Paris hotels guide for first time visitors

By Mathilde Vuillemenot | Last update on August 20, 2023

Hey there, fellow travelers! So, you're all set to explore the enchanting streets of Paris? I'll help you pick a hotel that really fits you. This way, your time in Paris will be even better. I think hotels are essential when you travel, they're part of the experience.

Paris hotel guide for first time visitors


This helpful guide will assist you in discovering the ideal hotel for your stay... C'est parti! 


Where to stay when visiting Paris?

When it comes to finding the best place to stay in Paris, here's my golden rule: look for 4-star and 5-star hotels. They're like trustworthy landmarks telling you, 'Hey, this area is top-notch!' Take a peek at the map below to discover the prime spots that will make your Paris stay even sweeter.

Paris map for 4-star and 5-star hotels


Let's talk about the dream zones, especially when visiting Paris for the first time. Imagine mixing iconic sights with charming local spots – that's the winning formula. The Latin Quarter, Saint Germain des Prés, and the Marais neighborhoods hit the jackpot. Being near famous landmarks not only saves time but also keeps your feet happy. And the thrill of seeing the landmarks at different times of the day is like a Parisian magic trick that never gets old. Plus, nestling down in a bustling local neighborhood lets you dive into true Parisian life. These three areas I mentioned are central, convenient, pretty, lively – a perfect blend of everything you'd want.

Now, if you're a Paris veteran or simply find the touristy spots booked up, worry not. The hidden treasures of Montmartre, the 11th, 15th, and 16th districts are ready to embrace you. Picture yourself strolling through markets, grabbing baguettes, and savoring those local restaurants and cafés that only insiders know.

Hold up, there’s a last crucial topic: airport hotels. A common question I hear is, 'Should I stay near the airport?' Well, my firm answer is no. Airports are very distant from the city center. You don't want to spend your precious hours hopping between them. Choose an airport hotel only if you've got those super early or super late flights. Then, being close to the runway is a blessing. But remember, your Paris adventure deserves better than airport views all trip long!


Selecting a hotel in Paris: the 8 essentials

Ready to crack the code for your Parisian stay? Buckle up for some serious tips to select your hotel in Paris. Let's kick things off right: if you're eyeing a 4-star or 5-star hotel, you're on the right track! Now, here are the 8 must-haves to lock in your perfect Parisian stay:

  1. Timing Matters: Before locking in your hotel, sketch your Paris adventure. This way, you can match your hotel's location with your must-see landmarks.
  2. Metro Magic: A top-notch trick is finding a hotel close to not just one, but two metro stations on different lines. That way, you've got the city's heartbeat at your doorstep.
  3. Review Reality: Google is your buddy. Check out overall ratings, but don't forget to peek at the latest comments – sort by 'latest' for the freshest insights. Look also the negative reviews to check there are no issues with those nitty-gritty details that matter to you, like cleanliness and noise vibes.
  4. Chill or Chilly?: If air conditioning is a must for you, snoop around the room description and maybe even drop a question to the hotel crew.
  5. Peace of mind: Got some extra budget? Opt for a booking with free cancellations. Or check the cancellation insurance of your trusty credit card. 
  6. Early Bird Check-In: For travelers arriving after an overnight flight, ask if an early check-in is in the cards. No waiting means instant bliss in your room.
  7. Wi-Fi Wonder: A no-brainer these days, but check if the hotel offers free Wi-Fi. Staying connected is key, right?
  8. Traveler Tribe: Join the "Paris travel tips" Facebook group for some goldmine recommendations. If you find yourself uncertain about the hotels you've narrowed down, rest assured that this group is here to lend a hand and gladly address any inquiries you might have.

Finding your perfect Parisian hotel might seem like a maze, but don't worry if you're not a hotel-hunting pro. Being an avid explorer and having a background in the tourism industry, the task of finding a hotel is an enjoyable pursuit for me. But I totally understand that, for some, it's a thrill, and for others, it's just a stepping stone.

Oh! And if you're a last-minute booker, remember Paris loves its tourists and events. While you might not find perfection on a whim, surprises can be delightful too (or funny… after all).


Favorite Paris hotels

Travel advisors, journalists, and Paris aficionados have meticulously assessed and divulged their favorite Paris hotels. I curated for you the list of the best links and comprehensive reviews on Paris hotels. These suggestions are definitely going to be a great asset as you navigate through the process of selecting your ideal hotel in Paris: 


Navigating hotel comforts in Paris: a handy guide (especially for American Travelers)

Ready to immerse yourself in the charm of Parisian hotels? Before you check in, let's dive into some insider insights, tailored especially for American travelers. Brace yourself for a delightful blend of subtle differences that make Parisian stays unique (and fun!):

  • AC Expectations: Unlike the chilly American norm, European AC may not be as frosty. Don't be surprised if some hotels skip AC altogether. A fan might be there, but it won't always do the trick.
  • Ice Quest: Need ice? High-end hotels might have it upon request, but not all provide it. For your icy fix, head to the bar area.
  • Washcloth Woes: Bring your own washcloths – many hotels don't provide them.
  • Embrace the Petite: Get ready for a space reality check. European rooms are smaller, bathrooms are snug, toilets might be pocket-sized. Hand towels and counter space? Limited. And those wall-mounted heaters? Patience is key. 
  • Elevator Enchantment: Elevators are hotel unsung heroes. Check if your chosen spot boasts one, especially in historic buildings, where they might just be adorably tiny.
  • Power Play: Of course, don't forget your converter! Your devices will thank you.

As you prepare for your Parisian escapade, these tidbits will help you transition seamlessly into the charm of Parisian hotels. Enjoy your stay!