Where to stay in Paris is a question I have seen people who plan a visit to Paris ask all the time. Most of the answers I have come accross online tend to revolve around this or that hotel, B-&-Bs versus vacation apartment rentals, and a slew of other legitimate lodging considerations. But, it has occurred to me that when people ask these questions, the underlying concern that is never consciously stated is: Where is it safe and comfortable to stay?
And the flip side of that coin is: Where is it unsafe and not recommended that you stay? Most travelers are savvy enough to not need a specific hotel recommendation, but because they do not know the town, what they really seem to need is general pointers about suitable areas where to stay in Paris so they can direct their own search.
If this correctly frames your concerns, let me give you a very easy answer that I hope will provide you with a more serene outlook as you go on about your search for lodging during your Paris trip. It will also help you with your strategy on things to do in Paris.
The city of Paris as a whole is a very safe place and frankly does not have nearly the level of danger or violence you might associate with other renowned metropoleis such as LA, New York, Rio, etc. The main difference lies in the fact that these other urban centers tend to have a nice part of town versus poor areas you are told to avoid at all costs unless you know what you're doing.
In Paris, even the iffy areas of the 18th or 19th arrondissements (city subdivisions) are also places where seedy spots like Pigalle's sex-shop district are only a stone's throw from revered sites like Montmartre and the Sacre Coeur basilica, all popular attractions in Paris. The city of light is a generally tame and homogeneous urban environment.
Except for rare North-East Paris spots with boarded up and decrepit buildings that you will instinctively recognize as an area where you probably shouldn't plan your midnight stroll, the city itself (I'm excluding certain ill-reputed outlying suburbs) is just fine.
Within the city limits, the most you typically have to worry about is Rom (Gypsy) pickpockets in crowded areas, public transportation and touristy hotspots like the Eiffel Tower. This is out-in-the-open petty crime that has no impact on where you actually stay. And as long as you take basic common sense precautions, it is very unlikely that you will be victimized.
As a traveler, where to stay in Paris is best served around the center of the city for the simple reason that the bulk of touristic activities, museums, monuments, world renowned attractions and things to see in Paris are concentrated in that area.
As a result, the majority of thoroughly reviewed and screened lodging options will tend to be found around that area as well. Also, it is a compact, practically walkable area in which you do not have to worry about how or when to get home even if you stay out late passed the last metro. (Speaking of last metro, basic common sense precautions apply here as well).
The first 10 of the 20 (concentric) Paris arrondissements are, for all practical purposes, your epicenter. To be clear, there are areas of the city such as the 15th or 17th arrondissements that are equal or nicer than anything in "central" arrondissements 1 to 10. However, they are not as centrally located and are usually of better value to local residents than to tourists.
I do want to stress that all these areas are pretty close from one another (Paris proper is not that large and is relatively easy to navigate from point to point). Do not misconstrue this to mean that if you found a good deal for a hotel outside the first 10 arrondissements, you should not consider it. That could not be further from the truth. I'm only pointing to what are "typically" easier, visitor-friendly accommodations.
With a little due diligence, you can find suitable lodging throughout most of the city, but if you were to jump in with blinders on and little time to canvass, your best bet for where to stay in Paris would be around the center of the city.
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