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How to Get the Most Out of Your Paris Experience
Ah…Paris, the city of lights and amour. This beautiful city is the subject of so many films and TV shows and fashion, there’s no surprise it’s one of the most visited cities in the world. With more than 16 million people visiting the French capital in the first half of 2017, Paris is on course to a ten-year high in the number of visitors to its beautiful boulevards.
For many people, Paris is a dream destination. Conjuring up images of romance, home to iconic sights like the Eiffel Tower and the Arc de Triomphe and hosting some of the most famous art galleries and museums on the planet, it’s no wonder it features on so many bucket lists.
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Continue reading below to learn how you can get the most out of your time in Paris and have a trip to remember.
Make a Plan
While it is tempting to try and fit in a lot in a short amount of time, plan to spend a week or more in Paris. If you try to cram everything into one weekend, it will be sure to leave you frazzled. Pick up a guidebook or do some internet research about which attractions are shut on which days.
Certain museums are closed on Mondays or Tuesdays. Some shops close Mondays as they are open all weekend. In August each year, Parisians leave the city for their vacancies so you may find that fewer businesses are open. If you’d like a more authentic Parisian experience, it’s best to visit when schools are in session.
Try to choose a hotel in a central location. Don’t make the mistake of going for budget accommodation that is more than 30 minutes from the center of Paris on the metro. You’ll spend more time than you’d like commuting back and forth each day.
Which attractions are you most excited to see? Group your sightseeing by neighborhood or district. There are the “must-see” sights but don’t feel obligated to go by what a guidebook says. Sometimes the best experiences happen when you wander through a neighborhood and explore freely without any agenda.
The Louvre is crowded most days and very large, covering centuries of artwork and sculpture. Try Musee d’Orsay instead, if you enjoy 19th-century French art and a smaller section of works. Or if you’d rather see art in action, take a stroll in Montmartre and watch the portrait artists as they work.
There are also wonderful day trips such as Château de Versailles or Monet’s Gardens in Giverny that are very accessible by train from Paris. Choose one location per day trip and make sure to buy tickets online in advance. If you love museums, save money and buy a 2, 4, or 6-day museum pass, which will allow you to enter for free (just the cost of the pass), skip lines, and fit in a ton of culture. The pass must be used on consecutive days only.
Save Those Soles
In between all your walking, a great way to keep your feet from some serious pain is to take a river cruise bateaux mouches or hop on, hop off double decker bus tour. Both of these modes of transit allow you to see more of the city but with a slightly different view and a bit of relaxation, too.
Don’t forget to buy a metro pass. The best deal if you’re doing a mixture of walking and metro is to buy a carnet of 10 tickets. If you’re a little nervous about navigating the metro system, have a study of the map ahead of time, and remember that the name of the line is the last stop. A few times on the metro and you’ll soon get the hang of it.
Get the Most Out Of Your Paris Experience
Paris is a fascinating city with so much on offer. You could spend anything from a few days to a few weeks exploring all of the sights, sampling the amazing French cuisine and rambling through the famous streets.
Whatever you do, be sure to make a plan and allow enough time to sample the city sights you’re most interested in. Allow for a balance of touring and relaxing to get the most out of your time in the French capital and you’ll no doubt have that dream trip of a lifetime. Bon Voyage!