Planning a trip to Paris? Paris is a dream trip for many, a city that has been publicized as one of the most romantic cities in the world. There are things to know before planning a trip to Paris, otherwise you can have unpleasant experience. In this Paris Travel Guide, we will help you with that. We had the least expectation with Paris as none of us had it as our bucket list place, so we went with an open mind and made the most of our trip to Paris. In this travel guide, we are here to help you so that you visit mentally prepared and have a wonderful experience in Paris.
What to expect before planning trip to Paris?
Planning a trip involves a lot of expectation and when you travel to a place with huge expectation, most of the time you are disappointed. I will suggest to keep your expectation low, specially on the romantic bit.
Paris is a big city, hence it comes with its big city problems.
- You will see huge amount of tourists everywhere.
- Trains and sights will be crowded most of the time.
- You can expect huge queue to Louvre or Eiffel Tower top.
- You can see trash in many places.
- Many tourists scams and thefts
If you are aware about all of the above, then you will not be shocked when you land first time in Paris.
How many days needed for Paris travel?
You will need minimum 3 nights in Paris to explore the city properly. This does not include a trip to disneyland or any other day trip. We are considering that you will not be a regular visitor of Parish, hence you want to see it all and do it all in your first trip.
Paris is a rich in history, culture and food. You need minimum 3 full days to explore and enjoy the city, specially if you are visiting its famous museums and churches.
When to visit Paris?
The most touristy time to visit Paris would be the summer months June to August. Summer in Paris will warmer and days are going to be longer. If you are from UK, Ireland or Canada and cold does not bother you then you can visit Paris in winter months. If you are planning to visit in winter months you also have to remember days are going to be shorter as sun sets around 5PM in december. Winter comes with its own benefits of Christmas decorations in Paris.
You can plan anytime that suits you. If you want to avoid crowd then go for the shoulder months like April to May or September/ October. Also, keep in mind any long weekend in the UK contributes to large amount of tourists in Paris. If you can avoid that you will have much better experience.
Can I drink tap water?
Yes you can drink tap water in Paris. we did the same. It doesn’t taste like glacial water of Switzerland but it is safe to drink.
How safe is Paris?
In one word, Paris is not safe. But, if you are aware and cautious then you can be okay in Paris. We are Indian and pick-pocketing or snatching items from crowded train or buses in big cities, is quite common. So we are aware how to protect our belongings or wallets in such scenarios, so our recommendation would be stay alert and guarded at all times.
There are many tourists scams that runs all over Europe; specially in big cities. You need to be aware about that and do not engage in them at any cost.
It is better to avoid late night commute or parties, specially when you need to walk a lot from your hotel to the public transport.
How to get around Paris?
If you are planning a trip to Paris then forget about driving around Paris. Paris is very well connected with public transport, so we highly recommend that you make use of it. Driving or taking a cab in Paris can be painful considering the traffic. Metros are faster, cheaper way to get around.
You should take bunch of 10 or 20 tickets together, that will be cheaper and you can use it for the all your trips. You can opt for travel card as well Linked here.
Our recommendation would be taking 10 tickets, and walk around from all the important sights as that will give you better opportunity to feel the real vibe of Paris.
Bring good walking shoes in trip to Paris
Paris is a city where you will walk a lot from one site to another. On top of it the roads in Paris is cobble roads, hence you really need to have comfortable walking shoes. If you are wearing high heel shoes, trust me you will have nightmare walking around. My feet was hurting even after wearing sports shoes at the end of the day.
Where to plan to stay in Paris travel?
Paris like London is divided in zones, and these zones are in circles; So, Zone one is the smaller circle and the till Zone 5 forms the outer circle. If your budget allows you, staying in Zone 1, means all the important sites are going to be within reach. You can take a short trainor walk around, but definitely the stays are going to be expensive.
Our recommendation will be to choose a stay in zone 2 or zone 3, this is going to be 15 bto 30 mins train ride to the center and affordable stays you will find.
Also, it is very important to decide your accommodation based on your flight timing and the airport you are flying in or out from. Please note CDG airport is the most busy and big international airport, connected to the center with super fast trains. If you are opting for cheaper airlines; then Orly airport still closer to the city. It will be best bet as it is connected by trams and then with the metro. If you are flying into Paris Beauvais airport. It is very far from the city and you need to take a bus to the airport which takes roughly 2 hrs from center.
Is Paris expensive?
If you are coming from India then any place in Europe will be expensive for you, due to the currency conversion rate. If you compare all in Europe, Paris is not that expensive in terms of hotel stay, food and commute expenses.
Listing you the rough cost for Paris stay for two people.
|Cost in Euro €
|Hotel Stay/AirBNB Shared Washroom
|Hotel Stay/ AirBnB Private Washroom
|Hotel Stay/AirBnB with kitchen
|Food from takeaway or Grocery
|30 per person no alcohol
|15 (10 tickets)
Paris Travel guide on Where to eat in Paris?
French cuisine is one of the world famous cuisine. If you are in Paris I highly recommend you to try french food at least one meal. You need to pre-book table in the famous restaurants, otherwise you will not be able to manage a booking. Trust me we have learned it the hard way.
French cafes, and bakeries are also world famous. So, when you are in Paris make sure to have Croissants, au-pain-chocolat etc with Coffee in any bakery you come across. You won’t be disappointed. One thing you have to try if you are near Louvre is macaroons from Ladurée.
How much cash I need to carry?
You really don’t need to carry cash in Paris, from small take-away store to the bakeries, everywhere card is accepted. You can keep some Euros for emergency, otherwise you won’t need to carry cash.
Paris Travel Guide to public toilets
Public toilets in Paris is free of cost and all around the city. All you need to do is search public toilets near me in Google Maps and you will find them. There are 400 automatic public toilets installed all across tourist attractions in Paris. We have used one of them near Trocadero during our visit and it was clean.
Online pre-book activities or Museums
If you are planning on doing a boat cruise by the river or taking the life up the Eiffel tower or plan to see the great Mona Lisa in Louvre, please buy your tickets online. You do not turn up at the monument and stand in the queue forever to get the tickets and then enter the activities you want to do. This will spoil your experience and may take the whole day to see one monument only.
Do I need to learn French for my Paris travel?
Yes and No 🙂 ! let me explain. We will recommended that you learn at least basic greetings in French and use it while travelling. This will make your experience better as locals appreciate that you are respecting their language. If you know French then use it as much as you can.
Last but not the least Google Translate to rescue, make sure you have it downloaded before you reach and use it to communicate. Even if you ask in English you will get response in French, so to understand that you will need the app.