Recently we have been fielding a lot of requests as to where to stay in Paris, which is sometimes a difficult question to answer.
The hotels that we have visited here have been in the quest for cocktails, overpriced champagne or fashion week parties. Our visiting friends tend to end up on our couch, so when it comes to hotels our knowledge is limited.
But that said, we can help you out when it comes to recommending locations, based on surrounding cafés, transport, restaurants, bars and monuments. As you may have come to expect from our guides, we suggest you eschew the touristy left bank and join the locals on the rive droit.
When it comes to transport, there are few metro stations in Paris as useful as Republique. Chatelet may look good on paper, but once it has taken you 15 minutes to switch from one line to the other, with 238,000 of your closest friends, you will think differently. Republique is close to Canal St Martin, the Marais, the 11th, the 20th and has a host of options to get you Left Bank for your monuments. Look into boulevard Richard Lenoir or Avenue de la Republique.
Pigalle is best known as the red light district of Paris, but just below its famed place a host of hipsters have moved in, forcing the launch of coffee shops, restaurants, cocktail bars, artisan bakeries and plenty of independent vintage boutiques. SoPi is a surprisingly tranquil neighbour to the hoards of tourists searching for Sacré-Coeur, but along rue des Martyrs, rue du Condorcet and even rue de Rochechouart, there are plenty of great things happening amongst the locals.
Where the 3rd meets the 11th there are almost too many things to do. And it doesn’t attract the crowds that you get in the 4th, where the tourists have basically overrun Le Marais whilst seemingly still thinking that it is in-the-know Paris. From the Marché des Enfants Rouges to the great restaurants, shops and bars interwoven between rue de Bretagne up to boulevard Richard Lenoir, this is the part of Paris to make the most of your weekend.
Somewhat overlooked is the stretch of the 12th just after Place de la Bastille, running along rue du Faubourg Saint-Antoine from metro Ledru-Rollin to Faidherbe Chaligny. On the weekend it houses one of the liveliest markets in Paris – the Marché d’Aligre – as well as some great restaurants, bars and inexpensive shopping. There is little to do tourist wise here, few monuments, museums and therefore tourists. But its a lively part of the city that doesn’t get the attention it deserves.