After reading my post about what I got up to in the city the other week, you may be experiencing some Paris longing… which is totally understandable! I thought I would compile a bunch of tips for anyone who may want to visit this stunning city.
1. Stay in an AirBnB!
A hotel may be great, but it will be expensive and probably won’t give you the same realistic Parisian vibe. Paris obviously has a lot of AirBnB hosts so it will take a wee bit of searching to find what is an appropriate fit for your trip in terms of location, size and price. If you’ve never used AirBnB you may be a little cautious in terms of security but the whole transaction is super secure, before making any commitments, you and your host get to see one another’s ID so you know that you’re legitimate and also have the option to share your social media accounts which allows you to get an idea for the person. Furthermore, AirBnB holds onto your money in case of any cancellations or if you have to change your plans, your host doesn’t actually get the money from the booking until you arrive, which makes it pretty flexible. Often your host will also be nice enough to give you check in/out times that suit your plans which is more ideal than a hotel.
In our case, we found a small but awesome apartment in the centre of Paris at a much cheaper price than any of the hotels that we looked at. We were in walking distance from the Seine river and Notre Dame on one side and Bastille on the other. Our host Ali was an absolute gem – messaging us through AirBnB before, during and after our visit to make sure we were doing well and happy with everything. It was super lovely to get to meet him and his girlfriend and we had a great chat, so not only did we get a nice place to stay but also some new pals. Your host will probably be willing to give you recommendations of what to do but in our case we had researched ourselves a great, full itinerary! If you’re interested in checking out where we stayed, I would totally recommend Ali’s awesome place, which you can find here.
2. Plan ahead!
It is no underestimation that there is so much to do in Paris. There is a monument, museum or awesome park everywhere you look. I would recommend that before you go to Paris, you take a moment to research what exactly you would like to do while you’re there. No shame in wanting to do the tourist tropes, in fact if that’s what you’re after, consider the Paris Pass (do your price calculations to see if its worth it though). But hey, in your research, you might find something outwith the norm that you find really interesting. Regardless, if there is anything that you’re desperate to see, it is worth booking ahead to avoid disappointment, we witnessed a lot of huge queues! We picked all the things we wanted to do then split them into days depending on what was near to one another.
Make sure that you also plan a large amount of time to take your time and just enjoy the city at the chill pace it prompts. You don’t want to pack too much into your day without giving yourself the opportunity to wander around and do whatever catches your eye.
3. Flat shoes are a must. Trust me.
Paris and all its glory attracts a lot of walking, and I mean a lot! Just check out this wee graph of how many steps we did each day, recorded thanks to the Health app on my phone. Somewhere around the 20k steps point every single day, exercise which we valued for combatting the excessive pastry guilt! On the note of comfortable walking shoes, I also recommend taking some blister plasters as a precautionary step, you’ll be thanking God for those Compeed come day three of shredded feet!
4. Travel around the city by Métro!
Whilst there are a lot of things within walking distance, some days if you’re flitting around a lot, the Métro is an absolute gem and can speed up your activity intervals. I would absolutely recommend picking up a Paris Visite pass, which is a travel ticket that you can purchase for 1, 2, 3 or 5 consecutive days in either zones 1-3 or 1-5, which gives you unlimited travel within those limits, which will save you the money and hassle of buying a ticket every time you want to take the train. You can purchase these here.
5. Be prepared for the heat!
Sun cream. Bottle of water to stay hydrated. Loose fitting clothes that will keep you cool. Be prepared so that you don’t end up a moany burnt lobster when you still have so much you want to do.
6. Eat all the food!
You’re only in Paris for a limited amount of time. Treat yourself. See a patisserie? Buy that gorgeous cake or pastry cause you won’t regret it! France is famous for its culinary delights so make sure that you embrace that rather than hitting up the Paris branches of Starbucks, McDonalds and even Marks & Spencers!
Here are some place specific tips!
If you go to the Louvre:
- Take your pictures in front of the glass pyramid, if you like, but don’t queue to enter there
- Go to the Carrousel du Louvre shopping centre (99 Rue de Rivoli, 75001 Paris, France) which also has an entrance with a much smaller queue
If you go to Versailles:
- pick a week day
- go early before the queues get crazy (and if the palace is super crowded you won’t be able to enjoy it as much)
If you go to the Catacombs:
- Book ahead, the queues were insane
If you go to Disneyland:
- Doing the two parks in one day is absolutely achievable – if you want to take your time, two days would be better, but anything more than that will lead to boredom or activity repeating
- Be smart with your fast pass selections – plan ahead if you want to go on a popular ride
- If you’re keen to eat in a specific restaurant, call ahead and book to eat there
- Rides first, shop later! You don’t want to walk around with too much stuff, it’s a pain in queues and taking on rides
Outwith the typical Parisian sights and activities, here are my suggestions of where you should go in Paris that you maybe won’t find in a Guidebook!
Where to go
Palace of Versailles – Place d’Armes, 78000 Versailles, France (worth the journey)
Palais Garnier – 8 Rue Scribe, 75009 Paris, France – (take a Theatre tour)
Place des Vosges – Place des Vosges, 75004 Paris, France
Père Lachaise cemetery – 16 Rue du Repos, 75020 Paris, France
Moulin Rouge Féerie Show – 82 Boulevard de Clichy, 75018 Paris, France (tickets may be expensive, but it is worth it!!)
Where to eat
L’as Du Fallafel – 34 Rue des Rosiers, 75004 Paris, France
L’éclair de Genie – 13 Rue de l’Ancienne Comédie – 14 Rue Pavée – Galeries Lafayette, 35 Boulevard Haussmann
Le Rempart – 15 Rue Saint-Antoine, 75004 Paris, France
Berthillon – 29-31 Rue Saint-Louis en l’Île, 75004 Paris, France
Where to drink
Café des Deux Moulins – 15 Rue Lepic, 75018 Paris, France (great if you love the movie Amélie)
Le Rempart – 15 Rue Saint-Antoine, 75004 Paris, France (their happy hour is 6pm-11pm)
Le Chat Noir – 68 Boulevard de Clichy, 75018 Paris, France