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Things to do in Paris: sights, accommodation, restaurants and many other tips

Things to do in Paris: climb Eiffel Tower

Paris has a special place somewhere in my heart. It was one of my first trips that I did when I was a student in Holland and a trip like this can only remain somewhere in a corner of my most loved memories…I discovered Paris on Christmas, I have been to Paris during summer and spring time, but also in the fall… I have strolled at night on the Champs Élysées and I have climbed on the Eiffel tower at day time and at night time…I have enjoyed the poetry of the mornings in front of the Notre Dame, but also the ugly autumn rains on the Seine…So Paris couldn’t have missed from this series of information and tips in order to make your trip to the capital of France cheaper and more pleasant :)

When to go to Paris

Spring is definitely the most pleasant period of the year …In May especially, it is warm, but not excessively like it could be in July or August, the entire city is green, the flowers blossom, the birds are singing. Another special moment is Christmas when the whole city is decorated with Christmas lights …and as the saying goes …Paris is also known as the “City of Lights”.

How to get to Paris

By plane: Paris is extremely well connected both with Europe, but also via intercontinental flights. There a few worldwide hubs which do not have direct links with Paris. The key carrier is Air France which has the hub in Charles de Gaulle airport, but more than 100 other airlines land on the 3 airports of Paris. France does not have their own home-grown low-cost airline, but Easyjet and Ryanair serve plenty of destination. The main airport is Charles de Gaulle, but there is a second one – Orly, as well. The low-cost airport of Beauvais is the hub of Ryanair, but here you also get the flights to Central and Eastern Europe of Blue Air, Wizz Air and Air Moldova.

By train: Paris is the heart and the pride of the French Railways. Railways have always been important for France and the state-owned SNCF was the inventor of the first high speed trains in Europe – the famous TGV (Train a Grande Vitesse) services started back in 1981 when the trains reached the incredible (back then) speed of 300 km/hours, connecting Paris with Lyon in only 2 hours (600 km). Since then, France got connected to UK via the famous underground tunnel, expending its TGV network across the continental borders, as well, to Switzerland, Belgium and Germany. There are around 12 railway stations, but each station serves in exclusivity few destinations. So, check carefully from which train station you depart.

By bus: Not so much developed, as the railways are so efficient and comprehensive. Obviously, there are buses going around Europe (especially the Eurolines network), but the trains (or low cost flights) are always preferred

How to get from the airports to Paris City

From Beauvais: there are about 70 km between the low-cost Beauvais Paris airport and the capital of France. You can take a bus that goes all the way to the Pershing parking lot next to Porte Maillot. The price is 15 euros and it takes about an hour and a quarter, an hour and a half. From Porte Maillot, you can take the subway or the RER (high-speed metro) to your destination in Paris. For further information visit the Beauvais Airport site.

From Charles de Gaulle: there are numerous possibilities to reach Paris from Charles de Gaulle: the Air France buses, shuttle buses, taxi cabs, etc. The airport is about 25 km north from the city. Personally, each time I landed in Paris (and I even had long transits of 8-10 hours, excellent for a short visit to the city), I took the RER that takes you to the North Train Station or even directly to Notre Dame for about 8 euros. You can find all the possibilities here.

How to travel around Paris

What’s very nice in Paris is that the surface means of transportation as well as the underground one is controlled by the same company – RATP. The tourists use mostly the subway that reaches almost everywhere and the stations are very close one to another, being build about 100 years ago (therefore many of them have a cool retro atmosphere). There is also a fast subway, RER, but you need separate tickets. You can use the same tickets for both the bus and for the subway. You can purchase a single ticket, but usually I bought a 10 tickets card – it now costs 12,70 euros (so 1,27 euros/ticket). There are also some passes named “Paris Visite” – all sorts of combinations depending on the number of days and the areas involved. A 3 day pass covering 3 areas costs 21,60 euros. Study the offers on the RATP  site.

Top 5 things to do in Paris

Tough, really tough, but let’s try

  1. Eiffel Tower. We like it or not, it is the symbol of Paris. Controversial, beloved, hated, it was finished in 1889 for the Universal Exposition. Everyone expected it to fall, but the Eiffel tower did a great job – the tower is still standing 122 years later, it resisted through two world wars and around 7 million visitors a year. The view from the top is superb… but the queues from the foot can be annoyingly long …so maybe you get the tickets online and you skip the queue from the tickets office. Alternatively, you can climb the Montparnasse tower, which lies further away, next to the Eiffel tower. The queues are smaller and the view is a lot more beautiful – if from the Eiffel tower, you can see the Montparnasse tower, which is very ugly, from this tower you will admire the Eiffel tower that does have a distinct grace !
  2. The Triumphal Arch and Champs Élysées – take it by foot on maybe the most famous boulevard in the world and crown your visit by climbing the top of the Triumphal Arch for a dreamy panorama.
  3. The Louvre – here you have to stay for a longer…you can stay full days and you cannot finish it all …it is maybe one of the biggest art collections in the world, sheltering classic works of art like Mona Lisa. Even if its immensity scares you, it is worth spending a few hours…there are maps with the “best of” if you do not have time to savor it quietly.
  4. Musee d’Órsay – the smaller, more human, less visited by the Japanese with long cannons, but with a thicker concentration of super-valuable works on a square meter. It is hosted by an “alternative” building – the former Orsay train station and the art is mostly modern one.
  5. Notre – Dame and Sainte Chapelle – situated a couple of steps away from each other on the same island in the middle of the Seine, they are the most impressive churches in Paris. Notre – Dame is the classic church, gothic, with an incredible rosette and a special panorama, which became famous also due to the hunchback of Victor Hugo, Quasimodo …Although less known, do not miss for anything in the world Sainte Chapelle…it has the most beautiful stained glass windows that I have ever seen!

Obviously you can expect a large variety tours, one crazier or more original than the other – you can see the city on a bicycle, a scooter, through the underground, etc. etc … But do not miss the free tour of Paris . It lasts 3.5 hours and it starts daily at 11.00 o’clock and 13.00 o’clock at the fountain of Place St. Michel, on the shores of Seine. For any other offers, visit www.cheapholidays.com.

Where to sleep in Paris

You won’t be impressed over here… The cheap hotels are hosted by old buildings, with small rooms and sometimes without any bathrooms (apparently Paris always had its troubles with washing). The majority of the cheap hotels are north from the center, somewhere around the area Place Pigalle – Montmartre, area that is inhabited also by a majority of Afro – Maghrebian. Persoanlly, I stayed in Paris either at the DÁrtagnan hostel 20 years ago, or at friends, or friends of friends :). According to the Tripadvisor the best hotel “value for money” is the Henry IV Hotel, right on the island and the prices for a double start at about 78 euros. Do not forget the Etap hotel chain belonging to Accor group, which has very good prices. They are a bit further away though, but always a couple of steps away from a metro station.

Where to eat in Paris

Ha, ha, who hasn’t heard of the French cuisine! The French are extremely proud of their cuisine (oh well, they are also very proud of their history, literature, art, football and cinematography, as well… they are proud of everything !) but they enjoy their cuisine on a daily basis. You will find elegant bistros, held by families everywhere. For cheap and plentiful food look after creperies and pastry shops. Take a few steps away from the main boulevards and the prices will be sensibly lower. For more information regarding the cheap places look on the Time Out .

These are the tips from today about Paris. In case you have more tips about the capital of France, hotels, restaurants and else you can see, I’d be grateful if you can add them here, as comments.

Sights of Paris:

 Things to do in Paris: visit Notre Dame Cathedral

The Notre Dame Cathedral

Things to do in Paris: enter Notre Dame

Getting a peak inside of Notre Dame

Things to do in Paris: visit St. Chapelle

St. Chapelle

Things to do in Paris: visit St. Chapelle

And its fabulous interior

Things to do in Paris: cross a Seine bridge

A bridge over Seine

Things to do in Paris: climb Montparnasse Tower

For a superb panorama – I recommend the Montparnasse tower. Here’s what you can see from up above.

Things to do in Paris: don't miss Eiffel Tower

The Eiffel Tower

Things to do in Paris: take a peak at The Triumph Arch

The Triumph Arch

Things to do in Paris: don't miss Place de la Concorde

Place de la Concorde

Things to do in Paris: take a picture of Palace de Luxembourg

Palace de Luxembourg, The Higher Chamber of the French Parliament – Senat

Things to do in Paris: get a great view from Montparnasse Tower

And one final panorama – Parisseen from up above

Things to do in Paris: spend a late afternoon at Sacre Coeur

Sacre Coeur

Paris Metro - RATP

On fait tres chaud dans le metro:)

Până acum există "3 comentarii" la acest articol:

  1. Great tips! I have already been to Paris and I found it the most expensive city in whole Europe but it was definitely worth it. The scenery was beautiful and you can actually see it in your photos. How many days did you spend in Paris?

    • Imperator says:

      I’ve been quite a lot of times… probably 10 times, maybe more. The pics are done last year when I stayed only 1 day (long inter-continental transit and I went straight to the city :). But, I stayed more than 1 week a couple of times :) What about you ?

  2. Great article that really sells Paris as the exciting City it is. I agree with the comment above that it is expensive but worth it and I don’t think any more expensive than say London.

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