- 1. PLANNING A TRIP TO PARIS
- 2. PARIS FOR THE FIRST TIME: BEST TIME TO VISIT PARIS
- 3. PLANNING A TRIP TO PARIS: BOOKING YOUR FLIGHTS
- 4. FIRST TIME IN PARIS: WHERE TO STAY IN PARIS
- 5. FIRST TIME IN PARIS: ACCOMMODATION IN PARIS
- 6. HOW TO GET FROM PARIS AIRPORT TO CITY
- 7. WHAT TO DO IN PARIS: PARIS POINTS OF INTEREST AND DAY TRIPS
- 8. TRANSPORTATION IN PARIS
- 9. EATING IN PARIS
- 10. PARIS LIKE A LOCAL
- 11. LAST BUT NOT LEAST . . .
- VISITING PARIS FOR THE FIRST TIME ON A SHORT LAYOVER?
Paris Travel Blog 2018. Last update: January 2018
1. PLANNING A TRIP TO PARIS
Planning a trip to Paris? Does travel planning take so much of your time and effort? Don’t you know where to get reliable information? Look no further, our Paris travel planner is the best tool for those who want to visit Paris for the first time, with all the Paris tips and tricks that you need to plan your first time in Paris like a pro.
Some questions to ask yourself which help plan your first trip to Paris accordingly:
» How much time do you have?
» Who are you traveling with?
» What kind of experiences do you like?
Good reads before your trip to Paris
2. PARIS FOR THE FIRST TIME: BEST TIME TO VISIT 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 are flexible with dates, consider are the low /high season and the weather in Paris. If you are traveling on a budget, choose the cheapest days to fly (usually Tuesday and Wednesday). This is what you need to know:
Best Season to Visit Paris (Paris Annual Weather)
This graphic below represents the weather in Paris year round, average temperatures (in Celsius) and average rainfall (%).
Springtime in Paris 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. Don’t forget to pack an umbrella and a jacket in your Paris sightseeing bag.
Summer in Paris means longer days. 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 and, in our opinion, the best time to visit Paris. The colors of the trees are gorgeous, temperatures are still nice (maximums of 11C° to 21C°) and there are definitely fewer people around. Last couple of years we could organize outdoor activities until mid-November, with nice and sunny days.
Winter in Paris is not the best time to go to Paris in terms of weather (minimums of 2C° to 7°C and only 4 to 5 hours of light). However, some people love to come to Paris in the winter time to see some Paris Christmas decorations and Paris Christmas Markets. Also, there are many people who want to spend the New Year’s Eve in Paris.
Tourist Seasons in Paris
High season in Paris is considered from 1st April to 31st 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 not the best season to visit Paris 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 in Paris goes from 1st November to 31st March, with the exception of Christmas holidays. This is the cheapest time to visit Paris and the best time to visit Paris to avoid the crowds. 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.
Best Time to go to Paris: Our Paris Tips and Tricks
Be flexible with your dates. Flexibility is the key, especially if you are traveling on a budget. Train or flight tickets to Paris will be more expensive:
» During the school holidays ;
» During holidays in France or Europe;
» If you are arriving /leaving on weekend;
» During days like New Year’s Eve or Saint Valentine.
If you are a museum lover, the best time to go to Paris for you will be probably the first weekend 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. Instead, other museums are only for free during winter time.
3. PLANNING A TRIP TO PARIS: BOOKING YOUR FLIGHTS
Paris has 3 airports: Paris Charles de Gaulle (North of Paris), Paris Orly (South of Paris) and Paris Beauvais, which is out of Paris. If you are traveling overseas, you will probably land to Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport. If you are traveling with a low-cost airline like Ryan Air, you will probably land to Paris Beauvais Airport. Charles de Gaulle and Orly are more or less at the same distance from Paris so if you are traveling from Europe, you can choose whatever flight (or flight company) you like.
We always search flights with Kayak.com, it’s one of our favorite booking sites and very easy to use. With Kayak there are no additional costs at the end of the booking process: since the beginning, we know what we will pay by introducing our preferred payment method and items to check-in.
4. FIRST TIME IN PARIS: WHERE TO STAY IN PARIS
Paris for first timers 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 where to stay when you visit Paris for the first time is a difficult decision because each Paris Arrondissement has its own character and charm. You may find helpful our Arrondissements of Paris posts. On these posts, we give you the essence of each arrondissement and our tips to explore 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!
5. FIRST TIME IN PARIS: ACCOMMODATION IN PARIS
So you got your train or flight tickets for your trip to Paris and the countdown starts. You are going to Paris for the first time and you are very excited! On the previous chapter you have more or less decided where to stay in Paris (the Paris district) and now it is time to book your accommodation.
Hotels and Hostels 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 our post with the best hostels in Paris (dorms but also private rooms). You will be surprised at how cute our proposals are but in a city like Paris, it could not be otherwise!
For those people with a higher budget and looking for hotels that give a distinctive feel, we hand-picked some cool hotels in Paris, unique hotels in Paris to visit the City of Light in style.
When it comes to booking your hotel or hostel in Paris, 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!
Travel Planner Paris: book your stay with booking.com
Furnished Apartments in Paris
For a much more local experience, consider renting an apartment in Paris through a specialized agency. This is definitely a much more local option than a hotel or a hostel, plus it has some other advantages. For example, a Paris furnished apartment will give you a little more room to spread out and be comfortable, there are more privacy and freedom than in hotels and you can even cook some of your meals to save money. If you decide to rent an apartment in Paris we recommend Paris Attitude, a real estate agency with more than 7.000 apartment rentals for travelers and a very good service.
However, have in mind that this kind of 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 apartments for travelers 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.
Accommodation in Paris: Our Paris Tips and Tricks
» 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 in a hostel or hotel without reservation and trying to negotiate the price for long stays does not work in Paris.
» Avoid Famous Places in Paris if you are traveling on a budget. Accommodation located in iconic places in Paris 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, bars and food are also more expensive.
» Check our Recommendations. On our Arrondissements of Paris posts, we handpicked some cool options in each price bracket for a specific district of Paris. 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.
6. HOW TO GET FROM PARIS AIRPORT TO CITY
If you don’t live in Europe you will probably arrive in Paris by plane. Currently, there are 153 air companies flying to Paris so you can 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 center. 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 at 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! 😉
Charles de Gaulle Airport to Paris
Traveling in Business Class?
Some flight companies like Emirates propose their business class clients a free transfer from Charles de Gaulle Airport to Paris. If you are traveling in Business Class, check if there is a free transfer included in the ticket, this is a nice service to use.
Private Transportation – The most comfortable: Hoppa.com proposes comfortable shared or private transfers from Charles de Gaulle Airport to Paris. Their three options (shared shuttle, private transfer, executive transfer) cover all the clients’ needs and budgets. Their motto is “arrive happy” and yes, after a long flight to Paris, this is the only thing you want!
Public Transportation – The fastest: take the train from Charles de Gaulle to Paris (RER B). The single train ticket costs 10.30€ for a train journey from Paris airport to city center of 40 minutes. You can use the same ticket inside Paris during the next one hour and a half after first validation.
Public Transportation – The cheapest:
Bus #350 (CDG Airport to Gare de l’Est) for a journey from Paris airport to city center of 60-80 minutes from the starting point and a frequency of 15-30 min. Click here to find all the bus stops and its schedule (“horaires de passage”).
Bus #351 (CDG Airport to Place de la Nation) for a journey 70-90 minutes from the starting point and a frequency of 15-30 min. Click here to find all the bus stops and its schedule (“horaires de passage”).
You can pay this bus with 3 single tickets T+. Every single T+ ticket costs 1,90 €. If you buy a pack of 10 tickets (“carnet de 10”, total cost 14,90€) you will be paying 1,49€ per single ticket so the bus ride will cost you 4.47 €. 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 Airport), 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 jam (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. The bus stop to Paris Airport is located at the exit of the metro station.
Orly Airport to Paris
Private Transportation – The most comfortable: Hoppa.com proposes comfortable shared or private transfers from Orly Airport to Paris. Their three options (shared shuttle, private transfer, executive transfer) cover all the clients’ needs and budgets. Their motto is “arrive happy” and yes, after a long flight to Paris, this is the only thing you want!
Public Transportation – The fastest:
Use the combination Orly Val + Train (RER B). The combined ticket costs 12.05 € for a journey from Paris airport to city center of 6min (Orly Val) + 33 min (train). If you buy the tickets separately you will pay 9.30 € + 10.30€ (=19.60 €).
There is also a direct bus, Orly Bus, leaving from Place Denfert Rochereau (Paris 14) to Orly Airport. The price of this bus ticket is 8.30€ for a total ride of 25-30 min.
Public Transportation – 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 at Porte Maillot Bus Station you will need a T+ metro ticket to reach your final destination.
7. WHAT TO DO IN PARIS: PARIS POINTS OF INTEREST AND DAY TRIPS
Perfect for Exploring Paris
Paris Points of Interest
If you are visiting Paris for the first time you will probably want to visit the main Paris Points of Interest. The most popular museums and monuments (by the 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. Long lines. If you are planning a trip to Paris and you want to visit most of its main attractions you may find convenient to buy a Paris Museum Pass.
The Paris Museum Pass offers visitors direct access to 55 of Paris top attractions and museums in Paris. If your time is limited and you want to visit as many Paris Tourist Places as you can, the Paris Museum Pass Skip Lines is for you. There are three available options: a 2-day pass, a 4 days pass or 6 days pass. You can purchase the Paris Museum Pass in different places like Paris airports, Paris museums included in the Paris Museum pass or dedicated kiosks. To avoid the hassle, we recommend purchasing this pass online. Your pass starts working only when you visit the first Paris attraction so you can buy it months in advance without any problem.
READ MORE – Paris Museum Pass Review
If you want to visit only few Paris attractions but still you hate the idea of wasting your time waiting in line, probably the best option for you is to buy separate Paris skip the line tickets or tours. We recommend buying Skip the Line Eiffel Tower and Louvre Tickets online. Also, the Paris Catacombs Tour Skip the Line is worth the investment. More about Eiffel Tower Tickets, Skip the Line Louvre or Paris Catacombs here.
The Louvre Museum
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.
If you are traveling with kids, a quirky way to visit the Louvre Museum is through a treasure hunt. In the end, the Louvre Museum can also be a fun family activity in Paris.
Unique Things to Do in Paris /Paris Off the Beaten Path
Apart from the main Paris Points of Interest, there are other fantastic, sometimes quirky, things to do and visit up and down the city. On this blog, we spend lots of time exploring these unusual things to do in Paris. Check our proposals and explore Paris Off the Beaten Path.
Best Day Trips from Paris
If you have a couple of extra days in the city, visit the surroundings of Paris. There are lots of cute places around Paris, very easy to reach by public transportation. Check out our favorite Paris day tours here.
8. TRANSPORTATION IN PARIS
Paris is a very walkable city and the best way to get around Paris is on 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). A Carnet de 10 (10 Paris T+ tickets) costs 14.90€, so 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 has 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.
READ MORE – Paris by Bike (the full guide!)
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 /11€ with any Navigo card). Batobus has 9 stops all along the Seine, from Beaugrenelle (Paris 15) to Cité de la Mode (Paris 13).
9. EATING IN PARIS
Check our Yummy Paris, with all about Paris Food: Famous Food in Paris, Where to Eat in Paris (tips from the locals!), Food Festivals in Paris and much more. 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.
10. PARIS LIKE A LOCAL
Skip the tourist traps. Explore Paris 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. If you are going to Paris for the first time, check here how to get the most out of Paris.
11. 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. Check our post about different types of Travel Insurance for Paris or Europe to get the full picture.
We use and recommend World Nomads Travel Insurance, specially 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 our Paris Trip Planner will be helpful for your first trip to Paris. If you liked this post and found it useful, spread the word and share the Paris Travel Planner with your friends through your favorite social media. For more Paris Tips and Tricks, we invite you to join our newsletter (inscription box on the sidebar). We would love to hear about your adventures in Paris so feel free to share your pictures on our facebook page
VISITING PARIS FOR THE FIRST TIME ON A SHORT LAYOVER?
If you are going to Paris for the first time for a short layover only, check our post below. This post was specially written for those people in Paris for a few hours only who want to get a glimpse of the City of Lights.
READ MORE – Unique things to do in Paris on a short layover
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