The capital of the most visited country in the world, Paris is one of the greatest cities in the world. Nicknamed the city of love due to the romance surrounding it, every corner you turn in Paris is sure to be breathtaking. A global centre of art, fashion, food, culture, history, and more, it is a very popular destination for obvious reasons. From the iconic Eiffel Tower that dominates the city, to the colossal Louvre museum, to the luxurious Champs-Élysées, it would take years to see every single thing Paris has to offer. In this post, I will be giving you the ultimate guide to Paris!
Basics of Paris
Currency – With France being part of the European Union, Euros are standard currency.
Language – The language of the city is obviously French, though most touristy areas have people who speak/signs written in other widely spoken languages.
Safety – Capital cities aren’t often the safest, which also goes for Paris. However, as long as you stay in the right areas, don’t venture out alone at night, and stay aware of pick pockets, you’re sure to be fine.
When to Visit
High season in Paris is summer, specifically August and July. The weather then ranges from about 16 to 25 degrees, one of the many reasons why so many people choose to visit at that time. Low season on the other hand is winter, when it gets a bit chillier, ranging from about 8 to 3 degrees. I would personally recommend visiting around the autumn, just because you’re sure to be met with great weather and not too many tourists. Paris is amazing anytime of the year though, so whenever you choose to visit you’re sure to have a great experience.
Paris’ public transport system includes the metro, bus, tramway, and RER. Most widely used is the metro, which is quite old, yet very fast and modern. It covers all of Paris with 14 separate lines, and makes for an inexpensive and efficient way to get around. For destinations outside of the main city, catch an RER express train. In my opinion, public transportation is definitely a better choice than taxis, ubers, or rental cars, as it allows you to better see the dynamic of the overall city.
There are tons of nice Air BnBs throughout Paris, which I would recommend staying in over a hotel, giving you a more local experience while in the city. As for hotels though, some nice and unique options include Les Tournelles, Pavillion de la Reine, and the Nolinski Hotel.
An icon of Paris, the Arc de Triomphe is very patriotic towards France. Standing at the western end of the Champs-Élysées, the arc is essentially the focus point of the street. The arc honours those who fought in the French Revolution and Napoleonic wars, and it was built in the early 19th century. I went up the 50 metre tall arc during my first time in Paris, and thought it had some of the best views of the city out of all the spots I visited. So, I’d definitely suggest braving the trek up the arc if you’re looking for some good photos!
The site of the annual Bastille Day parade, and the finish of the Tour de France race, this nearly two kilometre long avenue is one of the nicest places to walk down in Paris. It is known for its Arc de Triomphe, and many expensive shops, fancy cafés, and historic theatres.
The crowning element of Paris is its Eiffel Tower, the most visited paid monument in the world. Though best seen at night or sunset, the tower is beautiful anytime of day. This 324 metre tall tower was built in 1889 as the entrance to the World’s Fair, and was disapproved of at first but now loved worldwide. Opposite the Seine from the tower you’ll find the Jardins du Trocadéro, a stunning garden area illuminated by its Fountain of Warsaw.
Found within the Louvre Palace, built under King Phillip II, you’ll find the world’s largest and most visited art museum. Extended and added to many times throughout the years, the museum today is completely overwhelming. It is impossible to see everything in the museum in one day, due to its huge size and overwhelming number of pieces. Some of the most famous objects in the museum include Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa, Pythokritos’ Winged Victory, Cyclade’s Venus de Milo, and many many more. Overall, the museum may seem like a bore to you, but it is without a doubt worth a visit during your time in Paris.
Another iconic Parisian museum is the museum of Orsay, located across the Seine from the Louvre. Housed within a former railway station, this stunning inside and out gallery is home to French art from the mid 19th and early 20th centuries. Artists whose workman be found within this museum include Monet, Renoir and Van Gogh. Being much smaller than the Louvre, this museum is definitely not too big to be seen within a day.
With its flying buttresses and stained glass windows, Notre-Dame is one of the best examples of a Gothic church in France. Built mainly from 1160 to 1260, the Catholic cathedral pulls 12 million visitors annually. I didn’t get to go up either of the towers of the church, though I really wish I did as the views of the city and the close-ups of the church itself are said to be amazing.
A nearly 2000 seat opera house built for the Paris Opera, it is known as the Palais Garnier due to its architect, Charles Garnier. The building gained popularity after being chosen as the setting to the ‘Phantom of the Opera’, and it is now most likely the most famous opera house in the world.
Located on the highest point in Paris, Sacré-Cœur can be found above the relaxing Montemarte neighbourhood of the city. This basilica took nearly 50 years to build, with its construction taking place between 1875 and 1914. The cultural and political monument has stunning views of Paris, due to its position atop a hill.
That’s all for my blog post this week. I hope you enjoyed! Make sure to stay tuned for more posts twice a month.