Before you get to Paris, there are a few things you should know about the city to make travel a bit easier. The city of Paris is divided into 20 different Arrondissements. An Arrondissement is simply a “neighborhood” or “district.” The 20 Paris Arrondissements are numbered clockwise, beginning with the city center as number 1. The numbers form a “spiral” and are often compared to a “snail shell.” The River Seine divides the Arrondissements into the “Right bank” or “La Rive Droite” which is the northern half of the city, and the “left bank” or “River Gauche”which is the southern half of the city.
(This image belongs to parisnet.com)
If you are a planner, limited on time, are on a budget, do not like to walk, or wandering and exploring aimlessly does not appeal to you, I recommend making a list of the things you would like to do and see in Paris, and figuring out which Arrondissements you will spend the most time in. Then, you can search for a hotel, hostel, or Air BnB property in an Arrondissement nearby. Remember, the closer you get to the city center (Arrondissements 1-7) the more expensive accommodations will be.
Personally, while I love to wander aimlessly, and I don’t mind walking, I find that staying close to the action is my preference. I have stayed in both the 9th and 1st Arrondissements. Staying in the 1st Arrondissment was very convenient and I managed to find a great deal. You can check out my review of the budget hotel I stayed in, in the 1st Arrondissement. Having said that, staying in the 9th was not a very far walk either! It took about 15-20 minutes to walk from the 9th to the 1st.
Some of the most common attractions in Paris that you may be looking to stay near include:
- Eiffel Tower – 7th
- Champs Elysses – 8th
- Arc De Triomphe – 8th
- The Louvre – 1st
- Latin Quarter – 5th
- Pantheon – 5th
- Notre Dame – 4th
- Musee D’orsay – 7th
- Tuleries Garden – 1st
- Musee l’Orangerie – 1st
- Champ de Mars – 7th
If you do choose to stay in an arrondissement that is much further from the city center, you can rely on both Taxis and the Metro to get around. The Metro is a very budget friendly option. (Read my post about RATP.)