, baked goods, and cured meats for a lunchtime picnic at nearby Square Saint Medard. Once you're ready to move on, fill your afternoon with Arab studies at the Institut du Monde Arabe and the Grande Mosquée de Paris or become a seasoned botanist at the Jardin des Plantes instead. Come late afternoon, take a well-deserved break from all your studies. Spend your night exploring the bustling bars and cafes in the Latin Quarter. Our favourites include Le Caveau des Oubliettes for the live jazz and the medieval dungeon setting, Le Piano Vache and the cosy intimacy of La Machinerie.
The hill atop the 18th arrondissement may be most famous for the Sacre-Coeur Basilica and its sweeping views of the City of Light, but look a little closer and you’ll find the true essence of Paris. Winding, narrow cobblestone lanes, bohemian street artists and performers peddling their various talents to passersby, and quaint cafes churning out delicate pastries and shots of espresso. This is where to stay in Paris if you're looking to see the iconic city in the way the world has come to know and love, through the eyes of artists like Monet and Degas who found endless inspiration in the village of Montmartre.
If you've chosen this neighbourhood as your Parisian base, wake up early to wander the nearly empty morning streets of Montmartre. For one of our favourite free things to do in Paris, you should head up to the famed Sacre-Coeur Basilica to take in its panoramic view of Paris. Head inside after you've taken in the views, where gazing at the fine architecture and golden mosaics that adorn the interior is sure to keep you occupied. Next up, lunchtime. Le Relais Gascon is a popular French restaurant known for its classic menu and reasonable prices. It is, however, often crowded with tourists, somewhat taking away from the authentic feel of a true Parisian bistro. Sigh. If you'd prefer something with more of a local feel, try Hardware Société for international fare beloved by trend-setting Parisians.
Now, time to get your culture fix. Immerse yourself in the storied past of the Montmartre art scene at the Museé de Montmartre, a museum founded in 1960 inside one of the oldest buildings in the neighbourhood. It was once home to such geniuses as Pierre-Auguste Renoir and Suzanne Valadon, the first woman ever admitted into the Société Nationale des Beaux-Arts. Explore the Surrealist art of Salvador Dalí at the Dalí Paris, its permanent exhibition focuses primarily on the wacky Spaniard’s otherworldly sculptures and engravings. For dinner, snag a reservation at Seb'on, a tiny husband-and-wife run restaurant that serves complex, beautifully plated dishes. Afterwards, if you’re looking to end your Montmartre evening in quintessential style, head to the Moulin Rouge. Yes, the Moulin Rouge. Located just outside of Montmartre, the famous cabaret is still so much a part of the district’s mystique that we still feel obliged to count it (despite the tourist trap feel and somewhat overpriced entrance fee). For a more authentic cabaret, head to Au Lapin Agile instead.
Fancy and sophisticated (just like you), the chic enclave of Saint-Germain-des-Prés, once a hotspot for writers and intellectuals, is the place to stay in Paris for stylish shops, cool cafes, fine art galleries and quality antique stores. It also boasts plenty of our luxury homes in Paris too. If you're staying in the area, a typical day can only start in one way, with breakfast at Les Deux Magots. It might be a little touristy, but even the locals can’t deny the appeal of it. One of the oldest cafes in all of Paris, it's still a cultural mainstay after all these years. Afterwards, enjoy the late morning from inside the sprawling Jardin du Luxembourg, considered to be one of the most beautiful gardens in Paris.
Next, head over to Le Bon Marché – the very first department store in the world and still offers some of the best luxury retail therapy in town. Keep your energy levels up to make the most of your shopping spree with a break across the street at La Grande Epicerie, a gourmet grocery store and a haven for food lovers and chefs around the world. From fresh oysters to warm flaky croissants, you’ll find everything you could possible need for an afternoon snack (and plenty more). Don’t forget to stop by the fully stocked wine shop on the lower level to discover wines from all over France.
Reservations are a must at the regal Relais Louis XIII, the Michelin starred restaurant featuring classic French fare by chef Manuel Martinez. Being the savvy traveller that you are, you’ve already booked your table well in advance. The cost of dinner fetches a handsome price, but you’ll be treated like a king. And make sure to make room in your stomach (and wallet) for the mille-feuille dessert. Fancy some late-night drinks? Prescription Cocktail Club is just the place for you.
Bastille is lively and vibrant, and there’s always something exciting going on. Starting your day in this neighbourhood is perhaps a little slower than in other areas. Having spent most of the night up until the early hours, Bastille generally takes a little longer to wake up. Bring yourself back to life with a stroll along the Bassin de l’Arsenal, the houseboat basin that connects the Canal Saint-Martin with the Seine. Grab a coffee to go at Oh Lally or Passager for the walk. And if you’re really suffering from last night’s exploits, sit down for breakfast at La Seine Cafe. Grab a table outside facing the canal.
Explore the quaint inner courtyards and narrow passageways off the Rue du Faubourg St-Antoine, the main thoroughfare once famed for its legendary cabinet makers, furniture upholsterers, and skilled woodworkers. Many of these have since been replaced with smart boutiques. Continue walking further east until you reach Viaduc des Arts, a renovated complex of design studios and ateliers within the old arches that held up a now-defunct railway. Above the viaduct lies the Promenade Plantée, a lovely 3-mile long pedestrian walkway built over the old railway tracks. It’s a great way to see impressive French architecture. The fact that the greenbelt is hardly ever crowded makes it a much-needed respite from the throngs of tourists found elsewhere in the city. Come evening time, you’ll be spoilt for dinner and drinks options in Bastille between its hottest new restaurants and long-standing local favourites. Celebrated for a number of years now, Septime is still one of Paris’s top-rated restaurants with the most coveted tables in town. Set your alarm for this one. You’ve got to call exactly three weeks ahead of your desired date in order to snag a table before it’s snatched up by some other lucky diner.
This diverse and still rough-around-the-edges neighbourhood in the 11th arrondissement might not have much by way of sights and attractions that would normally draw a visitor to Paris. What Oberkampf does have though is a lot of character, quirkiness and flair that will give you a unique taste of Paris. This district is covered in vibrant street art, eclectic vintage stores and a wide range of international restaurants, grocers, and shops. Start your day in the area with a trio to the local grocers at Marché des Enfants Rouges, Paris’s oldest known market still in operation after 400 years. Even if you’re not planning on doing any cooking of your own, their selection of fresh produce and locally made goods is worth a browse regardless. Oh, and a number of the merchants are generous with their offerings of samples. Bon app !
Next, explore the small yet beautiful Saint-Ambroise church. Stop by the Musée du Fumeur, an oddly fascinating museum focused on all things smoking. While you’re walking, keep an eye out for the street art covering the sides of buildings and alleyways, particularly on Rue Dénoyez. The street was once filled with boutiques but fell on hard times. With one shop closing after another, the thoroughfare was left abandoned and derelict before street artists took over. When you’re ready for lunch, head to Passage Brady, referred to lovingly by locals as Little India for lunch. It’s tucked away and hard to find, but enter through Rue du Faubourg Saint-Martin and you’ll be rewarded with a treasure trove of Indian, Pakistani, and Mauritian dishes. Spend your afternoon shopping for vintage finds and unique pieces. End the night at Ober Mamma for a fresh take on Italian pastas and pizzas or La Gouttière for a North African meal that will soon become your new favourite cuisine.
So, after you've decided on where to stay in Paris in terms of neighbourhood, next up is choosing from our collection of Plum apartments in Paris. Our home critics expertly vet each home listed on our site – checking everything from water pressure to interior design – meaning you're guaranteed a stay with standards no matter what.