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Should I stay near Eiffel Tower or city center (Notre Dame area)?

Ah, yes, the unending debate over best places to stay in Paris. :) Well, at first, I was looking to stay near the Eiffel Tower, and I REALLY wanted a view of the Eiffel Tower from my flat's window. I have found such a place, but it is in Passy (16th arrondissement). It's right by the metro and walking distance to the Eiffel Tower BUT I recently discovered the Eiffel Tower area is not the city center. I have heard the "real" Paris (and city center) is near Notre Dame Cathedral. 

My options are
1) Tiny studio in Passy with view of the Eiffel Tower
2) Apartment in Saint Germain Des Pres

I know the "best" place to stay depends on each person, so here's what I'm looking for:

  1. Safe area
  2. Close to a metro station
  3. LOTS of cafes/coffee shops to be inspired and work on my writing
  4. Great area for photography (in other words, a beautiful area)

Details on my stay

  1. I'll be in Paris for 1 month starting in November
  2. I will be traveling alone
  3. I will basically be living and working there, not on vacation, though of course I'll see the sights

20 Answers

top answer by
Haleigh from Paris

Hey Amy! 

A month in Paris will be a dream! I promise it won't disappoint. I think you will be happy near the Eiffel Tower, it's lovely, clean, safe, but a bit quiet and less convenient for commuting to enjoy the rest of Paris. It's a lot of families and older bourgeois French folks so not the best vibe for a young creative traveling on their own maybe wanting to meet people. So based on what you explained I would recommend you one of two other options to be more central. I've lived in Paris 7+ years and feel this is where you will get the most vibrant Paris experience. 

1. The Quartier Du Marais - This is the 3rd and 4th arrondissments, however central Paris is small so even parts of the 1st, 2nd, and 11th will get you really close to hear. It's extremely quaint, always happening, and very safe. I would equate it to living in the West Village in NYC. This also puts you close to the 2nd (Etienne Marcel) the Canal Saint Martin, and the 11th arrondissement of Paris (Bastille Area) which are really cool and always happening. 

2. Saint-Germain-des-Prés - This is also oh so French and the place for all the beautiful clichés of the left bank that you will enjoy, living, writing, and photographing. Also very central and while on the left bank, its just a stroll across the bridge to the Right to be back in the first and so on. Also very happening. 

As for the metro, you will never ever be far from a metro stop in Paris. Legally every residence needs to be within several hundred meters of a metro or bus stop to ensure people will get around so there are so many and the city is small. You will never find yourself from public transport here. Perhaps three or four blocks maximum. 

Hope that helps! For more Paris recommendations you can check out my blog too ( and my instagram with my hashtag #magiqueparis ( where I share lots of my favorite photogenic spots you might like to discover. 

Safe travels!

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Eiffel Tower (attraction)
  2. Quartier Du Marais (attraction)
  3. Canal Saint Martin (attraction)
  4. 11th arrondissement of Paris (neighborhood)
  5. Saint-Germain-des-Prés (neighborhood)
3 thanks

answered by

Hi Amy! I'm a 33 years old Parisian girl! I live on the Canal Saint Martin(10th), totally opposed to the Eiffel Tower! As the others told you on their answers, 16e arrondissement – Passy is a very quiet zone and the metro line 9 brings you to the center of the City (for me, the Center would be République - it could be also Opéra, Châtelet, Bastille on the "right side" of the river ´RIVE DROITE!).

Saint-Germain-des-Prés is also a high level area and for me you'll have more cafés (Quartier Latin) and you'll be closer to the river Seine (and Notre Dame) than being in Passy. I would highly recommend you your second option. But I can understand that Paris is for most of the people the Eiffel Tower! If you can have a chance to rent a flat on the last floor it would be the best view ever (the roofs of Paris!).

Hope this will help you!

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Canal Saint Martin (attraction)
  2. Eiffel Tower (attraction)
  3. 16e arrondissement – Passy (attraction)
  4. République (attraction)
  5. Opéra (attraction)
  6. Châtelet (attraction)
  7. Bastille (attraction)
  8. Saint-Germain-des-Prés (neighborhood)
  9. Notre Dame (neighborhood)
2 thanks

answered by
John from Boulder

Well, this is pure preference of course, but the 16th arrondissementcan get a little boring as it's a combination of tourists and wealthy/domestic locals. If I had to choose between the two locations, I would choose the more central. Keep in mind as well, that the Metro closes relatively early in the evening (compared to NY and other cities) and cabs get expensive. If you stay in the 16th, plan on renting a lot of bikes or hiring a lot of cabs to get home at night, and plan on being stuck in the 16th on occasional evening. 

For my money I might be inclined to stay in the Montmartre area as it's pretty and it is sort of a locals area. But that's just opinion. Really, locals exist in all areas of Paris.  


Hope this helps.

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. 16th arrondissement (attraction)
  2. Montmartre (attraction)
1 thanks

answered first by
Thomas from Viña del Mar

Hi Amy,

Let me answer point by point:

1. Both areas are safe

2. Both areas are close to metro stations, but you may have more near Saint-Germain-des-Prés.

3. Definitely Saint-Germain des Prés for the cafés. St-Germain is at the heart of the Quartier Latin, which is, historically the district of the artists and intellectuals.

4. The Latin Quarter features old houses, tiny historical streets, the cathedral and the river are not far... I would say it's great for street photography!


November may be rainy and cold in Paris, and the 16th arrondissement is not precisely lively. So if you are there for a month and really to get a feel of Paris, work from the cafés, then definitely choose Saint-Germain! You may also meet people more easily there, while Passy is a more quite, upscale and uptight area.

Hope this helps!


Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Saint-Germain-des-Prés (neighborhood)
  2. Latin Quarter (attraction)
  3. 16th arrondissement (attraction)
1 thanks

answered by
Kamel from Paris

Hi Amy, without any hesitation, living close to the Eiffel Tower is not such a good idea. If you want to get inspiration where Parisian life is, you should be closer to those left bank metros :Odeon, Saint Germain des prés and RER Luxembourg or right bank metros like : Saint Paul, Rambuteau or Hotel de Ville.



answered by
Louise from Sydney, Australia

Regarding your criteria, you should DEFINITELY stay in Saint-Germain-des-Prés. Best places for typical parisian photographies, lots of cafes and restaurants, super super safe, and close to lots of metro stations. 

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Saint-Germain-des-Prés (neighborhood)

answered by
Nadia from Rio de Janeiro


I was in Paris only for 5 months and I was living in the 13eme arrondissement which i think is the best :) because 1. you are far but still close to tourist spots which believe me you will start to appreciate from one point onwards; even if is going to be november is still Paris, after some time in touristic places you will want to have some peace and quiet :P

2. Butte-aux-Cailles  where you have cafes and bars and a nice night life  

but if you really want to wake up in the morning and see the tower then you should do it, (and if the price is not a problem - you are still in Paris) regarding the transportation i don't think is a problem you can always jump in a metro/ bus and go to other neighborhoods

regarding the cafes  try Anti Café (they have 3 locations in Paris) AntiCafé Beaubourg  AntiCafé Louvre and AntiCafé Innovation where you pay the time and enjoy as much coffee and snacks as you want (check their website  :) i simply love it

Enjoy Paris :)

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Butte-aux-Cailles (neighborhood)
  2. AntiCafé Beaubourg (restaurant)
  3. AntiCafé Louvre (restaurant)
  4. AntiCafé Innovation (restaurant)

answered by

We rented a flat in the Quartier Du Marais (Le Marais) area of Paris for a month. We could walk to Notre Dame and the The Louvre, and the Metro was right there to go anywhere else. 

My second favorite area to stay is near the Eiffel Tower in an area called Cler St. Rick Steves writes extensively about both areas. See Get his Paris book and enjoy!

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Quartier Du Marais (attraction)
  2. Notre Dame (neighborhood)
  3. The Louvre (attraction)
  4. Cler St (attraction)

answered by
Stuart from Redondo Beach

2) Apartment in Saint-Germain-des-Prés

Would be my recommendation. I stayed at the Hotel de Suede Saint Germain in April and thoroughly enjoyed the area.

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Saint-Germain-des-Prés (neighborhood)
  2. Hotel de Suede Saint Germain (hotel)

answered by
Raphael from Paris

All things considered, the 16th arrondissement is relatively isolated in terms of public transport... I would recommend staying somewhere more central. My rule of thumb would within or close to the perimeter drawn by the night busses noctilien 01 & 02...  

Also keep in mind that you don't have to be next to the tower to still get a nice view...

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. 16th arrondissement (attraction)

answered by

Definitely the city center!  So many more things to do as far as cafes, shops, and just excitement walking around.  More metro stops too.  Near the Eiffel Tower it's a lot quieter and while safe, the streets are much more empty.  Personally I felt a little less safe there since there since sometimes there was no one else -- it's probably perfectly fine but I would feel better with more people around.  Also the metro stops are farther away from each other near the Eiffel Tower.  

answered by
Ashley from Calgary

Both areas are great.

Saint-Germain-des-Prés is definitely closer to the hustle and bustle of the city, easy to walk to a lot of places, etc., but I actually would lean more towards Passy if you are there for an extended period of time. Paris can be very loud and the busier the area the louder it is and eventually the charm of the outside noises may get to you, especially after a month. I value my sleep so I'd probably choose the quieter area of 16e arrondissement – Passy. I understand the desire to be in the thick of things though and if you're alright with the busier side of life then St Germain is great, it also seems like you may have more space if it's an apartment v. studio, which is also something to consider. 

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Saint-Germain-des-Prés (neighborhood)
  2. 16e arrondissement – Passy (attraction)

answered by
John from Carlsbad (California)

I would opt for Saint-Germain-des-Prés, which is my favorite area in Paris.  The closer to the church, the better.  There are many great cafes, restaurants and shops in the area and the Saint-Germain-des-Pres and Mabillon metro stops have good connections to other parts of the city.  It is also an architecturally interesting area of the city.

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Saint-Germain-des-Prés (neighborhood)

answered by

I think either place would be fine.  I spent a month in Paris two years ago, and I stayed in an apartment in the 16th arrondissement.  It allowed me to see more of the non-tourist areas of Paris than if I had been right in the center.

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. 16th arrondissement (attraction)

answered by
Jennifer from Summit

You MUST stay in Saint-Germain-des-Prés - it is much more in proximity to the center of Paris.  It's a fabulous walking arrondissement with cafe's, bars and the Luxembourg Garden for your Photography! You are also near Paroisse Saint Sulpice, the main street is Rue St. Germain (I think) which will also afford many photo opportunities.  You can take the bateaux on the Seine to the Eiffel tower for photos. I also think staying by the Eiffel Tower is more touristy and you want to "feel" like you're living there.  Bon Voyage - you are on lucky girl. I wish I were you right now....  


Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Saint-Germain-des-Prés (neighborhood)
  2. Luxembourg Garden (attraction)
  3. Paroisse Saint Sulpice (attraction)
  4. Eiffel Tower (attraction)

answered by
Maurice from Paris

Without any doubts you should go to the flat in Saint Germain.

Tour Eiffel area is more "bourgeois" more familly oriented.

In Saint Germain you'll have more diversity, more young people, more cafés and restaurants.

Regarding the comment from John on taxi fares... UBER largely deployed and is still growing fast here.

answered by
Christopher from San Francisco

This is subjective. Many travelers might agree that around the high tourististic areas (Notre Dame being one) are "the real Paris," but a neighborhood more full of Parisians (though Passy is one of the more moneyed parts of the city) is much more interesting. There are plenty of cafés in the 16th arrondissement, you're a short walk to the 8th arrondissement of Paris, great museums (Palais de Tokyo), and the walk from the Eiffel Tower through the 7th (which is beautiful and full of photo opportunities), 6th Arrondissement and 5th arrondissement to someplace like Notre Dame will take you through wonderful, fascinating neighborhoods you probably wouldn't see if you're too focused on the city center. Besides, Paris is small — you could easily walk from the northern tip to the south in a day — so even the outer arrondissements don't feel far from the city center. It's very easy to get almost anywhere by Metro (very easy to navigate, much easier than most US subways). All that said, not knowing how old you are, you might find a neighborhood that has more energy than the 16th better (the 11th, 3rd, 4th and maybe even the 9th would be good for this and you'd be more adjacent to someplace like Notre Dame).

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Notre Dame (neighborhood)
  2. 16th arrondissement (attraction)
  3. 8th arrondissement of Paris (attraction)
  4. Palais de Tokyo (attraction)
  5. 6th Arrondissement (neighborhood)
  6. 5th arrondissement (attraction)

answered by
Rebecca from Manchester

I stayed near the Eiffel Tower and I think its a great place to stay. Anywhere in the city centre will be touristy so you can't real avoid that, but there is something amazing about waking up to the Eiffel Tower each morning. Plus its a great place to chill at lunch or take a bottle of wine at night, and that way you can just walk back to your apartment. Also, walking from the eiffel tower into the city centre (Notre Dame area) really isn't that far and would only take you about 20 minutes.

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Eiffel Tower (attraction)

answered by
ashley from Fort Wayne

You should stay close to Sacré-Cœur Basilica, Montmartre.  This is a very artistic area, where many artists work, and you can use the subway very easily to travel anywhere in paris.

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Sacré-Cœur Basilica (attraction)
  2. Montmartre (attraction)

answered by
Eva from New York City

Given the choice, I would say the 6th Arrondissement, but I would also suggest looking at the 11th arrondissement of Paris. It's a more neighborhood-y neighborhood, with lots of restaurants and bars. Many metro lines. You can visit the 6th and 7th arrondissement easily. 

I know Paris well and always stay in different neighborhoods to immerse (the family I lived with when I was a teenager lives in the 16th - and I will always spend $$$ to stay elsewhere even though I could probably stay with them). Was just in the 9e arrondissement and the 11th. Loved both, but probably preferred the neighborhood of the 11th. 

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. 6th Arrondissement (neighborhood)
  2. 11th arrondissement of Paris (neighborhood)
  3. 7th arrondissement (neighborhood)
  4. 9e arrondissement (neighborhood)

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