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Embarking on a trip to Paris is a dream for many, and this guide is your key to unlocking the enchantment of the City of Lights. From iconic landmarks to hidden gems and culinary delights, let’s explore the essentials of planning an unforgettable Parisian adventure.
Dreaming of A Trip to Paris?
About the city of Paris
France receives more tourists than any other country in the world, and its incomparable capital city is one of its biggest draws. Paris is a showcase of France’s great reputation for good food, fine wines, high fashion, impressive architecture, and both classic and cutting-edge art. Paris has a 2016 estimated population of 2.2 million inhabitants, and a 2019 greater metropolitan area population estimated at nearly 11 million.
Planning Your Parisian Adventure
Choosing the Right Time to Visit
When is the Best Time to Take a Trip to Paris? Well, Paris is captivating year-round, but each season offers a unique charm. Whether you prefer the blossoming spring, the vibrant summer, the romantic fall, or the magical winter, Paris has something to offer.
Spring (April-June) and fall (September to early November) are the most pleasant times for traveling to Paris. During these months the weather is mild and the city is less packed with tourists. The summers can be hot and crowded. Winters are cool but rarely below freezing.
Accommodations in the City of Lights
Selecting the perfect accommodation is crucial. From luxurious hotels with a view of the Eiffel Tower to charming boutique stays in historic districts, Paris provides a range of options to suit every traveler’s taste. Here are some popular selections below:
Or check out our hotel search engine for a more comprehensive search.
Getting There– Transportation Tips
Flights to Paris
Air France is the top French airline. Paris – Charles de Gaulle Aiport, also known as Roissy Airport, is the largest airport in France, and is located 23 km north of the city.
The other major international airport that offers flight services to Paris is Paris-Orly, which is located 13 km south of Paris.
Check out airfare options and purchase your ticket here:
or at our flights search engine.
Getting from the airport to the city center
There is bus, taxi, hotel shuttle, and limousine service available at the airport for transport into Paris.
Charles de Gaulle
For getting around the Charles de Gaulle airport, there is a free interterminal shuttle train called CDGVAL, which links all the terminals as well as the parking garages within 8 minutes, and which runs every 4 minutes from 4 am to 1 am.
Further, there are two railway train stations that connect to the airport. One is at the Roissypole complex, where an RER (commuter/rapid transit) Line B train station (Aeroport CDG 1) is located. Service is available to and from Paris here, and trains run every 15 minutes from 5 in the morning until midnight. Note: this station is not located at terminal 1, as the name might suggest, but at the CDGVAL shuttle train stop for terminal 3. The second train station is Aeroport CDG 2 TGV, which is located beneath terminal 2 of the airport. Both an RER Line B train stop with service to Paris, as well as a TGV intercity high-speed rail station are located here.
For the Paris-Orly airport, there is a quick and convenient Orlyval shuttle train between different areas of the airport. The Orlyval shuttle also connects to the Antony RER line B train station, permitting travel into Paris. (One can also take a shuttle bus from the airport to Pont de Rungis RER line C stop and travel from there into the city). Other transportation options here include bus, metro, and tram service, and hotel shuttles.
Getting around Paris
Navigating Paris is a breeze with an efficient public transportation system. Consider the Paris Métro, buses, or enjoy the city on foot. For a romantic touch, explore by boat along the Seine.
Tips to Know Before You Go
Clothing for a Trip to Paris
Two of the most important items needed on a trip to Paris are an all-weather coat and a comfortable pair of shoes.
For day to day wear, opt for clothing that is comfortable but chic. Of course classy restaurants, clubs, and upscale social events call for more formal dressing. Women should consider packing a little black dress/cocktail dress as some restaurants have a dress code or may leave one feeling underdressed if one’s attire is too casual.
When visiting any religious site, please refrain from wearing sleeveless shirts and shorts, as they are frowned upon at such places.
French is the official language and it is highly recommended to learn at least some very basic phrases to be able to greet and take leave of others courteously, and to ask for prices and sizes.
Parisians often have busy lives and like most people can be brusque with those they perceive as inconsiderate, discourteous, or wasting their time. It is best to try to start any interaction with at least a greeting in French (“bonjour” if before 6 pm) before asking if the other person speaks English. Remember: always begin any interaction when asking a stranger a question or asking for help with “Bonjour” (if appropriate time of day). Also do the same when entering any shop small enough to spot the proprietor and with waitstaff, and bid them “au revoir” when you leave.
Greeting and interacting with Parisians
In social situations shaking hands is a customary greeting, and women often touch cheek to cheek and do an air kiss (“la bise”). Most tourists however will not need more than a handwave greeting and bonjour.
People that you interact with such as shopkeepers or wait staff should be addressed as monsieur or madame.
Although a sizable percentage of Parisians smoke, smoking is banned in public spaces.
Although service tax is included in the bill, a modest tip might be considerate. You can always leave a euro note or your change as a tip.
220-volt, 50-cycle AC current.
Euro (EUR; symbol €) = 100 cents. The Euro comes in denominations of €500, 200, 100, 50, 20, 10 and 5. Coins come in denominations of €2 and 1, and 50, 20, 10, 5, 2 and 1 cents. If you are not fluent in French, it helps to carry around a small note pad and pen for salepersons to write down the price for you.
Delectable Dining and Culinary Delights
Indulge in the culinary wonders of Paris by dining in Michelin-starred restaurants. From innovative French cuisine to classic dishes, savor the flavors of the city.
Relish the Parisian café culture in charming establishments across the city. Enjoy a leisurely coffee or a decadent pastry as you soak in the ambiance.
Experiencing Parisian Cuisine
Immerse yourself in the gastronomic delights of Paris. From street markets to renowned bistros, discover the diverse and delectable offerings that define Parisian cuisine.
Opening hours at restaurants
Restaurants are generally open from around 11:30 – 2pm for lunch and 7-10 pm for dinner.
Tap water is generally considered safe for consumption. In Paris there are the most elegant sculpted public water fountains called Wallace fountains (les fontaines Wallace) that distribute potable water, mostly located along the most-frequented sidewalks.
Sightseeing on a Trip to Paris
Paris, the City of Lights, is a huge metropolis with many attractions, all within reachable distance thanks to the highly efficient public transportation system. The city boasts more than 80 museums and 200 art galleries.
Get this pass to save you money on entrance to Paris’ main attractions!
Exploring Iconic Landmarks
The Eiffel Tower– The quintessential symbol of Paris. No trip to Paris is complete without a visit to the iconic Eiffel Tower. Experience breathtaking views of the city from this architectural masterpiece.
Notre Dame Cathedral–Discover the timeless beauty of Notre-Dame Cathedral, a masterpiece of French Gothic architecture. Explore its history and enjoy panoramic views from the towers. Notre Dame was the site of many noteworthy events in France’s long history and largest cathedral in Paris; famous gargoyles. Undergoing renovations after recent fire
Disneyland Paris The most popular amusement park in Europe
The Palace of Versailles– the principal royal residence in France from the late 17th century until the Louis XVI and the French Revolution
Centre Pompidou– the largest collection of modern and contemporary art in Europe
Musee D’Orsay-Art museum on the left bank of the Seine, with an emphasis on French impressionism
The Louvre Museum— Immerse yourself in art and history at the Louvre, home to countless treasures. Plan your visit to make the most of this cultural marvel. See the Mona Lisa, Venus de Milo, Liberty Leading the People, the Winged Victory of Samothrace, and other priceless works of art.
Cité des Sciences et de l’Industrie– this is purported to be the largest science museum in Europe. Planetarium, submarine, IMAX.
Les Invalides– military-related museums and monuments, burial place of Napoleon
Arc de Triomphe– one of Paris’ most famous monuments, located in the center of the Place Charles de Gaulle at the western end of the Champs-Élysées.
Sainte Chapelle– medieval Gothic Chapel, breathtaking stained glass
Tour Montparnasse– the only skyscraper in Paris, with incredible views
Pantheon– building in the Latin Quarter which serves as a mausoleum; amazing architecture; burial site of Voltaire, Rousseau, Victor Hugo, Alexandre Dumas, Emile Zola, Louis Braille, Marie and Pierre Curie, and others.
Unveiling Hidden Gems
Le Marais District
Escape the crowds and wander through the charming streets of Le Marais. This vibrant historic district is known for its cobblestone streets, quirky boutiques, trendy dining, and art galleries.
Experience local life along the Canal Saint-Martin. Enjoy picnics, trendy cafés, and the picturesque locks that make this area a hidden gem away from the tourist hubbub.
Explore the artistic allure of Montmartre, where bohemian vibes meet panoramic views– one of the best views in the city. Visit the Sacré-Cœur Basilica and stroll through Place du Tertre.
There are so many fun and memorable activities to do in Paris. You can either explore on your own, or if you would like a more organized tour experience, consider signing up for one of the following:
Your dream journey to Paris awaits! The only thing now is for you to take the plunge! Dive into the elegance, romance, and vibrant culture of the City of Lights.