Thanks to Paris's extensive metro system, you can select almost any hotel that fits your budget and easily get to the Marathon's starting point near Arc de Triomphe before your assigned time (8:20am for Elite runners and as late as 9:50am for others).
Whether your strategy is to book a hotel convenient to the start/finish line or the Paris Marathon Expo and bib pick up at Porte de Versailles, choose a hotel near top Paris attractions, or find an affordable hotel in a cool non-tourist neighborhood, take a look at our recommendations.
We also share tips about how to find Paris hotel deals, discounts, and bargains, the best time to book your hotel reservations, and how to de-code the Paris hotel star rating system.
Paris is a breathtaking city any time of the year, and especially in April when the Marathon takes place. You'll have a wonderful time here wherever you stay.
Top photo: Paris Marriott Champs Elysées Hotel near the Marathon start line
How to Decide Where to Stay for the Paris Marathon: Strategies, Tips, & Recommend Hotels
Sure, you could randomly pick a hotel for your Paris Marathon stay - but you may be happier if you select your accommodations based on what's most convenient or important to you.
Here are five strategies for you to consider, plus a few related tips. Choose the one you like the best, and then take a look at our hotel recommendations.
1. Pick a Paris Hotel Close to the Marathon Start Line & Finish Line
Your Strategy: You stay within easy walking distance of the Paris Marathon start and finish lines at the Arc de Triomphe - no need to rely on the Metro or other public transportation. As you're heading back to your hotel after the race without having to navigate steep Metro stairs on crampy legs, give yourself a pat on the back.
Our Tips: You'll get to choose from well over 100 hotels within about a half-mile radius of the Arc de Triomphe. But fair warning: Due to their convenient location, these hotels book up quickly for the Marathon, so don't wait to make your reservations if you want to stay near the Arc.
Our Hotel Recommendations:
Paris's 8th, 16th, and 17th arrondissements (districts) converge at the Arc de Triomphe.
Hotels to the east of the Arc in the 8th arrondissement have the most expensive rates and you'll find some of the top Paris hotels here. To pamper yourself after your Marathon exertions, splurge on a stay atLe Royal Monceau where you can relax sore muscles in the longest and one of the most gorgeous swimming pools in Paris, indulge in their famous onsite spa, and luxuriate in all the other top-end amenities and services at this posh 5-star Palace Hotel.
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2. Stay near the Paris Marathon Expo & Bib Pick-Up at Porte de Versailles
Your Strategy: You save money by choosing a hotel in the 15th arrondissement close to the 3-day Paris Marathon Expo at Porte de Versailles. Walk over to the Exposition Hall to pick up your bib and check out all the sporting goods displays. On Marathon Day, you hop on the Metro's Line 12 at Convention station and get off about 12-13 minutes later at Concorde. Warm up by running up to the Arc de Triomphe - not quite a mile (after the race, hop on the Metro's Line 1 at the Arc and transfer to Line 12 at Concorde). Look forward to using the Convention Station's escalator up to street level when you reach your destination.
Our Tip: Numerous small bistros, cafes, and specialty food shops line the streets around Convention station where these hotels are located. This friendly mostly-residential neighborhood makes a relaxing change from the more touristy parts of Paris, but you're just a short metro ride away from top attractions.
3. Choose a Hotel Convenient to Top Paris Attractions
Your Strategy: You are going to spend a few days before or after the Marathon exploring Paris, so you choose a hotel convenient to top attractions such as the Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame, or the Louvre.
Our Tip: You'll find lots to love near each of these attractions. As a bonus, they're slightly off the radar screen for Marathon visitors focused on just the race, so you may find less demand/better rates for hotel rooms.
Our Location (& Hotel) Recommendations:
Eiffel Tower - In addition to the famous "Iron Lady," other nearby attractions include Les Invalides and the Army Museum, the Seine River (hop on a river cruise), and the fancy Beaugrenelle shopping mall (12 Rue Linois, 15th arrondissement). Enjoy dining at the small cafes and brasseries along the pedestrian-only Rue Cler market street. Find Hotels near the Eiffel Tower
Notre Dame - Explore Île de la Cité, the small island in the Seine where the famous cathedral is located, as well as other top attractions such as Sainte Chapelle (maybe catch one of their special concerts) and the Conciergerie, final "home" of Marie Antoinette. Staying near Notre Dame also puts you close to the Latin Quarter on the Seine's Left Bank, and trendy restaurants and nightlife in the Marais neighborhood on the Right Bank. Find Hotels near Notre Dame
The Louvre - Although you could spend days in the Louvre itself, there's so much more to see nearby: the beautiful Tuileries Garden, shopping and dining at Forum des Halles, jazz clubs along Rue des Lombards, and fantastic modern art at Centre Pompidou. For pre-Marathon carbs, indulge in pastas and pastries in Paul Boulangerie's cafe (25 Avenue de l'Opéra, 1st arrondissement). Find Hotels near the Louvre
4. Find an Affordable Hotel in a Cool (& Less Touristy) Neighborhood
Your Strategy: You want to experience the "real" Paris, so you choose a neighborhood away from the usual tourist destinations where hotel rates are (usually) lower.
Our Tip: Focus on areas such as Canal Saint Martin/République area, the Jardin des Plantes neighborhood in the Latin Quarter, and the Upper Marais.
Our Hotel Recommendations:
Canal Saint Martin/République - Lots of hip cafes and bars, nightlife, street art.
Your Strategy: You want a place to sleep but care more about your budget than fancy linens or frills.
Our Tips: Choose a Paris budget hotel brand such as Ibis or Timhotel that delivers good quality for at a relatively low price point, and avoid the most popular neighborhoods where top attractions drive rates higher. Expect fairly strong competition to book a room at these budget hotels - so do it early to get best deals.
Check our tips on how to find discounts, deals, and bargains for Paris hotels. Whether you're looking for cheap accommodations or want to pay less for luxury, we'll show you How to Save on Hotels in Paris.
Best Time to Make Hotel Reservations for the Paris Marathon
Almost two thirds of Marathon participants come from outside the Île de France region around Paris or from other countries - which means that almost 40,000 runners plus their friends and families pour into the city in early April and compete for convenient hotel rooms.
To find the best hotel rates and the biggest selection of available rooms, make your hotel reservations for your Paris Marathon trip as soon as you know your travel dates. This could be as early as the prior September if you sign up for the April race as soon as registration opens.
If you want to score the best rates for a hotel very close to the Arc de Triomphe, reserving in September gives you the best chance of getting what you want.
Understanding the Paris Hotel Star Rating System
If you're from a country that doesn't use an official star rating system for hotels (as, for example, the US does not), figuring out what stars mean and don't mean in Paris can be confusing.
Here are the 3 most important things that the Paris hotel star rating system does NOT tell you:
Quality - The number of stars does NOT measure quality - even though about 300 other things go into determining the number of stars
Price - Do more stars mean higher prices? In general, yes. But not always. You'll find plenty of 3 star hotels with higher rates than some 4-stars, and some 4-stars with higher rates than a few 5-stars
Comfort - Concerned about hearing street noise, sleeping in a comfortable bed, or not having to climb over a bathtub to reach the shower? You can't figure this out from the stars.
If you're planning to take the Metro (subway) to the Marathon Start Line, buy a return ticket at the same time to avoid crowds waiting to buy one later. Better yet, if you're planning to take more Metro rides while you're in the city, buy a carnet, a packet of 10 tickets, to save money and time. Also download the RATP (the organization that runs the Metro and other public transportation) app onto your phone: https://www.ratp.fr/en/apps/ratp-app (if this link doesn't work, go to RATP's website and search for "app".
If you need to buy any sort of running or other athletic gear while you're in Paris, try huge sporting goods store Decathlon. Closest store locations near Arc de Triomphe include Wagram (26 Wagram Avenue, 8th arrondissement, Metro: Ternes) and La Madeleine (23 Blvd de la Madeleine, 1st arrondissement, Metro: Madeleine), but they also have about 8 other Paris locations including a massive store in La Défense (easy to spot as soon as you emerge from the metro station.