21 Best Tips for Paris: Everything You Need to Know to Plan Your Trip!

Last Updated on November 29, 2022 by admin

Planning a trip to Paris? I’ve been to Paris on 4 separate occasions, and today I’m sharing my best tips for visiting Paris with you. I hope you find these tips for Paris helpful as you plan your own trip to the City of Light!

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(If you’re planning a trip to Paris, be sure to check out our 2-day itinerary for Paris!)

21 Tips for Visiting Paris

1. Book Tickets for Attractions in Advance

Before you arrive in Paris, make sure you have your tickets purchased for popular attractions. We recommend getting your tickets for the Eiffel Tower and the Louvre in advance of your visit, especially if you’re visiting during the summer.

Eiffel Tower at sunrise in Paris

2. Know What Neighborhood You Are In

If you hear someone mention an arrondissement, it refers to a municipal district of the city. Paris is divided into 20 distinct arrondissements. The 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th arrondissements are now grouped together as part of Paris Central. 

3. Consider Buying a Pass

If you plan on visiting multiple attractions in Paris, consider buying the Go City Paris Pass. You can potentially save lots of money by buying just one pass. You can easily download the pass on your phone, so it’s really easy to see all Paris has to offer. Another option is to purchase the Paris Pass. The Paris Pass covers lots of things, like tickets to the Eiffel Tower or a cruise along the Seine River. We recommend that you carefully review how many attractions you would visit to see if it’s worth buying the pass. If you only visit a handful of attractions, it may be more affordable to purchase tickets separately at each location. 

 

4. Learn About the Seine River

You’ll see guidebooks and maps mention the Left Bank (Rive Gauche) and Right Bank (Rive Droite) of the Seine River. The Left Bank refers to the area south of the river, and the Right Bank refers to the area north of the river. It’s helpful to know what these areas refer to as you navigate the city.

River Seine in Paris
River Seine in Paris

 

5. Book a Hotel Near the City Center

If you only have a few days in Paris, you don’t want to spend half your day navigating public transportation (or traffic!) trying to get into the city center. Instead, book a hotel near the main attractions. It will be well worth the extra money if you have the budget for it. We stayed at the Hotel du Louvre (booking information linked here), and would highly recommend it to others. (You can read all about our review of the hotel by clicking here.)

Hotel du Louvre, a 5-star Paris Hotel

6. Check for Museum Closure Days

Many of the most popular museums are closed sometime during the week. For example, the Louvre is closed every Tuesday. If you’re set on seeing the Mona Lisa, make sure you don’t schedule your visit to the Louvre on a Tuesday. The Musée d’Orsay, on the other hand, is closed on Mondays.

7. Consider Buying the Paris Museum Pass

If you plan on visiting several museums, you can save money by buying the Paris Museum Pass. The pass will allow you entry into dozens of museums. The best part is that it’s easy to purchase online, and then you just have to show the pass when you enter.

8. Learn Some French

Many people speak English in Paris, but there’s some essential phrases you should learn how to say before you arrive. These include bonjour (hello) and merci (thank you). It can be considered rude to approach someone and ask them in English, “Do you speak English?” It puts the onus on them to cater to you, and it can make someone feel put on-the-spot if they don’t speak English. Instead, ask locals if they speak English in their own language: French. It will go a long way! Simply ask, parlez vouz anglais.

9. Download Offline Maps

If you’re traveling from the United States, you may not have a data plan that allows you to use your phone abroad. (You may only be using it when you have access to WiFi.) If that’s the case, be sure to download offline maps prior to your departure. That way, you’ll be able to navigate through the city. Make sure to also pack a power bank (we linked one here), so that your phone doesn’t run out of battery.

10. Have a Plan, but Take Your Time

If you only have a few days, make sure you plan your itinerary in advance. But, we also recommend that you leave some space for wandering, accidental discoveries, and resting at a cafe. You want to enjoy the day, without being rushed.

11. Make Restaurant Reservations in Advance

Paris is world-famous for its culinary scene. It is known as one of the best food cities in the world. As such, it’s worth doing some research and making your restaurant reservations in advance. The most famous restaurants do reach capacity, so make sure you plan for your meals. For example, it can be difficult get a relationship at Septime. If you’re looking for 3 Michelin Star restaurants in Paris, you might consider Le Cinq, Pierre Gagnaire, or Épicure.

12. Visit During the Shoulder Season

Traveling to Paris can be quite busy during the summer, so you might consider visiting in May or September. I’ve visited Paris in the spring, summer, and winter, and I have loved each and every visit, though. I’ve visited Paris on two separate occasions during the summer. If you’re traveling during the summer too, just make all your ticket reservations in advance and you should be in good shape.

13. Be Polite

In French culture, when you enter a store or establishment, it’s polite to greet the shopkeeper with a bonjour. Be a respectful visitor when traveling. Follow all laws and guidelines.

French flags in Paris

14. Wear Comfortable Shoes

You might see influencers walking around Paris in high heels, but we wouldn’t suggest it. You’ll be walking a lot of miles, so choose shoes that you know are comfortable. I’ve linked the shoes that I’ve used abroad, as well as a pair of sandals that are super comfortable. I’ve worn my Tevas all over Europe, and they have been great! (Also pack bandaids just in case. You don’t want to get a blister on vacation.)

15. Pack a Voltage Converter

If you’re traveling from the United States, you’ll need a voltage converter for your electronics. Many of the hotels do have USB charging ports which is quite helpful, but you’ll need a voltage converter for your larger accessories.

See our full list of luxury hotels in Paris here!
 

16. Have Back-Up Currency and Credit Cards

You don’t want to have all your money and credit cards in one wallet, in case its stolen or you misplace it. Instead, make sure you have a back-up credit card and back-up currency stored in your main luggage. I’ve never experienced theft while abroad, but you do want to be prepared just in case. If you lose your entire wallet, you would be in a big predicament. If you have access to at least one additional credit card, you’ll be able to navigate the situation better.

17.  Buy Medical Insurance

Most medical plans in the United States only cover domestic care. If you’re traveling internationally, make sure you have health insurance for abroad. If you can’t afford the medical insurance, then you can’t afford the trip. It’s that important.

18. Take Photos of Identification and Credit Cards

Make sure to take photos of your passport and credit cards (including the number on the back). If you lose a credit card, you’ll be able to call the number on the back and you’ll be able to see the full credit card number. This will help you to protect your account, should you need to while you’re abroad. It’s also a good idea to have a copy of your passport. If you lose your passport, you’ll at least be able to show the consulate a copy with your full passport number.

19. Notify Your Bank

Prior to your departure, call your bank to let them know you’ll be out of the country. That way, they don’t mark any purchases you make as suspicious of fraud. (You don’t want a bank to freeze your card while you’re traveling.)

See our full review of Disneyland Paris here!
 

20. Order Euros in Advance

I like to make sure that I have Euros with me before I arrive in Paris. I personally don’t like to rely on international exchange kiosks at airports, because there can be long lines, I might forget to get cash by the time I land, or they might be closed. Instead, I visit my bank and ask them to order Euros for me in advance. It’s always good to ask for some small change too, so that you can give tips.

21. Stop by a Pâtisserie

Paris is filled with pâtisseries (bakeries), and you have to make sure you stop by at least one. Whether you order a croissant, pain au chocolat, an eclair, a macaron, or a tartelette, you will be in heaven. One of the most famous pâtisseries in Paris is Ladurée. We bought a box of macarons, which have a global reputation!

Laduree in Paris


Where to Stay in Paris

Booking.com  

Luxury Hotel

The hotels that have the highest level of luxury in the city of Paris have Palace designation. We recommend that you stay at Hotel de Crillon, A Rosewood Hotel. One of the most beautiful aspects of this hotel is its swimming pool, which consists of thousands of gold tiles. Numerous celebrities have stayed at this hotel, all the way from Benjamin Franklin to Jennifer Lopez!

5-Star Hotel

We personally stayed at the Hotel du Louvre, and we would highly recommend it to others. The hotel is centrally located (we could walk to almost everything), and we absolutely loved its classic French elegance, excellent service, and historical significance. You can read our full review of the Hotel du Louvre by clicking here.

Moderate

The Westin Paris – Vendôme is centrally located across from the Jardin des Tuileries. The 4-star hotel has numerous amenities and beautifully-styled rooms. 

Budget

For a more affordable option, check out the Libertel Gare du Nord Suede. The hotel is located about 2.5 kilometers north of the Louvre Museum. 

Hostel

I stayed at a hostel during my first and second visit to Paris years ago. I can’t remember the name of the hostels that I stayed at, but I found it to be an affordable way to visit the city. (Especially when I was a college kid backpacking around Europe!) The hostel St. Cristopher’s Inn Paris – Gare du Nord is conveniently located right by the train station. Perfect for backpackers visiting multiple cities!


What to Pack with You

Here’s a few things that we recommend that you add to your packing list as you prepare for a trip to Paris:

  • Portable Power Bank: You’ll be relying on your phone for navigation and for photography. Make sure you don’t run out of battery while you’re out exploring the city! You can charge this power bank and then easily carry it with you. When you’re low on battery, just plug your phone in. 
  • Travel Adapter and Voltage Converter: If you’re traveling from the United States, make sure you pack a travel adapter and voltage converter. That way, you’ll be able to use your electronics abroad.
  • Theft-Proof Backpack: Explore the city in peace knowing that your valuables are safe. The backpack features lockable zippers and cut-proof materials.
  • Water Bottle: Stay hydrated as you explore the city. We have an Iron Flask water bottle, and it’s worked great so far!
  • Travel Guide: As you prepare for your trip, read all about the City of Light.

 

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Summary

Paris is one of my favorite cities to visit. Whether you plan to visit Michelin-starred restaurants or grab street-side crepes, you’ll be sure to have an amazing time in Paris. I hope that this list of tips is helpful to you as you plan your trip! Bon voyage!

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