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The best districts to stay in Paris

Remember the word arrondisement, which roughly translates to ‘district’ or ‘community’. It’s how Paris defines its different parts and sets everything from desirability to hotel costs. There are 20 arrondisements in the city, starting with the 1st, just north of where the Seine River bends southward as it travels from east to west. (This side of the river is also called the Right Bank.) The numbering system then continues in a clockwise spiral around the river until it ends with the 20th in the eastern fringe of the metropolis.

Each arrondisement has access to one, and often several, stations for the Metro. This extensive subway system lets you to travel to any point in the city quickly and comfortably. So feel free to find Paris hotels in any district you want. If your hotel site doesn’t specify the district in which a property is located, look at the last two digits of the zip code for the arrondisement. For example, a code of 74018 means the address is in the 18th arrondisement.

The following are some of the best districts to stay in.

One of the more popular tourist areas, the 1st arrondisement contains such well-known attractions as the Louvre, one of the great art museums of the world; the Palais-Royal, once the personal residence of Cardinal Richelieu; and the Tuileries, a 63-acre garden that once housed a palace inhabited by monarchs ranging from Henry IV to Napoleon. The largest and busiest Metro station, Chatelet/Les Halles, is also located here.

3rd and 4th
More commonly known as The Marais, these districts constitute the heart of the city’s Jewish and gay populations, which may explain their quirkiness and diversity. Bagelries and Arabic food take-out stands stand right next to crowded bars and trendy clothing boutiques. The Marais is also one of the few areas in Paris where stores stay open on Sunday. Notre Dame is located on a little island in the Seine at the southern edge of this district.

Also known as the Latin Quarter, this district is popular with university students, intellectuals, writers, and musicians. Located south of the Seine, it epitomizes the bohemian Left Bank. Because shops, restaurants and accommodations here are geared to the young, consider staying in this location if you’re on a budget.

When most visitors think of Paris, they think of the 7th arrondisement because this is where the Eiffel Tower rises in all its glory. The Orsay, Rodin and Quai Branly Museums enlighten from this district. And Napoleon is also buried here at the Hotel des Invalides. For the classic city view, ask your hotelier for a window overlooking the famous landmark. If you’re planning on visiting the Eiffel Tower, book your tickets in advance so you can avoid the line.

One of the world’s most famous shopping streets, the Champs Elysees, runs right through the 8th and is worth a visit if you’re in the market for expensive jewelry, fashion and cars. On the western end of the avenue, the Arc De Triomphe rises to celebrate those who fought and died for France. On the opposite end is the Place de la Concorde. Measuring 21.3 acres, the largest square in Paris boasts fountains, statues and an Egyptian obelisk that is more than 3,300 years old. This should be your neighborhood if money is no object.

This post was provided by Fiona Moriarty of Hipmunk, a travel website that helps you to locate the best deals on transportation, accommodations, and more.

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