Last updated on April 2, 2024 by Stefano Ferro, founder of MEL365, following extensive travelling in Paris

Where to stay in Paris on a budget – 5 TOP AREAS

Are you wondering where to stay in Paris on a budget without compromising on the grandeur and charm the City of Lights has to offer?

I’ve got you covered!

I still remember myself looking for the best place to stay in Paris on a budget when I got offered a year contract in Paris. Not easy, but doable, starting from the eclectic 11th arrondissement to the tranquil suburbs of Charenton-le-Pont.

Whether you’re a solo backpacker, a couple on a romantic getaway, or a family seeking affordable comfort, you can find in this guide 5 awesome areas to book your hotel and enjoy Paris’s magic without burning a hole in your pocket.

But let’s dive into the enchanting, affordable side of Paris!

Where to stay in Paris on a budget – A quick summary

Here below is a quick summary table of the 5 best areas to stay in Paris on a budget. You can easily compare the 5 neighbourhoods and make your decision based on what you are looking for.

The city is divided into 20 arrondissements. As a rule of thumb, the closer you are to the Paris centre (Arr. 1-4) the more expensive it gets.

For a cheaper stay, you better book your hotel outside the French capital. Charenton-le-Pont and Arcueil are two great communes, well connected by train/metro. There are plenty of cheap accommodations north of Paris too, however, these areas are a bit rougher and you should be more vigilant at night.

If you prefer to stay in the city, then Arrondissements 11, 18 and 19 are the most affordable neighbourhoods to stay.

You can click on the area name in the table for a full description of the neighbourhood including all the pros, cons, budget restaurants and affordable attractions in the area. Swipe left and right on a mobile to see the entire table.

AreaIdeal forProsConsBudgetMetro StopsAttractionsRestaurantsFamiliesNightlifeCharacter
Arrondiss. 19Buttes-Chaumont
(in Paris)
A quiet stayAffordable, cultural diversity, artistic sceneSome parts can be a bit roughLowStalingrad, Jaurès, and Place des FêtesParc de la Villette, City of Science and IndustryGood, wide range of international cuisineExcellent, park and science museumModerate, more a cultural sceneDiverse and colourful
Arrondiss. 18 – Montmartre
(in Paris)
Ideal for couples, culture & artVibrant, artistic and multiculturalCan be noisy and crowdedLow to Mid-rangeBarbès – Rochechouart, Château Rouge, and AbbessesMontmartre, Sacré-Cœur Basilica, Place du TertreExcellent, famous for its French cafes and bakeriesGoodExcellent, very vibrant and livelyIconic Parisian
Arrondiss. 11 – Bastille
(in Paris)
Young and trendy crowdVibrant, plenty of bars and restaurantsCan be noisy, especially at nightLow to Mid-rangeRépublique, Bastille, and ParmentierPlace de la Bastille, Père Lachaise CemeteryExcellent, trendy restaurants and barsModerateExcellent, vibrant nightlife sceneHip and trendy, historic buildings
Charenton-le-Pont
(outside Paris)
Ideal for families, peacefulAffordable, quietFewer traditional Parisian attractionsLow+LibertéBois de Vincennes, Parc ZoologiqueModerateExcellent, plenty of parks and zooNoneTranquil suburban, natural scenery
Arcueil
(outside Paris)
A very cheap stayAffordable, student-friendlyNot much of a Paris feelingLow++RER B line stop: Arcueil – CachanAqueduct of Arcueil, Parc de SceauxModestGood, peaceful atmosphereNoneSuburban
Where to stay in Paris on a budget – A quick comparison of the 5 best areas
Map of where to stay in Paris on a budget
Map of where to stay in Paris on a budget

Arrondissement 19 – Buttes-Chaumont

Best place to stay in Paris on a budget for a quiet local experience

  • Pros: Affordable accommodations, beautiful park, local vibe.
  • Cons: Distance from central Paris, fewer top attractions.
  • Attractions: Parc des Buttes-Chaumont, Canal de l’Ourcq, Parc de la Villette, Cité des Sciences et de l’Industrie.
  • Suggested Restaurants and Cafes: Le Pavillon du Lac, Rosa Bonheur, Moncoeur Belleville, Paname Brewing Company.

A long time ago I was offered a one-year work contract in Paris. I love the centre of the city, however, I find it sometimes too energetic, and pricey too.

But tucked away from the typical hustle and bustle, I found the 19th Arrondissement offering a different pace of life. It’s also right next to Gare du Nord, so handy for day trips by train.

Paris - Typical facades of the beautiful buildings with old zinc roofs close to Gare du Nord
Paris – Typical facades of the beautiful buildings with old zinc roofs close to Gare du Nord

This neighbourhood is still inside the Paris ring, right on the top-right of the city. It might not have the Eiffel Tower or Louvre’s art, but it carries an unassuming charm and a local vibe.

Interestingly enough, the 19th Arrondissement doesn’t make it to most tourists’ must-see lists, nor does it have the fame of its neighbours.

The beauty of this district lies in its everyday, authentic Parisian life, where tourists are sparse, and locals roam the streets.

The centrepiece of this arrondissement is the enchanting Parc des Buttes-Chaumont. This park is not your regular neatly manicured French park; instead, it’s a rugged and wild space, designed to mimic nature.

Lush trees provide shade, various bird species fill the air with their songs, and the soothing sound of the waterfall cascading down a cliff completes the idyllic scene.

The park’s highlight is the ‘Temple de la Sibylle’. This is a small version of the ancient Roman Temple of Vesta, located in the middle of a lake.

Strolling around the park and the broader 19th Arrondissement, you can’t help but notice the array of architectural styles. From Haussmannian-style buildings to modern structures, the diversity is part of its charm.

One such modern marvel is the Cité des Sciences et de l’Industrie, Europe’s largest science museum, offering a fun-filled day for kids and adults alike.

Not far from the park is the tranquil Canal de l’Ourcq, the perfect place to relax. The canal side is lined with hip bistros and cafes where you can enjoy a hearty meal without worrying about breaking the bank.

Le Pavillon du Lac, a restaurant set inside Parc des Buttes-Chaumont, serves French cuisine with a view.

For a laid-back afternoon, try a craft beer at Paname Brewing Company on the canal’s edge, one of my favourite places to hang out without breaking the bank.

In this district, music lovers will find an exciting scene with some of Paris’s most innovative music venues, such as the Philharmonie de Paris and the Trabendo.

Staying in the 19th Arrondissement feels like stepping into another era, where time slows down, letting you savour every moment.

Although it may not boast the grandeur of other Parisian districts, this area’s raw charm, affordable lodging options, and peaceful atmosphere make it a perfect destination for anyone seeking a unique Parisian adventure.

Interesting fact: Did you know that the Buttes-Chaumont Park was built on a former quarry site? Baron Haussmann commissioned engineer Jean-Charles Alphand and horticulturist Jean-Pierre Barillet-Deschamps to transform the site into a picturesque garden, which was opened during the 1867 Universal Exhibition in Paris.

Here are 3 of the best hotels in Arrondissement 19 – Buttes-Chaumont:

UCPA Sport Station Hostel ($): comfortable stay, active lifestyle, friendly staff, good cleanliness, yet weaker WiFi

Paris On Top ($+): superb experience with friendly staff, comfortable accommodations, and excellent facilities

ibis Budget La Villette ($+): Affordable, well-located with free WiFi. Comfortable yet small rooms. Staff helpful, but breakfast lacks variety. Good value.

Arrondissement 18 – Montmartre

Best place to stay in Paris on a budget for couples and a bohemian vibe.

  • Pros: Budget-friendly, vibrant arts scene, stunning views.
  • Cons: Hilly and crowded, can be touristy.
  • Attractions: Sacré-Cœur Basilica, Place du Tertre, Musée de Montmartre, The Wall of Love.
  • Suggested Restaurants and Cafes: Le Coq Rico, Creperie Broceliande, Le Relais Gascon, Café des Deux Moulins.
Paris - Typical cobblestone street of Montmartre
Paris – Typical cobblestone street of Montmartre

The 18th arrondissement is a famous area with a vibrant past as the bohemian hub of the city. Picasso, Dali, and van Gogh are a few of the famous artists that lived and worked in the area. Today, the spirit of these artists is palpable in the charming, narrow, cobblestone streets of Montmartre.

Even if you do not decide to stay here, you should at least visit the iconic Sacré-Cœur Basilica, located right on top of Montmartre Hill. From its steps, you can marvel at the stunning panoramic view of Paris below.

The Basilica is a truly magnificent sight with its unique Romano-Byzantine architectural style. Its white façade shines against the blue Parisian sky (on those lucky days that do not rain), captivating passers-by and encouraging a moment of tranquillity amid the city’s bustle.

Just a stone’s throw away from Sacré-Cœur is the famous Place du Tertre. This small square is lined with artists sketching portraits and selling their works, reminiscent of a time when the likes of Monet and Renoir roamed these streets.

If you have time and money for only one museum, you should make it to the Musée de Montmartre. You will be surprised by its exhibitions, a real open book on the history of the neighbourhood and its artists.

In terms of food, Montmartre doesn’t disappoint. Despite its touristy reputation, one can still find reasonably priced, quality meals in this area.

or an authentic French dining experience, try the poultry dishes at Le Coq Rico, or head over to Café des Deux Moulins, famous as the café where the film “Amélie” was shot.

Paris - View of Eiffel Tower from the dome of the Basilica of Sacré-Cœur de Montmartre
Paris – View of the Eiffel Tower from the dome of the Basilica of Sacré-Cœur de Montmartre

Indeed, Montmartre’s unique charm lies in its blend of past and present, the high and the low, the iconic and the hidden. You can easily experience an authentic bohemian ambience with historic streets and coffee at famous artist cafes.

Montmartre is surely a little gem, but not a hidden gem. In saying that you can still experience here the local vibe of Paris that many other areas have lost. Staying here offers a chance not just to visit Paris, but to live it.

To wake up to the tolling of Sacré-Cœur’s bells, to buy fresh produce from Rue Lepic’s market, to watch local kids play football in the shadow of ancient buildings – this is what makes Montmartre special.

It is a haven for budget travellers who aren’t just looking for cheap accommodation but a memorable, authentic Parisian experience.

Interesting fact: The 18th arrondissement is home to the last two vineyards in Paris – Clos Montmartre and Clos des Morillons. Clos Montmartre even hosts a grape harvest festival each year!

Here are 2 of the best hotels in Arrondissement 18 – Montmartre:

Hotel Luxia ($+): good value, friendly staff, clean and comfortable rooms. Prime location for Paris exploration. WiFi could improve.

Montmartre Apartments Chagall ($+): Cozy 1BR apartments, excellent staff, superb location, comfortably clean, and great value. Perfect Parisian charm for short stays.

Arrondissement 11 – Bastille

Best place to stay in Paris on a budget for young trendy travellers

  • Pros: Affordable, lively nightlife, rich in history.
  • Cons: Can be noisy, fewer green spaces.
  • Attractions: Bastille Market, Opéra Bastille, The July Column, Atelier des Lumières.
  • Suggested Restaurants and Cafes: Septime, Bofinger, East Mamma, Café de l’Industrie.
Paris - The beautiful buildings on Boulevard Beaumarchais in the 11th arrondissement
Paris – The beautiful buildings on Boulevard Beaumarchais in the 11th arrondissement

The 11th Arrondissement is a great area that offers vibrant and youthful energy without breaking the bank. It’s where you’ll find hip bars and trendy restaurants right next to historic spots that tell stories of the French Revolution. A great mix of old and new architecture, which somehow works so well together.

One of the highlights of this area is the Bastille Market. It’s not a secret gem of the city but definitely, this open-air market is a place which feels so Parisien.

Just walking through the bustling market, smelling the fresh bread, and looking at all the food from cheese to fruits is such a great local experience.

For history lovers, the July Column, which stands tall in the middle of the Place de la Bastille, is a sight to behold. This towering monument marks the spot where the Bastille prison once stood, a symbol of the French Revolution.

Right next to the column is the modern Opéra Bastille, a stark contrast to the history-laden monument. Here, you can catch an opera or a ballet performance if you’re up for a bit of culture.

If art is more your thing, check out the Atelier des Lumières. This digital art centre hosts immersive exhibitions that combine art and technology in a unique way.

Paris - Bastille harbour with houseboats on the Seine
Paris – Bastille harbour with houseboats on the Seine

Food in the Bastille ranges from traditional French to modern fusion. For an authentic French dining experience, Bofinger, the oldest brasserie in Paris, is a must-visit. If you want to try a mix of Italian and French food, head to East Mamma for its tasty pizzas and vibrant atmosphere.

Staying in Bastille means you’re in a buzzing area full of life. The streets are always alive with people, and the atmosphere is contagious.

For this reason, I believe the 11th Arrondissement is one of the best places to stay in Paris for the young crowd on a budget. You will be able to enjoy the night till the early morning, and then off for the city exploration during the day. A full Parisian immersion.

Interesting fact: The Bastille neighbourhood is well known for its trendy and modern vibe. However, interestingly enough, the 11th Arrondissement has also some of the oldest buildings in Paris, like the Saint-Ambroise Church.

Here are 3 of the best hotels in Arrondissement 11 – Bastille:

A great value hotel in Paris is the Gardette Park Hotel. It’s well-priced and it offers also a 2BR accommodation that works so well for a family stay. It is also just opposite a playground in a little garden, perfect for some fun time with the kids, and, admittedly, almost impossible to find in the city centre.

The location is perfect, meters away from 3 Metro stations (Saint Ambroise, Voltaire and Rue Saint-Maur) which makes it so convenient.

Gardette Park Hotel
Gardette Park Hotel

Hotel des Vosges ($): Affordable and clean, it delivers value for money with its excellent location, comfortable rooms, and friendly staff.

JO&JOE Paris – Nation ($+): Chic, vibrant hostel with comfortable beds, clean facilities, and a buzzing rooftop bar. Great location.

Charenton-le-Pont – Outside Paris

Best place to stay in Paris on a budget for families or for a peaceful experience

  • Pros: Peaceful, scenic views, family-friendly, budget-friendly, one of the most inexpensive places to stay close to Paris.
  • Cons: Further from central Paris, less nightlife.
  • Attractions: Bois de Vincennes, Paris Zoological Park, Lake Daumesnil, Parc Floral de Paris.
  • Suggested Restaurants and Cafes: Le Lion d’Or, Mak Boucané, Restaurant L’etoile

Charenton-le-Pont is a charming suburb just outside the Paris ring and next to the 12th Arrondissement. It’s a tranquil area with a family-friendly atmosphere.

Sure, you will miss out on the typical Parisien architecture but despite being a bit further from the city, the area is well-connected with direct metro lines, allowing you to reach central Paris in around 20-30 minutes.

Nature lovers will be happy with the vicinity of Bois de Vincennes, the largest public park in the city. It’s a great place to have a leisurely stroll, go for a run, or even rent a boat and row on the picturesque Lac Daumesnil.

If you’re visiting with kids, they will love the Paris Zoological Park, also located within the park. Another attraction within Bois de Vincennes is the Parc Floral de Paris, especially beautiful in spring and summer when flowers are in full bloom.

Paris - Daumesnil Lake,the temple of love and artificial grotto next to Charenton-le-Pont
Paris – Daumesnil Lake, the temple of love and artificial grotto next to Charenton-le-Pont

When it comes to dining, Charenton-le-Pont offers a selection of charming cheap eateries. For a mix of French and Mediterranean cuisine, Le Lion d’Or is a great choice.

Mak Boucané, as the name suggests, provides a cosy and welcoming atmosphere to enjoy a cup of coffee or a light meal. If you’re in the mood for some kebab, Restaurant L’etoile won’t disappoint with its high quality and low prices.

Living in Charenton-le-Pont means you get to enjoy a quieter, more serene version of Paris without compromising on access to the city’s main attractions. It’s perfect for those on a budget who still want to have a genuine Parisian experience, away from the tourist crowds.

Here are 2 of the best hotels in Charenton-le-Pont:

Résidence Paris Saint-Maurice ($): Comfortable, clean, renovated flats with helpful staff; good value, but weak Wi-Fi.

Charme de l’ancien ($): Charming vintage ambience at Paris’ doorstep; impeccable cleanliness, high-value facilities, and welcoming staff

Arcueil – Outside Paris

Best place to stay in Paris on a very cheap budget

  • Pros: Affordable, student-friendly, good transport links.
  • Cons: Limited nightlife, fewer tourist attractions.
  • Attractions: Aqueduct of Arcueil, Parc de Sceaux.
  • Suggested Restaurants and Cafes: Rubeo Monte, Café de la Gare, Grill Istanbul, Boulangerie Pâtisserie Lerebourg.

Arcueil might not be in the heart of the city, but it certainly has its own charm and appeal. Although predominantly a residential area, the presence of several educational institutions gives it a youthful and vibrant atmosphere.

The direct metro connection ensures you can reach the Paris city centre within 10-15 minutes.

Paris - The Metro is the best easiest and cheapest way to get around Paris
Paris – The Metro is the best easiest and cheapest way to get around Paris

The ancient Aqueduct of Arcueil is the key landmark in the area but is not really close to the Arcueil Station.

However, take the metro and in 4 stops you will be at Parc de Sceaux, a beautiful park boasting formal gardens, woodlands, and a stunning château – a perfect place for a family picnic or a relaxed afternoon.

For food enthusiasts, Arcueil presents a humble selection of eateries. Rubeo Monte is a local favourite, offering good food and drink. Café de la Gare is an ideal spot for a morning coffee, while Grill Istanbul is a great place for a Turkish-inspired meal.

For dessert, head to Boulangerie Pâtisserie Lerebourg, renowned for its mouthwatering pastries and cakes.

Staying in Arcueil means you can enjoy a peaceful suburban lifestyle while still having easy access to the vibrancy of Paris. Its affordability makes it particularly appealing if your budget is very tight.

Interesting Fact: The aqueduct in Arcueil is one of the remaining vestiges of Roman engineering in the area, with the section in Arcueil being part of the “Aqueduc Médicis” built in the 17th century.

Here are 2 of the best hotels in Arcueil:

Ecla Paris Villejuif ($): Comfortable, clean, well-equipped rooms. Excellent value, with top-notch facilities. A touch far from the centre, but recommended.

Résidence Chlorophylle ($): historic charm, comfortable, clean with good facilities. Great staff, excellent Wi-Fi, ideal location.

Rooftop view of Paris
Rooftop view of Paris

FAQ – Where to stay in Paris on a budget

What is the cheapest area to stay in Paris?

The 19th and 18th arrondissements generally offer the most budget-friendly accommodations. For a cheaper stay go outside Paris and Arcueil is probably my favourite choice

Is staying in Charenton-le-Pont or Arcueil a good budget option?

Yes, both areas offer more affordable lodgings and are just a short metro ride away from Paris’s city centre.

Can I find affordable food in budget areas of Paris?

Absolutely. Budget areas like the 18th and 11th arrondissements are known for their variety of inexpensive eateries.

Are budget areas in Paris safe for tourists?

Like any large city, each area has its safer and riskier parts. Research your accommodation area in advance for safety. The northern areas outside Paris are usually rougher on the edge.

Is it easy to access tourist attractions from these budget areas?

Yes, Paris’s excellent metro system makes it easy to reach the main attractions from any district.

Which budget area is best for a family trip to Paris?

Charenton-le-Pont is family-friendly, close to nature parks, and offers affordable lodgings.

Are budget areas in Paris noisy?

Some can be lively, like the 18th and 11th arrondissements. For quieter options, consider Charenton-le-Pont or Arcueil.

Stefano Ferro - MEL365.com Founder and Editor

About the Author

Stefano is a seasoned travel expert and the visionary founder of MEL365.com, a leading travel website with traffic across 6 continents. With a rich background in the travel industry, Stefano spent four pivotal years at Amadeus Travel Distribution System, gaining invaluable insights into travel technologies and distribution.

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