Paris is always a good idea ♥
Paris for first timers. Planning a trip to Paris? Does travel planning take so much of your time and effort? You don’t know where to get reliable information? Look no further, our Paris travel planner is the best travel planner, with all the Paris tips and tricks that you need to plan your first time in Paris like a pro.
Paris Travel Blog 2017. Last update: November 2017
- 1 FIRST TRIP TO PARIS: BEST TIME TO VISIT PARIS
- 2 FIRST TIME IN PARIS WHERE TO STAY
- 3 WHERE TO STAY IN PARIS FOR FIRST TIMERS
- 4 HOW TO GET FROM PARIS AIRPORT TO CITY
- 5 WHAT TO DO IN PARIS: PARIS POINTS OF INTEREST
- 6 BEST DAY TRIPS FROM PARIS
- 7 TRANSPORTATION IN PARIS
- 8 EATING IN PARIS
- 9 PARIS LIKE A LOCAL
- 10 LAST BUT NOT LEAST . . .
- 11 VISITING PARIS FOR THE FIRST TIME ON A SHORT LAYOVER?
FIRST TRIP TO PARIS: 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 want to choose your travel dates according to the weather or your budget, this is what you need to know:
Seasons in 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. Remember to pack an umbrella and a jacket with you.
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 is definitely less people around. Last couple of years we could organize outdoor activities until mid November, with nice and sunny days.
Winter in Paris 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 come to Paris in 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 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 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 Visit 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 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 museum lover, the best time to go to Paris for you will be probably 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. Instead, other museums are only for free during winter time.
FIRST TIME IN PARIS WHERE TO STAY
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 during your first trip to Paris is a difficult decision because each Paris 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 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!
WHERE TO STAY IN PARIS FOR FIRST TIMERS
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 district) 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 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!
For those people with a higher budget and looking for hotels that give a distinctive feel, we hand picked on the post below 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!
Travel Planner Paris: book your stay with booking.com
For a much more local experience, consider apartment rentals for travelers through a specialized agency or Airbnb. This is definitely a much more local option than the hotel plus have some other advantages. For example, Furnished apartments in Paris France will give you a little more room to spread out and be comfortable, there is more privacy and freedom than in hotels and you can even cook some of your meals to save money. You can read here our best tips for booking furnished apartments in Paris France. If you decide to rent an apartment in Paris we recommend Paris Attitude, a real state agency, with more than 7.000 apartments to rent in Paris and a very good staff and 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.
Where to stay 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 to 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 your budget is tight. Accommodation located in famous 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 and bars are also more expensive.
Check our recommendations. On our Paris by Arrondissement posts we hand picked 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.
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 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 14,90€) 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), 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: PARIS POINTS OF INTEREST
Top Tourist Attractions in Paris
If you are visiting Paris for the first time you will probably want to visit the top tourist attractions in Paris. 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. Long lines. If you are planning a trip to Paris and you want to optimize your time and have fun, you may find helpful our posts below.
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.
Unique things to do in Paris
Apart from the top tourist attractions in Paris 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, some of them are FREE !
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 our best day trips from Paris here
TRANSPORTATION IN PARIS
Paris is a very walk-able 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 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).
EATING IN PARIS
Check our Yummy Paris, a super page with all about Paris Food: famous food in Paris, where to eat in Paris (tips from the locals!), Food Festivals 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.
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. If you are going to Paris for the first time check here some interesting ways to do Paris like a local.
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, 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 our Paris Trip Planner will be helpful to Plan 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 Travel tips, 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 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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