Most people know Paris for being the centre of fashion, food, art and culture. Its neighbourhoods are crammed with tourist essentials, such as the iconic Eiffel Tower and the Louvre, but delve a little deeper into the City of Light’s arrondissements and you’ll discover even more gems in the French capital.
A wonderful panoramic view from the terrace at Le Meurice
The least populated of the arrondissements and the smallest by area, the first arrondissement is home to the Louvre and Jardins des Tuileries, as well as many beautiful historic buildings. Staying here puts you within walking distance of many of Paris’s main sites. The ultra-luxurious Le Meurice is set in a 19th century palace opposite Les Jardins des Tuileries and has a two-star Michelin restaurant as well as a spa. A more affordable option is the quirky boutique Hotel Crayon with brightly coloured décor and a mix of vintage and modern furniture.
An unforgettable stay in Paris is guaranteed at the iconic Le Meurice
This area on the Right Bank of the Seine includes part of the Marais, as well as the famous Notre Dame Cathedral, Place des Vosges, the Victor Hugo Museum and Paris’s city hall, Hotel de Ville. It’s well known for its nightlife, upscale boutiques and literally thousands of restaurants. The five-star family run Le Pavillon de la Reine & Spa is in an excellent location on Place des Vosges. With just 56 rooms it is friendly and intimate – the honesty bar open to guests only adds to this atmosphere. It also has a pretty courtyard garden and small spa.
The charming Junior Prestige Suite at Le Pavillon de la Reine & Spa
Also known as the Latin Quarter, this Left Bank district has a rich cultural and literary history, being home to the Sorbonne and The Pantheon where Rousseau and Voltaire (among others) are buried. Today it is busy, bohemian and vibrant with plenty of inexpensive cafés and bistros as well as arty cinemas. There are several good mid-range boutique hotels in the area – the Hotel des Grands Hommes is small, cosy and excellently located opposite the Pantheon, while the Seven Hotel is a romantic option offering high-tech rooms with levitating beds – it’s also got a calm inner courtyard bar.
Seven Hotel offers fun fibre-optic lighting and individually-themed rooms
The Saint Germain des Prés neighbourhood also has a proud literary heritage, with two of the city’s most famous cafés, Les Deux Magots and Café de Flore. Countless famous writers have frequented these cafés over the years, including Jean-Paul Sartre and Ernest Hemingway. The Luxembourg Gardens are also in this district as well as one of Paris’s most beautiful churches, Saint-Sulpice. Hotel d’Aubusson is a luxurious boutique hotel set in a former 17th century stately home featuring and antique-filled lobby with an enormous fireplace. It’s also home to Café Laurent where Rousseau and Voltaire once drank. Today it holds regular jazz evenings, as well as weekly literary talks.
Experience the epitome of luxury at Hotel d’Aubusson
Many of the main Parisian sights are in this district including the Eiffel Tower, Musée d’Orsay, the Rodin Museum and the French National Assembly. Because of this you will often pay more for a hotel in this area. The art deco Hotel Montalembert is a luxurious option with a smart restaurant and a cosy library and patio where afternoon tea is served. There are also budget options to be found – Hotel du Champ du Mars is a 10-minute walk from the Eiffel Tower with 25, smallish rooms with tasteful country style décor.
The perfect view of the Eiffel Tower from this idyllic suite at Hotel Montalembert
This is the place to come for shopping and theatre – some of Paris’s most famous department stores of Les Grands Boulevards are here including the iconic Galeries Lafayette and Printemps. In this quarter you’ll also find the Musée du Parfum Fragonard (Perfume Museum), Les Folies Bergères Cabaret and some of the best Japanese restaurants in the city. Banke Hôtel is an upscale boutique hotel set, as its name suggests, in an elegant former bank. Rooms have classic neo-Baroque décor and there’s a stunning lobby with a glass cupola – the hotel also has its own art collection.
The chic Lafayette Suite at Banke Hôtel is an interior designer’s dream
One of Paris’s richest areas, this district includes leafy parks as well as several important museums including the Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, Maison de Balzac and the Palais de Tokyo, dedicated to modern and contemporary art. It’s also home to numerous Michelin-starred restaurants. The ultra-hip Hotel Sezz, decorated by Philippe Starck, is (phonetically) named after the arrondissement and features a personal assistant for each guest, as well as a champagne bar. HomeHotel Paris 16 is a more budget-friendly option offering self-contained apartments in an elegant Haussmann building in a residential neighbourhood – there’s even a bakery next door.
It’s fall all year long in this autumn themed room at Hotel Les Jardins de Montmartre
Best known for the cobbled streets of Montmartre leading up to the Sacré Coeur Basilica, this sector is also home to the red-light district of Pigalle and the famous Moulin Rouge cabaret. Hotel Les Jardins de Montmartre is a cheerful, budget option with brightly coloured, seasonally themed rooms. It’s around a 15-minute walk from Sacré Coeur and offers free tea and patisserie every afternoon. For a luxury option, try the Hotel Particulier Montmartre tucked away in a 19th century mansion with opulent furnishings and a leafy walled garden.