Paris Beyond Le Marais
Le Marais gets a lot of boho, in-crowd love in Paris but the gay cum Jewish quarter that straddles the 3rd and 4th arrondissements is not the only enclave of interest in the City of Light. Check out some other hip haunts in the French capital that evince their own brand of buzz.
20th, 19th, 10th, 11th arrondissements
Belleville will never compete with Le Marais’ moneyed sheen but that isn’t the point. A veritable village within the city, Belleville has enough pop culture references (see short film The Triplets of Belleville and book The Baby of Belleville) to cement the district’s lively, “beautiful town” status. Ã‰dith Piaf came of age in Belleville and, indeed, Marion Cotillard’s memorable turn as the singer in the 2007 biopic La Vie En Rose featured many a scene here. A convivial, colourful neighbourhood.
Where to stay: Grand Hotel Amelot Paris
The 17th is largely off the beaten track, which is why we recommend it so heartily and regularly to intrepid Paris travellers. Batignolles is not about museums or grand monuments, though colossal Batignolles Cemetery and the Square des Batignolles do offer photogenic repose. No, rather, this workaday, recently desirable place to dwell (the going rate on flats has soared over the last decade) unfurls Paris at its quotidian best – real people live and work here.
Where to stay: Prince Monceau Hotel Paris
Once part of Batignolles, Ã‰pinettes is another ‘hood that has taken off due to its location on the extreme periphery of the city proper. Delineated by Avenue de Clichy, Avenue de Saint-Ouen and the major Paris suburb of Clichy (always a decent, affordable bet for hotels in Paris), Ã‰pinettes oozes with charm and furtive little corners to explore. A lot of French literary and impressionist history here.
Where to stay: Holiday Inn Paris Porte De Clichy
It’s not the under-the-radar petit village it once was but Montmartre is still a fave. The key is to get away from the AmÃ©lie Poulain tourists, those lost on the way to SacrÃ©-CÅ“ur Basilica and tacky Pigalle (on the southern edge of the quarter) and delve into the smaller, narrower streets. This is, after all, where the likes of van Gogh, Matisse, Renoir and Picasso mined inspiration, which makes it perennially cool.
Where to stay: Comfort Hotel Montmartre Place du Tertre Paris
Tiny ÃŽle Saint-Louis may be the opposite of boho, in some ways, but the Seine island is a lovely, unexpected residential pocket, en plein milieu de la ville.
Where to stay: Comfort Mouffetard Hotel Paris
5th and 13th arrondissements
Historic Faubourg Saint-Marcel incorporates rue Mouffetard, one of the defining arteries in Hemingway’s A Moveable Feast Paris memoirs.
Where to stay: Paris Marriott Rive Gauche Hotel & Conference Center
The 11th is oft-ignored by tourists, for some perplexing reason, but draws trendy Parisians and expats to the Oberkampf district, where myriad boÃ®tes de nuit du jour set the nightlife tone.
Where to stay: Beaumarchais Hotel Paris