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Paris Travel Guide- Everything You Need to Know

Paris Travel Guide

Welcome to Paris, which is known as the City of Light. In this Paris travel guide, we will share what you need to know before you travel to Paris for the first time. We’ll also provide a list of things to do in Paris, many of which we’ve enjoyed personally during our few trips to Paris. This Paris travel guide will also have a list of best restaurants, including what to order, what things to buy in Paris, where to stay in Paris and answers to all of your most frequently asked questions. Check out our Paris travel guide below, and links to more in depth Paris content.

Paris Quick Links

  • Best Things to do in Paris (coming soon)
  • Best Restaurants in Paris (coming soon)
  • Day Trip to Versailles (coming soon)
  • Best Hotels in Paris (coming soon)
  • Best Areas to Stay in Paris (coming soon)

Paris Travel Guide Frequently Asked Questions

Why should you travel to Paris?

Traveling to Paris is an experience unlike any other. In Paris, you’ll find iconic landmarks like the Eiffel Tower and Notre-Dame Cathedral to world-class museums such as the Louvre and Musée d’Orsay. Paris has an incredible fashion scene, and offers some of the best, designer shopping. There are plenty of places to relax in Paris, and enjoy a picnic in a park or people watch from a street café.

Easiest Way to Get to Paris

The easiest way to get to Paris is typically by flying into one of its two major international airports, Charles de Gaulle Airport (CDG) or Orly Airport (ORY). Once landed at either of these airports, travelers can easily get a taxi to the city center. If you want to save money and take public transportation, Charles de Gaulle Airport is more accessible by train to the city center.

If you’re starting in London or Brussels, you can also take the Eurostar or Thalys high speed trains to get to Paris.

What US cities have direct flights to Paris?

There are many US cities that have direct flights to Charles de Gaulle Airport (CDG). From the East Coast, cities like New York, Boston and Washington, D.C. provide direct flights to Paris. On the West Coast, you’ll find airports like LAX and SFO have direct flights to Paris. Major hubs like Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport and Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL) provide direct flights to Paris. If you live near any of these major cities, it is very easy to get to Paris.

What European cities have direct flights to Paris?

Paris is well-connected to numerous European cities, there are too many to fully list. Paris has 3 airports that connect to other European countries and many of the budget airlines offer most of their flights out of Orly and Beauvais. Once you arrive in Europe, it is very cheap to take a budget airline to another city in Europe. Be prepared that the budget airlines base fare always only offers the basic seat, and then you must pay extra to bring an overhead bag on board, priority boarding etc. Cities that offer direct flights to Paris include London, Amsterdam, Frankfurt, and Madrid provide frequent connections. Additionally, cities like Barcelona, Rome, Munich, and Zurich offer direct flights to Paris. If you don’t want to fly, some cities like London also connect to Paris by train.

What do I need to know before going to Paris?

  • It is easy to get a taxi at the Paris airport, but make sure you go to the taxi line. There will be people offering you a taxi as you walk there – they are not official taxis and likely will not charge you the set taxi amounts. The set taxi amounts are listed on the window of the taxi and can range from around 40 euro to one side of Paris to almost 60 euro for the other side of Paris.
  • Paris is very walkable, but it is also a large city so you won’t be able to walk to every attraction you want to visit. The train system (metro) in Paris is very easy to use, and you can buy day passes or one time passes. The trains come often, every couple of minutes.
  • There is no need to rent a car in Paris, and some day trips like a day trip to Versailles are also easily accessible by train.
  • Book museums, the Eiffel Tower and other activities early. In the summer, the ideal times for the Louvre can book up a month in advance. While some places you can wait in line for tickets the same day, you could be waiting hours or be told it’s sold out.
  • Ensure your passport is valid for at least 6 months beyond your intended departure date to ensure smooth travel
  • Europe is starting new visa requirements for US travelers, but this is now delayed until 2024 or 2025. When it starts, US travelers between 18-70 years old will need to fill out an ETIAS visa-waiver form prior to their trip, and pay a €7 entry fee, to travel to European countries within the Schengen Area. This will be valid for three years or until your passport expires. It’s expected to have a quick turnaround but it’s important to plan and submit ahead of your trip.
  • The official language is French, but English is spoken in many of the tourist sites and restaurants. Many restaurants also have English menus.
  • Paris experiences temperate changes by the season, with occasional snowfall in the winter and summers in the 70s. When packing, bring some long pants and jackets no matter what season.
  • French is the official language, though many restaurants will also have English menus and the waitstaff will speak some English.
  • Paris uses a 230-volt, 50 Hz electricity supply with Type E power plugs and sockets.
  • The currency is the Euro.
  • Credit cards are widely accepted in the city but AMEX can be hit or miss. We also found credit card acceptance in taxis was hit or miss so bring some cash if you plan to use taxis.
  • Tipping in Paris is not expected and modest tips are perfectly acceptable. In a small spot like a café or bar you can round up to the closest euro if you’d like and in restaurants people rarely leave above a 10% tip. The credit card machines do not have lines to add a tip, so bringing some cash so you can leave 5 or 10 euros is best if you want to tip.
  • The food in Paris is great, and where it really shines is their selection of desserts and pastries.
  • Don’t miss out on trying local food specialties like croissants, crepes, steak frites, French pastries, macaroons, chocolate mousse, souffles, French onion soup

What are the best things to do in Paris?

The best things to do in Paris include visiting the Eiffel Tower and seeing the panoramic views of the city’s skyline, going to the Louvre and seeing the Mona Lisa, experiencing the great fashion of Paris by going to the La Galerie Dior, or shopping along Champs-Élysées. It is also nice to stroll along the Siene River or take a Siene River cruise if it’s warm out, admire the Notre-Dame Cathedral from the outside while it remains under construction and enjoy a meal at a sidewalk café. From Paris, you can also take day trips easily. A popular day trip for first time visitors to Paris is to go to Versailles and spend the day at the Palace of Versailles.

How many days should I spend in Paris?

How many days you should spend in Paris depends on your interests and the pace which you prefer to explore. Many visitors visiting Paris for the first time spend at least 3 to 4 days in Paris. Spending 3 to 4 days allows most people the opportunity to visit iconic landmarks such as the Eiffel Tower, Louvre Museum, Notre-Dame Cathedral, eat at a sidewalk café and stroll along a neighborhood or along the Seine river. If you want to do a trip to Versailles, plan to spend at least 8 hours venturing to and exploring Versailles. Of course, Paris has so much to offer you can easily spend a week or more in Paris too.

Best Time of Year to Visit Paris

The best time to visit Paris is typically in the spring (April to June) and fall (September to October). During these times, the weather is mild, the city is less crowded compared to the peak summer season and hotel and airline prices tend to be cheaper than the peak summer season as well. While the weather is mild, it can also be a little bit chilly during the shoulder seasons so be prepared to wear jeans, long sleeves, trench coats and sneakers / booties when traveling during these months. If you visit in the spring or fall, you may also find yourself visiting during Paris Fashion Week. Paris Fashion Week takes place twice a year, in the spring and in the fall, though the exact dates vary slightly every year.

Paris is a wonderful city to visit year round, and each season brings it’s own charm. July and August are the most popular months to visit, and also the warmest. Visiting in the wintertime will bring the smallest crowds and most affordable hotel stays, though it is also colder.

What is Paris famous for?

Paris is famous for its culture, rich history, high fashion and romantic ambiance. The Eiffel Tower, is a symbol of love and architectural marvel. Paris even had a bridge where lovers put lovers locks on the bridge, but the weight of the locks got so heavy that the city had to take all the locks down and install guardrails that didn’t allow for locks anymore. Its culinary scene is legendary, filled with charming cafes, Michelin-starred restaurants an great pastries. Paris is also famous for haute couture and high fashion, hosting events like Paris Fashion Week and home to many of the most famous designers like Lous Vuitton and Dior. Lastly, Paris is famous for its exquisite art collections, including the Mona Lisa, which is housed at the Louvre.

What is the weather like in Paris?

Paris experiences temperate changes by the season, with occasional snowfall in the winter and pleasantly warm temperatures in the summer. It never gets too hot in Paris, with summer temperatures averaging between 17°C to 25°C (63°F to 77°F), occasionally reaching higher. In winters, temperatures typically range from 3°C to 8°C (37°F to 46°F), occasionally dropping below freezing. Spring and Autumn bring milder temperatures, ranging from 7°C to 17°C (45°F to 63°F). Overall, Paris enjoys a relatively mild climate year-round, often requiring long pants and jackets, but comfortable temperatures to walk around and explore a new city.

Is Paris safe?

Paris is generally considered a safe destination for travelers. The most important precaution you should take is to guard against pickpocketing. Like any major city, you should stay alert and avoid isolated areas at night. There are often protests and strikes in Paris, so don’t be surprised if you hear about a strike or protest that is going on during your trip to Paris.

Driving in Paris

Though Paris drives on the right side of the road like the United States, driving in Paris can be challenging. It is so easy to get around Paris by walking, taking the Metro or taking a taxi or Uber there is really no need to rent a car when visiting Paris. The streets are narrow, there can be a lot of traffic and there are a ton of bikers and walkers in the city centers. Plus, you have to figure out parking. It is less stressful to rely on other modes of transportation when visiting Paris.

How to Save Money Traveling in Paris

Traveling to Paris on a budget is possible, and finding a cheap flight and cheap hotel will ultimately save you the most money. Visiting in the off season and booking accommodations and flights well in advance will help you save the most money traveling to Paris. It is very easy to take advantage of public transportation instead of taxis and Ubers to save money as Paris has a robust public transportation system. If you are a student, many attractions offer discounted or even free admission. Some attractions even do this for everyone, but only on certain days or times. Dining at local cafes, away from the most touristy cafes, will also help you save money on food. Even going to a grocery store and buying food to make your own picnic is very popular in Paris and a way to save money. Though a large expense, many people who want a nice designer bag will buy it in Paris to save money. Prices, especially the designer French brands, are cheaper in Paris than the US and you can also get reimbursed the VAT tax as you are leaving the European Union. With thoughtful planning, you can absolutely save money traveling to Paris.

Paris Travel Guide Conclusion

In conclusion, Paris is a great city to visit during your travels to Europe. Paris is filled with timeless charm, rich history and vibrant culture. You can experience iconic landmarks like the Eiffel Tower and Louvre Museum, excellent shopping, charming neighborhoods, the best pastries you’ll ever eat and more. It is easy to stroll aimlessly around Paris, or have a very scheduled trip, whichever you prefer. Paris is very easy to get around, by walking if you’re in a central area, taking the metro, or getting a taxi or Uber. We hope this Paris travel guide helped you plan your first trip to Paris.

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