PARIS TRAVEL GUIDE
There is just something about Paris that makes you want to come back time and time again. With sophistication, romance, style and history, you are never bored on the streets of Paris. With recognisable architecture, chic boutiques, artistic treats, incredible food and museums galore, Paris is a place for everyone.
There are so many things to do in Paris, in fact, you could spend several days just finding different impressive viewpoints of the Eiffel Tower. There are plenty of free things to do in Paris but remember to make sure you follow these things NOT to do in Paris tips too.
If you have a few extra days in Paris, why not enjoy a few fun day trips from Paris.
Budget: Europe is an expensive area of the world, with Paris being no exception. Dorm beds can be found at €25 – €45 with private double rooms starting at €90 per night in good locations and €50+ in quieter areas. Accommodation prices go up on the weekend in Paris so budget for this too.
Midrange: €60 – €140 depending on location.
Luxury: Luxury hotels begin around €150, with some very luxurious and fancy hotels costing €300+. If you are travelling as a group, you can rent an apartment on websites like Rentola or Airbnb.
Transport: Bicycles are available to rent from €1.70 for a one-day subscription and €8 for 7 days. The Batobus ferry costs €16 for a 1-day pass and €19 for a 2 consecutive day pass. Metro and RER tickets cost €1.70 individually whilst a book of 10 tickets costs €13.70. Renting a car in France is fairly simple and a great option if you want to take plenty of day trips from Paris.
The average cost of food:
Food and drink is expensive in Paris, expect to pay upwards of €20 for two alcoholic drinks in a bar or restaurant, though fast food and supermarket foods offer cheap prices for basic meals.
Decent baguettes cost around €3 whilst a slice of pIzza costs €5+.
The main meal with wine and beer at a nice french restaurant can cost anywhere between €70 – €10o+.
Cost of Travel in Paris full guide.
Best time to visit Paris
Paris is one of the most popular cities in the world, so planning your trip to avoid peak season is a must. Normally, we would recommend visiting in good weather and then checking crowd levels but you will want to do the opposite for Paris.
Early December, January and February is the best time to visit Paris, especially if it is your first time to the city. The crowds are less and prices are cheaper.
If you want to visit in warmer weather, head to Paris from April to June or October to November. The weather is mild but the crowds are less.
June and September offer hot weather but there are mostly tourists. Avoid July and August as well as school holidays (check the half-term school break in October and the Easter holidays in April). The city is very busy at this time and you can find yourself queuing for hours for attractions such as the Eiffel Tower or The Louvre.
Where to stay in Paris
Those looking for a cosy, Parisian atmosphere, head to the Trendy Hostel with dorm beds starting at €28, the hotel is just a 15 minute metro ride from the Eiffel Tower, offering clean and welcoming rooms.
Luna-Park Hotel is found in a quiet street off Rue Oberkampf, near Place De La Bastille and Republique. Private double rooms with ensuite start at €56.
Hotel Eiffel Villa Garibaldi offers rooms from €135 in a convenient location near Sgur metro station and in walking distance to the Eiffel Tower.
The Absolute Paris Boutique Hostel is a fabulous spot, with private rooms starting at €75.
My top choice is the Hôtel Eiffel Capitol with rooms starting at €180, located just a 10-minute walk from the Eiffel Tower and a few yards from the Duplex Metro station; whisking you to all top attractions in Paris. The rooms are compact but well decorated and the surrounding area has some lovely Parisian restaurants as well as fast food chains for those on a budget.
The Passy Eiffel is just a few yards from the Trocadero; offering the best views of the Eiffel Tower from across the river. Rooms start at €165, offering contemporary and spacious rooms.
There are some incredible hotels with stunning views of the Eiffel Tower – definitely worth it if you are visiting Paris for a special occasion.
Save money in Paris
Europe is an expensive continent to travel and Paris is no exception. But do not worry, there are ways you can travel Paris on a budget with these tips on saving money in the city.
- Public transport – The best way to save money in Paris is to take public transport. You can take a train or bus from the airport and use the extensive subway system in Paris to save money on transport.
- Buy a pack of tickets – When using the bus or metro, you can get a 10-pack of tickets costing €13.70. If you are taking ten trips, you will save money with this method.
- Hire a bike – Paris has a bike sharing program called the Vélib. You can get a one-day pass from €1.70 and pick up or leave a bike at one of the 1800 stations around the city.
- Stay and/or drink in the hostels – You can get some great prices if you book hostels in advance. However, if you prefer to stay in a hotel, why not use the hostel bars for cheap drinks. Bars and restaurants in Paris have very high prices for alcohol but hostels offer great happy hours with beers around €2.
- Free admission – The first Sunday of each month, from October to March, you can visit The Louvre for free. Most of the major museums are also free on the first Sunday too, including the Musée D’Orsay.
- Free sights – There are so many free things to do in Paris so take advantage of them.
- Paris Pass – If you are intending to see as many sites and attractions as possible, then get yourself the Paris Pass. These cost €132 for two days and include free and discounted admission to 60 museums and monuments.
- Musée D’Orsay half price – if you visit the museum after 4.30pm Friday to Wednesday, you can pay just €8.40 rather than the regular price of €11.
- Take a free walking tour – Paris has lots of free walking tours, so check our Paris Greeters, Free Walking Tours in Paris and New Europe Walking Tours.
- Bring a water bottle – tap water is fine to drink, so bring a water bottle and ask cafes or restaurants for tap water. The city also has water fountains throughout the city so you can fill your water bottle throughout the day.
- Get a set lunch – Restaurants offer set menus for lunch. These are better prices than the dinner menu so take advantage and have a full lunch and light dinner. Alternatively, pick up lunch at one of the many outdoor markets around the city.
- Summer festivals – Visiting in the summer? Enjoy one of the many free summer festivals available such as the outdoor film screens or the Paris Jazz Festival.
Best things to do in Paris
- Eiffel Tower
- Musee du Louvre
- Notre Dame Cathedral
- Montparnasse Tower Observation Deck
- Arc de Triomphe
- Paris Catacombs
- Jardin des Tuileries
- Le Marais
- Pere-Lachaise Cemetery
- Versailles Palace
- Luxembourg Gardens
- Disneyland Paris
- Centre Pompidou
- Musee Rodin
- Moulin Rouge
How to get to Paris
Fly – Nearly every major airline flies through one of Paris’ three airports. Most international flights arrive at Aeroport de Charles de Gaulle. From here you can catch the RER B line train (€9.50, taking around 50 minutes), with stops including Gare du Nord, Charelet-Les Halles and St-Michel-Notre Dame Station. From these stations you can change over to a line that will take you nearer your hotel.
There are also six main bus lines; Les Cars Air France line 2 links you with Arc De Triomphe (€17), Les Cars Air France line 4 links to Gare de Lyon and Gare Montparnasse (€17.50), Roissybus linking to the Opera (€10.50), RATP bus 350 to Gare de l’est (€5.70), RATP bus 351 to place de la Nation (€5.70) and Noctilien bus 140 & 143 to Gare de lest and Gare du Nord (€7.60 – running throughout the night).
Taxis from the airport to the city centre will set you back around €50.
Train – Eurostar trains connect Paris with London, Brussels, Calais, Lille, Cologne, Dusseldorf, Frankfurt, Munich, Amsterdam, Rotterdam and Switzerland.
Gare de Lyon is the station for trains heading to the Alps, Riviera, Geneva and Italy. Gare d’Austerlitz serves a high-speed train Barcelona, as well as trains to Orleans and Limoges.
Gare de l’Est serves Berlin, Vienna and Strasbourg.
Gare Montparnasse serves trains from Brittany, Loire Bordeaux, Spain and Portugal. For those travelling around Europe, it is advised you get an Interrail pass.
You can catch a train directly from London to Disneyland Paris, great for those who are spending a night or two at the parks before or after exploring the city.
If you are arriving at Paris CDG Train Station, this step-by-step guide is so helpful!
Don’t forget to check out the other beautiful and romantic destinations in France on your trip, such as Heidelberg, Annecy and Lyon!
How to get around Paris
The Velib bike share scheme puts 20000+ bikes at the hands of Parisians and visitors. There are over 1800 stations in the city, with bikes accessible around the clock. Purchase a one/seven-day subscription (€1.70/€8) either online or at docking stations, authorise a €150 deposit (in case your bike goes missing) and then you’ll receive an ID number and Pin. You can rent bikes in 30-minute intervals, with the first half hour being free, the 2nd being €2 and each additional half hour €4. If you return a bike before a half hour is up, then take a new one, you will not be charged. If the station is full, you can log in to the terminal to get 15 minutes for free to find another station.
The Batobus ferry is a great way to travel around Paris in the warmer months, serving 8 small piers along the seine every 20 – 25 minutes, close to all major attractions. A favourite choice of mine is the (Sightseeing hop on – hop off bus), stopping at every popular attraction whilst giving you great views of the city along the way.
Car rentals in France are relatively affordable but parking in Paris is a challenge, so we advise you to explore the city then rent a car to explore the rest of the country.
During the colder season the best way to get around Paris is the METRO and RER. The RER is faster whilst the metro has more frequent stops, the RATP ticket are valid on both metro and RER as well as buses and trams.