How to make the most of your trip to Paris (8 tips from a local)

Story by: Tiana Thompson     Date: 5 April 2022    Image by: Canva | givagaphotos

9 minutes reading time France

Paris is one of the most visited cities in the world – and for good reason.

From its iconic architecture to its lively culture, there’s always something to do and see in Paris. Despite having lived in this beautiful city for the past three years, I am still amazed by the new things I discover every time I go out.

If you’re planning a trip to Paris, or if you’ve already booked your tickets and are just waiting for the day to arrive, here are a few of my best tips to help make the most of your visit.

Plan trip to Paris

Plan your trip in advance

Make a list of the attractions you want to see before you go. Paris is a popular tourist destination, and it can be crowded during the summer and holiday seasons.

If you want to maximize your time in Paris, it’s best to plan your trip in advance. This will allow you to book hotels and tours ahead of time, and avoid the crowds. There’s nothing worse than not having enough time to see all the places you wanted to visit because you were stuck in line or didn’t plan accordingly!

When making a list of all the attractions you want to see while you’re in Paris, be sure to make note of what area of Paris each of them is in. For example, the Eiffel Tower is in the 7th arrondissement, Notre Dame Cathedral is in the 4th arrondissement, and the Louvre Museum is in the 1st arrondissement. You can find a map of Paris with all of its arrondissements here.

Making a list of all the attractions you would like to see and where they are located will allow you to better plan your time while you’re in the city, as you can see multiple attractions in one day by planning your route accordingly.

Montmartre streets, Paris

Stay in the right neighborhood

Paris is divided into 20 arrondissements, or neighborhoods. Each of these neighborhoods has its own unique character and attractions. If you want to be close to all the action, stay in the first or second arrondissement. If you want to stay in a more residential area, I recommend the Hotel Villa Nicolo or the Hotel Monceau Wagram. These hotels are located in the 16th and 17th arrondissements, respectively, and are both within walking distance of the Metro.

In my opinion, the best way to experience all that Paris has to offer is to stay in the city center. This will allow you to walk to most of the tourist attractions, and you’ll be close to restaurants, cafes, and nightlife.

If you want to be able to walk to most of the city’s attractions, I recommend staying in a centrally located hotel. The best neighborhoods for tourists are the Latin Quarter, the Marais, and Saint Germain-des-Pres. These neighborhoods are all within walking distance of most of the city’s attractions.

Some great hotels in the center of Paris include the Hilton Paris Opera, the Westin Paris Vendome, and the Sofitel Paris Le Faubourg. These are all located within walking distance of major attractions and are close to public transportation.

If you’re not familiar with Paris, I recommend using a site like TripAdvisor to find a centrally located hotel. They have a list of the best hotels in the city, and they can help you find one that fits your budget and needs.

Paris restaurants

Make reservations ahead of time

Eating at a Parisian restaurant is a must during your time in this iconic city. However, reservations are often necessary, and it’s best to make them ahead of time.

There are countless restaurants in Paris to choose from, but I recommend doing some research before you go. Find out which restaurants have the best reviews, and make a reservation at one of them. You won’t be disappointed.

Restaurants in Paris can be quite expensive, especially if you’re looking for a romantic dinner. That said, there are some amazing restaurants in Paris that are worth splurging on.

One of my favorite and most popular restaurants in Paris is L’Avenue. It’s located on the Champs-Elysees, and the food is amazing. If you want to splurge a bit, this is the place to do it.

Another great restaurant is Girafe Paris. It’s located on Trocadero, and the views of the Eiffel Tower are simply incredible.

If you want to save money, I recommend eating at a brasserie. A brasserie is a type of restaurant that serves simple food like burgers and fries, but it’s also very affordable. Some great brasseries in Paris include Chez Papa and L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon.

Get lost in the city Paris

Get lost

Paris is a city that’s best explored on foot. It is very easy to get lost in the winding streets of the city, and that’s actually a good thing.

You’ll stumble upon hidden gems that you never would have found if you were following a map. So go ahead and get lost in the neighborhoods and explore the back streets! You never know what you’ll find.

Just be sure to bring a comfortable pair of shoes, as you’ll be doing a lot of walking. And don’t be afraid to ask for directions – the Parisians are always happy to help.

Paris city tour

Do a city tour

If this is your first time in Paris, or if you’re short on time, I recommend taking a tour. There are numerous companies that offer tours of the city, and they can be a great way to see all the highlights of Paris in a short time. There are a few different types of tours available, so you can choose the one that best suits your interests.

There are bus tours, walking tours, and even bike tours. You can also choose to do a tour that focuses on a specific topic, such as the Parisian art scene or the history of the city. They even have self-guided tours available, which allow you to explore the city on your own at your own pace.

One of the best ways to see Paris is by doing a hop-on, hop-off bus tour. These tours allow you to see all of the major attractions in the city without having to walk, and they offer a great overview of Paris.

There are a few different companies that offer hop-on, hop-off bus tours in Paris, but I recommend doing one with City Sightseeing. They have a few different tour options to choose from, and they’re the most affordable option I’ve found.

I’ve done a few different city tours in Paris, and I think they’re a great way to see a lot of the city in a short amount of time. You can learn more about Parisian history and culture, and you’ll get to see some of the most famous attractions in the city.

Paris River Cruise

Take a river cruise

Another great way to see Paris is by river cruise. You’ll be able to see the city’s famous architecture and landmarks from the river. River cruises are very popular for tourists in the summer because the weather is nice and the views are amazing.

There are a few different companies that offer river cruises in Paris, and they all have different routes. You can choose to do a short cruise, or you can opt for a longer cruise that will take you around the entire city. They even have nighttime dinner cruises available.

I’ve done a few different river cruises in Paris, and I think they’re a great way to see the city. You get to see a lot of the city’s famous landmarks and you can learn more about Parisian history and culture. Plus, the weather is usually nice in the summer so it’s a perfect way to spend a day!

Paris Metro

Take the Metro

Paris is a huge city, and it can be difficult to navigate if you’re not familiar with the layout. The best way to get around is by taking the Metro. The Metro is very easy to use, and there are stations located all throughout the city.

Plus, it’s a great way to see Parisian life up close. You’ll be able to see people going about their everyday lives, and you’ll get a glimpse of the city’s culture.

Paris is fairly easy to get around by Metro and it is much more affordable than taking taxis or Uber. I recommend downloading the app Citymapper, which will help you find the quickest route from Point A to Point B. I use it daily and I can’t describe how many times it has saved me!

It’s also a good idea to consider downloading an offline city map to your phone before you leave. This will allow you to navigate the city without having to rely on data or wifi, which can sometimes be an issue when traveling outside of your home country. You can download offline maps easily using Google Maps or Citymapper.

Packing for Paris

Pack light so you can move around easily

My final tip is to pack light! Paris is a very walkable city, and you’ll be doing a lot of walking. If you have to carry a heavy bag with you, it will be difficult to explore the city. I recommend packing light and only bringing the essentials with you.

You can always purchase things like toiletries and snacks once you’re in Paris. There are also a lot of great restaurants and cafes in the city, so you won’t have to worry about going hungry.

Paris is an amazing city and there are so many things to see and do. These are just a few of my tips for making the most out of your trip. However you decide to spend your time in Paris, I’m sure it’ll be an unforgettable experience! I hope you enjoy your time in this beautiful city!

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