5 THINGS YOU MUST KNOW BEFORE YOU GO TO PARIS
Paris is an extraordinary place to visit during any season of the year. The city of love has unique attractions to offer catering to virtually every taste. For those visiting for the first time, however, the wide variety of places to go and see, not to mention the language barrier can make the planning of the trip a little bit more complicated. With this in mind, I rounded up a list of 5 tips that aim to help you to get around and make most out of your first trip to Paris.
Watch my latest YouTube video for even more tips for visiting Paris!
In this article, I will be focusing on the most common areas to visit for the first-time travelers to Paris which are the Eiffel Tower area, Le Quartier Latin, Montmartre and Le Marais. Some of my tips may seem obvious if you have been to Paris before and you are familiar with the French culture, but hopefully even experienced travelers will find some of these tips useful.
So, without further ado, let me reveal 5 travel tips for the first-time visitors to Paris carefully gathered after years of living in the French capital.
1. ENJOY PARIS FOR FREE
If you’re looking to have a budget trip without huge spendings, Paris is one of the best cities which you can fully enjoy for free. Many museums and monuments are free on the first Sunday of each month, including:
- The Louvre,
- Arc de Triomphe,
- Musée Rodin, Musée Picasso,
- Musée d'Orsay.
National museums (such as the Louvre, the Musée d'Orsay, etc.) are free for all persons under 26 from the European Union : proof of identity is required (passport or EU identity card).
The permanent collections of museums owned and run by the City of Paris tend to be free. This may require obtaining a free ticket from the "Accueil" or ticket office before you can get in. The best free Paris museums are: Petit Palais, Maison de Balzac, Palais de Tokyo Modern Art Museum and Musée de Carnavalet.
Another free attraction that you should not miss in Paris is watching sparkling lights of the Eiffel Tower. The Eiffel Tower lights up every evening in its golden covering and sparkles for exactly 5 minutes every hour on the hour until 1 AM. The Tower lights up at different time every season depending on the time when the sun sets. To close the show, the golden lighting is shut down and only the sparkling lights perform on the Tower. After 1 AM the lightning is turned down (for ecological reasons). Throughout its existence, the Eiffel Tower has been hosting many special light shows for different remarkable events. For example, for the World Cup 2018, celebration of the Chinese New Year, the Tower’s birthday and many more. I highly advise you to see the show of the sparkling lights at least once during your first trip to Paris as it is a truly breathtaking moment of five minutes of magic never seen before.
2. EAT STREET FOOD
In some places street food maybe known for speed rather than its quality, but it’s no longer the case especially in Paris. In the French food capital, street food is a true gourmet experience with dishes made from locally sources ingredients and sold in authentic shops which exist for centuries! Get a traditional French sandwich “Parisien” which is simply a “jambon buerre” or “ham and butter" at any boulangeries. A “crepe” now exists in numerous varieties in sweet or savory recipes that can be also bought at any corner in Paris. My favorite finger food can be found in the heart of the Jewish district Le Marais at Rue des Rosiers. If you are vegan or even if you are not, I highly advise to go to “Hank” at 55 Rue des Archives, 75003 Paris to eat one of the most delicious vegan burgers in town! You won’t regret the time spent in line for a traditional falafel at “L’As du Falafel” at 32-34 Rue des Rosiers, 75004 Paris or shawarma wraps sold at “Chez Hanna” 54 Rue des Rosiers, 75004 Paris. They are delicious! One of the oldest food markets in central Paris is located at Rue Montorgueil. If you live nearby head to the boulangerie for croissants and bread sticks. There are quite a few in the street but my favorites are Maison Collant and Strohrer.
3. WALK AND GET A LITTLE LOST
Leave your high heels at home as to experience Paris in the best way you have to walk A LOT! Your feet will thank you especially when you will be going to Montmartre. It’s an amazing area for a stroll consisted of cobblestone lanes and old roads accessible only for pedestrians. For your first time in Paris, I advise to bring at least one pair of practical and versatile sneakers that go with different outfits. If you don’t feel like walking, take subway which if the cheapest mode of transportation but also the fastest. Here as well, you will need to walk many stairs up and down as most of the stations don’t have elevators and escalators, so the flat shoes are indispensable. Most of of the touristic areas like Le Marais, Le Quartier Latin and Montmartre are restricted to cars.
4. SLOW DOWN AND TAKE TIME TO ENJOY
Parisian gardens are the best place to relax and enjoy the life like Parisians do. My favorite garden Jardin des Tuileries is located in Le Quartier Latin or “The Latin Quarter”. Like any other green space in Paris it’s a perfect place to be surrounded by seasonal blooms and nature, so why not to enjoy it with some snacks? Read my article on 5 tips for the best picnic in Paris.
5. SHOP AT PASSAGES AND FLEA MARKETS
When it comes to shopping, head to Le Marais and covered Parisian passages like Passage des Panoramas, Passage du Grand Cerf and many others. Of course, they are absolutely free to visit! One of the most beautiful passages is considered to be Galerie Vivienne at 5 Rue de la Banque, 75002 Paris. There you will fine a huge variety of not only independent brands and vintage shops but amazing local restaurants and cafés. We always go to Daroco at 6 Rue Vivienne, 75002 for some Italian cuisine when we are shopping at Galeries Vivienne.
I hope that you will feel at ease when travelling to Paris with the help of my tips!