Bonjour Paris, We got tickets...Whats next?
You've Got This...But heres a Few Tips!
"We booked our tickets and now what?" This is my favorite message because I know that exciting and terrifying moment when you think...Now what? Lodging of course is the next hurdle and I have plenty of ways to help you choose the right location according to your personal preferences.
After these two essential hurdles are crossed, we start the fun part. Deciding what to do with the time you have here. Before we start in on the planning...I need to know...Have you been to Paris before?
For a first time visitor, there are several good adventures that will get you thru the top sites fast enough to enjoy the legendary "cafe culture" instead of standing in line or contemplating a map.
Together we will create the perfect day(s) and get you acclimated to the transportation options, so that the rest of your trip will be carefree.
If you have been here before I think you'll enjoy your time exploring the other sights you didn't see yet. Let's share some great spots that will strengthen your love for this magical city.
Need some help? Descriptions and prices are located on the "Shop" Page.Check out a couple options below, and let's discuss your dreams. Anything is possible in Paris.
PARIS BY PLANE
CDG(Charles de Gaul) and ORY(Orly) have ways to take an RER/train service (look for the signs that say “Paris by Train”) that gets into the heart of Paris and the Metro lines. You can also use Uber, Taxi, Limo or Shuttle. There are two ways to get tickets for the RER(Train) in the airport.
One is a long self service line the other is a main office to the side with multiple attendants and goes much faster. The cost is $10.30 for the RER ticket into the city. Obviously is you have a large family, other transportation is more economical. Beware uber can be costly in traffic. there is a local company called Taxify that is more reasonable if you want to download this ap. The WiFi in the airport is free.
If you are coming into Beauvais Airport, which is not in Paris (not even in Ile de France, actually), when you arrive you can take one of the shuttle buses. They leave every 20 minutes and cost 17 euros each way (slightly less if you pre-book)
PARIS BY BUS/TRAIN
There is no “main” train or bus station in Paris. Everyone comes into one of the Gares(Train Stations) including: Le Halles, Massy, Maillot, Pereire, Lyon, Nord, Est, Saint-Lazare, Montparnasse, or Bercy. The earlier you book Train travel the less expensive it is.
PARIS UBER/Hired Cars
Uber exists in Paris and is exceptional in quality, price, and service. I’ve used the service many, many times and it’s frankly superior to the taxis. I have a number of companies to prebook transportation at a reasonable price, check with me for recommendations. Generally Hired Cars are on a fixed rate making them a better option than a metered vehicle as the local traffic can be very bad.
Not terribly expensive, very clean, meter is displayed. Best for when you are exhausted, too hot, too cold, or just don’t want to use public transportation anymore. If you’re trying after 23h00 most nights it will be tough, even by established cabstands. There is an app to use, and I know there is a droid equivalent.
People always overestimate how much they will use the Metro. If you are going to be here for a week or more, then get the “Navigo Decouverte.” This is great if you come to Paris often, It will not expire, you just add as needed. They sell them at several stations, including the airport, and you will need to get or bring a Passport size photo(they have photo booths everywhere) you’ll save in fares so it’s worth the hassle. The Pass goes for 7 days and starts Mondays only. You can also specify the zones(1-5) to include Versaille and the Airport.
As far as the Metro in general, the first train leaves each terminus (beginning and ending points of the line) at 05h30. The last train arrives at each terminus around 01h15 except on Fridays, Saturdays, and on nights before a major holiday, when that time is moved to 02h15.
Otherwise, your best bet is to simply buy a book of 10 or 20 tickets and stop thinking you are going to be constantly in the Metro. The Day Pass or 2-3 Day Passes are over priced and, not the best deal, but very attractive for tourists who are not well-advised.
PARIS FREE WIFI
There’s a lot of free wifi around Paris, especially at Starbucks or McDonalds. Every Partk and Monument offer free WIFI. If you want a lot of data for not a lot of money, this is a good solution:
PARIS CELL PHONES & INTERNET
Getting a SIM card in Europe is not too hard. I recommend going to Orange(yes this is the name of the carrier). Bring your passport for a prepaid SIM card. Be sure your Cell Phone is unlocked before you leave the states. Just ask for a simple International plan before you leave. Remember that in Free WiFi areas, you can make calls using Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp.
On the first Sunday of the month, many museums are free. Go to the smaller ones to avoid the crowds. This link also gives you some museums that are free all the time!
You should simply bring an ATM card and withdraw money as needed. Changing money is almost always a ripoff, not just in Paris, but anywhere in Europe. Paris is relatively safe as long as you are aware of your surroundings. Plenty of ATM machines and the rate is usually better than offices and airports. You will not need to be liquid right away. Everyone takes credit cards as well. When a card machine asks if you want the transaction in USD or EUR, choose the Euro option and your bank will get you the best available rate of exchange.
PARIS LUGGAGE ISSUES
Should you need to store luggage before or after your checkout, You have two options, one being the Train Stations Gare Du Nord the other being the Airport CDG. will pick up your bags at your hotel and keep them at the airport! Gare de Nord is less expensive and will be in a central location, though other train stations feature left luggage spots and lockers also.
The GDN lockers are open 06:15 to 23:15 daily. The locker area is located downstairs under the main concourse opposite platform 3 - when you walk off the end of the Eurostar platforms, look for downward stairs just ahead and to the right of you. Bagages Du Monde is open 24/7 and located in the Terminal 2 across from the Sheraton.
Don't believe the hype. Paris is very safe. You will see patrols of men and women with guns and they are not to be feared. They are good at their jobs, and when something on rare occasion happens, it is contained quickly with very little impact.
Lots of other great tips to share, never stop for young women with clipboards/paper and pen it is a scam. They work in pairs and pick pockets all over the city. Sacre Coeur area: Never stop for men trying to sell or tie a bracelet on your wrist also a scam, they surround you and intimidate you. To be safe, try to divide any cash you carry into different places on your body, even in your shoes.
Take a photo of passport and leave it in your room safe. Don't carry it, shopkeepers rarely need to see it and will accept a photo of your ID on your phone. If you're worried about the safe in your room, There is a safe at the front desk of your hotel as well. Better safe than sorry, you don’t want to waste time at The Embassy where they do not serve wine!
FIRST VISIT TO PARIS
Tour Eiffel - of course
Arc de Triomphe - There are several underpasses do not run across the street!
Louvre or D'Orsay - Depending on your time they both are amazing. Louvre is all day, D'Orsay is 2-3 hours.
Notre Dame - On the original island of Paris, and the most visited spot in the city, even more since the fire.
Sacre Coeur & Montmartre - The artists’ quarter. Lots of tourists, but still worth a visit, watch out for pick pockets and other scams as mentioned above.
Jardin du Luxembourg - the largest garden in Paris with the oldest carousel
Versaille- The RER/Train will take you there very easily and the tickets are inexpensive. You can save time purchasing your entry tickets online.
2nd Visit to Paris
D'Orsay or Louvre - depending on what you didn't see on your first visit
Place des Vosges & Le Marais - Where Musketeers dueled, and now the Jewish/Gay area of town
Catacombs: Buy tickets ahead of time to avoid long lines
Versailles or Fontainebleau - Let them eat cake! Amazing gardens, The Hall of Mirrors and summer concert and water shows, but very crowded. If you already did Versaille, Fontainbleu is a great chateau as well, smaller and less crowded, also take the RER then a short bus ride. This is far less crowded.
Les Invalides - Napoleon’s tomb and an amazing military museum, Perfect for the men in your life!
Canal St-Martin - where the locals go to drink, hangout, and have coffee they also have boat tours and in Summer a great spot for Paris Plages, the cities way of brining the beach closer
Pere Lachaise - famous cemetery where Oscar Wilde, Chopin, Jim Morrison among others, are buried.