Paris – Travel News, Tips, and Guides

Paris - image courtesy of Pete Linforth from Pixabay
Paris - image courtesy of Pete Linforth from Pixabay
Written by Linda Hohnholz

Paris. The City of Lights. It’s a name that evokes a thousand different images – lovers strolling by the Seine, the Eiffel Tower lit up against a midnight sky, the aroma of fresh croissants wafting from corner bakeries.

Whether you crave a romantic escape or a deep dive into art and history, Paris is a city ready to steal your heart.

But how do you navigate this captivating maze of iconic sights, offbeat neighbourhoods, and delicious temptations? Do you book transfers, or rely on public transport? Let’s dive in and unveil those insider tips and hidden bits of info that will transform your Parisian adventure from ordinary to extraordinary.

Must-See Sights (With a Twist)

Yes, Paris is famous for its iconic landmarks, and for good reason. Here’s how to experience them with a touch more savvy:

  • The Eiffel Tower: No Parisian escapade is complete without a brush against this iron giant. Pre-book your elevator tickets to avoid those epic queues – the views from the top will make the effort worth it. If heights aren’t your thing, enjoy its grandeur from below, spread out a blanket on the Champ de Mars gardens, and watch as the tower sparkles to life each hour after dusk.
  • The Louvre Museum: This colossal space houses an overwhelming collection of art. Don’t attempt to see it all! Choose a specific era or region that piques your interest – Baroque sculpture, Renaissance masters, Egyptian antiquities – then focus. It’s the best way to prevent museum fatigue and truly appreciate the treasures on display.
  • Arc de Triomphe: Climb to the top, witness the thrill (and organised chaos) of the infamous roundabout, then snap a photo down the Champs Elysées, one of Europe’s most celebrated thoroughfares.

Unveiling Parisian Charm

While the big-hitters are a must, Paris truly shines in its quieter corners. Seek out these under-the-radar gems:

  • Jardin du Luxembourg: When the sun comes out, Parisians flock to these beautiful gardens. Grab a picnic lunch and a good book, find a bench or stretch out on the grass, and embrace slow living the Parisian way.
  • Canal Saint-Martin: Young, hip Paris chills out here. Stroll along the waterfront cafés, browse vintage shops for quirky finds, or take a leisurely cruise along the canal for a unique vantage point of city life.
  • Hidden Passages: The city hides a network of covered passages, charming arcades from another era. Step off the beaten track and discover quirky shops, cosy cafés, and a glimpse into a historic Parisian world.

A Feast for the Senses

French cuisine isn’t all croissants and fancy cheese (though those certainly have their place). There’s a world of flavours to discover, from unpretentious bistros to culinary innovation:

  • Bistros: These little cornerstones of Parisian life serve up traditional fare without the pomp and price tag. Choose a bustling spot filled with locals for the true taste of everyday Paris.
  • Street Markets: Sample the freshest produce, marvel at the cheese selection, and grab delicious on-the-go snacks. It’s more than shopping – it’s a cultural immersion.
  • Pâtisseries: Indulging in a perfect pastry is a Parisian rite of passage. Prepare for your tastebuds to be thoroughly enchanted by the delicate flavours and exquisite creations.

Getting Around (and Getting In)

Paris is walkable, but its excellent public transport makes exploring those further-flung neighbourhoods a breeze. The Metro is your best friend – it’s fast, frequent, and easy to navigate once you get the hang of it. Taxis are plentiful, especially around major sights, or use official taxi ranks to hail one safely. Ride-hailing apps like Uber work well too.

For seamless arrivals and departures, pre-book a reliable Paris transfers service, especially if you’re travelling with children or lots of luggage. Charles de Gaulle (CDG) and Orly (ORY) are the city’s two main airports, although transfers are available from other airports as well.. Expect the RER Train (Line B) from CDG to be efficient but possibly crowded, while the RoissyBus offers a direct connection to the Opera district. From ORY, you can use the convenient Orlyval train combined with the RER.

Practical Pointers

  • Money: France uses the euro. Have some cash on hand, but most places accept major credit cards.
  • Language: Attempting a few simple French phrases – “bonjour,” “merci” – goes a long way, even if your accent is terrible.
  • Opening Hours: Be aware of shorter opening hours; don’t expect shops and restaurants to be open all day.
  • Tipping: While not as expected as in the US, a small tip for good service in restaurants is a kind gesture.

Embrace the Parisian Way

  • Say “Bonjour!” It’s common courtesy to greet people when entering any establishment.
  • Attire: Think understated chic. Comfort is important, but ditch the athleisure for a slightly more put-together look.
  • Embrace Café Culture: Coffee’s for lingering, not rushing. If you perch at the bar, it’ll be cheaper than table service.
  • People Watch: Settle down at a sunny terrace, order a drink, and soak up the Parisian swirl. It’s the best free entertainment in town!

Enjoy your trip, and Happy Travels!

About the author

Linda Hohnholz

Editor in chief for eTurboNews based in the eTN HQ.

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