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How to plan a trip to Paris in 2023 – 10 practical tips

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Paris is romantic, mysterious, alluring, and sophisticated, and it has dominated the list of the world’s most visited cities for many years.

Last year, the French capital attracted more than 33 million tourists, placing second only to London on the list of Europe’s most visited cities. Hotels, museums, restaurants never complain about a lack of customers. Therefore, the earlier you start planning a trip to Paris, the better. You’ll be able to choose the right hotel, hit on a flight ticket promotion and decide in peace what you want to see in Paris.

Many people fantasize about visiting this city. What steps can be taken to make this a reality? In today’s article, I’ll walk you through the process of planning a trip to Paris in 2023.

Best time of year to visit Paris

The first step in organizing is to carefully select a date. We are not discussing specific dates, but rather the appropriate time of year.

If we go in the summer, we must consider the fact that it is peak season, which means crowds and high prices. Furthermore, visiting Parisian monuments is more enjoyable during the cooler months, when the sun is not shining down.

Spring appears to be the best time. You can also hit the period when magnolias and cherry trees are in bloom. People who want to save money, on the other hand, frequently visit Paris in the autumn or winter, when the weather is not always conducive to sightseeing but prices are much lower. I invite you to read the following article, which discusses the best time of year to visit Paris.

How to plan a trip to Paris in 2023 - 10 practical tips
Paris during fall

Paris has the fewest people in two periods

In August, when everyone in Paris goes on vacation and the city is completely deserted. This is when it is easiest to find a parking spot in the city center. You can go to a popular restaurant or a well-known rooftop without having to wait in line. I love Paris during this time of year because it is calmer and more affordable.

December’s first few days are the second such time. Beautiful Christmas decorations, beautifully lit streets, and the famous Christmas tree in Galerie Lafayette all contribute to the ideal pre-Christmas atmosphere.

Few people travel during this time because everyone is on vacation for Christmas and New Year’s Eve, and no one plans to go sightseeing beforehand. That is why now is the ideal time to visit Paris. There are far fewer tourists, and Parisians primarily visit shopping malls to do their Christmas shopping.

Galerie Lafayette before Christmas
Galerie Lafayette

Book a flight to Paris

A flight can be booked in a matter of minutes in the era of widespread travel. AirFrance, Wizzair, and Rayanair airlines offer connections between major European cities and Paris.

How can I keep up with everything? I recommend using the Skyscanner flight comparison engine, which allows us to quickly analyze all airline offers and purchase the cheapest air ticket on the route we are interested in.

The website not only allows us to search for flights on specific dates, but it also previews the prices of flights throughout the month, allowing us to select the most convenient date.

My advice: If you have the opportunity, book your ticket 8-10 weeks before your flight to Paris – it will most likely be the cheapest.

Flight to Paris
Flight to Paris

Get to Paris from the airport

There are numerous ways to get to Paris depending on which airport you arrive at. You can get there quickly and easily using the metro or the RER train from the Charles de Gaulle and Orly airports in the Paris suburbs.

With low-cost airlines’ preferred airport, Paris Beauvais, the situation is a little different. Despite the fact that it is named after Paris, it is located 80 kilometers away from the French capital. We can select from the most popular buses, trains, and carriers.

The blablacar portal is the most cost-effective and convenient way to get to the specified address provided by the carriers.

Charles de Gaulle (CDG)

The RER B train is the best way to get to the center of Paris if your trip begins at CDG airport. Trains run every 15 minutes from 5 a.m. to midnight, and the journey from the airport to the Gare du Nord north station takes about 40 minutes. A single one-way ticket costs €10.30. A detailed schedule and ticket prices can be found here.

The Roissybus is another option for getting to Paris from the airport. The bus will take you near the Paris Opera House, closer to the city center. The journey takes approximately one hour. A single ticket costs 12 euros. Prices and a detailed schedule can be found here.

The city bus 350 or 351 is the cheapest option, but the trip takes about 2 hours due to numerous stops in Paris’s suburbs. A single ticket costs 6 euros. A detailed schedule is available on the website.

Beauvais (BVA)

If your trip to Paris begins with an arrival at Beauvais Airport, the Beauvais shuttle is the quickest and by far the best way to get to the city. The journey takes about an hour and 15 minutes, and a one-way ticket costs €15.90 or €29 for two. Buses depart from the Paris Porte Maillot parking lot in the city’s northwest. Visit the website for more information.

Orly (ORY)

You’ll need to take two modes of transportation to get to the center: the Orlyval metro and the RER B train. The Orlyval runs from the airport to the station where the train departs. A RER + Orlyval ticket costs €13.25. Visit the website for more information.

Buy Paris visite travel pass

During a trip to Paris, you will undoubtedly find it useful to use the metro. As a tourist, you have several ticket options:

Paris visite travel pass gives you unlimited use of all public transportation (metro, RER train, bus, streetcar) from 1 to 5 days in zones 1-3 (Paris) or 1-5 (Paris including connections to the airport, Disneyland and Versailles). This is an ideal option if you plan to move around a lot by public transportation if your hotel will be outside the center.

I used the two-day Paris visite travel pass for zones 1-3, plus I had to buy a ticket for CDG airport.

If you don’t plan to travel a lot on transport, you can opt for a coupon of 10 rides in one zone. You can also use the ticket by moving between zones, but then you must use as many tickets/rides as you cross zones.

Alternatively, you can buy a Mobilis daily ticket and ride unlimited in the zones of your choice.

Compare costs and match the ticket to your Paris trip and sightseeing schedule. For me, the Paris Visite Travel Pass worked well and I didn’t have to worry about anything, I had freedom and the ability to pull up even one station if I got tired or cold.

But I would buy a 10-ride ticket a second time. I didn’t take the subway more than 10 times each over the two days. It would have worked out cheaper – but I would have had to keep an eye on the zones and count the number of rides.

Keep your tickets until the end of your ride

Although you already buy your ticket at the entrance to the subway, don’t throw it away before you leave. You could be accosted by a ticket inspector at any time, either during your trip or when you leave the station.

Take good care of your tickets – they can be easily demagnetized if they lie around your phone or credit card tapes for too long. If this happens before entering the subway and an unused ticket is not accepted, you can at least exchange it free of charge at the subway ticket office.

Book tickets to tourist attractions

When going to Paris, necessarily consider booking tickets to the places you want to visit in advance. This will allow you to avoid large queues to the ticket offices and save you a lot of time.

What to see in Paris?

Eiffel Tower

If you plan to climb or take the elevator to the Eiffel Tower, book your ticket here. You’ll skip the queue to the ticket office – but still be prepared for a long wait for the mandatory security check.

Eiffel Tower at night
Eiffel Tower at night

Arc de Triomphe

Great vantage point and I think a trip to Paris without it would lose a lot. You can see how symmetrically Paris is crisscrossed by streets, you can see many of the city’s landmarks, including the Eiffel Tower – and with the museum, you will learn the significance of the sculptures on the Arc. The only problem is that the Arc is not accessible to people with limited mobility. Only a winding staircase leads to the top.

Book your ticket here, and smile broadly at the people standing in line to get your ticket as you pass them.

Arc de Triomphe
Arc de Triomphe

Louvre

If you’re planning to visit one of the greatest art museums and see masterpieces like the Mona Lisa or the Venus de Milo – buy your Louvre ticket online here.

If you’re interested in visiting the Louvre in a slightly different way, you can also book an exciting tour of the Louvre at night.

Louvre
Louvre

Montparnasse Tower

Although the queue for the Montparnasse Tower ticket office was not long, buying a ticket in advance gave me the opportunity to visit the tower exactly when I wanted, which was just before sunset. You can book your ticket here.

Other tours and attractions

The possibilities for interesting excursions in Paris are almost endless! Paris is called the City of Lights, so you can opt for a night cruise on the Seine, and admire it illuminated.

Choose best accommodation

Depending on the type of accommodation, I recommend two portals for booking cheap and secure lodging: Booking and Airbnb.

We can quickly book accommodations in hotels of various standards, from budget guesthouses to luxury five-star hotels, using Booking.com. The hotel database in Paris is extremely extensive, and everyone will find the type of accommodation that suits them.

I suggest staying at an economy class hotel if you plan to spend your days sightseeing and only use the accommodation for one night.

If you want exclusive accommodations with a view of the Eiffel Tower, I recommend one of the hotels listed here.

Hotel rates in Paris are among the highest in Europe. Using the Airbnb website, travelers can reserve lodging from locals as an alternative to hotels.

Airbnb is an online portal where you can rent a space in a room, an entire room, or an apartment directly from owners who post rental listings with photos and prices. Using the portal, we can quickly find high-quality lodging.

Paris accomodation
Paris accomodation

Paris – where to sleep?

Prices in the best neighborhoods are high – in the summer season (and beyond) the cheapest well-rated accommodation for two people can cost more than $150/night.

Fortunately, there are also cheaper alternatives farther from the center, and getting around the city is helped by one of the most developed metro networks in the world. If you find accommodation close to a metro station, you can get everywhere relatively quickly, regardless of your location within the city center.

Cheap accommodation in Paris

Unfortunately, if we care about proximity to major attractions and quality we need to have a budget prepared for a trip to Paris. Fortunately, there are also more budget options that will allow us to save money and at the same time be within a reasonable distance from the center.

Probably the best-known budget chain in Paris is the Hotel F1 chain. One example is HotelF1 Paris Saint Ouen Marché Aux Puces, which is located quite close to the center, in the 19th district, north of the Sacré-Cœur Basilica.

The price for a room for two people per night used to go as low as under $100, but the rooms don’t have a private bathroom. Well, and recently prices have skyrocketed. The comfort of the rooms is also not the highest – sometimes in the comments you can find a statement that it is plastic. Nevertheless, few people complain about cleanliness.

Better conditions (but also higher prices) can be found at the HotelF1 Paris Porte de Châtillon, located in the 14th district (south side of the Seine). Here, rooms with private bathrooms are also available, but are definitely more expensive than those offering only access to a shared bathroom.

What are the best neighborhoods to look for accommodation in Paris?

The center of Paris is divided into 20 districts or arrondissements. The layout of the districts resembles a spiral, which begins at the western end of the Ile de la Cité and “wraps” further clockwise.

Each of the districts differs from one another. The central districts offer the most attractions for tourists. The advanced northern part is very diverse and party-oriented, while the area farther south today is mainly residential neighborhoods.

We can see all the accommodations within the historic center at this link.

Unsurprisingly, the best neighborhoods for finding lodging are those with the smallest numbers, which are located in the center. These districts are small enough that we can easily move between them on foot.

When looking for accommodation, the aspect of comfort is also important. Staying in the Latin Quarter (5th district), we can stroll without stress even late at night. In the case of some districts further northeast, we may feel less comfortable returning after dark in some places.

Unfortunately, prices in the most central districts are very high and may be beyond the budget of most tourists. Still, it’s worth keeping an eye on booking sites in anticipation of a promotional offer.

Book a table at the restaurant

Since I haven’t had enough time to test too many interesting restaurants in Paris myself, I’ll refer you to the materials of other bloggers who know Paris inside out and know where they feed well.

Paris Food Guide [2022]: Where to Eat in Paris + Best Food Tips

Paris City Guide – Bon Appetit

I also remind you of a great opportunity to dine on the second floor of the Eiffel Tower. Not everyone can boast such an experience.

Restaurant in Paris
Restaurant in Paris

Write down important emergency numbers

First Aid: Ambulance Service (SAMU) 24h/24h phone 15 ; Police (Police) phone 17; Fire Department (Pompiers) phone 18.

Beware of people who want us to sign some letters. Very often these are scammers who, under the pretense of signing a list on which we have to write our ID number, want to check where we hide our wallet. There are most of them around the Eiffel Tower.

Plan your visit

Flights and hotels have been booked, so it’s time to plan a sightseeing itinerary! Of course, some people prefer spontaneous trips, in which case this section can be skipped entirely. Planning the attractions and sightseeing program, in my opinion, is a critical point of preparation that allows you to fully utilize Paris’s potential.

This is where my blog comes in handy. Before your trip, read through the articles about Paris’s most famous monuments and decide which ones you must see based on your own preferences.

Or are you thinking about going to Montmartre? Then check out these nearby attractions.

If you are only in Paris for a 2 days, you can follow my pre-planned sightseeing itinerary.

Some people plan their sightseeing itinerary day by day, while others simply print out descriptions of interesting sights. We already have the necessary tickets, lodging, and a tour itinerary. Now comes the most exciting part: planning our own trip to Paris!

Learn a few French phrases

This is the final and most important piece of advice. Don’t be afraid to use French words or to have an accent. To be treated courteously and respectfully by the French, it’s a good idea to know a few phrases in their language.

The French are very polite people. They are used to greeting and saying goodbye, even to strangers in public elevators.

If you want to be treated well in museums, cafes, and stores, and always greet everyone (“Bonjour!” and after 17 o’clock, “Bonsoir!“).

Do not forget “please” (S’il Vous Plait), thank you (Merci), and goodbye (Au revoir).

If you want to apologize for something you did (for example, you accidentally stepped on someone’s foot on the subway), use “Pardon” (I’m sorry), if you want to apologize for something you are only going to do (for example, ask someone to step down ), use “Excuse moi”).

Conclusion

I hope that now you know how to plan a trip to Paris in 2023 on your own. You will surely have a great time and bring back great memories from there.


Did you know….
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How To Plan Your Trip to Paris

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