How to Plan a Trip to Paris: A Guide for Tourists





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Paris is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world, and for good reason.

How to Plan a Trip to Paris: A Guide for Tourists
Woman planning her trip on a map

How to Plan a Trip to Paris?

The city is home to some of the most iconic landmarks in the world, such as the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre Museum, and the Notre Dame Cathedral.

But with so much to see and do, it can be overwhelming to plan a trip to Paris.

Steps: How to Plan a Trip to Paris

Here is a guide to help you plan your trip to Paris:

1. Decide when to go

How to Plan a Trip to Paris: A Guide for Tourists
Black cheerful happy couple in love visiting Paris city centre and Eiffel Tower – African american tourists travelling in Europe and dating outdoors

The best time to visit Paris is during the shoulder seasons, which are spring (April to June) and fall (September to October).

These times offer milder weather and fewer crowds than the peak summer season (July to August).

The best season for a trip to Paris largely depends on your preferences, as each season in the city offers a unique charm and set of experiences:

  1. Spring (March to May): Often considered the most romantic time to visit Paris, spring brings blooming flowers, milder temperatures, and lighter crowds before the peak summer season. The city’s parks and gardens, like the Tuileries or Luxembourg Gardens, are particularly beautiful.
  2. Summer (June to August): Summer is the peak tourist season. The weather is usually warm and sunny, ideal for picnics by the Seine or visiting outdoor attractions. However, be prepared for larger crowds at popular sites and higher accommodation prices. Also, some local shops and restaurants may close in August as Parisians go on vacation.
  3. Fall (September to November): Autumn is another great time to visit. The weather is cooler and the summer crowds have dissipated. The city’s foliage turns to stunning shades of orange and brown, offering a picturesque backdrop. It’s also a good time for cultural events and exhibitions.
  4. Winter (December to February): Winter in Paris is chilly, but the city lights up with holiday decorations and Christmas markets, creating a festive atmosphere. It’s the best time for those who enjoy fewer tourists and potentially lower travel costs. Keep in mind that days are shorter and some attractions may have reduced hours.

Each season in Paris offers a different experience:

  • Spring and Fall are ideal for those seeking a balance between pleasant weather and moderate crowds.
  • Summer is perfect for outdoor activities and a vibrant city life, though it’s busier and more expensive.
  • Winter offers a unique charm with festive lights and cozy cafes, suited for those who don’t mind the cold and prefer fewer crowds.

Remember to consider what you want to do and see in Paris when choosing the season for your trip.

2. Book your flights and accommodation

How to Plan a Trip to Paris: A Guide for Tourists
Hands of teenager pointing at screen when helping grandfather to book flight

Flights to Paris can be expensive, so it’s a good idea to book them in advance.

You can also save money by booking your accommodation in advance.

Getting the cheapest tickets and accommodation for a trip to Paris requires a bit of strategy and flexibility. Here are some tips to help you find the best deals:

  1. Book in Advance: Generally, booking your flight and accommodation well in advance can secure better prices. For flights, try to book at least 2-

3 months in advance. For accommodations, booking a few months early can also yield savings, especially during peak seasons.

  1. Be Flexible with Your Dates: Flight prices can vary significantly depending on the day of the week, time of year, and holidays. If possible, be flexible with your travel dates. Mid-week flights are often cheaper than weekend flights. Avoiding peak travel seasons like summer and major holidays can also lead to significant savings.
  2. Use Flight Comparison Tools: Websites and apps like Skyscanner, Kayak, or Google Flights allow you to compare prices across different airlines and dates. They also offer features to set alerts for price drops on routes you’re interested in.
  3. Consider Alternative Airports: Paris is served by several airports, including Charles de Gaulle (CDG), Orly (ORY), and Beauvais (BVA). Sometimes, flying into a less central airport can be cheaper. Just be sure to factor in the cost and time of transport to the city center.
  4. Look for Budget Airlines: Budget airlines often offer significantly cheaper fares than their full-service counterparts. Airlines like Ryanair and EasyJet have flights to Paris, but be aware of additional fees for baggage, seat selection, and other services.
  5. Opt for Indirect Flights: Direct flights are usually more expensive. If you’re not in a hurry, consider flights with layovers as they can be cheaper.
  6. Sign Up for Fare Alerts and Newsletters: Many travel websites and airlines offer fare alerts for specific routes. Signing up for newsletters from airlines and travel companies can also alert you to sales or special deals.
  7. Choose Budget Accommodations: Instead of hotels, consider alternatives like hostels, vacation rentals (e.g., Airbnb), or budget hotel chains. Staying outside the city center can also save money, as long as you’re near public transportation.
  8. Use Rewards and Points: If you have a credit card with travel rewards or belong to airline loyalty programs, check if you can use your points or miles to book flights or accommodation.
  9. Travel in the Off-Season: Traveling to Paris during the off-season (late fall to early spring, excluding holidays) can result in cheaper flights and accommodation, as well as fewer crowds.
  10. Check Package Deals: Sometimes, booking a flight and hotel together through travel agencies or websites can be cheaper than booking them separately.

Remember, the cheapest options may have some trade-offs like less convenient flight times or locations further from city attractions. Always weigh the cost savings against the convenience and overall travel experience.

3. Get a Paris Pass

How to Plan a Trip to Paris: A Guide for Tourists
Young woman at the terminal in Paris, France

The Paris Pass is a great way to save money on admission to many of Paris’s top attractions. It also includes free use of public transportation.

The Paris Pass offers several advantages for travelers visiting Paris, especially for those looking to explore multiple attractions and make the most of their trip. Here are some of the key pros:

  1. Cost Savings on Attractions: The Paris Pass provides free entry to over 60 attractions, including popular sites like the Louvre, Versailles, and the Orsay Museum. If you plan to visit multiple paid attractions, the pass can offer significant savings compared to buying individual tickets.
  2. Skip-the-Line Access: Many attractions in Paris have long queues, especially during peak tourist seasons. The Paris Pass offers skip-the-line access to several major attractions, saving you time and hassle.
  3. Convenience: Having a Paris Pass simplifies your sightseeing experience. You don’t need to purchase individual tickets for each attraction, which can be time-consuming and more expensive.
  4. Public Transport Included: The Paris Pass includes a travelcard, which gives you unlimited use of the metro, buses, and other public transportation within central Paris (zones 1-3). This can be a cost-effective and convenient way to get around the city.
  5. Additional Discounts: The pass often includes discounts on tours, cruises, and at select restaurants and shops, providing further savings during your trip.
  6. Variety of Attractions: The pass covers a wide range of attractions, catering to different interests—from art and history to science and entertainment. This diversity can enrich your travel experience in Paris.
  7. Flexible Pass Options: The Paris Pass is available in different durations (2, 3, 4, or 6 days), allowing you to choose one that best fits the length of your stay and your sightseeing plans.
  8. Free Guidebook: The pass typically comes with a free guidebook that helps you plan your itinerary and navigate the city, including information about all the attractions covered by the pass.
  9. Planning and Budgeting: By paying for most of your sightseeing in advance with the Paris Pass, you can better budget for your trip and avoid unexpected costs.
  10. Inspiration for Itinerary: The range of attractions included in the Paris Pass can inspire you to visit places you might not have considered otherwise, helping you discover hidden gems in the city.

However, it’s important to note that the Paris Pass is most beneficial if you plan to visit several of the included attractions each day. If you prefer a slower pace or are interested in fewer attractions, the pass might not offer the best value for you.

4. Plan your itinerary

How to Plan a Trip to Paris: A Guide for Tourists
Planning your next vacation holiday trip to Sweden. Various travel accessories on the table over the Swedish map.

There are so many things to see and do in Paris, so it’s important to plan your itinerary in advance.

Make a list of the attractions you want to visit and then create a schedule that fits your interests and time constraints.

Planning your itinerary in Paris involves a balance of sightseeing, leisure, and exploration. Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you create an effective and enjoyable itinerary:

  1. Prioritize Major Attractions: List the top sights you don’t want to miss. Include landmarks like the Eiffel Tower, Louvre Museum, Notre-Dame Cathedral, Montmartre, and the Palace of Versailles. Determine which ones require advance booking, like the Eiffel Tower or certain guided tours.
  2. Consider a Multi-Day Pass: If you plan to visit multiple attractions, consider purchasing a Paris Pass for cost savings and convenience.
  3. Allocate Time Wisely: Assign realistic time slots to each attraction. Some, like the Louvre, may require half a day or more, while others, such as a stroll through Montmartre, might take a couple of hours.
  4. Group Attractions by Location: To maximize your time, plan to visit attractions that are near each other on the same day. For example, combine a visit to Notre-Dame with a walk through the Latin Quarter.
  5. Plan for Meals and Relaxation: Include time for meals and breaks. Paris is renowned for its cafes and restaurants. Allow yourself time to enjoy a leisurely meal or a coffee break at a sidewalk cafe.
  6. Incorporate Free Time: Leave some unscheduled time for spontaneous exploration or relaxation. Paris has many charming streets, parks, and neighborhoods worth discovering without a set plan.
  7. Evening Activities: Plan for evening activities such as a Seine River cruise, attending a show at the Moulin Rouge, or simply enjoying the city lights at a local bistro.
  8. Check Opening Days and Hours: Some attractions might be closed on certain days. For example, many museums are closed on Mondays or Tuesdays. Always check opening hours in advance.
  9. Consider Day Trips: If you have enough time, consider a day trip to locations like Versailles, Giverny, or the Loire Valley.
  10. Be Flexible: Be prepared to adjust your plans based on weather, your energy levels, and unexpected discoveries.
  11. Use Navigation Tools: Have a map or a navigation app handy to find your way around. Paris is well-connected by public transport, so familiarize yourself with the metro and bus routes.
  12. Cultural Experiences: Include some cultural experiences like visiting local markets, attending a cooking class, or exploring less-touristy neighborhoods to get a feel for local life.
  13. Book in Advance: For popular attractions and experiences, book your tickets in advance to avoid long lines and ensure availability.

By following these steps, you can create a Paris itinerary that is enjoyable, efficient, and tailored to your interests. Remember, Paris is a city best experienced at a leisurely pace, so don’t overpack your schedule.

5. Learn some French

How to Plan a Trip to Paris: A Guide for Tourists
My friends need some help in learning

Even if you don’t speak fluent French, it’s helpful to learn a few basic phrases before you go. This will help you communicate with locals and get around the city.

Learning French can significantly enhance your travel experience in Paris for several reasons:

  1. Improved Communication: While many people in Paris, especially in the tourism industry, speak English, not everyone does. Knowing some French allows you to communicate more effectively with locals, from asking for directions to ordering food in restaurants.
  2. Cultural Appreciation: Understanding the language helps you appreciate and engage with French culture more deeply. You’ll be able to understand signs, menus, historical plaques, and even eavesdrop on local conversations, providing a richer cultural experience.
  3. Social Interaction: Speaking French, even at a basic level, can facilitate social interactions. Locals often appreciate when visitors make an effort to speak their language, and this can lead to friendlier exchanges, better service, and sometimes even new friendships.
  4. Navigating the City: Knowledge of French makes it easier to navigate the city, whether you’re reading street signs, using public transport, or shopping in local markets.
  5. Emergencies and Assistance: In case of an emergency or when seeking assistance, being able to communicate in French can be invaluable, especially in situations where English speakers are not readily available.
  6. Independence and Confidence: With a grasp of the language, you’ll feel more confident and independent exploring the city, venturing beyond the typical tourist areas, and experiencing Paris more authentically.
  7. Enjoying Arts and Entertainment: Understanding French allows you to enjoy local arts and entertainment fully. You can attend theatre performances, watch French films, or listen to local music with a greater understanding.
  8. Dining Experiences: Many restaurants in Paris have menus in French. Being able to read and understand the menu enhances your dining experience, and you can confidently order dishes.
  9. Understanding Etiquette and Customs: Language is deeply tied to cultural norms and etiquette. Knowing French can help you navigate social situations more appropriately, respecting local customs and etiquette.
  10. Travel Beyond Paris: If you plan to travel beyond Paris to less touristy areas of France, French language skills become even more essential, as English proficiency is generally lower outside major cities.

Even learning basic phrases and greetings in French can go a long way in making your Paris trip more enjoyable and immersive.

6. Be aware of scams

How to Plan a Trip to Paris: A Guide for Tourists
cropped view of robbery pickpocketing wallet with money

Paris is a big city, and like any big city, there are scams. Be aware of common scams, such as the “ticket inspector” scam and the “friendship bracelet” scam.

Being aware of common scams in Paris can help you stay safe and enjoy your trip without unnecessary setbacks. Here are some scams to be cautious of:

  1. Petition Scams: Scammers, often pretending to be deaf or mute, ask tourists to sign a petition. While you’re distracted, they or an accomplice may pickpocket you. Alternatively, they may demand money for the petition once you’ve signed.
  2. Gold Ring Scam: A person may “find” a gold ring on the ground near you and offer it to you, sometimes insisting it’s real gold. After you accept it, they will ask for money in return. The ring is usually worthless.
  3. String Bracelet Scam: Common around Montmartre and Sacré-Cœur, scammers will try to tie a string bracelet around your wrist and then demand payment. If you refuse, they might cause a scene to pressure you.
  4. Friendship Bracelet Scam: Similar to the string bracelet scam, but often targeted towards younger tourists. Scammers offer a ‘friendship bracelet’ as a gift but then demand money.
  5. Cup and Ball Game: You might see a street game (shell game or three-card monte) where you have to guess under which cup or shell a ball or item is placed. It’s a well-orchestrated scam, often with fake winners, designed to make you bet and lose money.
  6. Fake Police Officers: Scammers posing as police officers might ask to see your wallet for inspection, claiming they are looking for counterfeit money, and then steal from it.
  7. Taxi Scams: Unofficial taxis may overcharge tourists, especially at airports and train stations. Always use official taxis or reputable ride-hailing services.
  8. Pickpockets: Common in crowded areas, metros, and tourist hotspots. Be vigilant and keep your valuables secure and out of sight.
  9. ATM Skimming: Be cautious when using ATMs. Cover the keypad when entering your PIN and check for any unusual devices attached to the machine.
  10. Apartment Rental Scam: If renting an apartment online, be wary of deals that seem too good to be true, and never send money through unsecured payment methods.
  11. ‘Help’ with ATM Transactions: Be wary of strangers offering help at ATMs, as they may be trying to steal your card information.
  12. Charity Scams: Individuals or groups may claim to be collecting for a charity. These are often fake and just a way to get money directly from you.

To avoid falling victim to these scams, always be cautious and aware of your surroundings. Don’t engage with strangers who approach you with unsolicited offers or requests, and keep your belongings secure. If you’re ever in doubt, especially in the case of individuals claiming to be police officers, ask to see identification or head to a nearby shop or public area.

7. Stay safe

How to Plan a Trip to Paris: A Guide for Tourists
Young man love and care elder eating lunch meal for safe and stay at home happy smile family.

Paris is a safe city, but it’s always a good idea to take precautions. Be aware of your surroundings and don’t carry a lot of cash with you.

8. Have fun!

How to Plan a Trip to Paris: A Guide for Tourists
Young couple having fun, enjoying ice cream while sitting together on the bright sofa indoors

Paris is a magical city, and you’re sure to have a wonderful time. So relax, enjoy yourself, and soak up the atmosphere.

Here are some additional tips for plan a trip to Paris:

  • Consider buying a travel insurance. This will protect you in case of any unforeseen circumstances, such as flight cancellations or lost luggage.
  • Pack comfortable shoes. You’ll be doing a lot of walking in Paris!
  • Bring a camera to capture all your memories.
  • Be prepared for the weather. Paris can have a variety of weather conditions, so pack accordingly.

we hope this guide helps you plan your trip to Paris. Bon voyage!




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