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First time in Paris: Paris travel planner

Does travel planning take so much of your time and effort? You don’t know where to get reliable information? Weather in Paris, things to do in Paris, best hotels in Paris . . . Look no further, our Paris travel planner  has all the information & tips that you need to plan your first time in Paris.

FIRST TIME IN PARIS: BEST TIME TO GO TO PARIS

“Paris is always a good idea” and there is never a bad time to visit the City of Light. The city has great outdoor options but it has also some of the best museums in the world and other interesting indoor options. If you want to choose your travel dates according to the weather or your budget, this is what you need to know:

first time in Paris

Related:  Why we love Paris (and always will)

Seasons in Paris (weather in Paris)

Spring means lots of green, trees in flower and the city is famous for its cherry blossoms. However temperatures are still fresh (minimums of 4C° to 10C°), with frequent rains. Remember to pack an umbrella and a jacket with you.

In summer days are very long. The temperature is nice (maximums of 23C° to 25C°) and there are festivals and outdoor options everywhere. It is also the high season in Paris which means more tourists, longer queues to visit Paris’ main attractions and higher prices.

Autumn is our favorite season in Paris. The colors of the trees are gorgeous, temperatures are still nice (maximums of 11C° to 21C°) and there is definitely less people around. Last couple of years we could organize outdoor activities until mid November, with nice and sunny days.

Winter is the less convenient season in terms of weather (minimums of 2C° to 7°C and only 4 to 5 hours of light). However, some people love to see Paris during Christmas time.

 

Tourist Seasons in Paris

High season in Paris is considered from 1st April to 31th October. It means nice weather and more hours of daylight and many people will tell you this is the best time to come. But at the same time this is the worst time to visit in terms of budget (best accommodation booked, higher prices). Also, the city is too crowded with tourists while locals are somewhere else on holidays.

Low season is considered from 1st November to 31st March, with the exception of Christmas holidays. If you decide to 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, Paris is always a movable feast and (sun or rain) you will have a great time.

Our Tips: 

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 want to visit as many museums as your feet can resist, include the first week end of the month in your dates. 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. Instead, other museums are only for free during winter time.

Now that you have decided WHEN you want to travel to Paris check here  how to travel for free with points and miles.

PARIS ARRONDISSEMENTS

Planning a trip to the City of Light can be challenging, especially when it comes to deciding in which area you want to stay.

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.

Paris arrondissements

Choosing “your Paris arrondissement” for your stay in Paris is a difficult decision because each arrondissement has its own character and charm. You may find helpful our Paris by Arrondissement posts On these posts we give you the essence of each arrondissement and other practical information. In addition, we list our must see’s & do’s to explore it 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!

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! You have more or less decided where to sleep in Paris and now it is time to book your accommodation.

first time in Paris

In a city like Paris there is accommodation for all budgets, the sky is the limit! If you are traveling on a budget, check out our post with the best hostels in Paris. You will be surprised about how cute our proposals are but in a city like Paris it could not be otherwise!

Related:  Best Hostels in Paris - dorm beds and private rooms

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!

Another cool tool is HotelsCombined.com, a comparison system which provides the most user friendly rate comparison interface in the hotels market. HotelsCombined cuts through availability and prices from all the top travel websites from around the world (Booking.com, Expedia, Hotels.com, Agoda, Venere, LateRooms and many more) to propose you the best hotel price.

For a much more local experience, consider Airbnb. However have in mind that Airbnb’s apartments in Paris are very requested. For this reason owners prefer bookings for longer stays rather than just a weekend.

In the end, both hotels and Airbnb have its pros and cons. Your best option mostly depends on the type of experience you are looking for and the length of your stay.

Our Tips: 

Book in advance. Paris is one of the cities attiring most visitors in this world so if you book in advance you will 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 your budget is tight. Accommodation located in iconic suburbs like Montmartre tend to be more expensive. And it is not only about the hostel or hotel itself, usually in these areas restaurants and bars are also more expensive.

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. Instead, 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

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 40 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 €. 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).  If you buy the tickets separately you will pay 6.15 € + 9.30€ (=15,45 €).

The cheapest: Tramway #7 + Metro. With one single T+ ticket, 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 Station 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 some tourist attractions. The most popular  museums and monuments (by number of visitors) in the city are the following *:

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

first time in Paris

If you are a museum lover, there are 99% of chances that you may want to visit the Louvre Museum. Check our Louvre post below and plan your visit like a pro.

Related:  Louvre Museum Survival Guide : best tips, artwork and much more

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.

Related:  How to See Paris Differently - Paris from Bottom to Top

BEST DAY TRIPS FROM PARIS

If you have a couple of extra days visit the surroundings of Paris. There are lots of cute places 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

best day trips from Paris

TRANSPORTATION IN PARIS

Paris is a very walk-able city and the best way to get around Paris is your 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.

visit Paris by metro

Related:  Our 5+1 favorite metro stations in Paris

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. World In Paris have a soft spot for bikes, especially for beautiful vintage bikes. Check our Paris by Bike Guide with all that you need to know if you want to bike in Paris.

Paris by Bike

Related:  Paris by Bike: Paris cycling guide

 

Paris by Boat

In our opinion, la Seine is the most beautiful avenue in Paris and  you are Paris first-timer you should consider a cruise along the river. 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 also 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 about their best places to eat in Paris, where they like to go when they want to treat themselves. 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.

restaurants in Paris

 

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. Check here how we can help you to get a more local experience in the City of Light.

first time in Paris

 

LAST BUT NOT LEAST . . .

Never leave home without a travel insurance. Unfortunately s**t happens and if it happens while traveling you will want to be covered. We use and recommend World Nomads Travel Insurance, especially designed for travelers. Summer or winter travel, sightseeing city breaks or adventure travels, they have the best insurance proposal to cover your needs.

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. If you liked this post and found it useful, share it with your friends through your favorite social media. After your trip, we invite you to share your adventures in Paris on our facebook page , we love to hear other travelers and bloggers stories about Paris.

Bon voyage!

 

VISITING PARIS ON A SHORT LAYOVER?

If your first time in Paris will be only a short layover, we recommend you to read the dedicated post. This post will give you some ideas on how to spend only few hours in Paris.

Related:  Layover in Paris: unique things to do on a day in Paris

 

OUR SUGGESTIONS: CLICK FOR MORE INFO ↓

 

Vintage Tote bag

Paris tote bag 38 x 42 x 1 cm

Vintage Moleskine Paris

Moleskine City Notebook Paris

 

Vintage Camera Polaroid

Fujifilm Instant photo-camera

 Get the most out of Paris


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Disclaimer: this post includes affiliate links, meaning we get a small commission if you make a purchase through our links. It costs you nothing more (in fact, if anything, you’ll get a nice discount) but helps us to go on creating incredible Paris content for you (and eventually  keep up stocked in French wine). We trust all products promoted here and would never recommend a product that isn’t of value. 

 

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48 Comments

  • Reply
    Omar
    05/14/2017 at 7:58 pm

    I’ve been twice to Paris, during spring and autumn, both were incredible experiences! Would be nice to visit during summer, a hot day walking along the edge of the Seine sounds nice!

    • Reply
      WorldInParis
      05/15/2017 at 10:24 pm

      In summer there is Paris Plage (Paris beach) along the Seine! 🙂

  • Reply
    Kate
    05/09/2017 at 10:22 pm

    I was in Paris two weeks ago and absolutely love it. I stayed just across from the Île de la Cité which was perfect. A cute little hotel and walking distance from Notre Dame. There is so much I would like to go back and see. I did a lot already but I feel like Paris could be explored for years. I ate the best duck and also macarons that I’ve ever had. I will go back and I’ll check out your posts for more information

    • Reply
      WorldInParis
      05/10/2017 at 4:51 pm

      Cool, thanks! If you write your adventures about Paris you can share them on our FB page 🙂

    • Reply
      WorldInParis
      05/12/2017 at 8:36 pm

      Yes, Paris could be explored for years, actually that’s what we do in World in Paris ! ,-)

  • Reply
    Carmen Edelson
    05/09/2017 at 10:19 pm

    This is so helpful! I have a friend going to Paris for the first time so I’ll be sure to send this her way. thanks for sharing and happy travels 🙂

    • Reply
      WorldInParis
      05/10/2017 at 4:52 pm

      Thanks Carmen. Hopefully she will also find it useful 😉

  • Reply
    Sandy N Vyjay
    05/09/2017 at 4:49 am

    Great tool to plan a trip to Paris. When we went there we had got a Paris Pass and found our way around by trial and error. A planner like this would have been a boon and would have saved us a lot of time. We could have spent that time in one of the fascinating museums 🙂

    • Reply
      WorldInParis
      05/10/2017 at 4:53 pm

      So I was late! Maybe you can use it for your next time in Paris 😉

  • Reply
    Edith & Juan
    05/09/2017 at 4:29 am

    So many great tips! We want to visit Paris next year around April and possibly stay a month. I prefer cities when they aren’t as crowded so I have to check if this time is good. But like you said, it’s always a good time to visit Paris. 🙂

    • Reply
      WorldInParis
      05/10/2017 at 4:53 pm

      April may be a little bit rainy. At least it was rainy last two years 🙁

  • Reply
    Charlotte
    05/09/2017 at 3:46 am

    There’s some really great information in here – I’ll definitely come back when I go.

    • Reply
      WorldInParis
      05/10/2017 at 4:54 pm

      Glad that you liked it 🙂

  • Reply
    Castaway with Crystal
    05/08/2017 at 1:22 pm

    This is a really comprehensive and useful guide. So much information! Thank you 🙂

    • Reply
      WorldInParis
      06/19/2017 at 12:26 pm

      Thanks to you for your nice comment 🙂

  • Reply
    Sam
    05/08/2017 at 11:29 am

    Paris looks absolutely stunning, I can’t wait to travel here one day. Thanks for sharing, some great advice I’ll keep in mind!

    • Reply
      WorldInParis
      05/14/2017 at 10:19 am

      Hope it will be useful for you, one day 🙂

  • Reply
    Trisha Velarmino
    05/08/2017 at 6:48 am

    Good tips. Yeah, I would advice booking in advance, too. Everyone should do this especially when going to most visited destination.

    • Reply
      WorldInParis
      05/15/2017 at 10:27 pm

      so we agree! 🙂

  • Reply
    Sara Essop
    05/06/2017 at 5:25 pm

    Thanks for the great tips. I learnt a lot about Paris for my next visit. I find it interesting that the Louvre attracts more visitors than the Eiffel Tower. I visited both on my short visit to Paris many years ago but I need to go back again.

    • Reply
      WorldInParis
      05/06/2017 at 8:22 pm

      Thanks for your comment, Sara. Hope you will make it again to Paris 🙂

  • Reply
    Iza Abao
    05/06/2017 at 3:07 pm

    These are awesome tips! You have mentioned a lot of options and very detailed. I also prefer to go places that are not ‘touristy’ ones. I would be able to save and find interesting things.

    • Reply
      WorldInParis
      05/06/2017 at 8:22 pm

      Hope you will find something interesting for you, Iza 🙂

  • Reply
    Jennifer
    05/06/2017 at 12:43 pm

    This is a really comprehensive guide for first timers visiting Paris, though I find the RER from CDG to the city closer to 50 minutes travel time. I’ve been a bunch of time and now that the Bordeaux – Paris train line cuts the travel time to just 2 hours, I think I’ll be spending more time in the city. There’s still so much I haven’t seen or done in Paris!

    • Reply
      WorldInParis
      05/06/2017 at 8:24 pm

      If the RER does all the stops to Paris, yes, probably it is closer to 50min than 40min 😉

  • Reply
    Megan Jerrard
    05/06/2017 at 12:11 pm

    Awesome guide, this really covers everything. We’ve visited Paris twice now, once in summer and once during winter, and I agree that off season is definitely kinder on your wallet! I really loved the city during winter so think it’s a year round destination, and we had the chance to ice skate on the Eiffel tower which was magic! As first timers we took the metro throughout the city and it was a great way to get around, and we walked a lot too – guided city tours on the first day was a great way to get acquainted with the layout of everything 🙂

    Thanks for the comprehensive info!

    • Reply
      WorldInParis
      05/06/2017 at 8:25 pm

      You are welcome Megan. Hope there will be a third time for you in Paris, despite I see you know a lot about the city I am sure there are still some hidden gems waiting for you to be discovered 😉

  • Reply
    Gabor
    02/26/2017 at 1:09 am

    I love Paris, but only had chance to visit for a short stay (3days) and didn’t see everything I wanted, I have to go back in the near future!!!. I like the idea a lot of the guided tour by a local to have the real Paris experience and see places that I might miss if I go on my own. I will surely join to your community when I will have plans to visit Paris again. Thanks for the post.

    • Reply
      WorldInParis
      02/26/2017 at 3:33 pm

      You are welcome 🙂

  • Reply
    SindhuMurthy
    02/07/2017 at 5:03 am

    Woow. I have always felt Paris was a very expensive destination to explore. Thanks to your posts, my perception is changing and how! I always love to explore the destinations with a local because that is the sure shot way to explore all the lesser known and not so crowded places which only locals enjoy. I believe, there are two faces to a destination always. The face which the tourists see and the other and the better face which only the locals know and cherish. I would definitely love to see the 2nd face of Paris.

    • Reply
      WorldInParis
      02/08/2017 at 8:03 pm

      I think you are right. Hope you will make it to Paris to discover this second face by yourself

  • Reply
    Karlaroundtheworld | Karla
    08/16/2016 at 5:25 pm

    I’ve had a short but similar experience meeting fellow travellers like that while going solo, it was a wonderful experience! Reliving that one in Paris sounds very enticing to be part of my schedule this month.

    • Reply
      WorldInParis
      08/17/2016 at 9:43 am

      Bon voyage! 🙂

  • Reply
    Julie
    08/15/2016 at 9:38 am

    What a lovely resource. Paris is such a popular holiday destination but it can also be daunting because IT’S PARIS!! I know so many people who are almost paralyzed with choice, what to see, where to eat, to make the absolute most of their time. Thanks for sharing!

    • Reply
      WorldInParis
      08/16/2016 at 1:12 pm

      Thanks to YOU, Julie, for this enthusiastic comment! 🙂

  • Reply
    Katja Gaskell
    08/15/2016 at 3:41 am

    I love that you are building a community of locals and travellers in Paris, I think it’s a great idea. Like others have already commented, there’s nothing quite like experiencing a place with a local to guide you. I hope your community continues to grow!

    • Reply
      WorldInParis
      08/16/2016 at 1:12 pm

      Thanks Katja! Let’s cross fingers, I have very motivated people behind

  • Reply
    Vicky and Buddy
    08/15/2016 at 3:22 am

    I really like the idea of Globetrotters drinks. It sounds like the perfect way to get connect with locals!

    • Reply
      WorldInParis
      08/16/2016 at 1:13 pm

      It is! I always end these drinks with my travel bucket list way longer, ha haa 🙂

  • Reply
    Fiona Maclean
    08/14/2016 at 4:22 pm

    always useful to know where to find recommended local guides, thank you!

  • Reply
    Evan Kristine
    08/13/2016 at 7:51 pm

    Great tips! I was by the hand of a local too last time I visited there. It was a fantastic experience!

    • Reply
      WorldInParis
      08/14/2016 at 10:49 am

      to visit a place with a local is always the best! thanks for your comment

  • Reply
    Jackie Sills-Dellegrazie
    08/13/2016 at 5:09 pm

    I just love Paris! Local tips are always the best when putting together your itinerary. You can get deeper into a place and really feel like you’re taking a piece of your travels home with you. The Travellers Community sounds like a great resource with ideas you won’t find in your typical guide book.

    • Reply
      WorldInParis
      08/14/2016 at 10:50 am

      thanks! hope people will like the idea 🙂

  • Reply
    Anne
    08/13/2016 at 3:38 pm

    This kind of thing is great for travellers wishing to connect with locals who can show them less touristy areas but nevertheless interesting places.

    • Reply
      WorldInParis
      08/14/2016 at 10:50 am

      that’s the idea! 🙂

  • Reply
    Lois Alter Mark
    08/13/2016 at 3:11 pm

    Paris is one of my favorite cities in the world, and I hope to go back again soon. There’s nothing like seeing it with a local guide.

    • Reply
      WorldInParis
      08/14/2016 at 10:50 am

      thanks lois! if you ever come back feel free to contact us 🙂

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