The best of Paris – Useful Tips & ideas for your visit to the City of Light

A Visit to Paris is on many traveler’s wish list. For sure, one of the most beautiful cities in Europe & the world. Romantic in every sense, even its name. Paris, the “City of Light“.

A nickname that has many explanations, but most probably goes back to the year 1667. The moment that King Louis XIV – the Sun King – decided to fight crime by installing street lighting in every street & on every corner.

Nowadays, Paris is one of the Top destinations in the world. Logical, when you see the many attractions the French capital has to offer. Too much to visit in a few days, or even in a few weeks. Which doesn’t mean we can’t give you some useful tips & ideas about the city. On what to do & what not.

  • This blog post is the first one that is written by me & my daughter Lisa. I’ve visited Paris twice in the past, but she was there recently. Able to add new information – and photos – to the impressions I had some years ago.
My daughter Lisa during a visit to Paris, 2022
  • IMPORTANT: Throughout this post you’ll find affiliated links provided by TravelPayOuts. Links & ads that may help you plan your next trip to Paris. If you click on them & buy a ticket for a museum, book a tour or rent a bike a small commission of your purchase will go to me (paid by TravelPayOuts, without any extra cost to you).
  • If you want to learn little bit more about me, the blog writer, click on: Better call me Art.

Index of this post

Intro: Before you start …

First of all, we want to congratulate you because you have chosen Paris as your next destination. An excellent choice. The City of Light offers something for everybody. Lots to enjoy & discover. Historical, cultural, fun, relaxing, culinary… whatever you want. A visit you will never forget.

To make it unforgettable though, it’s best to prepare yourself as well as possible. Something we want to help you with.

The main goal of this particular blog post is to tell you about the best Things to Do in Paris. Throughout though, we will give you Useful tips & info on several aspects.

Not only on the attractions you visit and if you need a ticket to get in, but also on other aspects, like your personal safety, how to get around & at the end also on the best way to find a flight or the best hotel for you (if still necessary).

Paris street view.
Paris street view.

TravelTips: As this is an extensive blog post, we recommend you to study the Index above. Besides the optional THINGS TO DO, there are loads of TravelTips (always printed in red).

  • At the end of this post I will give you some recommendations on flights, how to get to/from the airport, hotels & restaurants. As well as about a new way to travel, called WayAway (which not only helps you find the best travel deals, but also includes an attractive cash-back program).

What ATTRACTIONS to visit in Paris, France

  • In the first part of this blog post we’ll give you a description of the Biggest Attractions.
  • Followed by less-known Things to Do. We found several real hidden gems that will surprise you.
  • Finally, we’ll give you an idea of several worthwhile Day-Trips from Paris.

TRAVELTips: Buy Tickets/ Passes in advance?

Before we talk about tickets & passes, it’s IMPORTANT to know that most attractions (like museums) are FREE for people under 18 & and for EU-residents between 18-26 years of age. As well as for people with a disability & one accompanying person.

Also VERY IMPORTANT is that many museums & other monumental attractions are closed on Mondays… So, be prepared, plan your visit accordingly.

Tickets

As Paris attracts millions of visitors a year it’s recommendable to buy tickets in advance. In the first place, tickets for the most popular attractions like the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre, a boat tour on the river Seine or Versailles (Day-trip). But also for many other attractions that receive less visitors, but still – and mostly during high season – get long lines of people wanting to get in.

  • IMPORTANT: As for buying tickets for certain attractions, you can generally buy them directly on their own website. These are generally cheaper, but sometimes hard to get (more so, when you book late).
  • If so, as an alternative – when travelling in Europe – I recommend you to buy your tickets from Tiqets (HQ located in Amsterdam), or alternatively GetYourGuide (HQ Berlin). Comparing prices & promotions between the two.

That said, having bought a ticket beforehand doesn’t always mean you can skip the lines. At many places there are actually two long lines. One to buy a ticket & the other to get in. So you only skip one long line, when you buy your tickets in advance.

The Eiffel Tower as seen from the opposite shore of the Seine.
Eiffel Tower + Seine River.
City Passes

Alternatively, and depending on the things you like to do, there are City Passes that give you direct access to several attractions & generally save you money.

  • IMPORTANT: As with tickets (see above), there are several websites that offer City Passes, but again the best & most trustworthy for Europe are Tiqets (HQ Amsterdam) & GetYourGuide (HQ Berlin).

Tiqets offers some specific passes, like (click on their names, to learn more):

  • The popular Paris City Card for the mayor attractions: Priority access to the Eiffel Tower (second floor + Audio Guide), an E-ticket to the Louvre, a cruise on the Seine + extras.
  • the Paris-Seine Pass: Musée d’Orsay, Aperitif Cruise on the Seine, Sainte-Chapelle + extras.
glass roof of the Louvre museum in Paris
Glass roof of the Louvre museum.

Alternatively, GetYourGuide offers:

  • The Paris Museum Pass (for 2, 4, or 6 days), with priority entry to over 60 museums in Paris.

A visit to the Eiffel Tower, Paris

Let’s start with…

Who hasn’t heard of the Eiffel Tower?

It’s one of the best known monumental attractions in the world. A monument that most people will mention, when asked to name a few Paris’ highlights.

  • Le Torre Eiffel was designed & built by the Compagnie des Établissements Eiffel. Although it’s carrying the name of the engineer Gustave Eiffel, the tower was actually designed by two engineers who worked for the Company: Maurice Koechlin & Émile Nouguier, and embellished by the architect Stephen Sauvestre.
  • The design was inspired by an earlier construction. A wooden tower that was built for the 1853 Industrial Exhibition on Manhattan, NY. This tower, the Latting Observatory, was 96m/ 315ft high. It was demolished after the exhibition ended in 1854.
The Latting Observatory, Manhattan, 1853-1854.
  • Besides being responsible for the construction of the Torre Eiffel, Gustave Eiffel left us other famous building projects worldwide. The Statue of Liberty, in the New York Harbour, being the most famous one. This statue was a gift of the French people, and was actually designed by Eiffel’s compatriot Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi. (We had the honour of admiring this work during an earlier stay in Manhattan, NY.)
  • In Paris there are several replicas of the Statue of Liberty. The most famous one you can admire on the Île aux Cygnes, near the Pont de Grenelle. Others stand tall – well, not as tall as the one in NY – in or near several museums.
A tourist landmark for Paris

Seen from a certain distance or from the air, the Eiffel Tower looks like a compass, marking the city center of Paris. Located as it is on the northwestern edge of Paris’ biggest park – the Champ de Mars.

  • In reality, the Torre Eiffel isn’t located in the actual center of Paris. There is a so-called Point Zero near Notre-Dame (from which all distances are measured in Paris & France). It’s marked by a brass star, displayed in the pavement. Some people are convinced that when you stand on the star, you’re allowed to make a wish.
  • The Eiffel Tower was built between 1887 and 1889, when it opened to an international audience, which visited Paris for the 1889 World’s Fair. Held in Paris that year to commemorate the beginning of the French Revolution of 1789.

Although criticised by some, from the get go La Dame de Fer – the Iron Lady – has been a MUST SEE for every visitor to Paris. Well, … that should go without words really, because you can see it from a large distance & millions of tourists visit the main attraction of Paris every year.

That is, they actually “climb” the Eiffel Tower.

The Eiffel Tower, Paris from below.
The Eiffel Tower, Paris.
The way up the Eiffel Tower

There are actually two ways to go up. One is to take the stairs: 327 steps to the first level & 347 more to the second. From there – although there are 991 more “emergency” steps up – you have to take the elevator to level 3.

  • The third floor is 276m/ 906 ft from ground level. The tower is higher though, with 330m/ 1083 ft the highest building of Paris.

Opting for the tiresome stairs doesn’t mean it’s for free. In other words, you have to buy a ticket to climb to the heavens. Logically, it’s cheaper than the elevator up, but it’s also impossible to buy a ticket online. You just have to wait your turn.

That’s probably another reason why most people buy a ticket for the elevators (with or without a guide) in advance. Or better, … want to buy a ticket for the elevators, because they get sold out very quickly year round. Especially if you want to go to the summit (level 3).

TravelTips: So buy your tickets in advance if you want to go up as quickly as possible.

Tiqets offers several options. A ticket for the day or evening, level 2 or 3, et cetera.

The hardest tickets to buy are the ones to bring you to the highest level (the Summit).

Have a look if they are still available for the dates you’ve planned to be in Paris:

Besides the spectacular view of the City of Light, on the first & second level you’ll find world class restaurants, with world class food & world class prices. On the third level there’s even a Champagne Bar. A “Salut!”, which MAY oblige you to take the elevator down…!

Behold… the Eiffel Tower

Alternatively, you can admire Paris’ biggest landmark from below. Taking a cup of coffee or a glass of wine on ground level. Or else, organising a picnic for yourself or your company in the park.

A view of the Eiffel Tower is always special, but at night it converts into something spectacular. Just waiting for the lights to turn on while it’s getting darker. A beautiful, unforgettable experience.

That said, you may be concerned about safety in the evenings. Well, don’t worry too much, because you’re always surrounded by hundreds of people waiting for the light to go on.

And then of course, you still have to go back to your hotel or apartment, … Consider taking a taxi home, or in the evening you may take a bus instead of the metro (It’s not so much the metro that scares most people. It’s more the moments when it gets too busy underground, or worse, too quiet. Or else, when you have to head down or up the stairs at night).

Visit to the Eiffel Tower, Paris by night.
The Eiffel Tower, Paris by night.
Other attractions in the vicinity of the Eiffel Tower:

Eiffel Tower Carousel, Champ de Mars, Trocadéro Gardens & Square, Aquarium de Paris, Musée de l’Homme.

TRAVELTips: How to get around in Paris

Public Transport

There are several options to get around. The cheapest way is to use public transport. First of all, the metro (1,90€ for a solo trip).

Alternatively you can buy an unlimited MOBILIS day-ticket (7,50€), to be used in two zones of your choice, including metro, bus, tram & train. For more info, go to: Mobilis/RATP.

If you stay longer than a few days though I recommended the Navigo card (22,80€). A transport card which covers the 5 zones, including transport to – for example – Versailles & Disneyland. For more info: Navigo/RATP.

  • It’s IMPORTANT to know that the validity of the Navigo card runs from Monday to Sunday (so if you arrive on Friday, and leave the next Friday, you have to buy 2 Navigo cards when using public transport everyday).      
  • To find out how to travel from your current location to a certain destination you can use Google Maps. Google can – for example – indicate exactly where you’ll find the nearest bus stop, at what time the bus arrives, if you have to change buses & finally, how long it takes to get to your chosen destination.
Rent a Scooter or Bike

Another way of getting around is to rent an electric bike or scooter (Trottinettes). There are several private companies who rent them (Dott, Lime & Tier), which have stations spread all over town. To unlock a scooter or bike you need to use the Company’s App.

Costs are acceptable: 1€ to unlock them and an average of 0,23€ per minute. It’s cheaper if you rent a bike/scooter for a few days – a weekend, or a week. Be aware though, you can’t take your bike or scooter to your hotel or apartment, but have to leave it at one of stations at night. Pick up another one, the next day.

Hire an electric scooter when your visiting Paris
On an electric scooter through Paris.

Renting an electric scooter or bike is a great way to get from one spot to the other. Be aware though that – at the end of your ride – you have to stall the bike/scooter at another station of the same company.

If you don’t feel for a scooter or are just a little bit more sporty, there’s also the option to rent a bike. That is, a traditional bike.

  • There are several places in Paris to rent a bike or scooter directly, but you can also reserve one beforehand for a day or more days through. To learn more, click: Rent a bike or scooter in Paris.

Use a Taxi

In Paris, you can find taxi stands everywhere, but it’s also possible to hail one. If free, hop in & ask the taxi driver to put the meter on.

Alternatively, you can “Order a taxi”. There are many options when you google it on the internet (Uber, as well as several local transfer companies).

Hop-on & Hop-off

Finally, for a quick overview of the inner city, you can buy a 24 or 48 hour pass for the Hop-on Hop-off bus. The so-called Tootbus, all day long (that is, between 9:30 & 18:30), which connects the main tourist areas of Paris. A fun way to get a first impression of Paris.

To learn more:

Alternatively, there’s an option to include a night tour of the City of Lights.

A visit to the Louvre, Paris

As one of the biggest museums in the world, the Louvre attracts millions of visitors a year.

  • Initially the Louvre was built as a fortress, adjoining the defensive wall around the city of Paris. Construction began at the end of the 12th century.
  • Between the 14th & the 18th century the Louvre regularly served the Royals of France as a residence. That is, until the Sun King, Louis XIV, moved his court to Versailles in 1682.
The Louvre Museum, Pyramid entrance.
The Pyramid is the main entrance to the Louvre Museum.

The Louvre became a museum during the French Revolution (in 1793). Today the museum has one of the largest art collections in the world.

  • Large….too large to be able to admire it all in one day. Comparable to a museum like the Metropolitan Museum of Art on Manhattan, NY.

Actually the collection got so enormous & famous, the Louvre had to renovate & modernise to get all the worldwide visitors in. A decision that former President François Mitterand took seriously at the beginning of the 1980s. One of the main goals was to make a bigger entrance.

  • As a consequence, a new, modern entrance was inaugurated in 1988. In the form of an enormous glass pyramid. A work designed by the Chinese-American architect I.M. Pei. Heavily criticised by many people at the time – too modern, too expensive, too un-French, too big, too… – nowadays it’s an attraction in itself for most visitors.
A large museum, with its own rules

TravelTips: Because The Louvre is sooo enormous for most visitors – if you go without a guide – it’s best to study the museum beforehand. You can do that online, through the following link: Louvre Museum Map.

At the Louvre, you can take the main entrance at the Pyramid (What most people do, including many tour-groups). Alternatively though, you can take the Carrousel du Louvre entrance (through the underground mall), which generally is less busy. However, to be able to enter through the Carrousel you need to have bought a ticket in advance.

Another way to gain time is to get up early. The Parisians are late risers anyway and it’s a real treat to venture the streets & parks early mornings (let’s say between 7-9am). This way you can be at the Louvre – and any other museum or attraction – before the crowds arrive. Get in faster & visit the highlights of the museum before everybody else does – like Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa.

* The Louvre provides free entrance for people under 18 & and for EU-residents between 18-26 years of age. As well as for people with a disability & one accompanying person.

Daily opening hours of the Louvre are from 9am to 6PM. Important to know though, the museum is closed on Tuesdays & opens longer every Friday, from 9am until 9:45pm.

Buy your ticket in advance:

Or, if you like, a guided tour (English) of the museum’s highlights.

To learn more:

Other Art museums in Paris

Besides The Louvre, Paris has dozens of other museums. The majority are Art Museums as well.

One of the famous ones, is the Musée Rodin. Housed in a beautiful 18th century mansion & garden, it’s principally dedicated to the work of Auguste Rodin. His famous sculptures are at display there, of which The Thinker & The Kiss are probably the best known.

Another popular museum is the Musée D’Orsay, which is located at walking distance from the Rodin Museum. This art museum is dedicated to art collections of the 19th & 20th century. Exhibited in a beautiful setting, namely a former railway station.

TravelTips: * Both museums provide free entrance for people under 18 & and for EU-residents between 18-26 years of age. As well as for people with a disability & one accompanying person.

Other attractions in the vicinity of the Louvre museum:

At walking distance from the Louvre – if you still have feet left! – you’ll find the Jardin des Tuileries. As well as, the Place de la Concorde, Petit & Grand Palais, Place Vendôme, Tour Saint-Jacques, Pont Neuf & Centre Pompidou.

A visit to the Sacre-Cœur & Montmartre, Paris

Central in the Paris’ district of Montmartre stands the beautiful Basilique du Sacré-Cœur (“Sacred Heart”). Located on top of the butte Montmartre. The highest hill in the city center of Paris.

  • The Sacre-Cœur was built between 1875 and 1914. Inaugurated in 1919 though – postponed because of World War I. One of its main features is the bright, almost shining whiteness. Caused by the limestone (travertine) that was used to build the church, including the impressive dome which seems to reach to the heavens.
The Sacre Cœur, Paris.
The Sacre Cœur, Paris.

Together with the neighbourhood around, the Sacre-Cœur is another highly popular spot for tourists in Paris. Traditionally Montmartre is known for its bohemian vibe.

  • An atmosphere that still is in the air, but passed its zenith in the second half of the 19th century when many artists lived there. Mainly painters like Monet, Renoir, Degas, Toulouse-Lautrec, Van Gogh (& later on Picasso, Mondriaan & many others).
La butte or hill of Montmartre, painting by Vincent van Gogh (1886).
La butte Montmartre, painted by Van Gogh (1886). A lot has changed since then.

Other attractions in the vicinity of the Sacre Cœur, Montmartre:

Montmartre is still an ideal spot for people who want to enjoy nightlife. There are many exclusive bars & restaurants, as well as theaters & cabarets. The most famous one in the Red Light district is the Moulin Rouge on the Boulevard de Clichy.

Other attractions in this neighbourhood are the Place du Tertre, the Wall of Love (Le mur des Je t’aime, to be more romantic) & the Musée de Montmartre (former home of Renoir & other painters).

TravelTips: If you don’t feel like walking uphill (130m high) there’s a funicular which – for a few euros – brings you to the top in less than 2 minutes (the ride is included in a metro day-ticket). You can also take the funicular to return to the foot of the hill, but most people walk down.

That said, most attractions, like museums, are friendly for people with a disability, but outside there’s a lot to improve in the city of Paris. Too many stairs, few ramps for wheelchairs, small cobblestones everywhere & other obstacles.

Prepare yourself to get around and – when able – be prepared to walk a lot. Consider bringing or buying some comfortable walking shoes.

Concerning dress code. Don’t worry too much. In Paris you can wear whatever you like. That is, even shorts, a sweater/t-shirt, and slippers (although as stated above, the latter are not suitable on cobblestones).

TRAVELTips: On personal Safety

WARNING! As a visit to the Sacre-Cœur & Montmartre is one of the most popular things to do in Paris, it’s always busy. Too busy sometimes really, with visitors and “sellers”.

As a consequence, there’s a lot of petty crime as well. As around every major attraction in Paris.

First of all, always be aware of pickpockets. Don’t carry too much money around & other personal belongings. Be aware of your mobile phone, photo camera, amongst other things.

Secondly, be aware of other tricks to steal your money or other personal belongings.

Fashionable tricks
  • An often heard trick nowadays is young people – boys & girls – who ask you to support a certain charity. Poor children in Africa, save the whales, help for war victims. All good causes, but BE CAREFUL. Subsequently they ask you (nicely) to sign their petition, which – when signed – obliges you to pay them a certain amount of money. And sometimes simultaneously they steal your wallet or another personal item.
  • Another trick is to stop you in the street & put a souvenir-bracelet around your wrist. A movement the “sellers” perform so quickly & in such a way – that is, so tight – you can’t get it off, and you have to pay them & pay too much. Something which – again – mostly happens in busy areas, like the area around the Sacre-Cœur.
  • Lastly, an often heard complaint of unaware tourists in Paris is getting overcharged for hiring a bicycle taxi (“tuk-tuk”) or horse-drawn carriage. Instead of paying the pre-agreed price per person, the operator – at the end of the ride – insists the amount agreed upon applies to every individual in your group.

Surely there are many other tricks, but these are the most “popular” ones anno 2022-2023.

The best you can do: STAY ALERT!!!

That said, Paris overall is a safe city. Even in public transport, like the metro. Just be aware always, careful.

A Cruise on the Seine, Paris

During the Third Century BC a Celtic tribe – the Parisii, settled on the banks of the Seine…” So the foundation story goes. A city was born, the first people settled on the little island – nowadays known as the Île-de-la-Cité – in this legendary Paris river.

  • Although Paris formally still had to pass a Roman period under the name of Lutetia, it got its actual name in the 4th Century AD.

* BookTip: If you’re interested in the City of Light’s past, we can highly recommend Edward Rutherfurd’s Paris, the novel.

Book cover of Paris, the novel, written by Edward Rutherfurd.

Nowadays the Seine is one of the “trademarks” of Touristy Paris. Not for a swim (be warned!), but yes for a sightseeing cruise (1-3 hours).

TravelTips: A popular thing to do during daytime, but more so in the evening (if you wish, including a fancy dinner). A river tour around the island, under a few of the famous central bridges – like Pont Neuf – and along some of the most famous Parisian monuments, like the Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame, the Louvre & others.

TRAVELTips: Give me a break…

When you compare a cruise on the Seine with most other attractions, the biggest difference is the energy you have to put into it. For that reason, it’s a great way to take a break from an energy-draining city like Paris.

That said, we would recommend you – while planning your visit to Paris – to take a break once in a while. Paris has some beautiful parks & squares spread throughout the city. In most parks you’ll find chairs and/or benches to sit on, or else to lay down on the grass for a while or even have a picnic.

To name a few Top Parks in the inner city: Luxembourg Gardens (Latin Quarter), Tuileries (near the Louvre), Champ de Mars (Eiffel Tower) & the Botanical Garden (Jardin des Plantes).

Taking a break in the Luxembourg Park, Paris
Taking a break in the Luxembourg Gardens, Paris.

And… talking about a picnic. There are several food stores & restaurants that can organise a picnic basket for you. Alternatively, you can visit Eatwith.com which – besides a picnic – offers all kinds of (click on):

Alternative “Eating Out”-ideas for you in Paris.

*****

Unsurprisingly, the center of Paris is full of bars & restaurants. Terraces everywhere. Although generally expensive, it’s still possible to find cheaper alternatives outside of the most popular tourist areas.

On tipping & ordering

When it comes to tipping waiters & waitresses … This service is normally included in the price, but that doesn’t mean you can´t give a tip to a professional & friendly one (preferably in cash).

Concerning language, more and more Frenchmen & -women in the tourist sector speak English. That doesn’t mean they always do so automatically. The best tip we can give you is to learn a little bit of French. At least to be able to order a drink or a snack. Surely, it will be appreciated, and help you to enjoy Paris even more. You would be surprised what a simple “Bonjour” or “Merci” can do.

Other THINGS TO DO in Paris, France

After introducing the most visited attractions, we want to inform you of other ones Paris has to offer. Although less popular, this doesn’t mean they are less beautiful or interesting. In fact, for many visitors these lesser-known attractions are the ones that stick out the most . Real HIDDEN GEMS you have to learn about before you visit Paris.

A visit to the Opéra Garnier, Paris

The first monumental attraction we want to mention is the Opéra Garnier. Also known as the Palais Garnier. Talking about … a hidden gem!

  • Construction of this Opera House was started during the Second Empire, in 1861. And finished in 1875, five years after the reign of Emperor Napoleon III ended. The opera is named after its architect, Charles Garnier.

It served as an Opera house as recently as 1989, when a new opera house opened nearby – the Opéra Bastille. Nowadays, the Opera Garnier is still used for performances – mainly ballet – but foremost another Paris attraction you can visit.

  • The Opéra Garnier was the setting for the world famous novel The Phantom of the Opera, written by Gaston Leroux.

Although surely not to everyone’s taste, most visitors find the opera an astonishing, beautiful and mesmerising place. On the outside & the inside. For some – like for me (that’s Lisa) – it converted itself even into “my favourite attraction” of Paris 2022.

TravelTips: The opera is open to the public, from 10am until 5pm (sometimes until 6pm, during the high season). Be aware though, it sometimes closes when there are daytime performances.

You can freely walk around the opera: up- and downstairs, on the stage (front & back), the vestibule, the balconies. As well as visit the beautiful library, the Bibliothèque-Musée de l’Opéra Nacional de Paris.

* The Opéra provides free entrance for people younger than 12. As well as for people with a disability & one accompanying person. Younger people between the age of 12-25 can enter for a reduced price.

* Click here for: Availability of Tickets & Prices.

Other attractions in the vicinity of Opéra Garnier:

Nearby – a few minutes walk – you can find two historic department stores: the Galerie Lafayette & the Printemps Hausmann (both with an observation desk & terrace). Also located very near the opera is the L’Église de la Madeleine.

Visiting Sainte-Chapelle, in the heart of Paris

Another hidden gem is the church of Sainte-Chapelle, on the Île-de-la-Cité – the City Island in the Seine.

As the Opéra Garnier, this church is generally not an attraction you encounter in most visitor’s Top 3 – or even Top 5 – of Things to Do in Paris.

  • The chapel was originally part of the Royal Palace, where the earlier kings of France lived. It was built under King Louis IX and inaugurated in 1248. Finished in only seven years.
  • It was mainly built to house the religious relics the mentioned king had gathered during his lifetime: Christ’s Crown of Thorns, a fragment of the cross, a nail & many others.
  • The relics were kept in the chapel until the French Revolution. In 1801 the revolutionaries moved them to the Notre-Dame, where they stayed until recently. On April 15, 2019 they were rescued by the Paris Fire Brigade and returned to Sainte Chapelle.
The stain-glass windows

Although, as said before, Sainte-Chapelle isn’t one of the top attractions of Paris, every day hundreds of people go there. Because of its Gothic beauty, the relics we already mentioned, as well as the churches’ stained-glass windows, giving the Church’s interior a magical touch.

  • There are 15 stained-glass windows in all, 15 meters high, showing a total of 1.113 scenes from the Old & New Testament. Most stained-glass windows date back to the 13th century.
  • Another remarkable feature to watch for in the Sainte-Chapelle is the fact there are actually two different chapels. The lower chapel, originally dedicated to the officers & the upper chapel, dedicated to the Royal family.

TravelTips: Although not as popular as the Eiffel Tower or the Louvre, during high season lines of visitors can form outside of the Sainte-Chapelle. To gain some time, it’s recommended to buy tickets in advance.

* Sainte-Chapelle provides free entrance for people under 18 years. As well as for visitors aged 18-25, being a resident of the EU, and people with a disability & one accompanying person.

* Click here for: Availability of Tickets & Prices.

Other attractions in the vicinity of Sainte-Chapelle, Île-de-la-Cité:

Besides the mentioned chapel, other major attractions on the island are the La Conciergerie (see below), the Notre Dame (see below), the Deportation Memorial. Just across from the Notre-Dame – but on the other side of the Seine – you’ll find the Shakespeare & Company Bookshop & Cafe.

  • The Mémorial des Martyrs de la Déportation is a monument which commemorates the two-hundred thousand men, women & children who were deported from Vichy-France to the concentration camps of the Nazis during the Second World War.

A visit to La Conciergerie, Paris

Neighbouring Sainte-Chapelle is a palace called La Conciergerie. Originally it was also part of the Royal Palace.

  • Until the end of the 14th century la Conciergerie was the residence of the kings & queens of France. Afterward, it became the Paris courthouse & prison.
  • During the French Revolution thousands of political opponents were imprisoned here. The most famous prisoner being the former Queen Marie-Antoinette. Amongst others, like the revolutionary Maximilien Robespierre & the last Emperor of France, Napoleon III.

TravelTips: Marie-Antoinette’s cell is open to the public & for many visitors the main attraction of the Conciergerie.

As for the Sainte-Chapelle, it’s recommended to buy tickets in advance.

It’s IMPORTANT to know though, that La Conciergerie also provides free entrance for people under 18 years. As well as for visitors aged 18-25, being a resident of the EU, or for people with a disability & one accompanying person.

* Click here for: Availability of Tickets & Prices.

Visiting the The Notre-Dame, Paris

Another – more famous – Gothic church is the nearby Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Paris.

  • Its construction started much earlier than the Sainte-Chapelle, but was finished twelve years later.

As you surely remember, the Notre-Dame was heavily damaged during a fire in April 2019. A fire that started in one of the attics, but which in the end caused major damage to the roof & spire. Reason why – until today (July 2022) – the cathedral is closed to the public.

TravelTips: As a small consolation though, you can still admire this impressive church from the outside.

The Notre-Dame, Paris.
The Notre-Dame, Paris, anno 2022.

Or take a complete tour of the City Island with a Guide: along the Notre-Dame, with visits to the Sainte-Chapelle & Conciergerie.

To learn more, click on:

As you will notice – while visiting the Île-de-la-Cité – the island is an attraction in itself. A romantic part of Paris with a long … long history. A nice break near the island is provided by the earlier mentioned Shakespeare & Company bookshop, which features a cafe & terrace with a nice view of the Notre-Dame.

The Shakespeare Bookshop on the Île-de-la-Cité, Paris.
The Shakespeare & Company Bookshop and Cafe near the Notre Dame.

A visit to the Basilique Saint-Denis, Paris

The last Gothic church we like to mention is the Basilique Saint-Denis. Located a little to the north of Paris’ city center.

  • Saint-Denis is actually the oldest Gothic construction in the world. Originally built as an abbey, Saint-Denis was inaugurated in 1144, little over a century before the Sainte-Chapelle.
  • Saint-Denis is the resting place for no less than 42 former kings & 32 queens of France. Among them, the famous couple King Louis XVI & Queen Marie-Antoinette, executed in 1793 during the French Revolution. But also the burial place of Louis IX, who originally got the idea to build the Sainte-Chapelle.

* Click here for: Availability of Tickets & Prices.

TRAVELTips: Concerning the weather in Paris

The climate. Although always unpredictable – more so, the last couple of years – Paris usually has its hottest months in July & August (Average (min/max): 16-26C/61-79F). The coldest in December/January (3-8C/37-46F).

Also important concerning the weather: Paris has 4 seasons . It’s located almost 50° North of the Equator. As a consequence in July/Augustus you can enjoy around 15 hours of sunlight. In Winter only around 8.5 hours.

Finally, rain… Rain can fall every day, in every month. Be prepared, when you pack your bags for your visit to Paris. Fortunately the French capital is always beautiful. During every season, warm or cold, windy, rainy or tropical hot.

Visiting the Panthéon, Paris

Another monument that for most people stands in the shadow of the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre & the Sacre-Cœur, is the Panthéon. A Neoclassical building, located on the Montagne Sainte-Geneviève, a low hill in the Latin Quarter.

  • The Panthéon was originally meant to be a church in honour of Sainte-Genevieve. King Louis XV commissioned it & construction started in 1758. However, when it was finished in 1790 the French Revolution was well on its way, and the revolutionaries decided to use the building as a mausoleum.

And that’s what it still is today. A mausoleum for France’s National Heroes – with exception of the highest military heroes, like Napoleon Bonaparte, who is buried in Les Invalides (see below).

  • In the Pantheon you’ll find the graves of many famous people. To name a few: the writers Victor Hugo, Émile Zola & Alexandre Dumas. The philosophers Voltaire & Rousseau. The scientists Marie & Pierre Curie. The navigator & explorer Louis-Antoine de Bougainville, as well as the hero of the French resistance during the Second World War, Jean Moulin.

All in all, an impressive monument. Because of the gathering of so many celebrities, but also because of the building itself. A construction that is meant to make you feel small. Humble in the presence of so many famous & sometimes heroic people.

  • Besides the stately facade, the Pantheon features a 83m/272ft high dome – which are actually three domes, one within the other – amongst many other remarkable features.

Absolutely worth a short visit, when you’re walking the streets of the Quartier Latin in Paris.

TravelTips: The Pantheon provides free entrance for people under 18 years. As well as for visitors aged 18-25, being a resident of the EU, and for people with a disability & one accompanying person.

* Click here for: Availability of Tickets & Prices.

Other attractions in the vicinity of The Pantheon:

Near the Pantheon you’ll find the Luxembourg Gardens (Jardin du Luxembourg), one the most beautiful parks to visit in Paris. Also, the church of Saint-Étienne-du-Mont, the Roman ruins at the Arènes de Lutèce, the Botanical Garden (Jardin des Plantes) & the Musée de Cluny.

A little further away, but still within walking distance: the Cemetery of Montparnasse & the Catacombes de Paris.

  • At the Montparnasse cemetery you’ll find the graves of many celebrities. Frenchmen & women, like the writers Guy de Maupassant, Simone de Beauvoir & Jean-Paul Sartre, the actor Jean-Paul Belmondo, the military officer Alfred Dreyfus & ex-President Jacques Chirac. But also the former Mexican president Porfirio Díaz, who died in exile in Paris in 1915.
  • One of the most visited celebrity-graves in Paris though, is the tomb of Jim Morrison at the Cimetière Père Lachaise. A cemetery where you can also find the last resting place of people like Édith Piaf, Oscar Wilde, Honoré de Balzac, Proust, Chopin & Napoleon’s most famous Marshal Joachim Murat. Near the graveyard, you can visit the beautiful, somewhat hallucinating Atelier des Lumières – the first Digital Art Centre of Paris.
Église Saint-Etienne-du-Mont, Paris
L’Église Saint-Étienne-du-Mont.

A visit to Les Invalides, Paris

Tourists to Paris visit Les Invalides principally to have a look at the last resting place of Napoleon Bonaparte.

  • Napoléon Bonaparte was born on the French island of Corsica. Although far away from the heart of France, he managed to climb the military & political ladder little by little. Mainly, because of his military victories. Remarkable victories who made him the mightiest man in the world, but in the end also meant his downfall. First on the frozen battlefields of Russia & finally at Waterloo, Belgium. He died in exile on Saint Helena (1821), a small island in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean.

Napoleon I for many Frenchmen & -women still is their biggest hero. For that reason, you would think Les Invalides was specially built for him, but that’s not the case.

  • Construction of Les Invalides started in 1670 under the reign of Sun King Louis XIV. He wanted Paris to have a home annex hospital for the old & handicapped soldiers who were fighting war after war for him on the European continent.
  • It’s ironic that nowadays Les Invalides is mainly known for a man who in many ways was the result of a partially successful citizen-revolution that ended the Bourbon-monarchy (although temporary). Naming himself emperor after just a few years in power.

* BookTip: If you want to read a good book about the life of Napoleon Bonaparte before you visit Paris, I’d like to recommend the biography written by Philip G. Dwyer. Actually 3 volumes: Napoleon – Path to Power, Citizen Emperor – Napoleon in Power & Napoleon: Passion, Death & Resurrection, 1815-1840.

Book cover of Citizen Emperor, written by Philip G. Dwyer.
Napoleon’s Tomb

Every day hundreds of Paris’ tourists visit Napoleon’s tomb. He was laid to rest in the Royal Chapel – the Dôme des Invalides – in 1840.

  • In that year the French moved Napoleon’s body from Saint Helena to Paris – nineteen years after his death. His stately sarcophagus took 21 years more to finish.

Besides Bonaparte’s Tomb, Les Invalides also houses the graves of France’s other military heroes. As well as two of Napoleon’s brothers – Jérôme & Joseph – and his son, Napoleon II. Impressive burial places you can admire one by one.

TravelTips: As for the Pantheon, Les Invalides & Army Museum provide free entrance for people under 18 years. As well as for visitors aged 18-25, being a resident of the EU, and for people with a disability & one accompanying person.

Other attractions in the vicinity of Les Invalides:

Besides a mausoleum for France’s military heroes, the area around Les Invalides houses several museums & monuments remembering France’s military history, like the Musée de la’Armée.

* Click here for: Availability of Tickets & Prices.

Also nearby are the two well-known art-museums, the Musée Rodin & the Musée d’Orsay.

Visiting the Arc de Triomphe, Paris

The Arc de Triomphe de l’Étoile is one of the most famous monuments in Paris. It stands tall on the Place Charles de Gaulle, at the western end of the Champs-Élysées.

  • The Place Charles de Gaulle was formerly named Place de l’Étoile – the “star”-square which unites 12 radiating avenues at this famous roundabout in the heart of Paris.

The Arc was mainly built to honour the soldiers who had fought and had fallen during the reign of Napoleon Bonaparte. He commissioned the work in 1806 – after the historic victory at Austerlitz. Although he himself never saw the monument finished, his body passed underneath on its way to his final resting place in Les Invalides (see above).

From 1921 the Unknown Soldier is buried beneath the arch, to commemorate the victims of World War I.

Visit to the Arc de Triomphe, Paris.
The Arc de Triomphe, Paris.
The Champs-Élysées

The Champs-Élysées (1,9 km/1,2 miles long) is the most famous avenue/street of Paris. Mostly known for its luxury shops, expensive bars & restaurants, and theatres. Besides that, it is the finish of the world’s largest cycling event, the Tour de France.

The Champs-Élysées actually connects the Place Charles de Gaulle with the Place de la Concorde. Another imposing square on which you can admire the Obelisk of Luxor (Egypt).

  • Although Napoleon Bonaparte already wanted to ship the obelisk to Paris, it actually arrived in 1833. This time as a gift of Egypt’s ruler Muhammad Ali Pasha. The inauguration of the obelisk took place in 1836, the same year as the Arc de Triomphe.

TravelTips: As for other Paris’ attractions, we recommend buying tickets in advance for the Arc de Triomphe. Important to know, the climb up to the highest level is 284 steps & the elevator is only accessible for people with a disability & one accompanying person.

* The Arc de Triomphe provides free entrance for people under 18 & and for EU-residents between 18-26 years of age. As well as for people with a disability & one accompanying person.

* Click here for: Availability of Tickets & Prices.

Other attractions in the vicinity of the Arc de Triomphe:

As the Arc de Triomphe stands at the end of 12 major avenues, it stands alone. That is, not really within walking distance to other attractions.

A visit to La Maison Victor Hugo, Le Marais, Paris

The French writer Victor Hugo (1802-1885) is world famous. Mainly, for his novels Les Misérables & The Hunchback of Notre Dame. Besides being a gifted writer – of nearly every genre – he also produced beautiful artistic drawings.

Fans of the writer can visit his former residence – where he lived between 1832 and 1848. On the second floor you can get an impression of his living quarters, while the first floor is used for temporary exhibitions.

TravelTips: And one more reason to visit Victor Hugo’s Mansion, … entrance is FREE.

La Maison Victor Hugo is located in one of the most lively parts of Paris, Le Marais. A historic neighbourhood which somehow escaped the Hausmann Makeover of Paris in the second half of the 19th century.

Le Marais is probably the most romantic part of Paris. A lively neighbourhood, full of bars & small restaurants, trendy shops, parks, squares & cobblestone streets. Ideal for strolling around for a few hours.

Other attractions in the vicinity of La Maison de Victor Hugo:

Victor Hugo’s mansion is located at the beautiful Place des Vosges (park). Nearby, you can also visit the Picasso Museum, as well as the Holocaust museum (Mémorial de la Shoah) and the Paris’ History Museum (Musée Carnavalets).

A little further away, but still within walking distance, you can find the Centre Pompidou – center of Modern Art.

TravelTips: Especially for Harry Potter fans who visit Paris. In this part of town – in the Rue de Montmorency – is the former house of Nicolas Flamel (1330-1418). It isn’t possible to actually enter the house (only if you want to visit the Haute-cuisine restaurant inside), but on the outside there’s a plaque indicating that Flamel lived there.

  • Nicolas Flamel actually was a French scribe & bookseller, who somehow – centuries after his death – developed a reputation as an alchemist. He supposedly created the philosopher’s stone with which to convert metal into gold & prolong one’s life. His fame lives on in many ways, as for example in books by Victor Hugo, Dan Brown, Umberto Eco, Paulo Coelho & J.K Rowling.

Finally, another attraction you can visit in the Paris neighbourhood of Le Marais is the Marché des Enfants Rouges. It’s one of the oldest markets of Paris where – besides all kinds of foodstuffs – you can find several exclusive food stands.

TRAVELTips: How expensive is a visit to Paris?

Well, first of all: Paris is an expensive destination. Like almost every major metropolis, like Rome, London, New York or Tokyo. Mainly caused by the presence of so many MUST SEE attractions. Exclusive things to do, like a cruise on the Seine or maybe Disneyland with the kids, luxurious hotels, bars & restaurants.

Everything depends of course on what you want to do & how you want to do it.

  • Buy individual tickets, or a city pass.
  • Go to a fancy hotel, or look for something less expensive.
  • Use public transport, or let yourself drive around in a taxi.
  • Eat out every day, or settle for a good snack/self-organised picnic once in a while.
  • Visit attractions all day, or alternate with relaxing moments in parks or walking certain neighbourhoods.
  • Buy everything you like, or buy some smaller, specific souvenirs.

All these choices determine how much your stay in Paris will cost. Simultaneously, this post will give you ideas on how to save money.

An example

Maybe the following example will help you somehow:

  • My daughter Lisa (24) travelled alone from the Netherlands to Paris by train (100).
  • She stayed in Paris for 5 days/4 nights & stayed in a small, affordable Airbnb apartment (85 per night) in a central neighbourhood (the Latin Quarter).
  • Visited an average of two attractions per day, taking regular breaks – sometimes in a park, other times having lunch on a terrace.
  • In the evening she didn’t eat out, but had a snack in one of the parks or took something “home”, including a bottle of wine.
  • To go from A to B and back, she mainly used public transport (metro & bus), but sometimes rented an electric scooter for a short ride.
  • Finally, she bought some souvenirs, but not too many, nor too expensive.

Taking into account some advantages she had, namely:

  • Lisa arrived by train (3.5 hours from the South of Holland)
  • She could use her phone without extra costs (roaming, only within the EU)
  • And, because of her age, could enter most museums & other attractions for free.

… she spent a little under 500 in Paris, less than 100 a day. Making a total of around 900 (including transport & accommodation).

Hope this example serves you to get an idea.

Popular DAY-TRIPS from Paris

There are many options for out of town day-trips from Paris, of which I will mention the most popular ones.

A visit to the Bois de Vincennes, Paris

Let’s starts with one that’s still within the city’s boundaries. To the east of the City Center you’ll find the Bois de Vincennes. A big green area – bordering an impressive Chateau (which you can visit) – with several lakes. Ideal for biking & hiking, but also to visit some entertaining & fun activities.

TravelTips: In & around this green park you can choose between: a visit to the Zoologique de Paris, the Aquarium de Paris, a Botanical garden (Arboretum de Paris) & an Ecological park (Jardin de Papillons & Parc Floral).

Perfect if you have the time, or want to escape the inner city for a while & relax a little. An ideal place for yourself, but also with children.

A Day-trip to the Château de Versailles

A little further away – but still close – you’ll find the most popular day-trip from Paris, a visit to Versailles, which attracts millions of visitors every year. By far, the biggest symbol of France’s royal past. In the first place Louis XIV – the Sun King – who gave the order to build it.

  • Louis XIV actually wanted to transform the former hunting lodge of his father into a château. A residence for him, but also his huge court & his government.
  • Construction started in 1673, and lasted about fifty years. While the palace & surrounding gardens got bigger & bigger, the former village of Versailles slowly disappeared.
The Palace of Versailles, Paris.
La Château de Versailles, Paris.
Peak of absolutist power

Soon, the palace – one of the largest in the world – became a symbol for absolute power & decadence. The king as a god, the Sun God. A man who ruled France for more than 72 years. (Still a world record. Although Queen Elizabeth II of Britain is coming closer every day.)

The Sun King
painted by Hyacinthe Rigaud.

In that sense, Louis XIV’s enormous power was – in many ways – a prologue to the French Revolution of 1789. A revolution that ended the French monarchy. Well, after a few last Royal hiccups.

  • After the fall of the monarchy in 1789, France went from a republic to an empire under Napoleon Bonaparte. After his downfall (1814-1815) though, it shortly became a monarchy again, before in 1848 the final curtain fell for French royalty.
A museum since 1837

Although the French renounced its absolutist past through a revolution, Versailles wasn’t destroyed. In 1837 it was converted into a museum.

  • Ironically commissioned by the last king of France, Louis-Philippe de Orléans – the “Citizen King” – who initially converted Versailles into a History Museum. Little by little though, the former palace was restored to its former glory. Nowadays, it’s mainly a monument to remember the extravagance of the Ancien Régime.
Prepare your visit to Versailles Palace & Garden

TravelTips: Because Versailles – with over 2300 rooms & extensive gardens – is soo enormous, it’s best to reserve at least half a day for a visit. That is possible, because it’s not too far away from the city center of Paris.

For most visitors the absolute highlight is the Mirror Room. It’s mainly known for its design, but also as the spot where the famous Treaty of Versailles was signed in 1919, after World War I.

Other rooms that attract visitors the most are: the King’s Apartments, the Royal Chapel, the Royal Opera, the Queen’s Apartments & Marie-Antoinette’s private chambers.

Every room has its own character. However, these are always stuffed with royal glitter & glamour. So much glitter & glamour it sometimes may start to dazzle you or even make you dizzy.

Just kidding… However, it may happen though. Which, above all, indicates that it’s time to head out to the garden & take in some fresh air. An area where you can easily spend a few hours more. Famous as it is for its typical design, the walkways, the canals, dozens of fountains & the orangerie.

  • Until the end of October 2022, you can enjoy the Musical Gardens (on Tuesdays, Thursdays & Fridays). As well as the Great Musical Fountains (on Saturdays and Sundays).
The Gardens at Versailles, Paris.
The Gardens at Versailles, Paris.
A visit to the Estate of Trianon

Besides the palace & the gardens, you can visit the Estate of Trianon. For the former royal inhabitants of Versailles this was a private area. It includes the, nowadays highly popular Queen’s Hamlet.

  • Le Hameau de la Reine is a country-style house & surrounding mini-village, which was especially built for Queen Marie-Antoinette to relax & meet her friends.

IMPORTANT to know: If you want to visit the Estate of Trianon, you have to include it in your Entrance Ticket to Versailles!

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The best tip we can give you on Versailles is to start as early as possible. The palace opens daily (except Mondays) at 9AM, but the gardens already open at 8AM. (The Estate of Trianon opens at noon).

To cover the extensive gardens, it’s possible to hop on the little train or to take a boat ride on the canals. But you can also rent a bike or a golf cart, with which you can also visit the area around Versailles. A perfect place for a picnic (for which lockers are available at the entrance).

Buy tickets in advance for Versailles

In any case, it’s recommendable to buy tickets in advance. You gain a lot of time (during the high season, but also during the low season).

  • If you do or already did, you can skip the line in front of the Ticket Office & head directly to Entrance A, on the left hand side of the Honour Courtyard in front of the palace.

* Important though to know that Versailles also provides free entrance for people under 18 & and for EU-residents between 18-26 years of age. As well as for people with a disability & one accompanying person.

  • WARNING: On special days – like the above mentioned Musical Fountain Shows – all the above mentioned groups can visit the gardens for a reduced price (9€ instead of 10,50€). Only exception these days are young children, ages 0-5 years.

To buy your ticket to the palace only:

Or if you want to include the Estate of Trianon as well:

How to get to Versailles?

If you don’t have your own transport, the easiest & cheapest way to get to Versailles is by train. To be more specific, Line C of the RER regional train system. The train brings you to Versailles in just 30 minutes (3,65€ one way).

Alternatively, there’s also the possibility to include transport (generally by shuttle bus) from Paris in your ticket to Versailles.

To learn more:

A visit to Fontainebleau

If you have already visited Versailles or just want to avoid the daily crowds, there’s a good alternative near Paris: is the Château de Fontainebleau. A lot smaller, but still large enough to spend hours in the palace & garden.

  • Construction of Fontainebleau started in the 12th century. The palace served as a residence for many kings, as well as the two French emperors.

Fontainebleau has its own eventful history. Something you notice soon when visiting the many rooms of the Chateau. It’s surely not as luxurious as Versailles, but still… lots of glitters & glamour. Something the Bonapartes weren’t immune to either.

TravelTips: Fontainebleau is located 55km/ 34 m south of the center of Paris. Reachable within an hour by train & bus.

* The Chateau provides free entrance for people under 18 & and for EU-residents between 18-26 years of age. As well as for people with a disability & one accompanying person.

To learn more and/or buy your ticket(s) in advance:

TRAVELTips: Transport heading out of Paris

If you decide – during your visit to Paris – to head out for a day or multiple days, there are several options.

Public Transport

Trains & buses go almost everywhere in France (& Europe). Best is to book ahead, which is sometimes cheaper as well.

To buy tickets in advance, you can go directly to the website of the National society of French railroads, (www.sncf-connect.com), or else you can try the 12Go website, which in my opinion is easier to use, while prices are comparable.

Taxi

Another option for sure, but fairly expensive.

Rent a car

A little adventure always, but also providing you with the freedom to go wherever you like. And after all, in Europe it’s not soo expensive as you may think.

A good car rental service I recommend & used several times while in Europe is: AutoEurope.

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On a tour

Finally, the most relaxed way to go on a Day-Trip is to Book a tour (including transport from Paris).

There are many agencies to choose from, but when it comes to a guaranteed & well organised Day-trip I’ve chosen Tiqets & GetYourGuide – both Europe based – as the best ones in quality & price.

A tour of the Battlefields of Normandy

Another popular day-trip from Paris is a historical one. A visit to the Battlefields of Normandy. First of all, the famous beaches – Utah, Omaha, Gold, Juno & Swords – on which the allied forces landed on June 6th 1944, D-Day. The start of the liberation of Western Europe.

BookTip: I recently read the latest book on D-Day & the Battle for France: Normandy ’44, written by James Holland. Highly recommended, if you want to read yourself into it, before visiting the battleground.

Book cover of Normandy '44, wriiten by James Holland

TravelTips: An All-Day tour from Paris generally includes – besides transport & a guide – a visit to one or two beaches – foremost, Omaha Beach, where most soldiers fell (mainly of the US Army) – a museum, a cemetery & a typical French village nearby for lunch.

Studying the day-trips several tour-operators offer, I think the best option is Tiqets. Mainly, because they make some really interesting stops.

To learn more:

A Day-trip to Mont-Saint-Michel

Le Mont-Saint-Michel is a rocky, tidal island in Normandy, France. The island lies approximately 1km/0.6miles of the mainland.

At the moment, only around 50 people live on the island, it gets millions of visitors every year. Mainly to visit the Abbey (of Benedictine origin & gothic in style) & the village around (full of shops & smaller museums(4)).

  • The island was already a pilgrimage site soon after Christianity spread in Western-Europe, in the 5th century.
  • Construction of the abbey began in the 10th century, partially over an older church. From the second half of the 15th century though, the abbey was used mainly as a prison by the Ancien Régime. That is, until the French Revolution.

TravelTips: The island is accessible all day – independent of low or high tide – but can’t be reached by car. However, you can park your car on the mainland and walk the causeway (800m/0.5miles) or take a shuttle.

If you have your own transport or have Rented a car, it’s possible to combine the Normandy beaches of D-Day (see Above) with a visit to Mont-Saint-Michel…. But in that case, you have to start at an early hour from Paris.

Finally, you can go with an All-Day-tour (including tickets to the Abbey).

To learn more about a Day-tour to Mont Saint-Michel (& see dates available), click on:

TRAVELTips: How to stay connected during your visit to Paris, France

If you’re a EU-resident roaming is the best & cheapest way to stay connected.

When coming to France from outside the EU, there are several other solutions.

To avoid using your regular provider (generally very expensive), it’s better to buy a SIM-card from a local store. Something you can do when you arrive, like the Orange Prepaid Holiday SIM Card, the SFR Prepaid SIM Card or the Free Mobile SIM Card (to name a few).

Alternatively, you can buy one beforehand online. Studying the many options, I found an interesting one on GetYourGuide. An affordable way to stay connected in France, but also in the other countries of the EU.

To learn more:

A Visit to Museum Claude Monet, Giverny

For the fans of the French impressionist Claude Monet there’s the possibility to visit his former house & atelier in Giverny. Located only 80km/ 50miles west of Paris, on the banks of the river Seine.

  • Monet lived in the beautiful house & gardens for 43 years. From 1883, until his death in 1926.
  • The museum was inaugurated in 1980. The living quarters & gardens are brought back to its old style (including the famous flower beds & lily ponds).

Travel Tips: Giverny is a small French Village in Normandy. The close proximity to Paris makes it possible to visit the museum in half a day. 

Another possibility though, is to make it a full day-trip, combining Monet’s former house with other attractions around. Like a visit to the local Museum of Impressionism, Monet’s last resting place, and of course the little village of Giverny itself & the surrounding area.

You can reach Giverny by train & shuttle bus (approximately €25 round trip). Or else, by an organised tour.

* The museum is free for children under the age of 7. People with a disability get a 50% discount. 

To learn more about the tour to Giverny (& see dates available), click on:

A visit to the Wine Fields of Champagne

Another highly popular All-Day tour from Paris is a visit to the Champagne wine region. Generally included – besides transport & a guide – is wine tasting, an exclusive French lunch, a visit to one or two typical villages in this northeastern region of France.

TravelTips: For this special Day-trip, I like to recommend GetYourGuide, which present several options when it comes to tours to the Champagne-region.

To learn more, click on:

Visiting Disneyland Paris

Finally, … what to think of a 1-Day or Multi-Day visit to Disneyland Paris?

A visit I really don’t have to introduce to most of you. A fun experience for everyone, but especially if you travel with your family or friends.

To buy your tickets for Disneyland Paris in advance, click on:

When you want to include transport, click on: Disneyland from Paris.

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Last TRAVELTips: Before you visit Paris….

The Best Flight to Paris, France

There’s a chance you’ve already booked your flight, but if not and you’re still searching for the best & cheapest flight … I – for one – recommend CheapOair.

A website that in a few seconds checks all flights available at that moment and compares prices & flight times.

To learn more, visit: CheapOair.

WayAway – A new Way of Travel

Alternatively, there’s a new travel brand that’s on the move in the Travel World. They recently contacted me to present themselves: WayAway.

A brand I didn’t have the chance to use myself so far, but which already has received some positive reviews & which is growing fast.

WayAway not only offers travellers the best rates on airline tickets & other travel deals. It also provides cash-back on all your bookings (flights, hotels, car rentals, tours, tickets, and more), when you become a member.

Cash-back money you can use on whatever & whenever you want. For example, use for your next trip.

To get those advantages, you only have to sign up for the WayAway Plus membership.

If interested I can give you – only for a limited time – an exclusive discount of more than 50% on your membership. Using the following link (which also provides you with extra details): WayAway Membership Discount.

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If however, you for the moment just want to search for the best rates on flights, hotels, rental cars or tours WayAway, click on the add below:

Cheap flights with cashback

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How to get from/to the Airport

There are three airports in Paris: Charles de Gaulle (CDG), Orly & Beauvais. The first two airports are well connected to the city center of Paris. Beauvais is located a little farther away and is mainly used by budget airlines.

The best & cheapest way to get to the city center is by train. The train operates between 5am & 12pm (midnight), stops at every main station in Paris, including the Gare du Nord).

  • From CDG to Paris: take an RER B train (every 10 minutes), which takes around 30 minutes to the city center. Price: around 10€.
  • From Orly to Paris: In this case, you first have to take the Orlyval metro service to the Anthony train station. Change to train line RER B or RER C for Paris. The total journey takes approximately 1 hour. Price: around 12€.
  • From Beauvais to Paris: First you have to take the bus to the train station in the city of Beauvais (4km). From there, take the TER 19 train to the city center. Total journey, 2 hours. Price: around 15€.

Alternatively there are also buses (public & express), and of course the option to take a taxi or even arrange a taxi/transfer beforehand. Surely more expensive, but sometimes the best option if you arrive late, had a long flight and/or are arriving with quite a few suitcases.

If you prefer a private transfer beforehand, we recommend KiwiTaxi. Which handels honest prices & works with professional English-speaking drivers who will meet you at the airport with your nameplate.

To find transfer & get a price quote:

Find accommodation in Paris, France: Hotel or Apartment?

The choice for a certain hotel or apartment is always something personal. And has to do with many factors, like price, luxury, location, style & others.

That’s why the best I can do is refer you to a website that give you a good overview of the best hotels & apartments.

A reliable, well-known site which provides you not only with the best price, but also with reviews of customers who’ve already been there.

  • A little personal advice on reading reviews: Instead of reading them all, it’s best to skip the 1, 2 & 5-star reviews, and concentrate on the 3 and 4-star reviews. They normally give you the best idea if a certain accommodation is the best & fits your wishes.

That said, a professional website we’d like to recommend is Expedia.

Click here: To find the best hotel for you

Although Expedia also offers apart-hotels, if you prefer an apartment Airbnb is probably the best option.

Find the best restaurant in Paris.

For restaurants, it’s the same story. A very personal choice, depending on taste, your budget, location, …

Besides, referring you to Google Maps – we’d like to present you anew to the unique food-experiences Eatwith offers in Paris. Courses, workshops, private dinners, food tours, …. you name it.

To learn more: Eatwith

There are so many ways to enjoy the City of Light. We hope this post has helped you to plan the perfect visit to Paris. Bon Voyage!

For an overview of all travel posts of my blog, go to: the Home Page.

  • Final message, for fellow travel writers & bloggers: TravelPayOuts is a global integrated affiliate program focused exclusively on travel offers. If it works for me, it will probably work for you too: TravelPayOuts.
Show piece at the Opera Garnier in Paris.
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