“Paris is busy, dirty and too touristy.”
“Paris is the most romantic city in the world full of culture, delectable food and incredible wine.”
Two very contrasting opinions about the French capital. We love Paris, and the best part for us is it’s only a train away! We want to share some of our tips with you to make sure you have an unforgettable trip. The main tourist spots can be seen in a day, or take your time and you could easily relax for a week here! Whether you’re there for a flying visit or have more time on your hands, there are certain things you need to know before you start exploring…
1) Eurostar sales
Eurostar regularly holds sales where you can bag a great bargain. Starting from £26 one way from London to Paris, you won’t find cheaper than that! Use the opportunity to book a spontaneous weekend away.
2) The Metro
The metro system is completely different to the London underground, if you leave via London St. Pancras you’ve got a shock when you step out at Gare du Nord! It’s very old and can make you feel a bit uneasy, but brave it and embrace it, it’s the quickest way to cross the pond to Paris. The double decker trains are also quite cool, just watch out for the rats as you step on!
3) Try and speak a bit of French
Probably our best advice for you. It’s not only polite but you’ll find it helps a lot. We found not many people in Paris spoke English, so they will be more able to assist you if you can understand a bit of the lingo! It’s also fun to practice in some of the little brasseries, give it go and you won’t regret it!
4) Pickpockets and scammers
Paris is notorious for pickpockets. We don’t want to scare you but just be alert. Keep your eyes peeled, backpacks close and senses alert.
5) Holiday Inn Notre Dame
This little gem is a great place to stay, with rooms starting at €115 it’s not recommended on a backpacker budget but is complete luxury for an affordable price. Friendly staff, a lovely reception area and the best little surprise; a rooftop bar with a magnificent view over the quaint streets of Paris and the iconic Eiffel Tower.
If you’re looking to get a bit cultural Paris is perfect. Full of museums from the Musee d’Orsay to Grand Palais, but of course there’s one that everyone wants to visit; The Louvre! Outside is the must see Instagram spot to get that perfect snap and inside you’ve got the famous Mona Lisa. Don’t underestimate The Louvre, there’s so much more to it that you could easily spend a day here, so give yourself some time to explore!
7) Parisians smoke – a lot!
If you’re a non-smoker, be warned that the Parisians smoke a lot – not passing judgement but as a non-smoker this can be quite unpleasant especially when you’re trying to enjoy a meal! Just a little tip to prepare you for the fumes…
Paris is not a good city to visit if you’re on a diet! The croissants, the cheese, the steak, the crepes … do we need go on? All so authentically French, you will find so many great restaurants especially in the Latin quarter, you’re spoilt for choice and we highly recommend you stop by!
9) Eiffel Tower
The one, the only, the Eiffel Tower. It doesn’t disappoint. If you’re wondering whether to go up or not, and a lot of travel blogs we’ve read advise against it, we say go for it! Yes it’s a bit overcrowded at the top and the champagne is overpriced, but the view makes it all worthwhile. Literally draw dropping as you get to the top, we recommend you visit at sunset when there is a majestic feeling surrounding the world’s capital of romance.
Walking is the best way to see most of the hot tourist spots in Paris. Invest in some comfy trainers, pack your bag for the day and set off. You’ll also find plenty of beautiful spots off the tourist map as you explore the streets.