The City of Lights is a prime destination overflowing with things to do and see, but where does one start? Paris is divided into quarters and each one of them is unique in character and style.
Acquainting yourself with all the neighborhoods of the city might take a while, but let us start with a few popular areas within the notoriously romantic French capital.
This evocative district is located on the right bank of the Seine and maintains its medieval charm with finesse. Although the once shabby district experienced a revamp, none of Le Marais’ history was erased in the process.
The crooked streets of Haut Marais, just north of the trendy Marais enclave, are lined with coffee shops, bars and centuries-old eateries that spill out onto the cobbled sidewalks. It is a place that offers one of the best shopping experiences in Paris.
The two main retail streets are the Rue des Francs-Bourgeois and the Rue Vieille du Temple, which run perpendicular to each other and have all the luxury boutiques and high-street flagships you could wish for.
Musée Picasso, Carnavalet and Archives Nationales can be found within the quaint streets of this district. It is an absolute must-add to your itinerary as it offers the opportunity to view the finest contemporary art and renaissance masterpieces from around the world.
No Parisian holiday would be complete without staying in a dreamy hotel that completes the experience. So, let us see what Le Marais has to offer in terms of lodging:
Hotels in Le Marais:
- Hotel Jules & Jim
Address: 11 rue des Gravilliers, 3rd arr., 75003 Paris
- Hotel Bachaumont
Address: 18, rue Bachaumont, 2nd arr., 75002 Paris
- Caron de Beaumarchais
Address: 12, rue Vieille-du-Temple – 75004 Paris
Further to the east, on the right bank of the Seine, we find a place that is home to two of the most important shrines of the French Revolution can be found – namely the Bastille Quartier itself and Place de la Nation. This quartier owes its name to the fortress stormed by Parisian rioters in 1789, kicking off that historical event as we know it.
Place de la Nation, formerly known as Place du Trône is where guillotines busily chopped off heads. Not too far from this spot, you will find the symbolic statue Le Triomphe de la République.
The Bastille is also a place for a great night out and is home to the Opéra Bastille, a modern opera house built to mark the 200th anniversary of the storming of the Bastille.
Another attraction is the Promenade Plantée (also known as the Coulée Verte), an elevated park walkway that sits atop the train line, stretching eastward and splitting the district in two.
Hotels in Bastille:
- Hotel Marais Bastille
Address: 36 bld, Richard Lenoir, Paris
- Hotel Daval
Address: 21 rue Daval, 11th arr., 75011 Paris
- My Home in Paris
Address: 5 Rue De Malte, 11th arr., 75011 Paris
This vibrant district attracted scholars from all over Europe to Sorbonne University during the Middle Ages. Today it is a bustling student area and is home to some of the most prestigious schools and universities in Paris.
The Latin Quarter is a pedestrian-friendly maze that offers a glimpse into medieval Paris while the stone-paved alleyways lead to a few quiet, hidden squares where students and visitors usually sit down for a moment of reflection, and most definitely, coffee.
The Pantheon (a civil mausoleum housing the remains of France’s most notable citizens) is a great place for a historical excursion and happens to offer a magnificent view from atop Sainte Geneviève Hill that overlooks the streets of the Latin Quarter.
While wandering these streets, be sure to visit some of its historic churches, often missed or overlooked by tourists. The Eglise Saint-Séverin Saint-Nicolas is a beautiful example of extravagant Gothic architecture. Candles flicker inside the dark sanctuary throughout the day revealing the somber and spiritual ambiance.
Hotels in the Latin Quarter
- Dauphine Saint Germain Hotel
Address: 36 rue Dauphine, Quartier Latin, Paris
- Hotel Le Lapin Blanc
Address: 41 Boulevard Saint Michel, 5th arr., Paris
- Hotel Monge
Address: 55 rue Monge, 5th arr., Paris
After World War II, Saint Germain became home to flocks of painters, philosophers, actors, musicians, and writers. As a vibrant cultural center, Saint Germain was synonymous with jazz clubs, literary cafes and art galleries.
It might not be as busy as it used to be, but for anyone who favors something less crowded, this district offers a plethora of romantic spots along its little streets—old houses full of history and a perfect Instagram opportunity along the alleys of the Luxembourg Gardens.
If you stay in St-Germain, everything is at your doorstep—cafes, brasseries, bars, and restaurants, including the famous Cafe de Flore, Les Deux Magots, and Brasserie Lipp.
The oldest chocolate shop in Paris, Debauve & Gallais is located in St Germain on Rue des Saints-Peres. There is some debate about the oldest chocolatier in these parts, and they were said to have opened their doors first in 1800, but they were producing they’re fine quality nibbles long before that, especially since Marie Antoinette was a huge fan.
Hotels in Saint Germain
- Hotel Le Sainte-Beuve
Address: 9 Rue Sainte-Beuve, 6th arr., 75006 Paris
- Le Saint Hotel Paris
Address: 3 rue du Pré aux Clercs, 7th arr., 75007 Paris
- Au Manoir Saint Germain
Address: 153 Boulevard Saint Germain, 6th arr., 75006 Paris
Montmartre is yet another place that attracts romantic souls from across the world with its artistic, idyllic atmosphere. It is one of the busiest districts in Paris thanks to its unmistakable charm and since it became home to celebrated painters like Monet, Renoir, Van Gogh, Toulouse-Lautrec, and Picasso.
The Sacré Cœur Basilica sits beautifully atop the Butte Montmartre. The surrounding streets offer the best views, as well as plenty of cafés and restaurants. Just west of this famous hill lies Les Batignolles, an area with an exceptional park and calm café culture which was also home to several important authors including Verlaine, and Zola.
Another point of interest in Montmartre is definitely the Wall of Love (Mur des Je t’aime. Don’t worry if you are flying solo simply find a little spot on the wall to declare your love to the City of Lights or the great food you’ll be sampling.
Hotels in Montmartre
- Hotel Particulier Montmartre
Address: Pavillon D 23 Avenue Junot, 18th arr., 75018 Paris
- Terrass Hotel
Address: 12-14 Rue Joseph De Maistre, 18th arr., 75018 Paris
- Maison Souquet
Address: 10 rue de Bruxelles, 9th arr., 75009 Paris
Le Marais is one place in Paris where you will find yourself reveling in its beauty, but there is plenty of history and culture to absorb. Not only is it important to learn about the area you visit, but also to immerse yourself in its essence. Luckily, Le Marais is a place that exudes plenty of amounts of French charm and your experience would most likely be one for the books.