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 like a pro.
Post Last update: August 2017
- 1 FIRST TIME IN PARIS: BEST TIME TO GO TO PARIS
- 2 PARIS ARRONDISSEMENTS
- 3 ACCOMMODATION IN PARIS
- 4 HOW TO GET FROM PARIS AIRPORT TO CITY
- 5 WHAT TO DO IN PARIS
- 6 BEST DAY TRIPS FROM PARIS
- 7 TRANSPORTATION IN PARIS
- 8 BEST PLACES TO EAT IN PARIS
- 9 PARIS LIKE A LOCAL
- 10 LAST BUT NOT LEAST . . .
- 11 VISITING PARIS ON A SHORT LAYOVER?
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:
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 or spend the New Year’s Eve in Paris.
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.
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 to learn how to travel for free with points and miles.
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.
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 (the area) to sleep in Paris and now it is time to book your accommodation.
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 (dorms but also private rooms). You will be surprised about how cute our proposals are but in a city like Paris it could not be otherwise!
If you prefer hotels that give you a distinctive feel and your budget is higher, check the post below where we hand picked the most unusual and quirky hotels in Paris to visit the City of Light in style.
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.
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 or Ile de la Cité 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.
Check our recommendations. On our Paris Arrondissements posts we hand picked some cool options in each price bracket for a specific Paris arrondissement. We spent some time (there are more than 1500 hotels in Paris) checking their exact location, facilities and client reviews to be sure you get a good value for your money.
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
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 (“carnet de 10”, 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 on the way back to the airport (Paris – CDG), 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 the city 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 to take 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. the ticket costs 17€ (or 15.90€ if you buy it 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
Lines to visit these Paris attractions are guaranteed. For a better experience, we suggest to make a list with the Paris attractions you want to visit and schedule these visits during the less frequented (day and time) slots. Our post below should help with that.
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.
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 these unusual, less known 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. Some of them are FREE !
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 our best day trips (and also weekends) from Paris here
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” or “carnet de 10”) 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 the visit.
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 Boat
In our opinion, la Seine is the most beautiful avenue in Paris and if 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, the Batobus. 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.
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 and check how we can help you to get a more local experience in the City of Light.
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 to Plan your trip to Paris. If you liked this post and found it useful, spread the word and share it with your friends through your favorite social media. For more tips, inspiration and Paris news, we invite you to join your newsletter (inscription box on the sidebar). We are giving to our new subscribers the pdfs of our DIY tours for FREE so you can follow our proposals also offline. After your trip, we invite you to share your pictures and adventures in Paris on our facebook page , we love to hear other travelers and bloggers stories about Paris.
VISITING PARIS ON A SHORT LAYOVER?
If your first time in Paris will be only a short layover, we recommend you to read our post below. This post was especially written for those people in Paris for a few hours who want to get a glimpse of the City of Lights.
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