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Ways to Avoid Crowds in Paris

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10/13/20

When all this is said and done, you may want to explore the world again. After a long period at home, wanderlust is alive and well, so once it is safe to travel again you may not want to postpone your plans to visit Paris eternally.

Yet, there’s no denying that traveling will be different from now on and we believe that people will definitely be a lot more aware of their surroundings and try to keep away from crowded places.

Avoiding crowds in tourist destinations like Paris is hard but not impossible with good planning and strategic thinking. Paris is a big city with something to do for everyone a little bit everywhere.

With all this in mind, here are the best ways to avoid crowds in Paris, post-lockdown.

Travel to Paris

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Travel Off-season

Gardens Rodin Museum

The summer months and Christmas holidays are the high season in Paris when everybody wants to go to Paris and all the big museums and main sights are considerably more crowded.

If you have the opportunity to travel off-season, don’t hesitate and do it: it is always calmer and most of the time also cheaper.

PARIS POST-LOCKDOWN TRAVEL MONTHS: most likely, the governments won’t open all the borders at the same time which means that for the first few weeks or months, the people who can travel to Paris will find a city almost for themselves and with a much more local feeling.

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Choose the Right Dates

Besides the high season and the low season, it is easy to predict when it will be busy in Paris by looking at the school vacations or public holidays in France. Also, big events like the Paris Fashion Weeks or some fairs usually come with the crowds.

Click here to check the public holidays and school holidays in France. Public holidays are the same for all France whilst the country is split into three zone regions (zones A, B, and C) for the school holiday dates. Paris is located in zone C.

Another way to predict the crowds is to Google “Paris” with the dates when you plan to visit Paris. That way, if something big is going on you will instantly find out.

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Extend your Stay for as Long as Possible

Most of us can only find a long weekend to indulge in a bit of Parisian joie the vivre but the weekend is when most of the people flock into the French capital, so attractions are extra busy.

To be honest, four days is the minimum you need to see the main sights in Paris. If you manage to stay longer, your days will be less packed with activities, and you will be able to combine busy attractions with more relaxing wanderings around the lesser tourist districts of Paris.

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Sleep Away From Happening Areas

Street of Montmartre - Paris

To escape the crowds, choose accommodation in less touristy neighborhoods. Staying in lively districts like Montmartre or Le Marais, can be overwhelming as these two areas of Paris can be busy until late at night.

If you are not familiar with your destination yet, check out our guide on the best Arrondissements to stay in Paris and pick the one that suits you best.

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Avoid the Crowds in Parys by Starting your Day Early

Eiffel Tower at Sunrise

Perhaps the easiest win is getting up early. Most tourists simply don’t do mornings so if you get up early in the morning you will find Paris almost for yourself.

Enjoy breakfast in your favorite café before it gets busy, wander the streets of Paris or the city parks when the city is still waking up, and take your first pictures of the day without crowds.

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Learn when Attractions are Busiest

Skip the line Louvre Museum

To avoid waiting in line longer than necessary at popular attractions like the Eiffel Tower, Arc de Triomphe, or Louvre Museum, learn when attractions are busiest and pick the best day and time slot for each monument and museum.

Simply head to this article and you’ll be able to see at a quick glance just when peak business is for the attractions – and see what are the best times to visit the main Paris tourist attractions during high season and low season.

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Buy Skip-the-line Tickets. Don’t Underestimate Tourist Passes

While they may cost a little more than regular tickets, skip-the-line tickets get you in front of the line quickly. After the pandemic you may want to maintain at least one-meter distance between yourself and anyone else so we expect that waiting lines to visit the main tourist attractions will get longer.

If you’ve only got a few days to explore Paris and don’t want to spend half of that time waiting in, you may want to consider the advantages of paying out a little more in order to get more done.

If your plans include visiting more than two tourist attractions a day, you may want to consider the purchase of a tourist pass. Tourist passes save time and also money and they are a wonder for serious sightseers.

Some passes like the Paris City Pass come with a metro card and 1-way transfer from the airport to the city while other passes like the Paris Museum Pass are focused on the attractions. Head here to check our Paris tourist pass comparison.

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Avoid the Parisian Metro at Peak Times

Paris public transportation

The Parisian metro is arguably one of the easiest ways to get from A to B. But on weekdays, the entire network is best avoided during peak hours.

As a rough guide, the peak hours run from 6:30 am until 9:30 am, and then from 4 pm to 7 pm. These are the times when stations are packed with workers flocking to and from work. During these times we recommend walking to avoid crowds: many of the stops in the center of Paris are just a few minutes’ walk from each other.

Check here our Metro of Paris guide

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 Try Out Alternatives to the Popular Sights

Promenade Plantée - Coulée Verte Paris

90% of people traveling to Paris will want to visit the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre Museum or the Orsay Museum. It’s understandable…but it’s also a nightmare for crowds. To slip away from the heard, choose good alternatives to the main tourist attractions or try going off the beaten path.

Our collection of Paris Hidden Gems may be a good place to start, we particularly like La Coulée Verte and also La Petite Ceinture of Paris but many of Paris’ hidden side streets feature beautiful architecture, parks, and cafés. You’ll avoid crowds, and experience the city’s culture like a local, not a tourist.

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Adjust Your Meal Times

Bistros of Paris

Popular restaurants will always have a long wait (or no free tables at all) at usual dinner times, from 8 pm to 9.30 pm. And if you go to Grands Boulevards and other theater areas in Paris, the restaurants before and after the shows are packed.

Eat a bit early or a little later and you will beat the crowds.

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Escape the Crowds in Paris by Exploring the Outskirts of Paris

Senlis, France

If you can manage to extend your stay in Paris, use the weekends to explore the outskirts of Paris.

Leafy pockets around Paris, such as Fontainebleau, Vallée de la Chevreuse, or Sceaux offer a much quieter side to city life, along with some iconic sights or some picturesque small towns.

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Avoid Major Tour Companies

If you want to do one of the best day trips from Paris without crowds, avoid booking with major tour companies. Tours by major tour companies usually are slightly cheaper but it also means big busses for groups of 50 people or more where you are just a number with a giant “TOURIST” sticker on your forehead.

Save yourself the disappointment and look for smaller, local businesses with more reduced groups with more personal attention.

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