Charming cafes with strong coffee and flaky pastries. Fine-dining restaurants where you can really savor a long meal. Gorgeous architecture, lots of parks, and an air of sophistication. These are all things that people picture when they imagine a trip to Paris, France.
Many people put Paris on their travel bucket list and there are so many reasons why. No matter how you plan your trip, it's going to be lovely, but it does help to know a few things beforehand.
Here is a travel guide to Paris: 10 things to know while planning your trip.
Go Shopping On Rue Saint-Honoré, Visit the Musée d’Orsay, And Check Out St. Germain des Pres
Fodors recommends that travelers go to Rue Saint-Honoré which features many designer stores (but also some more affordable places such as Zara).
Tourists will also be awed by the Musée d’Orsay where you can find artwork by Van Gogh, Manet, Monet, and Degas. You can take a tour and also visit two different restaurants, so it's easy to spend quite a few hours here. Perhaps the coolest thing to do in Paris is going to St. Germain des Pres, located in the Left Bank, where there are several stores that sell chocolate and various treats made with the delicious ingredient.
Head To Paris In September, October, April, May, Or June
Rick Steves mentions the "shoulder season" of going to Paris, and it seems like this could be the perfect time of year to plan a trip.
This would mean traveling there in September, October, April, May, or until the middle of June. The website says these are good months to plan a trip to Paris because there won't be so many people, it won't get super dark too early, and the weather will be good.
Stay At Hotel Brighton - Esprit de France And Hotel Mayfair Paris
It doesn't get more sophisticated than Hotel Brighton - Esprit de France. Close to the Louvre and located on the Rue de Rivoli, this hotel has been around since 1830 and guests can even borrow bikes, which is a nice touch. Trip Advisor says that there are 272 restaurants that are a short stroll away.
Hotel Mayfair Paris is another hotel in the same area that's a good bet. It's fairly small with 40 rooms and people like the feel of it. There are 227 restaurants that are close by, and the reviews are positive.
Stay In The 1st Arrondissement Area
When you're traveling somewhere for the first time, it's helpful to find an area to stay in that will be convenient. You want to be able to walk to restaurants and cafes, explore, and also be in a great place to hail a cab or access public transportation.
According to Santorini Dave, it's a good idea to stay in the 1st Arrondissement if you want to be close to famous buildings such as the Notre Dame Cathedral and the Louvre. The website also mentions that the Chatelet metro station is in this area, too.
Dine At L'Aubergeade For Amazing French Food And Don't Miss Crossiants At Des Gâteaux et du Pain
Of course, you're wondering where to eat in Paris, right? Many people love L'Aubergeade, and several Trip Advisor reviews mention the delicious lobster, steak, and fish. The front of the restaurant is painted a beautiful shade of blue and in warmer weather, there are adorable small tables where diners can enjoy their meals.
Flaky, buttery, wonderful croissants are a must when you're in Paris. Time Out recommends Des Gâteaux et du Pain. Besides their famous croissants, you can order apple turnovers, chocolate bread, lemon cake, and more.
Take A Bus, The Metro, Or Hop In A Taxi
Trip Savvy says that "one of the world's safest and most efficient public transportation systems" can be found in Paris. There are 64 bus lines and you can find maps that explain where you want to go.
If you want to take the metro, that's a great idea as it's open from 5:30 a.m. until past 12 a.m. There are 16 subway lines and you can decode them by which color they are, so this does take a bit of advance planning. For 7.50 euros, you can get a metro pass to use for a day. You can also take a taxi if you're not going very far and it's recommended to use cash.
Check Out The Eiffel Tower And The Arc de Triomphe
The most famous landmark in Paris is, of course, The Eiffel Tower, so no trip to this city is complete without a visit. The website suggests purchasing tickets online ahead of your time since it does get a lot of crowds. As long as you're there 15 minutes before the time on the ticket, you should be good to go. There are also many restaurants and places to buy souvenirs.
The Arc de Triomphe is in Place Charles de Gaulle and, according to Arcdetriompheparis.com, it's a tribute to the soldiers during the Napoleonic war. What's the best way to get a good look at this beautiful structure? Walk nearby (but be super aware of the busy traffic) and you can see it, or get to the top by walking up the 40 stairs.
Don't Tip Too Much, But Do Know The Customs
The currency used in Paris is the euro. According to Europe For Visitors, you want to get some euros before leaving for your trip, although you can use ATMs in the city, too. For the most part, travelers are fine to use Mastercard and VISA.
Trip Savvy says that leaving a generous tip will be seen as a bad thing in Paris, so it's best to keep that in mind. You can give a tip of 10 percent and leave 15-20 percent if you really felt that the server was amazing. It's also good to know that there will be a "service charge" of 15 percent on your restaurant bills, but since that isn't given to the restaurant employees, it's definitely nice to tip.
January Is The Most Affordable Time Of Year To Fly To Paris
According to Kayak, you're going to pay the most money to fly to Paris in July and June, which makes sense since summer is always a favorite time to travel. The most affordable time of the year to fly to Paris is January.
If you want to travel to this beautiful city another time, the website recommends looking for flights a month prior to when you want to go there.
How To Feel Like You Actually Live In Paris During Your Trip
Visiting the tourist attractions in Paris is definitely a must but it's also nice to get a taste of what it's like to actually live somewhere.
One major thing to note about going to Paris is that people enjoy having a chill, relaxing meal or spending time at a cafe. Solo Sophie recommends purchasing food from local markets (and also bringing it to a park to enjoy it there), sitting in a cafe to have coffee, making sure to tell shop employees "bonjour," and walking around a lot.