Paris is one city that everyone wants to visit.
I thought a popular destination like Paris would be simple to explore but I had to do a lot of research prior to my trip, so here are some tips for Paris that will make your trip planning easier:
#1: Pick winter over summer – Paris is always crowded but less so during the winter. Also, the Christmas markets are a lot of fun and you don’t pay extra for an air conditioner in your room!
#2: Buy an open return – Tickets are always cheaper when you buy a return trip. So when travelling from the airport to the city centre and back, buying an open return will save you some money.
#3: Use the Metro – I have never waited for more than five minutes for a train! It is highly efficient.
#4: Buy a Carnet– A Carnet is a book of 10 tickets and is certainly cheaper than buying a ticket every single time you ride the metro or bus.
#6: Stay close to a metro stop – You don’t have to spend excessively to stay in the city centre. Pick a safe neighbourhood and make sure you are close to a metro stop. Marais is a good choice.
#7: Get the Museum Pass – If you love museums & are planning a trip to Versailles, the Museum Pass is totally worth it. The best part is you get to skip the long tourist lines at many museums and other tourist spots!
#8: Visit Versailles – If there is one palace you ought to see in Europe, make it Versailles. It is opulence at its pinnacle. Probably gives you an idea why the French revolution started in the first place.
#9: See the Eiffel Tower sparkle – The prettiest symbol of democracy sparkles at the top of the hour during the evening & looks even more spectacular.
#10: Book your trip to the top of the Eiffel Tower way in advance – The spots are taken quickly. Make sure you book this online at least 2 weeks in advance.
#11: Visit the top of the Eiffel Tower around sunset – The view is spectacular and it is worth every penny to see the whole city light up.
#12: Catch the best views of the Eiffel Tower – Best views of the Eiffel tower are from the Trocadero Metro Stop.
#13: Beware of Pickpockets – They are here, there and everywhere. It is best to be cautious at all times, even when you are on the metro.
#14: Visit the Marais – Wish to get away from crowds and want to get a flavor of a local neighbourhood? Try the thriving Marais neighborhood. You won’t be disappointed.
#15: See the ‘Crown of Thorns’ – Notredame Cathedral is home to the crown of thorns. If interested, you can check here to see timings when the crown of thorns is on display.
#16: Visit the Orsay – While Louvre is a must see, Orsay is equally impressive and is certainly more French.
#17: See the Mona Lisa & the Marriage at Cana – While everyone wants to see the Mona Lisa, the painting opposite the Mona Lisa is equally impressive and deserves your attention. Both of them are in the Denon Wing at the Louvre.
#18: Hop on the 69 Bus – Why pay for the hop on/hop off bus when you can use bus #69 which covers the key tourist sites?
#19: Indulge in People Watching – Believe it or not, watching people is a hobby in Paris. Find a lovely cafe, get a glass of wine and watch people walk by. Café de Flore is one of the oldest cafes in Paris and recommended for people watching.
#20: Try savory crepes – Don’t want to fine dine and still want a flavor of French cuisine? Try savory crepes! I would highly recommend Café Med.
#21: Try Berthillon ice-cream – Don’t think of the calories and just indulge in the various flavors of the rich Berthillon Ice-Cream. Highly recommended by locals.
#22: Buy bread at a bakery – Parisians don’t mind waiting for one thing and that is fresh bread from a local bakery. It’s definitely worth the wait!
#23: Check museum timings – Certain museums on some days are open late. The Louvre is open till 10.00 pm on Wednesdays and the Musée d’Orsay until 9.30 pm on Thursdays. Visiting museums later in day helps to avoid crowds.
#24: Mix your museums – Paris has the world’s finest museums but you don’t want to be museum’ed out in Paris! So throw in a mix; start with the Louvre, see a few sculptures at Musée Rodin, visit the Orsay for more impressionist art, Centre Georges Pompidou for modern art, then the Musée national du Moyen Âge (formerly the Cluny) for seeing the ‘Lady & the Unicorn’ or maybe the Musée Picasso for cubist art.
#25: Like impressionism? Visit the Musée de l’Orangerie – The Orangerie contains by far the best collection of Monet’s water lilies… and they are huge! If you are curious about impressionism, this museum will blow your mind.
#26: Visit a market – Paris is filled with markets. There are markets by category (flea, fashion, food, art, antiques etc.). Pick one that interests you.
#27: Keep a buffer – Paris is expensive and has a lot to offer. So be it in terms of time or money, keep an additional buffer to accommodate unplanned expenses and side trips.
#28: Cheese & Wine Tasting – Paris is the best place to indulge in cheese & wine tasting. You don’t need to pay for a tour to do this, enter a local cheese shop and sample a few cheeses.
#29: Visit a garden – Gardens in Paris are gorgeous. Be it the Tuileries or the Luxembourg gardens, do a picnic lunch at one of the gardens while enjoying a sunny day.
#30: Experience Paris like a local – Paris is a big city. As a tourist it is hard to get an idea of Paris but at least for one evening step away from the tourist sites into a neighborhood to experience the life of a Parisian!