I’ll never forget my first time in Paris, it was September, the weather was beautiful. I glided through the streets as if on pink roller skates, marveling at the beautiful buildings.
People told me that Paris was dirty.
People told me that the French can be unfriendly.
I just love this city. Here is my mini essential Paris travel guide – because there are some things you MUST do when you go, if you want to get the most out of it.
Paris is a feeling. I get chills thinking about it. You can’t NOT be romantic about Paris. Paris just sweeps me up in its magical entanglements. I think it fits the bill for almost any kind of traveller (and yes, there are different kinds). Whether you want to relax, explore, learn, feast… it’s all there, waiting for you.
This is the my mini guide, but I thought it would be best to break it down into five parts so I can answer some quick questions:
1. How to get there
Qantas/Emirate/Etihad/Qatar/Singapore/Thai airlines fly out from Melbourne into Charles de Gaulle airport and from there you can easily take public transport. There are many high-speed trains that route into Paris from other cities of Europe. Normally they come into Gare de l’Est, Gare du Nord, or Gare de Lyon.
2. Getting around Paris
I highly recommend taking the Paris metro. This is easier (and less expensive, with far less traffic) than a cab. The city is LARGE, so walking, while okay in some parts, is just not as feasible if you want to see it all. There are 16 lines and it’s easy once you get the hang of it (I promise!) There is a Metro and bus, and your ticket will be good for both. I recommend buying a pass for the number of days you’ll be there.
3. When to go
I really think you can go anytime. I remember waiting half an hour to go inside the Notre Dame in September, but in January there was no wait. Half an hour is not a big deal. But I will say, going in the spring and summer is lovely because flowers are blooming. Places like Monet’s Garden and Versailles are going to be lush with flowers everywhere!
4. How much money you’ll need
This is going to vary, of course, by where you eat and where you stay. While we were there, we ate a lot of meals from the grocery store. We splurged one night for a fancy dinner. But oddly enough, my favourite meal was our baguette, wine, and cheese from the grocery store as we sat outside the Eiffel Tower and watched it light up. It is very possible to have a great time affordably! Your cost will come in for museums and attractions, your food and potentially, shopping.
5. What to do
I do recommend getting the Paris Pass that allows you access to museums, attractions, and more, and will help you skip long lines. It is a bit pricey, but worth it if your time is very limited.
I have just one rule in Paris, and while traveling in general – embrace it! Be a tourist. Take the pictures. Learn about what you’re seeing. You’ll want to cherish these memories forever (and maybe even try roast pigeon). You might be surprised at just how much you enjoy it!