Check out our Paris travel planner, with all the general information you need to plan your first time in Paris. Does travel planning take so much of your time and effort? You don’t know where to get reliable information? Go on reading then . .
FIRST TIME IN PARIS: BEST TIME TO GO TO PARIS
Paris is always a good idea. There is never a bad time to visit Paris. The city has great outdoor options like beautiful public parks, gardens and charming squares but also it has some of the best museums in the world and other interesting indoor options.
Summer time means nicer weather and more hours of daylight so some people will tell you this is the best time to go to Paris. But at the same time it is the worst time to visit in terms of budget (best accommodation booked, higher prices) and the city is too crowded with tourists while locals are somewhere else on holidays.
Instead, if you travel off-season you will get a more local experience and it will be easier to find good deals in accommodation, for example.
In the end whatever you choose, sun or rain, Paris is always a movable feast and you will have a great time.
Be flexible with your dates. Flexibility is the key, especially if you are traveling on a budget. The train or flight tickets to Paris will be higher:
- During the school holidays ;
- During France or Europe holidays;
- If you are arriving /leaving on weekend;
- During days like New Year’s Eve or Saint Valentine.
If you are a culture vulture and you want to visit as many museums as your feet can resist, include in your dates the first week end of the month. On the first Sunday of the month many museums in Paris can be visited for free. Some of these museums have this offer during all the year while other museums are only for free during winter time.
ACCOMMODATION IN PARIS
So you got your train or flight tickets to Paris and the countdown to your trip to Paris starts. This will be your first time in Paris and you are very excited! The following question is where to sleep in Paris?
In a city like Paris there is accommodation for all budgets, the sky is the limit! If you want to stay in a hotel or a hostel, the best site to search and compare different accommodation options in Europe is booking.com because you have everything from hostels to luxury hotels. What we have found quite regularly on booking.com is that you can get a room in a small hotel for the same price as a hostel. Research makes all the difference!
For a much more local experience, consider Airbnb. However have in mind that Airbnb’s apartment in Paris are very requested and owners prefer bookings for longer stays rather than just a weekend.
Finally, both hotels and Airbnb have its pros and cons. In the end the best option mostly depends on the type of your stay and its length.
Book in advance. Paris is one of the cities attiring most visitors in this world so whatever kind of accommodation you choose try to book it in advance to have more options and better prices. Arriving to a hostel or hotel without reservation and trying to negotiate the price for long stays does not work in Paris.
Avoid Parisian Iconic Locations if you want to travel on a budget. Accommodation located in iconic suburbs like Montmartre tend to be more expensive. And it is not only about the hostel or hotel itself, usually restaurants and bars in these areas are also more expensive than the average.
Planning a trip to the city of light can be challenging, especially when it comes to finding a place to stay. Now that you have decided the type of accommodation you want, it is time to choose where to stay in Paris. Paris is divided into 20 arrondissements (districts) which are also administrative divisions. In each Paris arrondissement there is a town hall and a mayor, as well as elected officials, a council, a politician, and so on. Of course, each division is still subject to the overall policy of the city and the mayor of Paris, the socialist Anne Hidalgo. To find your bearings in Paris there is a little trick: the 1st Paris arrondissement is in the center of Paris, then the other Paris arrondissements are located forming a spiral turning clockwise, to finish in the 20th in the east.
If you want to explore the Paris Arrondissements during your first time in Paris, we invite you to check out our related posts where apart from listing the main sights (the touristy ones) and other practical information we give our must see’s and do’s to to explore each arrondissement of Paris like a local. We started this series of posts in April 2017 so it will take us some time to reach Paris 20 but we will make it!
HOW TO GET FROM PARIS AIRPORT TO CITY
If you don’t live in Europe you will probably arrive to Paris by plane. Currently there are 153 air companies flying to Paris so you can virtually fly to the City of Light from anywhere in the world.
There are three airports near Paris: Charles de Gaulle Airport (CDG Airport), Orly Airport (ORY Airport) and Paris Beauvais Airport located more or less far from the city centre. CDG Airport (north of Paris) and ORY Airport (south of Paris) are more or less at the same distance from Paris. If you are traveling overseas you have lots of chances to arrive to CDG Airport while ORY Airport is more focused on European flights or domestic flights. Finally,Paris Beauvais is used by low cost flight companies. This airport is located in a city called Beauvais which is 90km far from Paris. Beware that Paris Beauvais is on the top ten list of the worst airports in the world (2015) so if you decide to travel to Paris Beauvais, good luck! 😉
How to get from CDG Airport to Paris
The fastest: by train (RER B). The single train ticket costs 10€ for a train journey of 35 minutes. You can use the same ticket inside Paris during the next one hour and a half after first validation.
The cheapest: bus #350 (Airport to Gare de l’Est) for a journey of 60-80 minutes from the starting point. Click here to find all the bus stops and its schedule (“horaires de passage”). You can pay this bus with 3 single tickets T+. Each single T+ ticket costs 1,90 € but if you buy a pack of 10 tickets (total cost 14,50€) you will be paying 1,45€ per single ticket so the bus ride will cost you 4.35 €. If you decide to buy this ride directly on the bus the cost will be 6€.
Pro Tip: if you take bus #350, it is better to take it at Porte de la Chapelle instead of Gare de l’Est. Porte de la Chapelle is located at the exit of Paris so you will avoid all the traffic (and stress) inside Paris and you will save a lot of time. You can reach Porte de la Chapelle by metro with one single ticket and then you use that same ticket + 2 more tickets for the bus to the airport.
How to get from ORY Airport to Paris
The fastest: use the combination Orly Val + Train (RER B). The combined ticket costs 12.05 € for a journey of 8min (Orly Val) + 33 min (train) or 6.15 € + 9.30€ (=15,45 €) if you buy the tickets separately.
The cheapest: the combination of Tramway #7 + Metro. With one single T+ ticket (1,90 € or 1,45€ if you buy a pack of 10 tickets) take the tramway to its last stop, Villejuif – Louis Aragon. There you can take the Parisian metro (L7) to your final destination in Paris. The total ride lasts around 45 minutes.
How to get from Beauvais Airport to Paris
Beauvais airport has a shuttle service from Paris Beauvais to Porte Maillot Bus Station which costs 17€ (or 15.90€ if bought online in advance) for a journey of 1h 15min. Once you arrive to Porte Maillot Bus Sation you will need a T+ metro ticket to reach your final destination.
WHAT TO DO IN PARIS
If you are traveling to Paris for the first time you will probably want to visit many of the Paris tourist attractions, the most popular (by number of visitors) museums and monuments in the city*:
Musée du Louvre 8.7M visitors
Tour Eiffel 6.9M visitors
Musée d’Orsay 3.4M visitors
Cité des Sciences et de l’Industrie 1.9M visitors
Grand Palais 1.77M visitors
Arc de Triomphe 1.76M visitors
Musée National d’Histoire Naturelle 1.67M visitors
Musée de l’Armée (Les Invalides) 1.41M visitors
Musée du Quai Branly 1.3M visitors
Tour Montparnasse 1M visitors
*Latest Published Source : Bilan de l’Activité Touristique de l’Année 2015 by Paris Région
If you are a museum lover, there are 99% of chances that you may want to visit the Louvre Museum. Check below how to survive in the most visited museum in the world and plan your visit to Musée du Louvre like a pro.
Unusual things to do in Paris
However, there are other fantastic (sometimes quirky) things to do and visit up and down the city. On this blog we are taking a look mainly at the unusual things to do in Paris and we invite you to check out our proposals if you want to see a different side of Paris far from the crowds.
BEST DAY TRIPS FROM PARIS
If you have a couple of extra days in Paris we encourage you to discover some cool places located in Paris’ surroundings. These places are very easy to reach by public transportation (we give you all the details) so they make a perfect day trip from Paris. Check out best day trips from Paris here
TRANSPORTATION IN PARIS
Paris is a very walk-able city and the best way to get around Paris, if the weather is good, is our own feet. However there are other means of transportation in Paris which are also very handy:
Visit Paris by Metro
The Paris metro tickets T+ (metro, bus, RER and tramway) cost 1,90€ each (2€ on board a bus). If you buy 10 Paris metro tickets (“un carnet de 10 billets”) the single ticket will cost you 1,45€. The Parisian metro is the second oldest metro in the world, it is working since 1900! When you visit Paris by metro remember that it has some really beautiful stations worth to explore.
Paris by Bike
Environmentally friendly, cheap, healthy and surprisingly convenient for navigating perilously congested city streets, the bike is becoming the preferred mode of transportation in Paris for more and more people. World In Paris have a soft spot for bikes, especially for beautiful vintage bikes so we gathered our efforts and knowledge about biking in Paris to present you our Paris by Bike Guide. From bike rental to bike signalization in Paris Paris by Bike Guide has everything that you need to know if you want to bike in Paris.
Paris by Boat
In our opinion, La Seine (+26 metres above the sea level) is Paris’ most beautiful avenue and if this will be your first time in Paris a cruise along the river should be a must. Admire Notre Dame, Les Invalides, the famous Eiffel Tower and life in general from another perspective, from the water!
The city of Paris proposes an alternative to the pricey river cruises. On the Batobus you get a more local experience: boats are smaller (up to 200 people), no bla bla for tourists, you can carry your bike with you and the price is less expensive (17€ daily pass /10€ with any navigo card). Batobus has 9 stops all along the Seine, from Beaugrenelle (Paris 15) to Cité de la Mode (Paris 13).
BEST PLACES TO EAT IN PARIS
Check our restaurants in Paris proposals (by district) on Yummy Paris. The concept is simple: we ask our friends (people living in Paris) about their best places to eat in Paris, the restaurants in Paris they like to go again and again when they want to treat themselves well with a good meal. This is a living page which we are continuously “feeding” with our Parisian friends’ suggestions so we recommend you to come back from time to time to check the newest additions.
PARIS LIKE A LOCAL
Skip the tourist traps. Explore like a local.
Nobody knows better about the local side of Paris than an enthusiastic, knowledgeable local. We believe that the best way to learn about a new place, its culture and people is by the hand of a local. On World In Paris we give you the possibility to meet our people to show you around and tell you about the city by joining our Travelers Community. In addition, you will receive a custom-made events guide with your interests & hobbies and for your dates in Paris and we can also help you with other planning questions you may have.
We hope that the information & tips on this Paris travel planner will be helpful for your first time in Paris and we are sure you will have a great time.
NB: If your first time in Paris will be only for a short layover we recommend you to read the dedicated post shown below for some ideas on how to spend only few hours in Paris.
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