Where to Stay in Paris on a Budget: 5 Places to Look

Wondering where to stay in Paris on a budget? I have some ideas.

Paris has historically offered much cheaper options than, say, London or New York, thanks in no small part to the political parties who have made rent control in Paris a priority. This is changing — and the Olympics are putting the whole thing in a crazy space — but it’s still possible to find an apartment (a very small, not-great apartment, but an apartment all the same) in Paris for under €1000 a month. That means that while certainly not inexpensive, private rentals (and hotels, for that matter) cost less than similarly desirable world capitals.

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That said: Some neighborhoods are cheaper than others. If you’re within Paris proper (inside the 75 postal code), my opinion is that the whole city is extremely small, and relative to the other big cities I’ve lived in (London, New York, and San Francisco) much safer, so it doesn’t matter much exactly where you are. Below you’ll find some recs, plus a selection of Airbnbs, all under $100 per night. Here’s where I’d look, if I were looking for budget accommodations:

The view from Parc Buttes-Chaumont

The view from Parc Buttes-Chaumont

Where to Stay in Paris on a Budget: The 19th/Buttes aux Chaumont

I love the 19th — I lived here for a couple months before finding my apartment. There are two areas of notable desirability: first, along the Bassin de la Villette. The bassin gets super buzzy during the summer, with people hanging out along the bank, going to movies at one of the two theaters on the docks, and just getting some sun on the way to the Philharmonie. It’s also home to a great art space, 104 (aka Centquatre) on the western side of the bassin, and on the opposite side, one of my favorite cafés/workspaces, the sunny Le Pavillon des Canaux. And let’s not forget the docked sea-going bookstore/café, Peniche.

The Buttes aux Chaumont is in the southern half of the arrondissement, and it’s become quite fashion-y. If you prefer a park to a water basin, here’s your spot.

sacre coeur

The Upper Half of the 18th

Classic Montmartre remains quite desirable (read: pricy), but once you get north of the Sacre Coeur basilica, prices drop dramatically. Downsides include that it can be hilly and feel farther away from the rest of the city, but the upside of those hills are the views, and it’s beautiful. (Also: There are a lot of tourists here, year round, and the Place du Tertre is both worth a (brief) visit and tourist-Paris at its most exuberant.) I also lived here for a couple months while looking for an apartment, and I loved it, though I left to be closer to the river. Neighborhood attractions here include the basilica itself and the view from the grounds, shopping on rue des Abbesses, and the flea markets at Clignancourt, over the city line into Seine-Saint-Denis. I love La Recyclerie, another café/event space, and I think I’ve eaten more at La Boite aux Lettres on rue Lepic than any other restaurant in Paris?

The neighborhood changes quite a bit from spot to spot — for lower prices but that classic Paris look, I’d try to find somewhere  near the Lamarck – Caulaincourt métro.

The Butte-aux-Cailles/the 13th

Today I Learned that the Butte-aux-Cailles does not mean Quail Hill but is rather an homage to Pierre Caille, the owner of a 16th-century vineyard once located here. This is, like, the undiscovered(ish, and in the context of visitors) southern equivalent of Montmartre, in that it definitely feels like you’re on a hill, and there’s a village feel to it that can be missing from other parts of the city. It hosts a fantastic flea market through the entire neighborhood twice a year, in the spring and autumn. Note that the Butte itself is quite small — for your “where to stay in Paris on a budget” rental searches, it may be necessary to expand off the Butte itself, in which case I’d lean toward looking closer to the Seine.

You’d be within an easy walk of Paris’s Chinatown neighborhood, and there are a lot of fun things to do closer to the arrondissement’s access to the river, including Le Petit Bain, a floating nightclub, the beautiful Passerelle Simone de Beauvoir, and the Piscine Josephine Baker, with a summer-only sun deck.

The Bottom of the 14th/15th

I’ve spent a lot more time in the 15th than I would have if it wasn’t for the fact that it’s home to the flea market at Vanves, a regular stop on my weekend itinerary. It’s leafy, quiet, and definitely less overrun by tourists than other parts of the city — though that’s not to say that it’s not on the up, as the opening of a hotel from the very hip Mama Shelter brand (Mama Paris West) would prove. It’s also home to Paris Expo, which hosts ginormous events like the Agricultural Show and the Salon du Livre, Paris’s book fair.


Montreuil is cheating: Officially, it’s across the Paris border so it’s not exactly “where to stay in Paris on a budget” but where to stay in Seine-Saint-Denis. It’s such a good option, though, that I couldn’t resist — it’s literally the only place in or around Paris that to me truly feels like Brooklyn. I’m not the only one who thinks this. For reference: “How This Ultra-Cool Suburb Became France’s Answer To Brooklyn.”)

Part of the reason it’s cheaper is that it isn’t classically beautiful the way Paris is — maybe you care, and maybe you don’t. I generally think that staying just over the city limits when visiting Paris is a terrific way to save money without significant downsides — and that of all the options for doing so, Montreuil is the spot that feels most like a part of the urban city. Again: Maybe that’s a pro, and maybe that’s a con. This is a slightly controversial choice, but there are a good number of artists and general creative types living here, and an increasing number of cafés, bars, and galleries to serve them.

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Hi, I'm Diana. I've written about travel for The Wall Street Journal, Buzzfeed, The Cut, Travel + Leisure, Outside, and lots of other places. This is my blog.