top of page

Paris Travel Tips for First Time Visitors

Updated: Sep 5, 2023

Paris, one of the most magnificent cities in the world, is a dynamic, cultural metropolis with world-famous sites around every corner and never enough time to visit them all. In addition to being the most romantic city in the world, Paris is also a haven for foodies and fashionistas.

If you are a first-time visitor to the lovely European city of Paris, expect to see things you will adore, but please be mindful of the things that could also make your vacation less than perfect. Check out these tips for making the most of your first trip to Paris!

Paris is more than simply a city for lovers

Most tourists who visit Paris for the first time have an idealistic perception of the city: candlelit meals in an art nouveau café, and the sun setting behind the Eiffel Tower. Not that these things are untrue about Paris! However, if you're a foodie, you can focus your trip on Michelin-starred restaurants and adored neighborhood cafes; if you're a history buff, there are many historical sites in Paris that will undoubtedly pique your interest.

Travel During the Off-Peak Season

There is little doubt that the off-season in April and October is the ideal time to visit Paris. Less tourists, cheaper tourist rates, and a breathtaking sight of nature right in the city. Cherry blossoms' pink hues will appeal to spring fans, and those who favor pumpkin spice lattes will appreciate strolling through parks and streets covered with foliage. Paris is best visited in the spring and summer. There are several festivals that the city hosts to spread cheer, and the weather is ideal for sightseeing. These six months are perfect for travel if you want to experience Paris as the locals do.

Book a hotel near the center

If this is your first time visiting Paris, you should stay in a central location. Paris is divided into 20 arrondissements, or districts, from which you can pick a hotel. You might make a decision based on the museums and attractions that are unique to each of these neighborhoods. Montmartre is in the 18th, Le Marais is shared by the 3rd and 4th, and the Latin Quarter of the city is in the 5th. Safe areas with easy access to the city's top restaurants, shops, tourist destinations, and iconic landmarks may be found in the city center.

Wear comfortable shoes

Paris is a city made for walking and exploring. Wear your most comfortable pair of sneakers or sandals for the time being instead of high heels since exploring the city is best done on foot. As an example, the Eiffel Tower is located on the other side of Notre Dame, therefore you must also consider the significant distance between various sites. You're going to get physical aches even days after the vacation from constantly changing locations.

Use public transportation

Other than walking, the subway and renting a Velib are other excellent ways to see Paris. All you need to do to use the metro is purchase a Paris Pass or a Paris Metro Pass. Both cards provide unlimited access to the Paris Metro system, making it easier for visitors to explore every inch of the city.Meanwhile, there are more than 1,800 stations for the public bike-sharing program Velib around the city. Either a normal bike or an e-bike can be rented for a set period of time, and then it can be returned to a station nearby before its validity expires. For a hassle-free and comfortable method to travel throughout France, you may also ride the train!

Keep an eye out for scams and pickpockets.

Keep an eye out for pickpockets and scammers as you'll be using the metro. Because tourists are easy prey, leave valuables like your passport and big sums of cash at your hotel. These individuals are common in tourist spots as well, where some may obligingly invite visitors to join petitions for the environment or don friendship bracelets. If you can, try to stay clear from them, and if you do find yourself in one, leave immediately.

Practice basic French phrases

Despite being extremely challenging to learn, French is a beautiful language. You should learn a few more words while you're at it as it's customary to say "Bonjour" to store employees and service personnel before placing an order or making a purchase. The following are some that you could find helpful: Merci (Thank you), Pardon (I'm sorry), and Comment allez-vous? (What's your name? ), D'accord (Okay), Excusez-moi (Excuse me), and Où se trouve la station de métro la plus proche? (Where is the closest metro station?).

Remember to pack a travel adaptor

Although it may seem obvious, few people are aware that power plugs in Paris are different from those found everywhere in the world. The sockets are spherical and deep in Europe, whereas the power plugs have two prongs. Budget accommodations and bed-and-breakfasts certainly won't be able to provide this luxury, but upscale hotels may have additional power outlets in their rooms. Before you forget it again, put a travel adaptor on your shopping list for your trip.

Get the Most of Your Time, Book in Advance

All of Paris's major tourist attractions have frustratingly long queues, unless you go there during the off-season. In addition to wasting valuable time, standing in line increases the likelihood that you'll be worn out before your visit even begins! Everywhere you go in France, fine dining is a must-try experience. However, given the abundance of Michelin-starred restaurants in Paris, the issue might be a little more difficult. If you don't want to wait in line for food, once you've decided where to eat, make sure to make a reservation in advance. You just must try the chef's table at Marsan par Hélène Darroze, the Comté cheese soufflé at PavYllon, and the choux pastry Paris Brest at Le Servan.

Always check opening times

Parisians enjoy leisure and take their time, just like people in most of Europe's capitals. The majority of stores and restaurants close on Sundays, dinner doesn't start until 7:30 p.m., and businesses take summer vacations in August. Opening hours may change throughout the year due to seasonal changes and daylight savings time, mostly. Make it a habit to check a location's opening hours at least two days in advance.

Ready to plan your trip to Paris? We are Paris destination experts.

Click here to plan your Paris trip today

Click here for Paris Excursions