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Table of Contents
- Paris Trip Planner for Your First Trip to Paris 
- 1. Best Time to Visit Paris
- 2. Booking your Flight or Train Ticket to Paris
- 3. Don’t Skimp on Travel Insurance
- 4. Where to Stay in Paris
- 5. Accommodation in Paris
- 6. How to Get from Paris Airport to City
- 7. The Cheat Sheet for Your Paris Plan
- 8. Paris Itinerary Planner
- 9. What to Eat & Drink in Paris
- 10. Day Trips from Paris
- 11. Know Before you Go
Paris Trip Planner for Your First Trip to Paris 
Are you planning a trip to Paris in 2021? Don’t you know where to get reliable information for your Paris plan? Paris for first-timers can be overwhelming; there are so many things to see and do! That’s why we want to help with this Paris Trip Planner.
Our Paris Travel Planner is perhaps the most important article of our Paris Travel Guide. This Paris planner is a step-by-step guide where we tell you how to plan a trip to Paris, together with some insider tips. We hope you will find it helpful.
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. It also has some of the world’s best museums and other interesting indoor options when it rains or it’s too cold to be outside.
TIP: In general, 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 when planning a trip to Paris are the low /high tourist 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 is a good time to visit Paris. Spring 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!
Spring Months in Paris
>> Summer in Paris comes with longer days and nice temperatures (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.
Summer Months in Paris
>> Fall is, in our opinion, the best time for a first time in Paris. The colors of the trees are gorgeous, temperatures are still pleasant (maximums of 11C° to 21C°), and there are fewer tourists. In the last couple of years, we could organize outdoor activities until mid-November, with bright and sunny days.
Fall Months in Paris
>> Winter in Paris is not the best time to visit Paris in terms of weather (minimums of 2C° to 7°C and only 4 to 5 hours of light). However, some people love to travel to Paris at Christmas time to see Paris’s decorations and illuminations and the best Christmas markets in Paris.
Paris is also a popular destination for Saint Valentine’s in February. There are many romantic things to do in Paris.
Winter Months 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, the 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, except for 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 probably be the first weekend of the month when you can visit many museums in Paris for free. Some of these museums have this offer all year round while other museums, instead, are only for free during the winter months.
2. Booking your Flight or Train Ticket to Paris
Flight Tickets to Paris
Paris has three airports: Paris Charles de Gaulle (CDG) north of Paris, Paris Orly (ORY) south of Paris, and Paris-Beauvais (BVA), which, despite its name, is not in Paris but the city of Beauvais (80 km North of Paris).
If you are traveling to Paris from somewhere overseas, you will probably land at Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport (CDG). If you fly 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 Omio, which is very easy to use! It has different filters – time, number of scales, departure time – so the research and booking process is straightforward.
Train Tickets to Paris
If you visit Paris from Europe, high-speed trains are a good and definitely a more eco-friendly option. 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 like and recommend Trainline to book train tickets from /to Paris. The website is straightforward to use, it is in English, and they propose interesting promotions from time to time.
Don’t skimp on Travel Insurance for your holidays in France. Since anything can happen while traveling, the best thing you can do for yourself is to be insured.
Before going through other aspects of your Paris plan, ensure you are completely covered before traveling to minimize the financial risks of theft, loss of luggage, or flight cancellation.
SafetyWing is an excellent travel + medical insurance covering people from all over the world while outside their home country. It is marketed as a ‘Nomad Insurance,’ but you can get it for a minimum of five days. You can sign up for SafetyWing insurance even if your journey has already started!
Check here what is included and what is not and get a quote for your next trip to France.
Schengen Area Travel Insurance
For those who require a visa to enter France or any other Schengen country, travel insurance covering repatriation and medical expenses is compulsory. The necessary visa to enter Europe will not be issued unless you provide proof of suitable coverage.
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 and elected officials, a council, a politician, and so on. Of course, each division is still subject to the city’s overall policy and the mayor of Paris, the socialist Anne Hidalgo.
There is a little trick to find your bearings in Paris: 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. Check out 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 below for sightseeing, luxury, family, and first-time trips to Paris.
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 this Paris Trip Planner 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, 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 many unique themed hotels in Paris certainly know how to give their guests a memorable and colorful stay for less money.
>> 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!
If you decide to rent an apartment in Paris, we recommend Booking.com, which also does apartment rentals for travelers with excellent 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: furnished 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 for more options and better prices.
>> Avoid Famous Places in Paris if you are traveling on a budget.
>> Check out our Hotel Recommendations in our articles by Paris Arrondissement.
6. How to Get from Paris Airport to City
If you don’t live in Europe, you will probably fly to Paris. There are currently 153 air companies flying to Paris so that you can fly to the City of Light from anywhere in the world!
There are two airports near Paris: Charles de Gaulle Airport (CDG) and Orly Airport (ORY). You have different options to get to Paris, depending on which airport you land at.
Best Transportation Options from Paris Airports to City
Train Paris CDG Airport
Gare du Nord or Châtelet
4.50 am – 11.50 pm
Taxi CDG Airport
Orly Bus Paris ORY Airport
6 am – 0.30 am
Taxi ORY Airport
Our personal recommendation is to pre-book with Welcome Pickups, 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.
7. The Cheat Sheet for Your Paris Plan
Now it’s time to start filling your Paris schedule with some things to see and do. If this is your first trip to Paris, the lists below cover the main attractions and the most iconic things to do in Paris.
TIP: check out the best Paris combo tickets, good combinations of 2-3 Paris tickets & tours that make you save time and money!
If you are planning a trip to Paris for the first time and need some inspiration for your Paris vacation planning, these Paris itineraries for two, three, four, five, six days, or a week will be helpful.
Layover in Paris
If your vacation includes a layover in Paris, it is possible to get a glimpse of what the city offers before your next flight.
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 short itinerary to see some of Paris’ main sites. 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. We have hand-picked our best food articles for this Paris 2021 planner.
If you are looking for restaurant recommendations, this blog also lists the best restaurants in Paris by district.
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.
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. The Gardens of Versailles are beautiful to see too! Check out our Versailles Quick Guide to get the most out of this wonderful place.
For a more local feeling, there are many picturesque small towns near Paris very easy to reach by train.
11. Know Before you Go
Check out our Paris insider 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.
>> 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 versatile and easy to combine items. 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’s 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 for visiting Paris; check out our Paris Pass Comparison for the full list.
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