Paris is one of the world’s most popular travel destinations and offers an array of iconic landmarks and attractions. If you’re planning a trip to the City of Lights, here are some helpful travel tips for traveling in Paris and advice to make the most of your visit.
1. When to go
Paris is beautiful in every season, so when you go depends on what weather makes you comfortable. The winters aren’t too cold and the holiday events are truly spectacular, but spring brings gorgeous wildflowers that brighten the entire city. The fall is also lovely with the changing leaves and cool, crisp air. If you want to go in summer, the weather is mild, but what to know before you go is that most of Europe closes a lot of attractions during August.
2. What to pack
As one of the fashion capitals of the world, you may assume that you’ll need the finest clothing to spend time in Paris without turning some heads. While Parisians are stylish and chic, you’ll also see people walking around in casual street clothing and comfortable shoes, so don’t be afraid to pack what you want. It’s a good idea to check the weather before your trip and bring some extra layers in case it rains. Of course, you could always swing by a vintage shop in Marais, such as Chinemachine Vintage to grab some clothing if you didn’t anticipate the cold.
3. What to eat
French cooking is known the world over and provides inspiration for culinary culture everywhere. You can’t go wrong with any restaurant or eatery in Paris, but there are some culinary highlights you should experience. The cafe culture is a highlight, so be sure to sit outside and sip a beverage while you watch the activity on the street, and grab a croissant or dessert while you’re there. Du Pain et Des Idées is a great choice. You should also sample some French bread from a local bakery, try some artisan cheeses and sip as much wine as you wish.
4. How to get around
The Paris Metro is the easiest way to get around the city, and you can book single or multi-day tickets for transportation during your entire stay. There are also taxis throughout the city, but they’re usually in high demand. You have a great chance of booking a taxi at the train station or airport, or even your hotel. Paris is also highly walkable, so feel free to grab a map and stroll around to see what you come across.
5. Where to stay
Paris has 20 arrondissements, or neighbourhoods, each with its own personality and attractions. Though you can find hotels and accommodation near the attractions and landmarks, the metro travels all over the city, so your best option is to book a hotel within walking distance of a station. The hotels in Paris range from budget-friendly to extravagant, so be sure to do your research and check out travel tips to see which option works best for you. If you’re travelling with a group, you can find large vacation homes that give you space close to the city.
6. Local customs
Parisian culture is unique, so be sure to learn the local customs before you go. One thing you’ll wish you knew is that pleasantries are mandatory. It’s important to say “bonjour” and “au revoir” to the people you encounter. People also speak more quietly, and an air kiss on the cheek is the standard greeting. People also make intense eye contact. When you dine out or visit a cafe know that tipping is not required, but it is welcomed and appreciated.
7. Top attractions and highlights
With so much to do and see, it’s unlikely you’ll fit it all in one trip. Some of the top highlights of the city include the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre and the restored Notre Dame Cathedral. There are plenty of smaller museums as well, such as the Musée National Picasso, Musée du Quai Branly, Musée d’Orsay and Musée Rodin, all of which contain must-see masterpieces by prominent artists. You should also visit the Arc de Triomphe, the Fondation Louis Vuitton and Champs Elysees.
8. Feel free to drink in public
Wine is a staple in France, so you shouldn’t be surprised if you see people drinking in public. It’s not only legal in Paris, but you’ll find that many Parisians enjoy a drink out in the open. Feel free to drink, but remember to pace yourself because public intoxication is not acceptable or tolerated. If you want to experience more of the wine culture, one of the best wine regions in the country is just a short train ride away in Champagne, which offers many options for a wine tour and tasting.
9. Stroll around to see street art
Walking through the city, you’ll see gorgeous street art and artists working in public areas, which is a unique way to experience the creativity of the city. You could also see impressive street art and murals in hidden streets all over the Right Bank, so just spend some time strolling around to see what you spot. There’s also spectacular street art in the 19th arrondissement. Be sure to bring a camera for mementos of what you come across.
10. Know a bit of French
If you’re going to visit Paris, it’s best to learn a little of the language to make your stay more enjoyable. You may encounter people who speak English, but learning a few basic words and phrases is a good way to show respect. At the very least, learn hello, goodbye, please, thank you, excuse me, yes and no, as well as how to say “I’m sorry” in French. Some other helpful phrases include “where is the bathroom” and “do you speak English,” which you may need.
Ready to plan your trip?
With this essential information you need before visiting Paris, you’re ready to plan your vacation. Check out Expedia to find deals on Paris vacations and get ready for a memorable experience!