Did you know?
Paris is also known as ‘The City of Light’ (La Ville Lumière) because it was one of the first European cities that started using gas street lighting.
Imagine this: You’re meandering through stylish roads lined with designer boutiques, the air smells like croissant, and the sophisticated café on the corner seems to have popped out of a 60’s Hollywood movie with you as a leading actor.
Sounds dreamy? Well, this is what going on holiday to Paris is like!
Organizing your trip to Paris, though, can be time-consuming. No worries, we got you covered. Keep reading to find out ALL you need to know about planning a holiday to Paris, from how to get there and where to stay to what to eat and pack.
Paris might be known as the city of arts, culture, and fashion, but it is so much more than that! The second most-visited European city after London, Paris receives millions of tourists every year. Are you planning to be one of them?
If the answer is yes, keep reading to find out everything, from the best things to do in Paris to the best places to visit and where to stay in Paris!
Paris, the capital of France, is one of the most popular and most-visited travel destinations worldwide! Museums, monuments, top fashion boutiques, and fantastic food are just some of the reasons why the “City of Light” (La Ville Lumière) is so famous. Rich in history and culture, Paris oozes a romantic retro charm that makes it a popular destination for couples and newlyweds. Some of the most iconic monuments in Paris are the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre, the 12th-century cathedral Notre Dame de Paris, and the Napoleonic Arc de Triomphe.
Paris is situated in the north-central part of France, by the river Seine. The city belongs to the Ile-de-France region.
Every season in Paris has a unique beauty. Winter in Paris is cold with low temperatures and snow. Spring is chilly and rainy. Summer is warm and muggy, but not steaming hot. In general, spring and summer are peak season in Paris, so it’s a good idea to avoid them if you’re traveling on a budget or if you want to skip super-long lines at major attractions.
Paris is also known as ‘The City of Light’ (La Ville Lumière) because it was one of the first European cities that started using gas street lighting.
The Musée d’Orsay, which is housed inside a recently renovated Parisian train station, is one of the most-visited museums in the world. There, you’ll find works of many impressionists and expressionists, like Cézanne, Van Gogh, Monet, Manet, Degas, and Gauguin. The museum also features two cafes and a restaurant, which are perfect for a break after a long day of exploration.
The Fondation Louis Vuitton is housed in an impressive glass-made building designed by Frank Gehry. Inside the building, you’ll find an art museum that hosts works of contemporary artists like Thomas Schütte, Ellsworth Kelly, Pierre Huyghe, Sarah Morris, Gerhard Richter, and Taryn Simon. The Fondation Louis Vuitton also hosts some temporary exhibitions and plays host to many events.
The Louvre Museum is one of Paris’ trademarks, not only thanks to the art treasures it hosts but also for its iconic exterior. The most popular artwork pieces at Louvre are the Mona Lisa, the Venus de Milo, and Winged Victory -many visitors go straight to them, without even noticing the rest of the exhibits. Besides these super-popular artworks though, Louvre hosts many masterpieces of artists like Caravaggio, Rubens, Rembrandt, and Vermeer.
One of the most iconic gothic cathedrals in the world, the Cathédrale de Notre Dame, is arguably the symbol of the city. Notre Dame de Paris has an impressive exterior with beautiful windows, stone gargoyles, dramatic towers, and statues. Napoléon was crowned here. Kings and queens have also exchanged marriage vows before its altar. The interior of the cathedral hides many treasures, like stained-glass rose windows, organs, and a treasury.
The Eiffel Tower is the ultimate trademark of Paris! Constructed by French engineer Gustave Eiffel, this iconic tower was presented at the World Exhibition in 1889. You can visit the Eiffel Tower throughout the day, but it is more impressive at night when it is lit by 20,000 lights.
Most shops in Paris are open throughout the day (Monday to Saturday) from 9 am to 7 pm except for some small shops that close at lunchtime (12 pm – 2 pm) and don’t open on Mondays. Supermarkets in Paris are open until 8 pm – 10 pm. All shops in Paris are closed on Sundays and public holidays.
Paris has an enduring history and rich culture! Also known as “the City of Light” (“la Ville Lumière”), Paris has been considered an educational, commercial, and artistic hub since the 17th century. The origins of Paris are traced in the middle of the 3rd century BC, when a sub-tribe of the Celtic Senones called Parisii inhabited the Paris area. In 52 BC the Romans conquered Paris, which was then known as Lutetia. However, from the late 5th century, Paris was attacked by the Franks, the Germans, Vikings, and the Capetians. The last ruled Paris for eight centuries.
Paris is well-connected to many European countries, as well as the UK and the US. The ways you can get to the capital of France are by air, train, bus, or car.
Flights from the US to Paris: There are several direct flights to Paris from many cities of the US. Some of them are New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, and Boston.
Flights from Canada to Paris: There are also direct flights from Canada to Paris, from Canadian cities like Toronto, Montreal, and Vancouver.
Flights from Australia to Paris: There are no direct flights from Australia to Paris, but several airlines fly from Australia to Paris with stopovers. Such airlines are Emirates, Air France, British Airways, and Air France.
Flights from Europe to Paris: Many low-cost airlines fly directly to Paris from Europe, for as little as 50€! Such airlines are Ryanair, Easyjet, and Vueling.
How can you get to the airport?
There are two airports in Paris, Roissy Charles de Gaulle Airport (CDG) and Orly Airport (ORY). However, Roissy Charles de Gaulle Airport is the main airport in Paris. You can get to the airport from the city center by taxi, by RER train, by Roissybus, and by bus.
Getting to Paris airport by taxi
A taxi ride from the city center to Charles de Gaulle Airport lasts for half an hour and costs 50€-55€. Keep in mind that there is an extra charge (15%) from 5 pm to 10 am, on Sunday and on public holidays.
Getting to Paris airport by RER train
The RER train is the express train of Paris. The journey to Charles de Gaulle Airport from the city center of Paris by line B of the RER train lasts for half an hour. A single train ticket costs 10€ and is also valid for the metro.
Getting to Paris airport by Roissybus
The Roissybus is a coach service that connects Charles de Gaulle airport to Paris-Opéra. The bus ride lasts for an hour and a one-way ticket costs €13.70. The Roissybus runs from 6.00 am to 12.30 am, departing every 15-30 minutes. If you’re staying close to Place de l’Opéra, this is a good transportation option to consider.
Getting to Paris airport by bus
Two bus lines connect Charles de Gaulle airport with Paris city center: 350 (From the airport to Gare de l’Est) and 351 (from the airport to Place de la Nation). These buses depart from the airport every 15 – 35 minutes and arrive at the city center in about an hour. A one-way ticket for these buses costs 6€.
Getting to Paris by train is a very good option if you’ re traveling from a neighboring European country like Germany, Belgium, Spain, Holland, and the UK. Some of the most popular train journeys to Paris are from London to Paris, from Brussels to Paris, and from Milan to Paris. The main train stations in Paris are Paris Gare du Nord, Paris Gare de Lyon, Paris Gare Montparnasse, Paris Saint-Lazare, and Paris Gare d’Austerlitz. Although train tickets are more expensive than air tickets and the journey is long, the train trip to Paris is really worth it.
Similar to the train, getting to Paris by bus is a good option if you’re traveling from another European city. Also, bus fares are relatively cheap, so the bus is ideal for those traveling on a budget. The only downside is that the journey to Paris by bus is quite long, depending on your departure point.
Getting to Paris by car is a great option if you’re planning to also visit other parts of the country or go on a road trip around Europe. However, the car is not the best way to get around Paris, as it is almost impossible to find a parking spot.
The Eiffel Tower neighborhood is the best place to stay if you’re visiting Paris for the first time, as it is close to the major attractions. Located on the left bank of River Seine, this neighborhood is steps away from the Eiffel Tower, Musée d’Orsay, Les Invalides, and other must-visit sights in Paris.
If you want to have a taste of the romantic side of Paris, Montmartre is your best bet! Boasting a wonderful view of the city, Montmartre is not only romantic but also artistic and affordable -perfect for young couples or honeymooners! It’s also full of cute bistros and romantic restaurants that ooze a retro-Parisian charm.
For those who want to experience the authentic Parisian nightlife, Oberkampf is a top choice! Located at the hip section of the 11th arrondissement, Oberkampf boasts a great selection of restaurants, trendy bars, clubs, and shops. It’s the epicentre of Parisian entertainment!
Located on Paris’ Right Bank, Le Marais is an artistic district full of history! Popular with the young Parisians and art lovers, Le Marais has a variety of gourmet restaurants, boutiques, art galleries, and museums. It’s the perfect combination of fashion and art!
Saint-Germain-des-Pres is a classy neighborhood in Paris, located at the 6th arrondissement. Overflowing with history, art, culture, and local gastronomy, this district will give you a break from the bustling city center. At Saint-Germain-des-Pres you’ll find a bunch of museums, galleries, and delicious Parisian restaurants. What’s more, it’s very close to the Musée D’Orsay and Notre Dame.
Related: Paris best hotels and places to stay
The best way to feel the vibe of the city and take in the sights is to explore Paris on foot! Sure, the center of Paris is quite big and you’re going to need a public means of transportation at some point, but walking around the city is a unique experience. Our tip is to scout out your destinations before you start exploring so that you can find the best way to reach them.
The Paris metro network comprises 16 Metro lines that cross the city. The metro runs from 5:30 am to 12:40 am on Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Sundays and from 5:30 am to 1:40 am on Fridays and Saturdays.
You can buy metro tickets at the metro, RER stations, tramway stations, as well as at Paris Tourist information centers. A single ticket for the metro in Paris costs €1.90 and is valid for just one journey. You can also buy a pack of 10 tickets for €16 or a monthly and a weekly pass. There’s also the Paris Visite Pass, which offers unlimited journeys of 5 days.
68 bus lines in Paris connect several points throughout the city, covering a larger number of destinations than the metro. To use buses, you should purchase the same ticket as in the metro or buy a ticket directly from the bus driver. The ticket is valid for a single journey, so you should validate another ticket if you want to use another bus line or another means of public transportation.
Again, similarly to the metro, you can purchase a pack of 10 tickets or a pass. Most bus lines in Paris run from 6:00 am. to 12:45 am from Monday to Thursday and on Sunday and from 6:00 am to 1:45 am on Friday and Saturday.
Getting around Paris using the RER train network is a little bit more complicated than using the metro or the bus. That’s why it’s better to plan your RER journey or download the Paris Metro/RER app to check the itineraries. RER trains comprise 5 lines that run from 4:50 am. to 12:00 – 12:30 am.
If you want to move around Paris during the after-hours or just step out of the often overcrowded public means of transportation, a taxi is your best bet. With over 20,000 taxis (Taxi Parisien) running 24/7, it’s easy to catch one no matter where you are in the city. The minimum fare for taxis in Paris is 2,60€. The price for every kilometer is 0,96€ from Monday to Saturday from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm and 1,17€ from Monday to Saturday from 5:00 pm to 10:00 am. On Sundays, the price per kilometer is 1,21€. You can call a taxi on 01 45 30 30 30.
What you should know before visiting Paris is that it is an expensive city, especially in peak season. So, you should plan on spending about 165 € (184 $) per day. This means you’re going to spend 53 € to 180 € (60$ to 200$) on accommodation, 1.90 € to 14 € (2 $ to 16 $) on public transportation, and 36 € to 72 € (40$ to 80 $) on food and drinks.
Andouille is a type of smoked sausage made of pork, particularly popular in France. It is usually made using parts of the pig’s stomach and intestines, but it can contain other parts like neck, head, and breast. You can find the authentic Andouille sausage in the Normandy and Brittany regions in France. There is also a smaller version of the original sausage called “andouillette”.
Except for being super-instagrammable, French baguettes are also super-yummy and cheap (0.45-0.90 euros per loaf)! In Paris, you’ll find many “boulangeries” (local bakeries), that sell fresh-out-of-the-oven baguettes. Our tip is to eat the baguette as soon as possible after you buy it because it doesn’t stay fresh for more than a day!
Macaron is a French pastry that has become a global trend over the last few years. Macarons are little round cookies filled with cream. They came in many colors and flavors and are flour-less, as they are usually made of almond flour. The ultimate macaron meccas are Ladurée and Pierre Herme.
Coq Au Vin, which means rooster with wine, is a hearty French delicacy worth trying! This simple yet delicious dish consists of chicken braised in wine sauce and cooked with onions, bacon, and mushrooms. Yummy!
The Parisian health care system is good, fast, and budget-friendly. If you’re a citizen of EU, Switzerland, Iceland, Norway or Liechtenstein, health care in Paris is free or with a reduced cost, provided that you own a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC). Otherwise, we suggest that you have private travel insurance that covers you in case of a medical need.
Summer in Paris is warm, but not steaming hot. There’s always a chance of thunderstorms, so it’s better to be safe than sorry when it comes to packing! Some must-have items that need to be in your suitcase are cotton t-shirts, shorts, linen dresses, and comfortable sandals, as well as a raincoat and an umbrella.
Fall weather in Paris is rainy and humid. The temperatures usually start to drop after September, so if you’re planning to visit Paris around that time of the year, you should bring a sweater, cotton trousers, and waterproof jackets with you. Layering is the key!
Winter in Paris is cold and often snowy, but temperature fluctuations are pretty common. So, you need to have your warm coats, sweaters, boots, gloves, scarves, and waterproof jackets.
Spring in Paris is unstable in terms of temperatures, so you have to cover all bases clothes-wise. Some key items to have in your suitcase are long-sleeve shirts, jackets, long trousers, a pair of waterproof shoes, and a pair of comfortable sneakers.
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