You’ve probably been dreaming of a trip to Paris. Walking by the Seine or eating fresh croissants in the morning is purely magical, but many travelers don’t realize the amount of planning a trip to Paris requires before getting to the point. In this blog, discover some of the main things to know before going to Paris to make for the best trip possible.
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We’re all about helping you prepare for your trip to Paris, but we’d also love to show you around once you get there! Check out our best Paris tours and pick which ones fit best into your itinerary.
Paris has three airports all located in different areas. The biggest one is the Paris Charles de Gaulle, in the Roissy region of Paris. Once at the airport, you’ll have several ways to reach the city center. The fastest one is the train, called RER, that will lead you to different metro stops in Paris (the best one is probably Gare Du Nord, where you’ll find other metro lines). Buses are also an option and, of course, taxis. The second largest airport is Orly. Once there, you might want to catch the bus that will lead you to the stop “Denfert-Rochereau” and, from there you will find the metro line 4 and 6 to reach the city center. If you’re landing at Beauvais airport, which is about 45 miles from Paris, you can catch the bus right outside of the airport that in more than one hour will bring you at the stop Porte Maillot, very close to the city center.
Public Transportation in Paris
Counting 16 different metro lines and 303 stops, Paris is a city where you can reach every area by train. The Parisian metro reaches even areas right outside of the city and, if you have to go even further, several trains or RER lines are available. Keep in mind, though, that the city center is not so big, so you should be able to reach places by walking. So, check your map and your itinerary before opting for the subway, you might enjoy a nice walk outside instead! Also, it might be a smart move opting for a weekly card for transportation instead of metro tickets. You can get the card at RATP offices at the metro stops and you’ll only need a small photo of you to get it!
Paris Street Food
Let’s talk about some serious business, Paris food. More specifically, French croissants and baguettes! Of course, you might have heard plenty of times about how the French master this type of food so, once there, you should try the best ones. To do so, keep one thing in mind: avoid chains and opt for some small boulangerie instead, which will be cheaper and better! Finding Parisians boulangeries is not hard, they are everywhere. Once there, you will even find some already stuffed baguettes or salad, which could be some healthy options for a quick lunch outside.
To get a full taste of Parisian food, in one of the hippest neighborhoods, check out the Le Marais Paris Food Tour.
Credit Cards in Paris
In Paris, you will be able to pay for practically everything by card so, cash is not particularly required. In some situations though, you should use cash. If you’re planning to buy something in a small boulangerie, for example, cards will be accepted after a certain amount and you might want to have some cash on you. As a general rule, you should keep in mind that small shops might not always accept credit cards.
Summer in Paris
If you’re planning to spend your summer holidays in Paris, you should check the weather a little bit before going. Normally, the city during summer is particularly hot, but the weather might change drastically from one moment to another. That’s why, even if you are planning to go in August, bring something warmer with you along with your summer clothes. Also, don’t forget your umbrella, as summer rain could be around the corner!
Speaking English in Paris
People can sometimes consider Parisians as cold or just not so friendly, but that’s actually not true! The only thing you should keep in mind once there is that they like good manners. That’s why when entering a shop, even a small one where you want to have a look, start with a bonjour (good morning in French) and continue with an au revoir, merci (bye, thank you!) when leaving. Also, Parisians do speak English. Try to start your conversation with those words and continue in English, it will work!
Cafès, Restaurants, and Rooftops
Of course, spending some time outside, maybe sitting at a cafè, might be on top of your list. To do so properly, think about choosing the right place and not the first one you see. Most of them are pretty touristy places, which are expensive and low quality. Consider walking a bit away from the main attractions you’re visiting and look for something smaller. Also, in Paris, avoid rooftops restaurants or bars. They might look appealing but, they are not worth it. What makes Paris famous is its cafès so, enjoy them!
I Want More Paris!
- Not sure what to do in Paris? Check out our step-by-step guide about how to do Paris in a Day. If you’d rather let us guide you, check out our Paris tours.
- Parlez-Vous Francais? Learn some of the most important French phrases before your trip to Paris.
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