My husband and I are planning a quick 3 1/2 day, 3 night trip in Paris as a stop on our May 2010 Europe trip. Was in Paris for about 48 hours when I was 15 years old, so needless to say, I'm not at all familiar with the city. I'm wondering what area / neighborhood would be good for lodging. We plan to hit a lot of the big sites (Eiffel Tower, Sacre Coeur, Louvre, Arc de Triomphe, etc.) We're 30, fit/can do a lot of walking, love to sight-see, drink wine/beer, eat good food, and generally soak in the culture. Would love your help!
Actual hotel suggestions are also most welcome -- we plan to spend minimal time in the hotel (sleep and shower, basically) but don't want a roach motel. Looking to spend $150 - $200 per night. Thanks so much!
Have a look at the accommodation section of TP; lots of hotels there. I personally like the 5th district (around Panthéon); it's not too touristy, close to everything and has loads of good food.
As to visiting the Louvre: I'd rather not spend my time standing in line. Paris has plenty other good museums that you could visit. Musée d'Orsay is especially recommendable.
I agree with Bentivogli that the 5eme (Latin Quarter/Pantheon) is a good area to be your base while in Paris, since it's central, convenient and have just about anything that you may be looking for nearby. The 6eme (Odeon/St Germain) is a good alternative. You will probably find many places advertised on the internet at cheaper prices for Montmartre area though, but do note that it'll take time to go everywhere else from here, which may be previous time that you don't want to spend in the metro/bus etc. Plus, when you stay somewhere central, you can walk from one place to another, or try to cycle your way with the (nearly) free Velib' if you're brave.
I normally stay in 5eme myself, but alas hosted by my friends so I am not able to give any specific accommodation recommendation. In a recent travel article I read, this hotel in 6eme was recommended for anyone looking for something different and a bit quirky, and perhaps some of these articles (from Guardian) may help : Alastair Sawday's recommendation; budget B&B under €100.
Take note on the address. Parisian postcode starts with 75, so if you see anyplace with other codes, they're to the outskirt of Paris and not within Paris proper anymore. Depending on the area the codes that follow will reflect it, e.g. 5eme is 75005. That should help give you an indication on what area particular hotel/B&B is located.
Other random extra information:
I know some travellers' pet peeve is someone giving someone else advice on how to cramp a lot in a small period of time, and should have taken the time etc etc but I'm going to write the following which hopefully may be useful, even if only in parts.
Many of the main tourist points in Paris are quite concentrated in the city centre itself, running parallel along the river. If you cluster the sights, you could potentially do and see a lot of things, without feeling particularly rushed. I've tried this on my bro and sis-in-law before, as well as some friends, so I do think it works.
Since I don't know when you are travelling, bear in mind
a) most museums are closed on Monday (Louvre is closed on Tuesday instead, and Eiffel Tower is open daily)
b) first Sunday of the month is free museum/heritage site day
One good value item to get is the Paris Museum Pass. Look at the list of sights covered by the pass. Get a 2-days pass. If you do (and want to see) even just 2-3 sights per day, the pass will pay itself off already. And you'll be skipping all the queues, well, except for the tower of Notre Dame Cathedral, which has restriction of number of visitors for safety reasons and therefore there's no queue jumping on this.
If you do get the museum pass, apart from clustering the sights and queue skipping, there are other ways to benefit from it too. E.g. the Arc de Triomphe is open until late at night, and the pass covers the price to go to the top of the arch, so go there late after all the museums etc have closed.
Eiffel Tower is not covered by the pass, so go there on a day when you're not using the pass. On the same day, you may also visit some sights that are always free, such as the Petit Palais, the various cathedrals and churches (including Sacre Coeur), Pere Lachaise cemetary, etc. The possibility is endless.
I'll stop here for now, and if you have other questions, do reply and when I have time next, I'll try to answer them as comprehensively as I can.
I went to Paris early 2008, and had a marvellous trip.
We stayed in the Opera region, very close to the underground metro station "Rome".
The hotel we found was via the airline (Easyjet) so i had my suspicions. As you may be aware, Paris is known for it's smaller rooms (cosy, they call it) and so when we arrived i didn't except a Hilton.
I've attached the hotel website, because it's worth a look. It was within walking distance of the Champs Elysees, and everything else was easy by metro.
Clean rooms, gorgeous bed, and the staff were outstanding!
It's an option for you, in any case.
I just got back from Paris two days ago and had a marvelous time. I stayed a few blocks from Notre Dame which was very central. The hotel is very budget but it was clean. What I liked the most about it was the convenience. It's right next to the metro, right next to the shops and is walking distance to everything.
I recommend going to the Lourve, especially on the late nights (Friday or Wednesday). I was there on Friday night after 6pm and there wasn't any queues (or barely). I came in through the mall entrance (not the one in the court where the glass pyramid is). Going in after 6pm meant that the cost is 6 Euros and you still get to spend 4 hours in the museum.
So first day, I just had the afternoon and went to see Notre Dame, then walked to the Lourve. Saturday I walked through St Germain, through Jardin de Luxembourg, went past the Hotel des Invalides building and through to the Eiffel Tower. Walked up to the second floor then walked to the Arc de triomphe, down Champs-Elysees to the Concorde, then to Marie-Madeline building, then to the academy of music building in Opera. Had dinner, hair cut and went back to the hotel exhausted. Oh and bought some cognac for my Dad's 60th.
Sunday, I walked from the hotel (next to Rue de Rivoli) all the way to Sacre Coeur and around the Montmartre area. Then took the metro to the marche puce (flea market) in Saint-Ouen. It is huge and I was very exhausted by the end of the day. I did manage to go see the Pantheon that night as well.
Next morning, I managed to see the Saint-Martin arches near rue Sebastopol before catching the train back to London.
I think I saw most of Paris last weekend. My feet is doing very well considering how much I walked. Paris seems huge on the map, but it is within walking distance. You also see more of the city by walking through the streets. It's very interesting.
I hope you have a good time!