Ohhh Paris! A city of lights that holds a charm that only this city has.
I traveled to Paris in 2015 during winter for only a few days, but God knows how much I would love to comeback to this incredible and beautiful city.
Considered one of the fashion capitals of the world, the city holds one of the most prestigious of the big four Fashion Weeks, with events held each year.
Also well known for the sophisticate culinary, the city has numerous famous restaurants and bakeries that are definitely worth a stop during the day.
Paris is the capital of France and home to a lot of tourists and immigrants. It is one of the busiest cities in Europe.
Paris is a romantic city where many couples choose to propose or spend their honeymoon there. Paris has incredible and charming scenarios the attract couples from all around the world.
“Pont Alexandre III”
-LANGUAGE: The main language spoken is French
-TRANSPORTATION: The main airport is Charles de Gaulle which is the second largest airport in Europe. To leave the airport the best option would be to take a train that can connect you to the main cities such as Paris, Lyon, Nice etc. Buses are also an option and you can find many options outside the airport.
To travel around the city, I would recommend to take the metro or to rent a bike. The traffic in the city is intense so the use of public transport or a bike would save a lot of time on your journey.
Cycling is a sustainable and fun option and there are bike rental spots in many parts of the city, but I would say it is a very walkable city. But if decide to choose the metro, it won’t be a problem, the metro in Paris is huge and can connect you all around the city, you just have to pay attention and have a map in hand to don’t get lost.
-CLIMATE: The average temperature in Paris can be 3 degree’s Celsius during winter and over 25 degrees Celsius during summer time.
-SAFETY RATE: 61 163. The lower the number in the security rating the safer the city.
-LGBTQ+: France is known as a liberal country for LGBTQ+ people and gay friendly where you can walk comfortably in the streets and find lots of parties and gay friendly spots to have fun.
The Marche des Fiertés LGBTQ+, formerly known as the ‘Gay Pride’ takes place every year in France defending equal rights for the community.
Same sex couples can legally adopt a children and have been able to since May 2013, when the same-sex marriage law took effect. LGBTQ+ people are also allowed to serve in the French Armed Forces.
-WHERE TO GO/WHAT TO DO
-Tour Eiffel: Located on the Champ de Mars, the tower is the most visitable monument in Paris. It is known all around the world for its unique architecture and beauty. It has three levels for visitors, with restaurants on the first and second levels. The top level is the highest observation deck accessible to the public in the city. You can find the tickets online and in the tour and the prices vary between 10.20€ and 19.40€. The Eiffel Tower is open from 9:00am to 12:45am on summer time and 9:30am to 11:45pm in the rest of the year.
-Arc de Triomphe: Located at the centre of the Place Charles de Gaulle or “Place de l’Étoile” whichever you prefer. The view from the top of the arc is beautiful but honestly not the most beautiful view of Paris, so if you are trying to save every penny I would skip to pay for this program. I recommend to get there at sunset so you can see the sun setting and the beautiful lights shining on Arc the Triomphe from Avenue Champs- Élysées. If you are a photography lover that is a nice time to take some shots.
If you are not worried about saving money on your travels, you can buy the tickets at the ticket desk and it cost 12€ for a full price, 9€ for young people between 18 and 25 years and and 10€ for group of 10 people. There is free entrance for people under 18 years old. The opening time is from 10:00am to 10:30pm and they ask you to arrive there to buy the tickets around 45 minutes before.
-Avenue Champs- Élysées: One of the most beautiful avenues in the world, with a 2.25 mile walk, starting from Place Charles de Gaulle and ending at Place the la Concorde. Champs- Élysées is great for shopping if you’re into luxury brands. It also has heaps of restaurants and cafes to have that brunch in the middle of the day or at dinner time over the sunset. What a sunset I would say, a view to take the breath away.
-Louvre: Is the largest and most visited art museum in the world and a landmark in Paris. If you’re thinking about checking everything that is displayed in the museum you will need to visit over a few days since the museum is big and has thousands of pieces , some as old as the 12th century. It is also home to the famous Da Vinci painting, the Mona Lisa. I would recommend checking the site to book the tickets and choose a day that suits you better, as the lines to buy tickets can be huge and you also can check all the prices at the Louvre website.
If you are not a museum person you have to at least take you time to check The Louvre Palace and the pyramid from the outside.
-Sacrée Couer Basilica: The second most visited place in Paris, with a view to die for. The basilica is located at the highest point in the city at the summit of the Butte Montmartre. The Basilica is dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and in my opinion if you want to save money just choosing one option on the observation deck, I would highly recommend going to Sacrée Couer, you will definitely find the best view of the city from the Basilica and for free. The Basilica is open every day from 6:00am to 10:30pm and is very beautiful on the sunset hour. A tip to avoid the crowd is try to go in the morning hours.
-Notre Dame Cathedral: One of the most famous medieval Cathedrals in the world with a very unique design and architecture, the Cathedral is an icon of French culture and history. Notre Dame is open everyday from 8:00am to 6:45pm and there is no entrance fee. You can see a piece of the cross which Jesus was crucified in the Sacristie. This part of the Cathedral requires an admission fee of 5€ for an adult.
-Pont Alexandre III: The Bridge that spans the Seine is located in La Place de la Concorde and it is the most extravagant bridge in the city and one of the most famous bridges in France.
-The Palace of Versailles: Located about 20 kilometres southwest of the centre of Paris, the Palace was a royal residence in 1682. Now considered a historic monument by UNESCO world heritage site the palace decently worth your time.
It is open for visitors Tuesday to Sunday from 9:00am to 5:30pm. The tickets can be bought online to avoid lines where you can check the prices for specifics monuments. The good news is that the access to the Palace and the estate of Trianon is free for visitors under 18 (or under 26 residing in the EU).
Ps. The Versailles gardens can be busy during summer.
SPRING / SUMMER ACTIVITIES:
“Sacrée Couer Basilica”
If you visiting Paris in summer don’t forget about the French National Day on the 14th of July. During the day there is the military parade on the Avenue des Champs-Elysées and concerts are organised at the Champs-de-Mars, at the base of the Eiffel Tower during the day till late at night when fireworks are set off from behind of the Trocadéro.
For the cinema lovers there is an open-air film screening in Paris. From the end of July to the end of August, there are movies screened in the Parc de La Villette and the best thing is it is for free.
Picnics is always a good idea on hot days. Have you thought about bringing you food and your wine to have a picnic under the Eiffel Tower? Or you can choose one of the diverse range of beautiful parks around Paris, and have a good time in this stunning city spending little money.
If you are a tennis fan, it is a good opportunity to check out the French Open. It is also called Roland-Garros and is held in Paris for two weeks between late May and early June at the state Roland Garros. The tournament is one of the most prestigious of the Grand Slams and with the tennis athletes from all around the world as it is the only Slam held on a Clay surface.
If you have enough time to live the Parisian life, you should go for morning walks and discover the Parisian cafes around you. Only France knows how to bake The Croissant, or how to make a special baguette. I would highly recommend swapping the famous bistros and restaurants around Paris for small and not famous businesses, since the famous places in Paris are all over priced, if you choose unknown restaurants around the city, you can find delicious French food for a much more affordable price.
As I said before, Paris is a very walkable city, so if you want to save money with transportation, instead of choosing take the metro every time, try to do most of things walking and appreciate the beauty and diversity around you.
For backpacker travellers, I think the good options in France would be to stay in a shared room in a hostel or look for a hostess in a couch-surfing app, for free. If you search carefully you will find nice hostels and couch-surfing rooms that will allow you to travel cheaper.
I personally love to listen to tips form the locals, so I believe couch-surfing is a great choice, especially if you are travelling solo. You can also find hostels for $20.00€ to 35.00€ if you prefer to share a room and meet other travellers on your stay, not as cheaper as other countries but still cheaper than a private room in a hotel.