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Table of Contents
- Paris Trip Planner [2020 – 2021]
- 1. Best Time to Visit Paris
- 2. Booking your Flight or Train Ticket to Paris
- 3. Where to Stay in Paris
- 4. Accommodation in Paris
- 5. How to Get from Paris Airport to City
- 6. The Cheat Sheet
- 7. Paris Itinerary Planner
- 8. What to Eat & Drink in Paris
- 9. Know Before you Go
- 10. Last but not least . . .
Paris Trip Planner [2020 – 2021]
Visiting Paris for the first time? Don’t you know where to get reliable information for your first trip to Paris? Paris for first-timers can be overwhelming, there are so many things to see and do! That’s why we decided to help with this Paris Trip Planner.
Our Paris Travel Planner is perhaps the most important article of our Paris Travel Guide. This is a step-by-step guide, an extensive article where we tell you how to plan a trip to Paris, together with some Paris insider tips. We hope you find it helpful.
1. Best Time to Visit Paris
When is the best time to travel to Paris? “Paris is always a good idea“ and there is never a bad time to visit Paris. The city has beautiful parks and picturesque streets great to explore under the sun but it has also some of the best museums in the world and other interesting indoor options when the weather is bad.
The best time to go to Paris is from May to October and then December for the Christmas Holidays. If you are flexible with dates, important things to consider are the low /high season and the weather in Paris. This is what you need to know:
What is the best season to visit Paris? This graphic below represents the weather in Paris year-round, with average temperatures (in Celsius) and average rainfall (%).
>> Spring in Paris means blue skies, parks in bloom, and animated cafe-terraces. The city is also famous for its cherry blossoms (check out our favorite cherry blossom spots in Paris), usually in March and April.
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 day bag!
>> Summer in Paris comes with longer days, nice temperature (maximums of 23C° to 25C°). With a long list of summer festivals and cool outdoor activities everywhere, no wonder Paris is one of the best summer destinations in Europe!.
However, summer is also the high season in Paris which means more tourists, long lines to visit Paris’ main attractions, and higher prices.
>> Fall in Paris is, in our opinion, the best time to visit Paris. The colors of the trees are gorgeous, temperatures are still pleasant (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 bright and sunny days.
>> Winter in Paris is not the best time to visit in terms of weather (minimums of 2C° to 7°C and only 4 to 5 hours of light). However, some people love visiting Paris during the Winter Holidays to see the decorations and illuminations of Paris at Christmas time and the best Christmas markets in Paris.
Paris is also a popular destination to visit for Saint Valentine’s in February, with many romantic things to do in Paris.
Tourist Seasons in Paris
>> The 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 visit Paris.
But at the same time, high season in Paris is not the best season to plan a trip to Paris in terms of budget (best accommodation sold out, higher prices). Also, the city is too crowded with tourists while locals are somewhere else on holiday.
>> The low season in Paris goes from 1st November to 31st March, with the exception of Paris at Christmas and New Year’s Eve in Paris. This is the cheapest time to travel to 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 on accommodation, for example.
In the end, Paris is a movable feast and (sun or rain) you will have a great time!
Best Time to go to Paris: Our Tips
Be flexible with your dates. Flexibility is key, especially if you are planning a trip to Paris on a budget. Flight tickets or train tickets to Paris will be more expensive:
- During the school holidays in France;
- During holidays in France or Europe;
- If you are arriving /leaving on the weekend;
- During days like New Year’s Eve or Saint Valentine’s Day.
If you are a museum lover traveling to Paris for the first time, the best time to visit Paris will be probably the first weekend of the month when many museums in Paris can be visited for free. Some of these museums have this offer all year round while other museums, instead, are only for free during the winter.
2. Booking your Flight or Train Ticket to Paris
Flight Tickets to Paris
Paris has 3 airports: Paris Charles de Gaulle (North of Paris), Paris Orly (South of Paris), and Paris-Beauvais which, despite its name, is not in Paris but in the city of Beauvais (80 km North of Paris).
If you are traveling overseas, you will probably land to Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport (CDG). If you are traveling with a low-cost airline like Ryan Air, you will probably land at Paris-Beauvais Airport (BVA).
Charles de Gaulle Aiport and Orly Airport 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 don’t like Orly Airport (ORY) that much so we always try to book flights from /to Paris Charles de Gaulle. But this is just our opinion.
Lately, we are booking our flights with CheapOair, which is very easy to use! With CheapOair there are no additional costs at the end of the booking process: we know what we will pay since the beginning by introducing our preferred payment method and items to check-in.
Train Tickets to Paris
If you are traveling to Paris from Europe, high-speed trains are a good and definitely more eco-friendly option. Paris has many train stations so depending on your origin you will arrive at a different Paris train station.
Here are some of the main European destinations served from the stations in Paris.
- Gare du Nord: London (Eurostar), Brussels, Cologne, and Amsterdam (Thalys)
- Gare de l’Est: Germany, and Luxembourg
- Gare de Lyon: Switzerland (Geneva, Zurich), Italy, and Catalunya (Girona, Barcelona)
- Gare d’Austerlitz: Western Spain.
We recommend using Trainline to book our train tickets from /to Paris. The website is very easy to use, it is in English, and they propose interesting promotions from time to time.
Planning a trip to Paris for the first time can be challenging, especially when it comes to deciding which area you want to stay in Paris.
Paris is divided into 20 arrondissements (districts of Paris) 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. Head to our Districts of Paris Quick Guide to learn more about the Arrondissements of Paris.
Where to stay in Paris? The best area to stay in Paris very much depends on the sort of trip you’re planning. Check our suggestions for sightseeing, luxury, family, and first-time trips to Paris.
Once you have narrowed down your stay to 2 or 3 arrondissements, 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!
So you got your train or flight tickets for your trip to Paris and the countdown starts! In the previous chapter, you have more or less decided where to stay in Paris (the Arrondissement of Paris). The next step of your planning trip to Paris is to book your accommodation in Paris.
Hotels and Hostels in Paris
Hotels can be so much more than a simple place to rest your head. For some travelers, the right hotel is part of what makes the travel experience an interesting one. And a city like Paris cannot disappoint in terms of accommodation: your Paris hotel can be just as memorable as your sightseeing!
>> For a top Paris experience, stay in a hotel with views of the Eiffel Tower or, even better, in one of the fabulous Palace Hotels of Paris. All these hotels are gorgeous and the beginning of a five-star Parisian experience!
>> Truth to be told, these historic hotels are not for all the pockets. But there are many unique themed hotels in Paris that certainly know how to give their guests a memorable and colorful stay.
>> For those people traveling on a budget, we hand-picked the best hostels in Paris (with 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!
When it comes to booking your bed 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!
Furnished Apartments in Paris
For a much more local experience, consider renting an apartment in Paris. This is definitely a much more local option than a hotel or a hostel, plus you can even cook some of your meals to save money. And there are some apartments with Eiffel Tower views too!
If you decide to rent an apartment in Paris we recommend Booking.com which also does apartment rentals for travelers with very good service. With Booking.com you can have all your hotel and apartment bookings under the same dashboard, plus their customer service is excellent.
GOOD TO KNOW: apartments are very requested in Paris, especially in the tourist areas. For this reason, owners prefer bookings for longer stays rather than just a weekend.
Accommodation in Paris: 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 in a hostel or hotel without a 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 tends 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 out our Recommendations. In our articles by Paris Arrondissement, 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 good value for your money.
5. 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), Orly Airport (ORY), and Paris-Beauvais Airport (BVA), located more or less far from the city center. You have different options to get to Paris, depending on which airport you land.
Best Transportation Options from Paris Airports to City
|Train Paris CDG Airport||Gare du Nord or Châtelet||30-40 min||10,3€||4.50 am – 11.50 pm|
|Welcome Pickups CDG Airport (Private transfer)||Your hotel||30-40 min||60€ approx||24/7|
|CDG Airport Shared transfer||Your hotel||60 min||18.75€ approx||24/7|
|Taxi CDG Airport||Your hotel||30-40 min||60€ approx||24/7|
|Orly Bus Paris ORY Airport||Denfert- Rochereau||30-40 min||9.5€||6 am – 0.30 am|
|Welcome Pickups ORY Airport (Private transfer)||Your hotel||30-40 min||50€ approx||24/7|
|ORY Airport Shared transfer||Your hotel||60 min||18.75€ approx||24/7|
|Taxi ORY Airport||Your hotel||30-40 min||50€ approx||24/7|
Our personal recommendation is to pre-book a Welcome Taxi, a reliable and top-rated private transfer service. Your driver will wait for you outside of the arrivals hall with a sign bearing your name plus a bottle of water and a map of the city. Welcome Pickups have introduced strict safety protocols to protect drivers and guests.
6. The Cheat Sheet
7. Paris Itinerary Planner
If you are planning a trip to Paris for the first time and you are in need of some inspiration for your Paris vacation planning, then these Paris itineraries for two, three, four, or five days are going to be super helpful.
If you have an extra day or two, don’t hesitate to go beyond Paris. Check out the ultimate list of best day trips from Paris, featuring historic cities, seaside towns, world heritage wonders, and adventures in the great French countryside.
For a more local feeling, there are many picturesque small towns near Paris very easy to reach by train.
Layover in Paris
Are you traveling to Paris for a short layover? If your top priority is to see the Eiffel Tower, it is possible to have a quick ride from the airport to the city center to check it out from your bucket list. Head here for the best ways to go to the Eiffel Tower from CDG Airport or check out this article for the best ways to go from Orly Airport to the Eiffel Tower.
With a long layover in Paris, you can consider a quick visit to Paris to get a glimpse of the City of Lights before your next flight. Check out how to spend a layover in Paris, with some proposals for short itineraries and our best tips.
When you travel to Paris, be sure to learn about French food in Paris and the best things to eat in Paris. If you’re not trying the food, you are far away from getting to know the culture.
For those looking for restaurant recommendations, we are also putting together lists of favorite restaurants in Paris by district.
9. Know Before you Go
Check out our insider Paris tips for your first time in Paris.
>> Paris is one of the most visited cities on this planet. In 2018, 17.95 million international, overnight tourists visited the city mainly for sightseeing and shopping. Read how to avoid the longest lines in Paris’ main attractions.
>> The Parisian Metro is nearly 115 years old, the second oldest metro after London’s tube system! The metro now serves 6 million out of 10.5 million people in Paris. Learn how to navigate the Parisian metro with our Paris by Metro guide.
>> Versailles is the most popular day trip from Paris. Home to the Kings of France between 1662 and 1789, the Palace of Versailles is one of the most important landmarks in French history, also listed as a UNESCO World Heritage. Check out our Versailles Quick Guide to get the most out of this wonderful place!
>> Arguably the most famous museum in the world, the Louvre Museum is also the biggest! It would take 100 days to see all of the art in the Louvre Museum. Learn how to get the most out of the Louvre in 2 hours or less.
>> The Parisian style is simple, chic, and beautiful. Parisian’s motto is “Less is More”, with a minimum of items that are versatile and easy to combine. Check out our suggestions for men and women on what to wear in Paris to blend in with the local crowd.
Consider a Paris Tourist Pass
Lines to visit the main Paris tourist attractions are guaranteed. Long lines. If you are planning a trip to Paris and you want to visit most of its famous sights, you may find it convenient to buy a Paris Tourist Pass.
The Paris Museum Pass offers visitors direct access to 55 of Paris top attractions and museums in Paris. The Paris Museum Pass is available for 2, 4 or 6 consecutive days. If your schedule in Paris is tight and you don’t want to spend your time waiting in line, the Paris Museum Pass is for you.
There are other interesting tourist passes in Paris, check out our Paris Pass Comparison.
10. Last but not least . . .
When planning the perfect trip to another country, you must never forget to include travel insurance. Make sure you are completely covered before traveling to minimize the financial risks of theft, loss of luggage, or flight cancellation.
Never leave home without travel insurance. Unfortunately, s**t happens and if it happens while traveling you will want to be covered. Read our article about the best travel insurance for Paris and France to get the full picture.
Schengen Area Travel Insurance
For those who require a visa to enter France or any other Schengen countries, travel insurance covering repatriation and medical expenses is compulsory and the necessary visa to enter Europe will not be issued unless you provide proof of suitable coverage.
How to Get Medical Insurance
So you can travel worry-free, and in case the unexpected happens, we recommend that you take out travel insurance before traveling. On the SafetyWing website, you can find a complete insurance package with prices beginning at just 40USD.
SafetyWing is specially designed for travel nomads and travelers in general. Summer or winter travel, sightseeing city breaks, or adventure travels, SafetyWing has the best insurance proposal to cover your needs, – covering now COVID-19 for new policies purchased. This travel insurance can be purchased before or after you leave
Now that you know how to plan a Paris trip and the best tips for traveling to Paris, you are set for an amazing trip to Paris. Bon Voyage!
Join France Bucket List – The France Travel Planning Facebook Group
You are also welcome to join France Bucket List our France Travel Planning Facebook Group – it is a great resource to enable you to ask questions about your upcoming trip to Paris or France!
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