Where to stay in Paris?
March 23, 2022 12:45 PM   Subscribe

Where to stay in Paris? We like parks and music and food and art, but have a baby so won't be able to travel all over the city every day.

I've been to Paris a couple of times, long ago, staying in the cheapest possible hostel and happy to walk to for hours and take the metro everywhere. Now I'm hoping to get there in April, this time with my partner who has never been and our 10-month-old baby.

Ideally the baby will be in a good mood and we can have a few long days wandering around the city, but if not and we're limited to the area around where we're staying then we'd like that area to have the things we enjoy! Being central isn't so important, we can always get the train on the day(s) that we want to see the centre.

So, can you recommend somewhere to stay that would tick these boxes?
- A nice park, large enough to walk around with a stroller for a little while.
- A few good bakeries/patisseries
- An interesting range of restaurants
- Live music, especially jazz
- Interesting/nice buildings
- A small gallery or two
- Lots of art/colour/interesting local features

I'm sure we could find most of the above in most places, but even getting a vague idea of the various districts would help to narrow down where to look :)

Thank you!
posted by twirlypen to Travel & Transportation around Paris, France (8 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
When we visited with very young kids (quite a while ago I guess) we stayed in the 16th somewhere off Rue de Passy. Its close to the Bois du Boulogne and the Jardin de Acclimatation and there were some decent little bars and restaurants.
posted by crocomancer at 1:00 PM on March 23 [1 favorite]

The Marais. Place des Vosges is a beautiful historic park surrounded by cafés and shops. Lots of different types of food in this area. There was live music on the street a few times when we were there last time, but it was a weekend thing and in May.
posted by SoberHighland at 1:01 PM on March 23 [5 favorites]

Stay in the 5th or 6th arrondissments within a 2-3 block periphery of the Luxembourg Gardens, the most beautiful park in Paris. Can't fully respond right now with specific recommendations. But if you start your hotel or apartment search within those arrondissments, you can be sure they are teeming with great bakeries, restaurants, jazz clubs, street life, galleries. Several museums--Musée D'Orsay, Louvre, Cluny--are in those locations. The Luxembourg Gardens are in the center of it all.
posted by Elsie at 1:04 PM on March 23 [6 favorites]

The Parc des Buttes Chaumont in the 19th is delightfully whimsical and the 19th is lovely. I’d been to Paris a half dozen times before I even knew it had canals. They’re a lovely and, almost by definitio, level walk. The footbridges across the canal could be challenging with a stroller, but no real reason to cross them.
posted by sjswitzer at 2:19 PM on March 23 [6 favorites]

Paris has a ton of "pocket parks" that are great for kids and dogs. The above-mentioned Place des Vosges has a hidden sandbox, the Eiffel Tower has a playground toward the Trocadero, you'll see a lot if you keep your eye out. And there is a lot more public space than in most US cities, you can stroll down a pedestrian street (like Rue Daguerre or Rue Montsouris) with a stroller, or hang out in front of the Centre Pompidou as long as you like. While it's true that Parisians are much more friendly toward dogs than babies in restaurants, there is a ton of terrace dining.

Jardin Luxembourg is indeed one of the nicer gardens in the world, it's also very big, you might also look near the Parc Montsouris and the Montparnasse cemetery in the 14th. Chaumont is also lovely, more out of the way.

There are a ton of very family-friendly AirBnBs in Paris, I would look for one with great reviews rather than a hotel, which tend to be very small.
posted by wnissen at 2:41 PM on March 23

30 years or something ago, I stayed at the Hotel du Quai Voltaire, and I haven't been there since*, but from the website, it seems unchanged. I thought of it as a perfect place to stay with a small child, because it is so extremely central, you can go out and enjoy something significant and get back in minutes, and yet so laid back, you feel relaxed with a small child, and also get a reasonably peaceful night's sleep.

A completely different approach would be to live somewhere outside of Paris, but with an important garden/park, like in Versailles. I haven't tried that in Paris, but I have in Berlin (Potsdam) and Stockholm (Drottningholm) and it is really an interesting way to visit a city, which works if you already know the city and your visit isn't about checking off tourist boxes.

*I've been in Paris very often since, oftentimes for work or to visit friends and then lived in locations that suited the purpose
posted by mumimor at 2:47 PM on March 23

Seconding La Marais. It's so cozy and neighborly, and IS super close to a lot of things so you can squeeze in sight-seeing between naps.
posted by lunasol at 3:57 PM on March 23 [1 favorite]

Le marais is a great choice, but I'll also add a vote for the area near Denfert, where you have the rue Daguerre, which is fun, and proximity to Luxembourg Gardens, Montsouris Park, the fondation Cartier, institut Giacometti, catacombes,... Smaller "squares" with playgrounds are nice, and those just on front of the 14th city Hall are full of kids after school hours.
(Disclaimer: it's where my kids go to play, and spending time with them there has saved my sanity when I was full time working from home.)
posted by anzen-dai-ichi at 3:41 AM on March 24 [3 favorites]

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