I absolutely love Paris, so much so I’ve been four times and it never gets old. It’s a great city for wandering and exploring and that’s usually how I find my favourite spots. This is my abbreviated travel guide to get you started, but I’ll be publishing an eTravel Guide in the near future with tons of extra tips and personal recommendations, so keep an eye out! If you’re visiting or backpacking through Europe, I really can’t recommend Paris enough.
Best Time to Visit
What time of the year you decide to visit really just depends on the type of weather you’re looking for. In the summer months, you can get average temperatures of up to 25 C (77 F) and in the winter, as cold as 3 C (37F).
Paris, in general, isn’t cheap. It was just ranked the 7th most expensive city in the world but there are definitely a few money saving tips to make it more affordable. For instance, ask for tap water at dinner, take public transport, and stay in hostels or an Airbnb rather than a hotel. I think Paris can be done on around €60-70/day if you’re really watching your budget. For those who aren’t as budget conscious but still don’t want to spend a fortune, I would recommend about double that. For example:
Average Daily Budget
- Metro travel – €5
- Accommodation – €40 (Airbnb – this is if you’re not splitting with someone else)
- Meals/Drinks – €80 (breakfast, lunch, and dinner – including drinks)
- Sightseeing – €15 (museum entry)
Paris is HUGE and you will inevitably be walking a lot. Just to give you a quick background, the layout of the city is split into 20 arrondissements like so:
The quickest and cheapest way to get around is the Metro. You can purchase a single ride ticket for €1.90 or a 10 pack for €14.50. Uber is also widely and readily available throughout the city.
Things to See
You can probably put together a never ending list of things to see while you’re in Paris, but here are a few of my favourites just to get you started. I’m not typically a “touristy” attraction person, but some of the sites are just too good to pass up and I do highly recommend them, but with a personal twist.
Sacré-Cœur and Jardin du Luxembourg
Pack a picnic and head to Sacré-Cœur during the daytime for incredible views and people watching. Jardin du Luxembourg is also a great park for taking a stroll or having a picnic.
Eiffel Tower at Night
Take a bottle of wine at night to the lawn in front of the Eiffel Tower and watch it twinkle (every hour on the hour).
Do some shopping on Rue de Rivoli
There are loads of affordable high-street shops here so you won’t have to break the bank to enjoy a bit of retail therapy.
Visit Musee d’Orsay
Museums in Paris have free entry the first Sunday of each month and Musee d’Orsay is one I highly recommend (I also recommend paying for the audio guide).
Cafe culture is definitely a thing in Paris. Sitting outside with a group of friends and either sipping a coffee or glass of wine, having a meal, enjoying a smoke, or doing all three!
Where to Eat/Drink
Ah the pastries…so many to choose from and all so good.
Le Bistrot d’Henri
For some of the best all around traditional French food with the friendliest service to accompany. I make it a point to go here every time I visit.
For the best french onion soup of your life.
If it’s character you’re looking for, you’ve found it. Don’t come here if you’re expecting anything fancy, but do come here if you’re looking for some amazing cheesy throwback tunes, an awesome crowd, and a dance floor. Check out my Instgram account for a short video of our night.
Le Comptoir Général
One of the most interesting bars I’ve ever been to. I would describe the inside as bohemian garden chic. Crowd and music are great, although you may have to spend some time queuing to get in. Cocktails are all rum based, but you can order beer and wine as well.
Where to Stay
Top 3 areas I would recommend are:
Le Marais spread over the 3rd and 4th arrondissements
I stayed here during my most recent visit and I would highly recommend to any of my friends. The area is young and lively and has tons of bars, restaurants, and independent shops. It’s also very well connected via public transport. If I were to ever move to Paris, this would be at the top of my list for places to live. Prices here are a bit more expensive though, so if you’re looking for budget, check out the next recommendation below.
Oberkampf in the 11th
This area isn’t quite as nice as Marais but has the same type of atmosphere and neighborhood feel to it. I would recommend if you want something like Marais but can’t quite afford it.
Saint-Germain in the 6th arrondissement
I would recommend this area if you want to be withing quick walking distance of the top tourist attractions such as Musée d’Orsay, Musée du Louvre, Jardin du Luxembourg, etc. It’s a bit more touristy but it has tons of shops, bars and restaurants so will make your first visit to Paris convenient.