Paris is INCREDIBLE! All around you, you will find beauty, world-class restaurants, museums and architecture.
WHAT YOU’LL FIND HERE:
- Travel Tips
- How Much to Budget Daily
- Things To Do
- Places to Eat or Drink
- Culture (Fashion, Tips to Navigate the Culture, etc.)
Main Airport: Paris Orly Airport (ORY)
Airport to the city center of Paris: You can take a taxi (25-30 mins). You can also take the airport bus (ORLYVAL) and the RER B, RER C (metro lines, 38-50 mins commute time). There are tourists booths right at baggage claims and they are super nice! I walked right up to a tourist booth and she told me how to use public transit to get to the city center. It was easy to follow and costs less than 10 euros!
Metro: The metro system is a very efficient method of transportation in France, you can go anywhere in Paris through the metro system.
Taxi: When you arrive at ORY, as soon as you grab your luggage and exit through customs, you’ll see very good signage for transportation. They have a taxi queue so you can just head on out and grab the first taxi in line! You can use the myTaxi app and Uber in Paris as well.
Boat: There is a legit hop-on, hop-off boat tour that takes you to the top 7 tourist attractions (Notre Dame, Eiffel Tower, Louvre Museum). You can buy the ticket right at the Batobus station. Use Google Maps to find the closest one to you. This was my preferred method for seeing everything the first day we arrived in Paris!
Currency: Euros. We could use credit card almost everywhere–however in some cute bakeries or pop-up shops and street vendors, you had to use cash!
Tipping: Service was included in our price everywhere we went–so we did not tip! Nor was it solicited of us anywhere.
Best Time to Go: If you prefer warm temperatures, sunshine and little possibility of rain, you need to go in the summer months June to August (the highs don’t quite reach 80°F). Though, always check the weather on your smartphone, it rains 7-9 days out of each month in Paris! If you prefer to avoid a massive amount of tourists, November to December are your best bets. My fiancé and I spent Christmas in Paris and there were rarely lines anywhere–except the Eiffel Tower. It’s busy all the time! I’m going again in mid May 2018–I will update what the weather and tourists crowds are like then.
Misc Tips: Try everything! Also, a lot of the museums are cheaper to buy in-person vs online. Do the hop on, hop off boat tour for 2 days so you can travel by boat! It’s cheap and easy! Souvenirs are cheaper the farther away you are from tourist attractions.
Nearest U.S. Embassy: 2 Avenue Gabriel, 75008 Paris, France
Transportation and eating in Spain can be very very cheap! If you live in Madrid, you’ll find that you can easily purchase breakfast for less than 3 euros, lunch for less than 7 and dinner less than 12. Transportation is probably covered by your Abono. If you’re visiting Madrid and want to live economically, the same applies to you too! You can eat very cheaply in a lot of Spanish chain restaurants, bakeries (almost on every corner) and a lot of restaurants display their menus outside or have people holding signs and passing out coupons. You can easily make sure you stay within your budget!
I recommend 20-30 euros, but you can easily live on less–depends on your comfort!
Free Things To Do: You can see almost all of the top attractions for free! The Eiffel Tower, the Latin Quarter, the Notre Dame, the Musee du Louvre…
MUST-SEE: If you are a museum/art lover you absolutely have to set aside half a day for the Musee du Louvre. It is incredible! You could spend a whole day in there and still not see all of the artwork. It is the largest art museum in Europe and contains the original works like the Mona Lisa. Paris is easy to walk around or see everything by boat. You must see the Eiffel Tower, of course, the Notre Dame, the Latin Quarter, the Luxembourg Gardens, Sacré-Cœur, and the darling neighborhood Montmartre.
Cheap Eats: Eating in Paris can quickly become very expensive! If you’re on a budget and don’t want to spend 30 euros for 1 plate, there are plenty of places you can grab a bite to eat under 10 euros. You can grab dinner in the Latin Quarter. They have 3 course menus for 10-15 euros per person and the area is pretty cool to walk around! Bakeries sell delicious Parisian breakfast and lunch for under 10 euros. Restaurants around Paris also tend to have their menus outside of their door so you can see what foods fit your budget. You don’t have to splurge to try fine Parisian dining! But if you can spend some money at the top restaurants, Paris is definitely the place to do it! French cuisine is delicious!
Language: French, though people in most businesses and high-tourist areas speak English and Spanish. I suggest downloading Duo-Lingo so you can learn a couple phrases in French to get by! I noticed service is a lot nicer if you try and speak French.
French Foods To Try: Macarons, Baguette, Steak frites, Croissant, Duck Confit, Crêpes
Tips for POC & Interracial Couples: To the dark-skinned, light-skinned, and interracial couples, in my experience and friends’ experiences, we didn’t run into any racism, tension nor discrimination. A lot of people were helpful! Before going to Paris, I was almost discouraged from going because so many people kept telling me that French people were rude if you don’t speak French and they didn’t like Americans. I didn’t feel this sentiment…and I spent a week there for Christmas and a weekend in May as well. Not enough time to gauge this, but certainly in the time I was there, I felt welcome.
Legal Drinking Age 18 years old; but I was NEVER asked for my ID.
Fashion Smart, casual–you won’t see people in sweatpants or pajamas or their hair in messy unkempt buns on the weekends or after work. Everyone dresses smart casual or nicer.