Planning a trip to Paris? The French capital is a hub for tourists with many sights to see and much culture to explore. However, go unprepared and you could end up paying more for Paris than you need, as well as missing out on certain opportunities that weren’t pre-booked. Here’s a quick guide for any travellers who are still in the planning stage to ensure that your escapade to Paris is perfect.
What to bring
Hotel rooms in Paris are fairly well equipped, so bring what you would to any other hotel. You best bring clothing to match all weather – in summer it can generally stay hot although there may be the odd shower. You’ll need to bring a travel plug adapter as European plug sockets are different. Also, whilst most of Europe is keen to speak English to tourists, the French are a little less willing and prefer if you at least try a bit of the lingo – so bring a French dictionary. There are also translation apps such as WayGo that you can get for your phone that could save having to carry a book around, although you may need Wi-Fi to use them.
There are various forms of public transport in Paris. You can book a taxi using a company such as booktaxiparis or you can take the Metro and RER. Getting around can be confusing so make sure you get a map or have a GPS on your phone. Driving your own car is not advised as the roads can get pretty congested and parking can be a nightmare.
Seeing the sights
Everyone’s first stop is the Eiffel Tower. It pays to book tickets in advance, otherwise you could spend all day queuing at the ticket booth. A museum pass may also be handy for skipping the queues and getting around Paris’s world famous galleries and museums. There are many other sights to see – almost too many in one visit – so you may need to prioritise. Big attractions include Notre Dame, Arc de Triomphe, Sacré-Coeur, The Moulin Rouge and Champs Élysées, as well as nearby attractions such as Versailles and Disneyland Paris. Atlas Obscura is also a great site to use for seeing some of the more unusual, off-the-beaten-track sights.
Food and drink
France is well known for its cuisine, however dining out every night in Paris will get expensive. If you’re travelling on a shoestring, you’re better off living on tasty street food and shopping at a supermarket (there are many great parks and spots along the Seine that are ideal for a picnic). If you can save up enough money for one decent dining experience, Rue Cler Street is the place to go. You’ll find all manner of small cafés and bakeries that are ideal for breakfast and lunch. Here you can try out fresh croissants and pain au chocolats and taste fresh French coffee. At lunchtime, meanwhile you can enjoy a croque monsieur and a nice glass of wine.