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With over twenty districts, or arrondissements, Paris is gigantic. The city’s sections spiral outward from the center, and most are packed with places to stay. Budget options tend to lie on the fringes of the city, but there are some cheap options in the center of the city as well. Libertel Canal Saint Martin and the Element Hotel are compact yet stylish options on the border of the 10th and 19th arrondissements near the hip Canal Saint Martin.
Just south of the Latin Quarter and Notre Dame, you’ll find several small, budget friendly hotels like Kyriad Paris 13 - Italie Gobelins and Villa Lutece Port Royal. Don’t miss the many affordable options in the further reaches of Montmartre, either. Best Western Montmartre-Sacre Coeur is just a quick walk away from the legendary hilltop church, and Hotel Des Arts Paris Montmartre offers a reasonable price and a charming location in the heart of the neighborhood.
Paris is known for glitz and glamor, and its luxury hotels deliver in both departments. If you really want to indulge, surround yourself with Paris’s finest, and stay in the center of the action, you’ll find plenty of options in Paris. In the heart of the city, close to high end shopping and the verdant Jardin des Tuileries, the Hyatt Paris Madeleine offers an upscale and intimate stay.
Mere steps from the legendary Arc de Triomphe and designer shops on the Champs-Élysées, the InterContinental Paris Avenue Marceau offers a five-star stay in immaculately decorated guest rooms. To wake up near the Eiffel Tower, book a room with a view and lush décor at Radisson Blu Le Dokhan's Hotel near the Trocadero.
A third lodging option is to rent an apartment through Airbnb. Whether you’re going for an extended stay or you simply don’t want to stay in a hotel, this can be an affordable choice. Renting an apartment in the short term runs about the same price as a hotel. You can find some for $60 a night and some for $300 a night, depending on location, quality, and size.
Apartments come fully furnished, and some visitors may find that living in a home setting is easier than staying in a hostel or a hotel, especially if you want to do some cooking. If cost is a concern, opt for a cozy studio or one-bedroom apartment in one of Paris’s up and coming neighborhoods, like Le Marais, Montmartre, or the 10th arrondissement. If you’re traveling with a group, seek out a larger apartment in one of the city’s beautiful historic buildings.
Though you’ll find plenty of chain hotels throughout Paris, independent boutique hotels are abundant as well. Stay just steps from Place Vendome and the Musée du Louvre at the four-star Hotel Royal Saint Honoré or Golden Tulip Opera De Noailles. Both independent hotels boast beautiful views and modern conveniences like complimentary Wi-Fi and a full breakfast spread.
In hip Saint-Germain-des-Prés, try tiny Hotel De Buci for a taste of old Paris or larger Hotel Bel Ami for a contemporary feel. Both offer lodging within walking distance of Notre Dame, the Latin Quarter, and the Seine. For a serious splurge, stay at Hotel Banke, an independent five-star hotel in the 9th arrondissement. While it won’t provide a cheap stay, the hotel’s turn of the century architecture, luxurious leather sofas, and global art collection will make your stay in Paris more unique.
Paris has two international airports, Charles de Gaulle and Orly. Charles de Gaulle is France’s largest airport and one of the busiest in the world. If you take a direct flight across the Atlantic, your plane is probably going to land here. Orly sees more domestic traffic than Charles de Gaulle, so flying from another part of France or Europe will probably land you at Orly.
Hotels near Charles de Gaulle or Orly may be convenient to the airports, but they will not put you in the center of Paris. If you’re only stopping over in Paris for a night, an airport hotel may be a great option. The Pullman Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport, the Suite Novotel Paris Roissy CDG, and the Millennium Hotel Paris Charles de Gaulle are all quite close to the airport and offer cheap prices. If you’re flying into or out of Orly, take a look at the Grand Hotel Senia, the Campanile Morangis Orly, or the Hotel Kyriad Orly Rungis for good rates.
Tourist season in Paris is spring and summer, and while spring in France is quite beautiful, airfare and lodging can be very expensive. The city will be more crowded, the lines for attractions will be longer, and you’ll have to book your hotel rooms and flights much further in advance.
If you’re looking for good deals, fall and winter are better times to travel to Paris. Winter is Paris’s off season, so if you don’t mind some chilly weather, visit the City of Lights when the temperature starts to drop. Fewer crowds and much better prices on airfare and hotels make winter an ideal time to travel to Paris, especially since you won’t have to wait in line nearly as long to see sights like the Louvre and Notre Dame. Don’t be too bummed about missing summer, either, since many of Paris’s older hotels lack air conditioning.
Try to avoid the Christmas festivals if you visit in winter, since these bring a rise in tourism. Otherwise, enjoy the holiday spirit. Parisians decorate their city beautifully to celebrate the holiday season, and a stroll through the streets and parks is truly stunning. January brings Fashion Week, with sales galore.
If you’re looking for the center of bohemian Paris, be sure to visit the Latin Quarter. This historic neighborhood includes the 5th and 6th arrondissements and is very centrally located. With both grand boulevards and tiny alleys, the Latin Quarter is incredibly walkable and perfect for wandering. It’s also one of the oldest parts of town, with streets and buildings that date back nearly 1,000 years.
The Latin Quarter is also packed with quaint shops and gourmet restaurants. Here you can find almost any type of cuisine, along with a lot of unique boutiques filled with everything from clothes to books to trinkets. When sightseeing, don’t miss the Pantheon, the Musée de Cluny, and the stunning Luxembourg Gardens.
If you’ve seen the film Moulin Rouge, you might recognize this district. A picturesque hill in the 18th arrondissement, Montmartre is a historic neighborhood full of narrow, winding streets and every kind of art imaginable. While the center of Montmartre is known for its nightlife, the neighborhood is out of the way of the rest of Paris’s hustle and bustle. Montmartre’s most famous spots include Sacre Coeur, a beautiful white Roman Catholic church, and the Place du Tertre, where artists draw and paint tourists with varying degrees of skill. Don’t miss the charming cafés in this neighborhood, either. Breakfasting on croissants while taking in the views that span all of Paris is an unparalleled experience.
Those who love shopping and stunning landmarks will definitely want to visit the Champs-Élysées. Just under two kilometers long, the Champs-Élysées begins at the Place de la Concorde, where you’ll find plenty of attractions like a giant Ferris wheel and a historic obelisk. The boulevard is lined with the flagship stores of world-class designers like Louis Vuitton, Guerlain, and Peugot. Further west are several remarkable art museums, including the Grand Palais, the Petit Palais, and Artistikrezo, At the end of the avenue is the striking Arc de Triomphe, which visitors can climb for a panoramic view of Paris.
As much as you can, walk from place to place in Paris. It may take you more time, but the streets and buildings between your destinations will be as beautiful as the sights you came to see. Use public transportation to take you across the city, but map out your sightseeing journeys so you can walk to as many locations as possible.
When you can’t walk, the Metro is an extremely convenient way to get around. With roughly 300 stations, almost everywhere in Paris is within a few blocks of a Metro station. You can pay per ride, or you can buy daily or weekly passes that allow you unlimited rides on the Metro and bus network. The hours of operation extend from about 5:30 a.m. to about 12:30 a.m. during the week and 1:30 a.m. on weekends.
Taxis are ubiquitous in Paris and can be an efficient mode of transit if traffic isn’t too bad. Be sure that your ride is licensed and features a Taxis parisiens sign, especially since not all taxis look alike. If you need to take a car somewhere, a taxi is definitely your best bet. With winding roads, nonstop traffic, and difficult parking, renting your own car isn’t recommended.
It’s hard to avoid art in Paris, since it’s a city steeped in culture. Start at the Louvre, the most visited museum in the world and also one of the largest. For a more intimate art viewing experience, try the Musée d’Orsay, an Impressionist art museum housed in a former 19th century train station. If performance is more your speed, take in the Paris Opera Ballet, considered one of the world’s best.
Sports in Paris center on cycling, tennis, and soccer. If you’re lucky enough to visit in the summer, catch the cyclists as they breeze into the city at the end of the Tour de France. In the late spring, score tickets to the French Open for your chance to see tennis stars in one of four yearly Grand Slam tournaments.
Though you’ll hear plenty of English in Paris, you should be prepared with a few basic French words and phrases. Download the SpeakEasy app to brush up on greetings, travel essentials, and food terms. To get around efficiently to landmarks, train stations, and airports, use Visit Paris by Metro, the official RATP transit app. Before you visit the Louvre, download the official Musée du Louvre app, to ensure that you don’t miss a single masterpiece.
The City of Lights awaits. Experience history, art, landmarks, architecture, history, and more good food than you can imagine in a single city. One trip may not be enough to fully satisfy everything you want to do in Paris, but it’s certain to be one of the most memorable vacations you ever take. As Audrey Hepburn said in Sabrina, Paris is always a good idea.
© 2015 Hipmunk, Inc. Hipmunk is a trademark of Hipmunk, Inc.
© 2015 Hipmunk, Inc. Hipmunk is a trademark of Hipmunk, Inc.