What to do in Paris (written by an Argentinian that lived there)
Here’s everything you need to know in order to plan your trip to Paris, from the Notre-Dame Cathedral to the Eiffel Tower, the Arc de Triomphe, the Montmartre, or even the wonderful plays or the must-see Moulin Rouge. Palaces, Gardens of Versailles, Disneyland Paris theme parks and more.
Now you’re ready!! Pack your bags and let’s go to Paris!!
Before getting into details about Paris, it’s important to go over the necessary papers for your journey:
* If you’re European: European Health Insurance Card, although it won’t cover private health services, return flight, loss of luggage or missed flights.
* If you’re Latin American: you need to get a health insurance that will cover at least € 30.000 and includes transportation and repatriation.
It is also necessary to bring your passport, unless you’re a member of the European Union, in which case only one ID will do. Don’t forget to print out your hotel reservation as well.
While the official language is, of course, French, being the touristic city that it is, you’ll find a lot of people speaking English and Spanish as well.
The local currency is the Euro. You can exchange dollars for them in the city.
With a population of over 12 million inhabitants, Paris is the second most populated city in Europe.
What to do in Paris
* What to visit
* What to do in 48 hours in Paris
* Euro Disney
* Paris Tour Buses
Paris is connected to every main city of the world, whether they’re in Europe, Asia, America or Africa. If you’re flying in from another European location, I recommend doing it in a low cost. There are three airports: two main ones, Charles de Gaulle and Orly, and a third one, Beauvais, further away. Unless there’s a significative difference with other plane tickets, I suggest arriving to the other airports, since getting to or from Beauvais from the city center can cost € 15. On the other hand, from Charles de Gaulle to Paris downtown you can go by train and metro, which adds up to € 10, and from Orly is even cheaper: only € 8.
With the Paris Pass, which you can buy online, you get big discounts and avoid waiting in line for attractions. I recommend the purchase, especially if you need to see many locations in little time. You can also take the Tour Buses that’ll take you through Paris’ most important landmarks.
The most convenient methods are taking the metro or renting bikes to go around town, as the locals do. Of course, it’s an enticing city to walk on, so put on your best pair of shoes ‘because you’ll be doing a lot of walking. The metro connects the city, so there are stations you’re bound to set foot in: Châtelet, Gare Du Nord and Saint Lazare are the most iconic. Each trip costs € 1,90 for adults and € 1,40 for children. A seven-day pass is € 22.
WHAT TO VISIT
(Ticket fees for the attractions usually consider “children” to be up to 12 years old.)
You cannot miss:
The Eiffel Tower, Champs-Élysées, Arc de Triomphe, Pont de l’Alma, Louvre Museum, Galleries Lafayette, Palais Garnier, Montmartre, Sacré-Cœur Basilica, Notre-Dame Cathedral, Gardens of Versailles.
If you have the time, I’d also recommend the Catacombs of Paris and the Châteaux of the Loire Valley.
PARIS IN 48 HOURS
If you only have 48 hours in Paris, here’s what I’d recommend.
A definite must. Take your pictures and if you have the time, get to the top. Best moment to go is sunset, since there’s a light show at the beginning of each hour (7 o’clock pm, 8 o’clock pm, and so on) and those are the best photographs you’ll be able to take. You can get up to the second floor (€ 16 for adults, € 8 for children) or to the top (€ 25 for adults, € 16 for children.)
Arc de Triomphe
Another Paris landmark is the Arc de Triomphe and its surroundings. You can visit it before going to the Eiffel Tower. The price for going up to the top and enjoying the wonderful view is € 12 for adults and € 9 for children. Afterwards, you can take a walk through Champs-Élysées.
The inspiration for the famous movie The Hunchback of Notre Dame. It’s a beautiful cathedral standing in Île de la Cité, the most expensive area of Paris, with its unique gargoyles. It’s the most visited monument in the city and while its entry it’s free, there’s a € 10 charge for getting to the top.
Built in the XXVII century and unique for its style. Free attraction.
Boat ride in the Seine River
There are different companies and their price range goes from € 15 and upwards, depending on whether you’d like to dine on the boat. It’s a round trip in the Seine River, from where you’ll be able to see the Eiffel Tower, the Île de la Cité and Notre-Dame.
Another must in your visit to this city are the Castle and Gardens of Versailles. Even though it’s located in the outskirts of Paris, the RER C train will get you there easily. I suggest buying an online ticket only for the castle, it’s won’t be necessary for the gardens. Unless there’s a music or fountain show —which depend on the season and that day’s climate— that you’ll have to pay for, the entry is free of charge.
Located in the middle of Montmartre is the famous Moulin Rouge, where you can either take pictures at the entrance or enjoy dinner and a show, which costs around € 100. Stars such as Ella Fitzgerald, Liza Minelli and Fran Sinatra, among many others, have performed on its stage.
The Paris Museum Pass grants you unlimited access to more than 50 museums and landmarks of the city. Their prices are: € 53 for two consecutive days, € 67 for four, and € 79 for six.
For only € 15 you’ll be able to meet one of the most visited museums in the world. And you’ll get to see La Gioconda!
The peculiar building pops out for its style in the middle of the Le Marais district. A mix of modern and contemporary art.
Yes, Euro Disney is in Paris, and it’s a place for both children and adults. There are two parks: Disneyland Paris, where the rides are, and Walt Disney Studios, more show-oriented. You can get there by train, departing from the Châtelet station in the RER A —€ 8 for adults, € 4 for children each trip. The parks are open from 10 am to 9 or 10 pm, depending on the season. The ticket fees are: for one park, from € 50 adults and € 45 children onwards; and for both parks, from € 70 for adults and € 65 for children onwards. You can buy your tickets online and some of them include the option of skipping lines on the rides. One day is enough for both parks.
I can give you different options according to your budget. The price range begins at € 40.
Within the best hotels that I consider to be good, nice and cheap, you can choose from:
* Standard Design
* Square D’Anvers
If you’re running on a tighter budget, here are some hostel and “lodging for the youth” choices, where you can share your room with other travelers. The price range begins at € 25:
* Saint Christopher Inn
* Generator Hostel
The best part of these, is that you can get discounts later in hostels from the same company in different cities.
PARIS TOUR BUS
There are different options for touring Paris by bus. You can get on and off of it as many times as you like, which can come in handy when you’re getting tired of walking around. The fares vary according to the days you’re going to use it and range from € 16 onwards.
* Paris Open Tour
* Big Bus Paris
WHERE TO HAVE A PARISIAN AFTERNOON TEA
* Angelina Paris, beautiful coffee shop with French specialties in the center of Paris
* Paul Boulangerie, cheaper and with local pastry. There are many branches across the city
You won’t be able to help yourself from falling in love with Paris and I’m positive you’re gonna want to come back. If you need any help planning your trip or have any inquiries, I’m right here. I want you to meet the everyday Paris, the day to day of the Parisians, the touristic spots and those hidden from tourists. I can offer you tours to different places, such as Île de la Cité —historic center—, Latin Neighborhood, Le Marais, Montmartre, galleries and secret passages, along with tastings of wine, chocolate, coffee, cold meats,
Or perhaps you want to do a photo shoot while enjoying the City of Light. If you’re interested in this or any other circuit or attraction, or need more information about hotels, restaurants or chauffeurs, contact me.
I promise you’ll enjoy the city as much as I do.
You can read Living in Paris for 2 and a half years
You can contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you want to do a tour in Paris