Paris – one of the finest cities in the world, and certainly one of my favourite to visit. Problem is, there is a lot to do, and it’s hard to work out what to do given the limited time we normally have when we visit.
So here is my essential guide to visiting Paris.
Things to do
Photo by Larry Johnson
One of the most visited tourist attractions in the world, and for good reason. It’s great. A massive smile came over my face the first time I saw the tower, and even now I love seeing it when it comes into view when walking around the city.
It has a unusual past, was nearly pulled down, and can be a pain to visit. But the secret is to go late in the day, and walk up. The queues are normally massive for the lifts, but frankly the lifts aren’t great. Take the stairs. It’s cheaper, the queues are much shorter, you get better views, and you get a work out. You don’ need to be super fit to climb the stairs.
Photo by zoetnet
If you have even the smallest interest in art, you have to visit the Louvre. The building itself is amazing, let alone it’s priceless contents. The essential three to see are the Mona Lisa, Venus de Milo and Nike of Samothrace (winged Victory). These pieces along are breathtaking, and anything else you get to see is a bonus. The place is massive, and you need a good few hours at the least. The queues are also massive. Big tip though, don’t use the main entrance. Simple solution: ask the security where another entrance is, I used the entrance by the miniature Arc de Triomphe near the road.
Eat and Drink
Photo by Brenda Blue
France is the home of fine food and drink. To get some great food head to the side street cafes. Find those that are reasonably busy and full of Parisians. Go for the recommendations or specials. The wine and beer in Paris is fantastic, so try a few.
Photo by zoetnet
Montmartre is home to Moulin Rouge, but also the arty set of Paris. There are loads of great cafes, street performances and interesting parks to explore. Visit at the weekend and you’ll see many Parisians doing their thing.
Photo by Alexandre Van de Sande
The meeting place in the evening. This is the best place to watch the famous Eiffel Tower light show. Great a drink and a snack whilst you’re there.
Visit this beautiful church to get a real feel of medieval Paris. It’s free to visit. Try the rooftop terrace for impressive gargoyles.
Need more of a museum fix? Musée d’Orsay houses some fantastic pieces, in an amazing old railway station. Musée Rodin is a beautiful house and park, where Rodin lived. His Thinker sculpture is in the garden. Like Picasso? Then check the Musée national Picasso Paris – an amazing collection of Picasso’s work.
Where to stay
Paris is big, and you need to find somewhere that meets you budget, as it’s an expensive city. One of the best ways of staying in Paris is to rent an apartment. It’s typically cheaper than hotels for longer stays, or with more than a few people. Click here to see available apartments in Paris.
Paris is a great place to visit and explore. I would suggest visiting in late March to mid June, and September to late October. Winter is fine for beating the crowds, but you won’t have the great summer weather.