Hey everyone! Here is my post about travel tips for Paris! This is based on my own personal experience of the city and what I enjoyed the most!! I hope it helps if you are planning to visit anytime soon!! Enjoy!
- The metro in Paris is a little difficult to navigate at first, but after a couple trips it becomes much simpler.
- A one way ticket on the metro is 1.70 Euro, but I advise you to purchase a book of 10 tickets for 13.70 if you plan on being in the City for a couple of days!
- The bus system, I assume is similar but I did not travel via bus while in Paris. I found the metro to be very quick and sufficient.
- If you are flying Ryan Air and landing in Beauvais Airport, they have an airport shuttle that takes you to Paris. You can purchase your tickets after arriving at the airport, but to catch the first bus after your flight it is a good idea to have your tickets purchased and printed already. Here is the link to do that. Beauvais Shuttle
- The Eiffel Tower. Whether or not you make the journey to the top, it is impossible to not-see the Eiffel Tower when in Paris (literally-because you can see it from all over the City!). It is just as beautiful as you would imagine, and even more beautiful at night (if that’s even possible). Each evening, on the hour, there is a 5 minute light show where the Eiffel Tower sparkles and lights up the city! It is a must see! For a great view of the light show, get off the metro stop Trocadero!
- The Louvre. Possibly one of the largest and most famous museums ever! Home to the Mona Lisa and Venus de Milo. If you have enough time, definitely make a stop at the Louvre. For students with an ID, entrance is free!! I recommend using side doors to enter the Louvre, rather than the main entrance under the glass pyramid. The wait can be rather long for the main entrance! If you can find a side entrance, you should be able to sneak right in without any hassle! For information on purchasing your tickets in advance, see this link. The Louvre However, if you are a student, don’t buy you’re tickets in advance because you will be able to get in for free! Just remember, the Louvre is closed on Tuesdays! Also, if you go later at night, around 6pm, it won’t be as crowded!
- The Arc de Triomphe. It is possible to go to the top of the Arc de Triomphe, but like many things, we did not have the time to do so. It costs 5 Euros for students and 8 Euros for adults. For information on times, see this link. Arc de Triomphe
- Montemarte/Sacre Coeur. This area is a really beautiful place in Paris. Not only does it have an incredible view of the city but it was the home of many famous artists and is where you can find Moulin Rouge! It is worth the trek up all the stairs to get to the top, trust me!!
Luxembourg Gardens. Truly beautiful, especially in the Spring when everything is in full bloom! Grab a baguette and take a stroll around!!
- Notre Dame. This is actually the number one tourist attraction in Paris. Why? Because it is free to enter the Cathedral, where everything else costs money, including going inside the Eiffel Tower! Definitely worth checking out Notre Dame, it is truly beautiful!!
- Lock Bridge. Just take a quick stroll across the Lock Bridge before heading to the Louvre for the day! It’s beautiful to see all the locks of people young and old in love on the bridge!! It also has a great view of the Seine!
- Champs-Elysees. Best shopping in all of Paris? Hold on to your wallets ladies!
- Macaroon. This is my number one recommendation when visiting Paris. Ya, ya you can get fancy and try the snails, but don’t leave the city without having a macaroon, or two…or ten. They are so delicious!! Possibly one of my new favorite deserts! Of course, none will probably be as good until I return to Paris again!
- Crepe. They have little crepe stands and cafes all over the city! It’s a very yummy afternoon treat to have when walking around the city!! I recommend nutella with strawberries! (But you can also get more dinner-like crepes filled with meat and cheese as well!)
- Baguette. As stereotypical a baguette may seem to be, it’s true–the French love their baguettes! Everywhere you look, people were carrying large loaves of bread home with them!
- Croissant/Pastry. Any croissant or pastry you have in Paris is bound to be delicious!
- Wine. Again, Duhhhh.
- I recommend taking advantage of the free walking tour of the city offered by Sandeman! They also offer a tour of Versailles and Montmartre as well, but we only did the actual city tour! At the end of the tour, they ask that you tip your tour guide what you felt the value of your tour was! All the guides are very informed of the city and very fun!! I learned more about the history of Paris on this 2 hour walking tour than I ever knew before! For information about meeting locations and times, please see this link. Sandeman’s Walking Tour
- Another important safety thing to note about Paris, is that red lights do not always mean stop for Parisians. Be very careful when crossing the street, even if the green flashing light is advising you to cross, check both ways just to be safe!!
Cleanliness: * * * *
- Paris gets four stars for cleanliness. Although many people say that Paris is a dirty city, I found it to be pretty clean! It was very beautiful and the streets were not messy! I’m not sure what parts of Paris those people are visiting, but the parts I saw were clean and nice!!
Safety: * * *
- Paris gets three stars for safety. I’m not sure if the movie Taken has any influence on my rating for safety of Paris, but the city seemed relatively safe. I never truly felt unease, but I was a little nervous heading out at night! As long as you are aware of your surroundings, and stay in the nice areas of the city, you should have nothing to worry about!
Transportation: * * *
- Paris gets three stars for transportation. The metro is a little confusing at first and difficult to navigate. Occasionally, the metro would stop, or the lights would go out, which is not really what you want when taking a subway somewhere! The prices were reasonable however.
Food: * * * *
- Paris gets four stars for food. It is a city known for it’s delicious food, and it did not disappoint at all. Although I am more in favor of it’s famous deserts, rather than its meals, I was pleased with everything I ate while visiting! Please, do yourself a favor and try a macaroon when visiting!!!
Friendliness of People: * *
- Paris gets two stars for friendliness. Many people asked me when I returned from Paris if any French were hostile towards me because I was American. I actually did not find anyone to be particularly rude to me because I was foreign. Unlike Rome and London however, Parisians do not go out of their way to make you feel welcome or to truly help you. Nonetheless, I was expecting it to be a lot worse, so I was pleased with what I found.
Overall Cost of Visiting the City: * * *
- Paris gets three stars for overall cost. Like any capital city, it was pretty expensive when it came to meals and shopping. However, it is doable on a budget! Don’t forget your student ID to get discounts and into the Louvre for free!
Hostel Rating: * * * * *
- We stayed at St. Christopher’s Inn Hostel on the Canal. There is also another St. Christopher’s that is in the Montmartre region of Paris. We were very pleased with our stay! Breakfast was included each morning and the bathrooms and rooms were very clean. We stayed in a room meant for 12 girls, and each bed had a curtain you could shut when you went to sleep and a little light for reading! It might not have been the cheapest place we could have stayed in Paris, but it was safe and clean, and many of our friends had recommended it to us! Definitely worth the extra money! St. Christopher’s Inn Hostel
Days Needed to See the City: 1 Week
- Paris is a beautiful city with a lot to offer! Take the time to enjoy everything and spend a week there! If you are a study abroad student, you can get most of the main attractions accomplished in about 3 full days, though it is an exhausting trip! I would prefer a week in Paris so I could have time to take a day and travel to Versailles and spend more time exploring the Louvre!
I fell in love with Paris the moment I arrived! I understand why it is a place where artists and writers go to live, and lovers go to vacation! It is a beautiful city, filled with surprises around every corner! I loved adventuring through the streets of Paris, and was lucky enough to meet up with a friend from school who showed us around! It was a great trip and I will be going back to Paris again soon, that’s for sure!! xoxo