6 Paris tips for a smooth visit
Ah Paris. The City of Light and the City of Love. We were able to spend our wedding anniversary in Paris and we are all about making our travel frictionless. Language barriers can be tough, so we like for everything else to be as easy as possible…without over-planning. Here are some tips that we used to have an easy and engaging trip to Paris. Sometimes it’s really the little things that can make all the difference, like…
Use the free wi-fi
There is a city-wide free Wi-Fi system, but you will have to log in and there is a 2 hour session limit. It can be a little confusing, but this Paris website has all the details on how to get online for free (including a map)! There’s a great little park with seating behind the Notre Dame with this Wi-Fi in case you get hungry after touring this amazing structure and need to use Yelp to find a snack. Hint: There’s a yummy cupcake place nearby.
Use Trip Advisor
Whether we are looking for the best macarons (still up for debate), traditional French dinner, cheap quick lunch, or cupcakes in Paris, TripAdvisor is where we turn. Put on your GPS, find a free Wi-Fi hotspot and find exactly what you are looking for! With some restaurants, you can even make a reservation right through the app. We did it for a same day reservation and it worked like a charm.
Buy a pack of metro tickets
I’m a big public transportation fan for the most part. And the subway system in Paris is quite easy to use. The pack of 10 tickets is recommended as you will get to go to most places you want to go in the center of Paris. It will not get you to Disneyland Paris or Versailles though, but you will make a special trip on transit for them anyway. The pack is 10 separate tickets, so you can split them among two people (that’s what we did). They come out to €1.40 per trip…it doesn’t matter how far you go or how many transfers you make as long as you stay in the specified area. Paris by Train has great information on the tickets. But get the 10 pack, it’s worth it! We even saw a small orchestra in one of the metro stations. How cool is that? It’s worth the €1.40 for the mini-show. Of course, bikes might do the trick too if you’re brave enough!
Use a free audio guide
The Rick Steves Audio Guide walking tour is always a must for us. So much so that it’s in our Top 5 Free Travel Apps post. One afternoon, after our lunch in the Luxembourg Garden, we made our way to Notre Dame and started the audio tour. It took us through the massive cathedral, into some neighborhoods, then back on the island. I love that there is a map included in the audio guide and that you can skip to certain chapters. They also have an audio guide for The Louvre, The Orsay Museum, Versailles Palace, and chats about the food markets, hidden gardens, street markets, cafes, and day trips. It’s a free app, just remember to download the guides you want while you are on Wi-Fi before you head out!
Visit the Eiffel Tower
Buy your tickets ahead of time! There is no reason to stand in line for a ticket at the Eiffel Tower! Just pick a time, print your tickets, and be there. We suggest going early. It will still be crowded, but it’s better than later…unless you get to see the sunset. Then it doesn’t matter how crowded it is. You would be watching the sunset on the Eiffel Tower! To have an audio guide tour, you can download this app or just read the notes.
Savor the city
Walk around. Enjoy the sights, sounds, and people of Paris. Have at least one leisurely day to wander and discover small cafes and small streets. It wasn’t until we took a stroll after our trip up the Eiffel Tower when we could really feel the Paris we have dreamed of. It’s a special moment that will come to you at any time. When we went down a charming street with a view of a sliver of the Eiffel Tower among very Parisian architecture, it hit us. Next time we look for a place to stay, it may be in that area…preferably with a roof!
A trip to Paris can be magical and we want it to be as easy as possible for you. It doesn’t hurt to save a little bit of money too! If you want to get a little bit out of the box during your visit, there are plenty of quirky things to do as well. Leave your tips below so we can all share in the knowledge.
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