*This post is written as a partnership post, sharing information on making a trip to Paris easy that you might enjoy and find helpful*
We love travelling to France for family holidays and enjoy our time there and we look forward to our trips and visits. We have spent many a happy summer in either the south of France or Normandy and whilst my French accent hasn’t improved my love of all things French has grown.
I am also very fond of Paris and it’s a favourite city of mine. I have been there many times, alone, with friends, with the husband and when the teen was a lot younger, she and I made a special trip there. She had an operation that resulted in some serious issues for a few days and when she was in hospital recovering I promised her I would take her to Paris as a special treat. A year to the day I made good and she and I enjoyed a delightful 48 hours exploring some of the famous tourists spots.
Where are you planning to stay?
Travelling to Paris requires being organised, and booking your hotel in advance and knowing where to stay is important. You need to use a reliable and recommend booking site or company to help you book the accommodation suited to your needs and Ebooking.com is very helpful for somewhere like Paris, with options to stay in hotels, no cancellation fees and it’s easy to navigate to find the right place for you to stay. I would say that I always try to plan to stay near the Eurostar station so we don’t have far to walk or travel to, when we arrive and depart but that’s just me being either lazy or very organised, I will leave that for you to decide.
Paris is a big city. It’s also very busy and very eclectic. Having a good guide book or app is very useful, and also either having a basic knowledge of French helps a lot. Most Parisians and certainly in the tourist areas will probably be able to speak some English but being able to use some French makes you look like you are making an effort and it’s also a good skill to have.
Plan and book ahead.
If you are planning to visit tourist sites, you need to make sure you know when they are open, and times. Booking tickets in advance during Covid is often required so make sure you check and book as needed to avoid disappointment. Some places are closed on different days. For example the Louvre is closed on Tuesdays, so if you want to visit there, you need to know that ahead of time.
If you are travelling around Paris the Metro is excellent, reasonably priced and easy to use. We found getting a book of tickets worked for us for our stay but depending on how long you are there for and how much you want to do, you may need a day pass or a longer lasting ticket.
Be careful of pickpockets.
I personally have not experienced being pickpocketed in Paris but I know people who have, and as beautiful a city as it is, because it is a popular tourist spot, it can make you vulnerable. So make sure your phone, wallet, and any valuables are secure, and not in pockets or bags that can be picked easily.
Driving in Paris is very much NOT for the faint hearted.
It is definitely easier to use public transport when navigating Paris. However, we have driven though and around Paris and the roads are busy, and French drivers do not suffer nervous foreign drivers easily. Know your routes, have a reliable GPS navigator or map app and be aware of the rules of the road, especially if you come from the UK and have to adapt to driving on the other side of the road. We had a rather scary incident the first time we drove in Paris and to this day I shiver slightly when I remember it. We are much more experienced now though.
My last tip would don’t eat at tourist restaurants. They might look cheap and offer familliar food, but often the food is not that great. If you can find smaller, or more local places to eat, you get a much better experience. Your hotel should usually provide you with breakfast, which is always helpful, but you can eat well in Paris if you choose the right spots.
Ok, that wasn’t my last tip. This is it: visiting Paris means a lot of walking. Wear sensible shoes. There is plenty to see and do, and you will have sore feet if you don’t plan for that. Don’t do like I did the first time I went and wear very impractical sandals with a heel. Blisters whilst you are climbing the top level of the Eiffiel Tower are not something I would recommend.
What are your best tips for visiting Paris? Feel free to share in the comments.