Faster and smarter in the app... Download now
Paris Travel Guide
Holiday Extras Travel Guides
Travel Guides
London Theatre Breaks
Inspiration
UK Attractions
Tips & Advice
UK Theme Parks
Paris Airport Transfers
Paris Car Hire
Paris Car Hire
UK Days Out
Paris Attractions
Paris Travel Guide Paris at night

Paris Travel Guide

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.

What you'll find in this guide:

Top things to do in Paris

Practical information

Getting to Paris

Getting around Paris

What to eat in Paris

Top things to do in Paris

  • Paris city tour
    ATTRACTIONS & GUIDED TOURS

    Paris city tour

    Discover the essential Parisian sites, its architecture and cultural heritage. Come face to face with the Louvre Museum, Notre-Dame cathedral, Eiffel Tower and so much more!

  • Lunch cruise on the River Seine
    CRUISES

    Lunch cruise on the River Seine

    You'll cruise by Notre Dame Cathedral, the Conciergerie, the Louvre Museum, the Parliament, the City Hall, and much more.

  • Paris catacombs tour
    ACTIVITIES

    Paris catacombs tour

    visit the Paris Catacombs to see the remains of millions of Parisians and learn about the fascinating ways in which this ancient city has dealt with its dead.

  • Alone with Mona Lisa
    ATTRACTIONS & GUIDED TOURS

    Alone with Mona Lisa

    There are many ways to see the Louvre, but only one way shows you all the best works and gets you in front of the Mona Lisa after most of the crowds have left.

  • Guided tour of the Notre-Dame de Reims Cathedral
    ATTRACTIONS & GUIDED TOURS

    Guided tour of Notre-Dame

    Listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Notre-Dame de Reims Cathedral is one of the major achievements of Gothic art in France, both for its architecture and for its 2,303 statues.


You can find more great video content on our YouTube channel

Holiday Extras Travel Guides

What time zone is Paris in?

GMT +1

What curreny do they use in France?

Euro EUR

What language do they speak in Paris?

French

What power adaptors do you need for Paris?

Type C & E

What is the average fight time to Paris?

1 hour 15

Practical Info

Culture and etiquette

Religion

Around 60% of the population is Christian.

Tipping

Do you need tip in Paris? 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.

Smoking

Smoking is banned in all indoor public spaces including restaurants, bars and public transport.

Language 101

The official language is French. English is spoken at most tourist attractions and restaurants, 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.

Hello (informal) - Bonjour

How are you? - Ça va?

Yes - Oui

No - Non

What's your name? - Je m'appelle

My name is - Je m'appelle

Please - S'il vous plaît

Thank you - Merci

How much is it? - C'est combien

Where is? - où est?

Numbers:

  • One - Une
  • Two - Deux
  • Three - Trois
  • Four - Quatre
  • Five - Cinq

Goodbye - Au revoir

Jabs, visas and other advice

For up-to-date advice on jabs, visas and other foreign advice, we recommend following the government's website

Emergency numbers

For any emergency you can call 112. Or call 17 for police, 15 for ambulance or 18 for the fire brigade.

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.

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!

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.

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.

Heading to Disneyland Paris?

It's worth thinking about the best way to get to Disneyland Paris as the train routes will be changing in 2023.

The best way to get to Disneyland Paris was always by Eurostar from London, with direct trains taking 2 to 3 hours. In 2023 this will start to change, with passengers required to change at Lille, with a 55-minute wait for a connecting train. This makes the journey upwards of 4 hours, but does open up the opportunity to extend your trip with an extra night in lovely Lille.

Alternatively, flying is now more of an option. You can fly to Paris in an hour and 15 minutes, then take the Magical Shuttle transfer which will get you to the park in an hour or so.

Disneyland Paris castle

Getting 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.

What 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.

Top
  • Greece Aqualand TUI megaday

    Paris Airport Transfers

    Book your Paris Airport transfers, with prices starting from £18 with free cancellations up to 3 days before travel.

  • Paris Car Hire

    Paris Car Hire

    Book your Paris car hire from just £18.97 per day, with free cancellations.

  • Paris Ultimate Experiences

    Paris Ultimate Experiences

    From the Eiffel Tower to Moulin Rouge! Make the most of your trip and book the top Paris experiences for you and your family before you go.

  • Paris Travel Insurance

    Travel Insurance for Paris

    Whether you're exploring the catacombs or cruising the Seine, you'll want a reliable travel insurance policy for your trip to Paris.

The Good Trip Index
19th

France ranks 19th on the Good Trip Index

This score is calculated based on Sustainability, Human Rights, Women's Rights, Press Freedom, Quality of Life, LGBTQI+ Rights and animal welfare

Find out more