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Paris Travel Guide Paris Travel Guide

Paris Travel Guide

Bonjour and welcome to our Paris Travel Guide! We're here to help you travel better in the City of Lights.

Paris, the capital of France, is a vibrant mix of fascinating history and cosmopolitan modernity, making it one of the most popular tourist destinations in Europe. It's also commonly known as the City of Love, and is the perfect destination for a weekend of amour.

Before you head off on your Parisian holiday we think it helps to get the lowdown on some of the city's hidden gems, where to get the best food and the best ways to get about the city.

So grab your camera and phrasebook, and come with us on a tour of history, food, romance and all manner of continental charm!

What you will find in this guide:

Practical Info

Getting to Paris

Getting around Paris

Top things to do in Paris

Make the most out of your money in Paris

Where to eat in Paris

Language 101

Practical Info

Current testing requirements for France

  • Vaccinated adults admitted with proof of vaccination
  • Unvaccinated adults only admitted with negative PCR or antigen test
  • 12-17-year-olds admitted with negative PCR test
What time zone is Paris in?

GMT +1

What curreny do they use in Paris?

Euro EUR

What language do they speak in Paris?

French

What power adapters do you need for Paris?

Type C & E

What is the average fight time to Paris?

Avg 1 hour 15 minutes

Top tips for visiting Paris

Now we've covered everything you need to know before visiting Paris, here are a few tips on how to make the most of your trip.

The best way to get into the Louvre

The Louvre is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Paris, and is home to arguably the most famous painting of all time - Da Vinci's 'Mona Lisa'. What many people don't know is that the Louvre has a secret entrance. The main pyramid entrance often has long queues, but head to Porte des Lions near the bank of the River Seine and you'll find another way in with just a fraction of the wait time.

Fast track entry into the Eiffel Tower

Is there anything more Parisian than the Eiffel Tower? Like Big Ben in London or the Empire State Building in New York, you haven't really 'done' Paris until you've climbed the wrought iron structure. Rather than queue for hours to tick the tower off your list, if you book a table at the 58 Tour Eiffel restaurant, you'll get to join their dedicated fast track queue and beat the long lines.

Or you can always book dedicated skip the line tickets.

Understanding menus in French

We've all been there. You try your best to understand and order from a menu in another language, only to get something that you didn't expect. That's why we recommend the Google Translate app, which will translate any text to English on your screen in real time. Bon appetit!

Book a walking tour

If you're looking to experience Paris in the most authentic way, it's a good idea to book a walking tour with Discover Walks. They're fun and the guides know loads about the city, plus they're English is spot on, making them the best guides around.

The Palace of Versailles

We highly recommend a trip to the Palace of Versailles. It's about 45 minutes from the Eiffel Tower on the RER Line C, just keep in mind that you'll need a separate ticket which costs about £6.

The Palace of Versailles was the site of the Paris Peace Conference (1919), an event that helped shape the course of 20th century history, making it a fascinating place to visit and one worth heading out of the city centre for.

Getting to Paris

One of the great things about Paris is how easy it is to reach from the UK, and there are plenty of options available when it comes to getting there. Here are some of the easiest:

Eurostar

It takes less time to get from London to Paris by train than London to Liverpool, clocking in at about two and a half hours on the Eurostar.

Trains depart from St Pancras International, with some stopping at Ebbsfleet International and Ashford International in Kent along the way. Trains start running at around 5.30am and run every 60 - 90 minutes until 8pm.

You'll need your passport and ticket ready to pass through airport-style security before you can board the train. The bonus of taking the Eurostar is that you can take two bags and there are no weight restrictions to worry about!

As for refreshments, there's usually a carriage-come-café that sells hot food and drink, but we found the choices to be a bit limited and on the pricey side. To save some pennies stock up on some snacks before you get on to keep hungry stomachs at bay or wait for a fresh baguette in France. The Eurostar pulls in at Paris Gare du Nord station, which connects the rest of the city by a reliable metro system.

Flying

For those who prefer to take to the skies, there are plenty of aerial options when it comes to travelling to Paris. There are two major airports serving Paris - Charles de Gaulle to the north east and the smaller Paris Orly airport to the south. You'll find routes to Paris from most major and some regional UK airports and you can expect the flight to take 1-2 hours. Although this is a shorter journey as the crow flies, remember to factor in time to get through security and baggage claim. Check out our airport lounges to kill some time and grab a bite to eat.

Getting to Paris from Charles de Gaulle airport

To get into the centre of Paris from Charles de Gaulle airport you can take Line B of the RER (Paris' wider train network). It'll take about 35 minutes to reach Paris Gare du Nord where you'll find connections to the Metro and other public transport to whizz you about the city.

Getting to Paris from Orly airport

From Orly airport you can connect to Line B of the RER line too, although you'll need to take the Orlyval Shuttle Service from the airport to Antony train station first.

However, we think the best way to get to Paris from either airport is by Air France's airport bus transfers. There are two lines from Charles de Gaulle into the city, one from Orly Airport and one line between the two. The buses run frequently starting from 5am until around 11.30pm, with transfer times around an hour from Charles de Gaulle and around 30 minutes from Orly. We recommend you book your shuttle online before travelling to save yourself the hassle when you're there.

The best ways to travel around Paris

So you've dropped your bags off and with the bells of Montmatre ringing in your ears, it's time to start exploring all that Paris has to offer. Here are some of the best ways to get around the city:

Walking

As with most cities we think that the best way to get around and truly experience Paris is on foot. You'll get a proper feel for the city and it's eco-friendly too. Just bear in mind that Paris is big. Really big. A non-stop walk from the Eiffel Tower to Notre-Dame will take about an hour. Fortunately, if you're limited on time then there are lots of really good public transport options.

Public transport

If you need to get about Paris quickly, you can't go wrong with the city's extensive Metro system. The subway is split into the Metro and RER lines. Tickets will work across both so you can treat it as one big underground network. It's definitely the best way of getting around the city quickly and reliably.

The Metro has 16 lines, each with a different colour, while the five RER lines are assigned the letters A, B, C, D and E. RER and Metro trains run every day from 6am until half past midnight.

As for tickets, you buy them in euros and they cost around €1.80 (£1.60) with a book of 10 costing around €16 (£14). There are weekly and monthly passes available, but you'll need a passport photo for them and they're really designed for commuters rather than tourists. Instead we recommend picking up a Paris Visite card.

To help navigate Paris like a pro, keep an eye out for the maps at each Metro station or make sure you have an appropriate app on your phone. CityMapper, one of our favourites, is available in Paris - it'll show which Metro lines to use, how long your journey will take and can even integrate with Uber to book you a taxi. We used it a lot during our trip and it worked perfectly.

Taxi

Taxis in Paris work just like in any other major city, you can hail one in the street or take one from a taxi rank. Official taxis are easily to spot by a light up 'Taxi Parisien' sign on the roof, just remember that red means busy and green means the taxi is available. If a taxi does not have this and doesn't have a meter then don't use it. The minimum charge for a taxi is about £6, making it one of the pricer options for getting about Paris.

Alicante Airport Transfers

Paris Airport Transfers

Make the trip from airport to hotel pain free! Pre-book an airport transfer, with prices starting from just £18 with FREE cancellations*

Book your Paris experiences

Book the best experiences in Paris

Paris has some of the most iconic sights in the world - make sure you see the best of them by pre-booking your tickets.

Top things to do

Top things to do in Paris | The Eiffel Tower

Eiffel Tower

One of the most recognisable buildings in the world - the Eiffel Tower was built as the entrance to the 1889 World's Fair. The wrought iron tower is around 81-storeys tall and is one of the most visited attractions in the world.

Though there are stairs most access is via the lift, and this can make for long queues - which is why we highly recommend booking skip the line tickets.

Top things to do in Paris | The Louvre Museum

The Louvre Museum

Home of the Mona Lisa the Louvre is the most visited museum in the world - and it is instantly recognisable for it's distincitve glass pyramid. Though of course the actual exhibits are housed in the Louvre Palace that surrounds it.

The jewel of the exhibits is of course the Mona Lisa, but do be prepared that the painting itself is now housed behind bullet-proof glass and there will often be a queue to see it.

Top things to do in Paris | The Moulin Rouge

The Moulin Rouge

We don't know about you, but we are massive fans of the Baz Luhrmann musical 'Moulin Rouge!', therefore a trip to Paris isn't complete without visiting the famous cabaret itself.

Make the most of your money in Paris

The currency in France is the Euro, and while Paris isn't considered cheap the prices are about in line with what you'd expect in any other major city. Here's a breakdown of our costs:

  • Eurostar - £87 return
  • Three-bed Airbnb - £333 (for 2 nights)
  • Eiffel Tower - Adults - €17 (£15) | 12-14 year olds - €14.50 (£13) | Under 12s - €8 (£7) | Under 4s - Free
  • Louvre - Adults - €17 (£15) | Under 18s - Free
  • Three-course meal - €25 (£22)
  • Omelette - €5 (£4.30ish)
  • Coffee - €4.80 (£4ish)

Credit cards and ATMs

You can use both debit and credit cards in Paris, just remember to tell your bank before you travel. If you're unsure about using your card or carrying a lot of cash, you could pick up a currency card, like the Caxton FX card before you leave. You can load it up with your travel money before you set off so it's ready when you need it. You can even manage your money on the go via the Caxton FX app, available on iOS and Android. Pas de problème!.

Tipping

Tipping in France is not generally expected, and most restaurants will add a service charge to the bill anyway. By all means tip if you think the service has been exceptional, but you don't need to feel compelled to do so. Similarly, tipping after a taxi journey isn't expected either although we would generally round up the fare to the nearest euro.


Where to eat in Paris

Forget what you think you know about French food - it's much more than the cliches of frog legs, baguettes, cheese and fine wine (although you can find all of those if they take your fancy). For a voyage of culinary discovery and delight, we can't think of a better destination.

In Paris, food is a massive part of the culture. In fact, there's more Michelin star restaurants here than any other European city, so regardless of your tastes or dietary requirements, you're sure to find somewhere delicious to eat in Paris. We can think of worse ways to impress someone on a date!

Where do we recommend to eat in Paris?

One of our favourite restaurants in Paris is La Bouteille d'Or, on the south side of the Seine next to Notre-Dame. They pride themselves on only using local ingredients to give their gourmet menu a homemade twist that makes for what we think could be the best dinner in the city. If you're a fan of seafood, you just have to try the cod. Thank us later.


Do you need to speak French to enjoy Paris?

We found that most restaurants and tourist attractions in Paris spoke English, so you don't need to become fluent in French overnight. However, Parisians really appreciate it if you learn a few key phrases and words to help immerse yourself in the culture and authentically enjoy all the things to do in Paris. It also never hurts to show off your linguistic skills to friends and family!

Some useful phrases

  • Hello - Bonjour
  • Yes - Oui
  • No - Non
  • Please - S'il vous plaît
  • My name is - Je m'appelle
  • Do you speak English? - Est-ce que vous parlez Anglais?
  • A table for two please - Une table pour deux s'il vous plaît
  • Can I have the bill please? - L'addition s'il vous plaît
  • How much is it? - C'est combien
  • Thank you - Merci
  • Goodbye - Au revoir

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