- Rule #1: Stay central
Base your search within the first 8 districts of Paris, plus the North 16th and South 17th (around Etoile). It’s hard to go wrong in these most central and sought-after parts of Paris. These areas are all safe, even late at night. All typically offer beautiful architecture, a lively street atmosphere, many cafe terraces, good restaurants and shops, plus major monuments and sights within immediate walking distance.
- Rule #2: Left and right banks are both good
Within these great central districts, the Seine marks a cleavage between the left and right banks. The left bank (5th, 6th, 7th) tends to be more residential, arty and left-wing socialist (despite the 6th being the most expensive Paris district, leading to the ironic expression “la gauche caviar”). The right bank (1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 8th, 16th, 17th) tends to be more commercial and right-wing conservative. Within this basic cleavage there are nonetheless big nuances from district to district, which will be explained in an upcoming newsletter. Both are good, so unless you happen to already have a preference I wouldn’t worry too much about choosing between left and right banks.
- Rule #3: Downsize rather than leave the center
If your budget won’t stretch to the most central locations that characterise the A la carte Paris apartments, then a possible alternative is to book an apartment with another agency in a less central location. You’ll have no trouble finding such apartments in the 9th, 10th, 11th, 12th, 14th, 15th. The downside is that these locations, while safe and objectively good value for money, are not as attractive or desirable. They don’t really don’t offer “that quintessential Paris experience”. What’s more, you’ll have to use public transport quite a lot, as you won’t have everything within immediate walking distance of your apartment. Instead of moving outwards, those on a tight budget might consider booking a studio, choosing low season dates or shortening their stay, if possible.
- Rule #3: Avoid “Les Halles” (but DO stay near Les Halles)
The rule that central locations are best does have one exception: “Les Halles”. This small precinct in the 1st district is quite peculiar and that should be avoided (we don’t offer apartments here, so don’t worry). That said, all the areas surrounding Les Halles are fabulous, so don’t throw the baby out with the bath water! 😉