I don’t have any specific hotels to recommend. I can just tell you about the different areas.
1. Latin Quarter/Saint Germain-des-Pres area (also called the Left Bank and its the 5th, 6th, and 7th arrondissements) because it’s always very lively, its where the big universities are and there are always things going on at all times of the day. It’s the stereotypical small cobblestone street with cafés scene. Walking distance to a lot of monuments and museums.
2. Le Marais/Le Louvre (1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th arrondissements). Somewhat of a trendy area. Lots of shopping, cafés, ect. Somewhat eclectic culturally, very artsy. A lot of unpretentious cafés and art galleries and a lot of night life. Also, not very touristy so if you want to feel like a local stay here.
3. Champs-Elysées/Trocadero (8th, 9th, 16th, 17th arrondissements). This area is probably the most famous in Paris because the Champs-Elysées is the largest street and there are a lot of high end stores and restaurants. Very expensive area.
1. Eiffel Tower
2. Arch of Triomphe
3. Musée du Louvre
4. Musée Orsay
5. Notre Dame
6. Sacre Coeur
7. Place de la Concorde
8. Place Vendôme
9. La Madeleine
10. Palais Royale
Things to Do
After you do all of the tourist things like visiting all of the monuments, churches, and museums, you have to do some things that Parisians do. Which is basically aimlessly walking around and discovering the city or sitting at an outside café with a drink and people watching. There is nothing better than walking the streets of Paris at night admiring the beautifully lit buildings and monuments.
1. Eiffel Tower. You can take the elevator to the 1st floor, 2nd floor, and top of it. This is the most typical tourist thing to do, but you have to do it. Great views. Also, there is a restaurant on the 1st and 2nd floors. The one on the 1st floor is called 58 Tour Eiffel. It is a more casual dining area but still very nice. On the 2nd floor is the really nice restaurant called the Jules Verne. This is expensive and you have to dress up for this one. On the top of the Eiffel Tower is a champagne bar. If you want to go to any of these restaurants you have to have a reservation. You can go on their website here: http://www.restaurants-toureiffel.com/index.cfm/lid/2 to do that.
2. Bateaux Mouches. These are the boats that go up and down the Seine river. It’s touristy, but fun. You get to see almost all of the major monuments and can get some great photos. The one during the day you can get at the river in front of the Eiffel Tower, no reservation needed, you can just go on whenever you want. There is also one at night that is a dinner cruise.You can make reservations for that here: http://www.bateauxparisiens.com/english.html
3. Walk the Champs-Elysées, the largest street in Paris. I don’t really like the Champs-Elysées because it’s touristy and always very crowded, but you have to go just to say you did.
4. Luxembourg Gardens. This is in the latin quarter and is a famous park/garden area in Paris. Very relaxing, nice to walk around and look at the statues. There is a little outdoor café in there too to sit for a while and people watch.
5. Place Contrescarpe. This is a little area behind the Pantheon that you need a map to find, but you will be the only tourist there, very typically Parisian. It is a small square lined with cafés. Just go there for lunch or something. It’s a quick stop.
6. Le Marais. This is part of the Latin Quarter. It is a Jewish/Israeli neighborhood. There are a lot of vintage stores and small shops in this area. The small, curvy streets are fun to walk around or sit at a café and people watch, go to the stores. If you like falafel or schwarama sandwiches, go to L’As du Fallafel at 34 rue des Rosiers.
7. The Long Hop (Bar/Pub). This was my favorite place to go out. I went there probably every weekend. It is your typical American or Irish pub. Loud music, any drink you want and there will probably be a lot of people there who are American/Irish/British who live in Paris. It is here: 25 rue Frédéric Sauton in the Latin Quarter.
Up the hill from the Long Hop is basically the same scene called Le Violin Dingue. It stays open longer than the Long Hop so usually when it closes everyone migrates to Le Violin Dinge at 46 rue de la Montagne Sainte-Geneviève.
If you like clubbing, all of the clubs in Paris are almost the same. Here’s a list of the ones I went to:
1. Le Cabaret, 2 Place Palais Royale
2. V.I.P Room, 188 rue de Rivoli
3. L’Arc, 12 rue de Presbourg
4. Le Palais, Porte Maillot