Thrilled? You should, as there is a lot to explore.
We are excited to share with you our best insider tips.
We introduce you to all the information about Paris and the unique experiences that the city offers.
We cover in this guide:
- Basic Introduction
- Where to stay in Paris
- How to get around
- What to see in Paris
- Things to do in Paris
- Tickets you have to buy before – must read
- Food and Restaurants
- Day Trips from Paris
- Itinerary for Paris
- Packing List
- City Map
Paris, the city of love! It is one of the most popular spots in Europe and world wide.
Known for its Eiffel Tower, the poetry, Notre Dame, its romance.
1. Paris for Beginners
Paris is a big city.
No surprise here. It can be overwhelming with all its different districts, the sights to see, the accommodations, and transport.
With all our information you will be able to spend one marvelous week. Here are the basics you need to know:
Currency: EUR (€)
Language Spoken: French
Population: 2.1 million
Known for: Eiffel tower, Louver Museum, Arc de Triomphe and Macaroons (cookies)
Best time to visit: Paris is beautiful all year long. We prefer springtime with May and June, and again September and October. This time of year it is usually less crowded, less expensive, and the weather is lovely.
Summer in Paris can be very hot, up to 40 degrees, while the winter can be very cold.
Accommodation: The city is loaded with great luxury hotels to middle-ranking hotels and budget hostels. You can also find good apartments.
Find more details in our where to stay in Paris section below.
Public Transport: The best way to get around is the Metro, bus, and bikes. The bus and metro are very well connected. More under how to get around Paris.
Safety: While Paris is generally very safe, you can find many pick-pockets. Physical violence, meaning robbery is very rare. Pick-pockets are usually only after your wallet and smartphone.
Pay attention especially in tourist hot spots like Eiffel Tower, Montmartre, Notre Dame, and the Louvre.
The introduction guide to Paris by Lonely Planet is a fab resource to get a good insight on sights to visit, and what to consider.
Electricity: 230V/50Hz (European plug). Remember to pack your travel plug adapter.
Let us get into details now.
2. Where to stay in Paris (and what area to avoid)
Paris is big, we need to explain a bit the districts first. We added all districts on a map for better planning. We have also handwritten a big, unique guide on where to stay in Paris for first-time visitors.
This guide walks you through every single district. Our recommended areas are:
- 7th Arrondissement – Eiffel Tower
- City Center of Paris
- 8th Arrondissement – Chic (and Local)
- 10th Arrondissement – Restaurants and Bars
- Montmartre with Sacre Coeur
- 11th Arrondissement (Hipster Area)
- Le Jardin du Luxembourg Area
- 13th Arrondissement – Students Area
You will find all the main sights in Paris below, put on a map.
Staying at the city center is a bit more pricey; and totally worth it!
You will find all the areas on the map below with all the neighborhoods.
We modified the neighborhood areas adding only the interesting areas when visiting Paris (not the real neighborhood limitations).
Below we list our favorite types of hotels, apartments and budget hotels.
- Luxury Hotel: Les Bains Paris
- Family Hotel in Luxury: Le Bristol Paris
- Family Hotel on a budget: Apartments Du Louvre
- Apartment: Apartments Du Louvre
- Romantic Hotel for Couples: OFF Paris Hotel
- Budget Option: Generator Paris
(More details of each accommodation below the map)
Here you have also our personal recommendations for the different travelers.
2.1 Luxury Boutique Hotel in Paris
The absolute best boutique hotel in Paris: Les Bains Paris!
This modern, 5 Star Hotel comes with a fresh and luxury interior and a top location. You are staying in the heart of the city, with direct access to Louvre Museum and Notre Dame.
You are just 5 minutes from Pompidou. You can even walk both to Le Louvre and Notre Dame in around 10 minutes.
Expect an indoor swimming pool, a concierge service and my personal highlight: the rooftop terrace!
Why do we recommend Les Bains Boutique over other 5 Star Hotels?
For us, the interior made the difference! It is high end and modern! Absolutely refreshing!
- Luxury Lover
- Boutique Lover
- Business Trips
2.2 Best Family Hotel in Paris
As a family you want a great location and a spacious room to fully unpack and actually enjoy.
And you do not want to stay in a room in the size of a shoe-box or unsafe area.
We have two great family-hotels in Paris:
For more details on location and things to do, read our complete guide on where to stay in Paris.
Family: Le Bristol Paris – Luxury
The absolute best option for family hotels in Paris is Le Bristol Paris.
It is the staff that makes the stay so enjoyable. They really pay attention to detail and help you out with your kids where they can.
They have all types of family rooms; from luxury suites to luxury rooms with balcony.
If you can, have your breakfast with the panoramic view over Paris – from your own balcony!
Family: Apartments Du Louvre – Authentic
Looking more for an apartment than a hotel? Then we recommend Apartments Du Louvre.
There are 16 cute and authentic apartments to choose from! You can actually live like a local and experience how it would be living here.
The advantage of an apartment is the space and self-catering facilities like the kitchen. Especially when travelling with infants, this comes in very handy.
The location? You are in less than 2 minutes at Le Louvre Museum and less than 5 minutes at Notre Dame.
The location is… what is the word I am looking for here…PERFECT! :)
Good to know: Choose an apartment on the upper floor with views over the city – LOVED that. There’s a lift available, no worries!
2.3 Romantic Couple: Floating Hotel with Instagram Factor
Our absolute most favorite romantic hotel in Paris is the OFF Paris Hotel.
You are staying in the very very heart of the city, directly at the river Seine. This floating hotel hosts a luxury romantic hotel and lounge bar with swimming pool and city views.
Explore the city by day and enjoy a cold cocktail here at night.
Rooms come with bathtub and different interior designs. Choose the one you most like. My favorite? The Orange Theme.
Here is a detailed guide on the best boutique hotels in Paris.
Extra cool: Rooms come with a river view.
It is also a great hotel for active honeymoon seekers.
Watch the video below; it shows you everything you need to know!
For Apartments we absolutely love the Apartments Du Louvre.
The host provides 16 neat and authentic apartments to choose from; with the perfect location!
You have a kitchen, lots of light in the flat and a reliable host you can contact when you need help or tips.
You cannot go wrong with Apartments Du Louvre.
Looking for an Airbnb? The city of Paris has more than 60.000 listed apartments on the platform.
In my last visit I stayed at this cute apartment in the Marais neigbourhood – a local and hipster neigbourhood in the city. The apartment is small, but well decorated and with all the things you need for a nice stay:
- equipped kitchen
- cozy living room
- small but really nice toilet
- washing machine
A nice place to experience Paris as a local.
2.6 On a Budget and Solo-Travellers
Hostels are the cheapest accommodation in Paris. They are especially popular for young backpackers and students.
Here’s a list of our favorite hostels in Paris:
- Generator Paris – best for solo-traveller
- Les Piaules – best for couples
- St. Christopher’s Inn Gare Du Nord – best for party
Find the 3 best hostels in Paris, all compared by location and facilities.
3. How to get around Paris
Paris is a big city and actually widespread. It takes quite some time to walk from one site to the other.
A good tip would be to take the Hop On Hop Off Bus to see all the sights. They are very well connected with the bus and leave very frequently. Every 10 minutes a bus comes to the stop.
Public transport: Public transport is also very well constructed. However, the metro is usually very packed. Personally, I did not enjoy this too much.
On top, Paris has a pick-pocketing problem and the metro is one of the hot spots to pay extra attention.
Bikes: Another great way I love to get around Paris is by bike. There are public bikes you can use. Here’s more info about the public bikes.
Walking: Paris is also very walkable. However, the same as Berlin, Paris is really widespread. And that maybe its biggest issue. I would walk around the area of Eiffel Tower and Montmartre and all these beautiful areas.
But really for getting from A to B, it will be better taking the metro or bus.
Taxi: Taxi’s in Paris is quite expensive. As the city is really well connected, I would skip the taxi. They also do not have the best reputation and many drivers do not speak English. It can be a hassle, and public transport is much cheaper and easier.
Boat: Can you get around Paris by boat? Well, not exactly. You can join a cruise around the river. And yes, this is absolutely beautiful and recommended. My best tip here is the 1h Sunset cruise.
Good to know: A very unique way to get around Paris is by booking a tour with a Vintage Car. Keep scrolling!
4. What to see in Paris
There are plenty of things to see in Paris, no surprise, right?! But fear not, it is less overwhelming than you might think.
Many attractions are actually very close to each other.
Important to know: Many sights require a ticket.
I recommend getting your ticket as soon as possible since some of them can be sold out easily.
Below you find a list of the tickets you should purchase as soon as you have your travel dates fix.
Here is a quick overview of what we consider important to visit in Paris:
- Eiffel Tower
- Notre Dame Cathedral
- Arc de Triomphe
- Montmartre, the Artistic neighborhood
- Louvre Museum
- Champs Elysees Shopping Mile
- Basílica del Sacré Cœur
- Jardin du Luxembourg
- Moulin Rouge
My absolute favorite way to see Paris is by Vintage Car.
You can actually rent a vintage car with a driver. The driver will take you around the city to all the main sights like Eiffel Tower, Arc de Triomphe, Notre Dame.
A unique way to see the city!
They also offer a night tour; beautiful!
5. Things to do in Paris
Let’s have some fun. Besides climbing Eiffel Tower, admiring Louvre Museum and the Montmartre District, there is much much more.
Here are 27 fun things to do in Paris.
Traveling with kids to Paris? Here’s a list of 26 family-friendly things to do.
Looking for more quirky, unusual stuff? Check this blog.
6. Tickets you have to buy before (Must Read)
So you are reading this party, congrats! This is very important and will make a big difference on your Paris trip.
There are exactly 3 tickets you should pre-book before coming to the city.
- Eiffel Tower (Skip the Line Ticket)
- Catacombs of Paris
- the Louvre Museum (Skip the Line Ticket)
- Optional: Arc de Triomphe
I recommend buying your tickets directly at Get Your Guide.com. It is a great, reliable website for buying entrances to sights and museums.
Here’s my review of Get Your Guide.
6.1 Eiffel Tower Tickets
The most iconic structure of Paris is much more impressive in person than in pictures.
Therefore, it should be on your list of must things to do in Paris, but don’t forget the ticket in advance, as the queues are very long.
You can choose between many options on the entry ticket:
- going to the summit or just the 2nd floor,
- taking the bus or climbing the stairs (there are more than 700 stairs)…
Don’t be cheap here, as you might regret it.
Buy the summit entry with an elevator, and focus on enjoying your time and the panoramic views over the city.
The views over the city are spectacular on a clear day!
We only live once, right?
There are many sellers around the area, who will offer you souvenirs, selfie sticks, champagne…
Pay always attention to your belongings! The area around Eiffel tower is a hot-spot for pickpockets and scammers.
Did you know… There is a “sparkling” light show?
It is held every evening and it lasts just 5 minutes.
The Sparkling Eiffel tower show is held every day from 10 pm to 1 am at the beginning of each hour.
Tip: If you want to get a stunning photo with the Eiffel Tower in the background, go to the Trocadero.
It does get busy on beautiful days, but the photos are just perfect!
6.2 Spooky Catacombs of Paris
The Paris Catacombs are an impressive underground ossuary which holds the remains of more than 6 million people.
I have no words to describe it so I will just let you an image. After that, you can decide if you want to visit it.
Personally, the experience was totally worth it.
6.3 Louvre Museum
I am sure you heard about Mona Lisa, which is in the Louvre Museum.
However, the Louvre museum exhibits much more:
- objets d’art
- drawings and
- archaeological finds
It housed in the Louvre Palace, originally a castle.
The Louvre Museum is one of the most visited museums in the world, averaging 15.000 visitors per day.
Meaning, queues get long!
Trust me, invest your time in enjoying the art inside instead of trying to buy your ticket.
You will need approximately 4 hours to see the museum, so there is no sense in adding more time queuing, right?
6.4 Optional: Arc de Triomphe
There is no real need to pre-book your ticket for the Arc de Triomphe – unless you are on a tight schedule.
There is always a small queue of around 20-30 minutes.
In the early morning, there is no queue, under normal circumstances.
My best recommendation here: If you are spontaneous, do not pre-book. If you are on a schedule, pre-book your ticket for Arc de Triomphe here.
Good to know: For visiting Montmartre you also won’t need any tickets.
7. Food and Restaurants
Ohh and of course, a trip to Paris is not complete without tasting the Parisian cuisine.
Our favorite resource to find restaurants in Paris is TimeOut. Here they list 100 restaurants in Paris.
Another great list has Eater. This article also puts all restaurants on a map.
Fancy a tasty brunch?
Check out OuBruncher, a website dedicated only to test and list places for Brunch in Paris.
Our favorite brunch places in Paris are:
- We are Juice Kleber
- Gros Brunch
For cafés, we love to check this insider guide by pariswithme.
8. Day Trips from Paris
A week in Paris is quite a lot of time, and of course certainly enjoyable and worth it!
If you have more time and want to spend some time outside of the city, here are a few day trips from Paris we absolutely love.
Read below for details.
8.1 Palace of Versailles
Just a short 30 minutes train ride from the central station in Paris you can admire the world-famous Palace of Versailles.
For sure, you’ve heard about this sight before.
It was the former residence of France’s famous Sun King in Versailles.
The building itself and its gardens are the absolute highlights here to visit!
In total, this is a half-day trip and should take you around 4 hours in total.
My best tip: Book your skip the line ticket before and get an audio guide!
Personally, I am a big fan of exploring these types of huge areas at my own pace.
The audio guide walks you through the history, the meaning behind it, and a few open secrets.
Would you like a guided tour? Check out the 90 minutes guided tour of Versailles here.
Find all Palace of Versailles Tours here.
8.2 Disneyland Paris
Fun fun fun!
You can make your kids and yourself super happy by spending a full day at Disneyland Paris.
- Over 50 Attractions (from Pirates of the Caribbean and Star Wars)
- meet your own and your kids Disney idols
- Amazing Live Shows
- more highlights by date (e.g. Christmas)
8.3 Mont Saint Michel
Truth be told, I would not do only a day trip from Paris to Mont Saint Michel.
It is almost a 4 hours journey by train.
My best tip: Stay here for one night, and enjoy the scenery. It would be too far, in my opinion, to come here only for a day.
The area has a lot more to offer as well, especially in summer.
8.4 Chateau de Fontainebleau
Only 60km out of Paris, you can visit the unique Chateau de Fontainebleau.
A beautiful, princess-like Chateau; it could be right out of a movie!
You can actually enter the castle and wander around.
You can also take it a step further and take a balloon ride around the area. The castle is also used as wedding venues too.
Opening hours: The castle is open every day except on Tuesdays, on the 1st of January, 1st of May and 25th of December from 9:30 am.
Please always check the official website for updated opening hours.
The entrance here is 11€.
You can either rent a car to get to the castle or join a day trip tour directly from Paris to Chateau de Fontainebleau.
Bear in mind, when calculating costs for renting a car, there are quite high highway tolls in France.
9. Itinerary for 7 days in Paris
When spending a week in Paris, you can explore the French capital and its surroundings.
If you bring enough time with you, you can even take a trip to the coastline.
We are currently working on our itinerary for 7 days. In the meantime, we absolutely enjoy this blog unravelthemap.com about spending 7 days in Paris.
10. Packing List
There is a few things we recommend for your packing list Paris.
Optional but always useful:
11. Printed Guides & Map
These guides are best for the ones looking for a printed version.
Once you come to Paris, you will also receive a paper map of the city.