It’s been a couple months since I have gone to Paris but I still wanted to share all my trip details with you in case anyone is jetting off anytime soon. I do highly recommend visiting Paris once. France, in general, is quite big so there is a lot to see if Paris does not suit your fancy.
HOW SHOULD YOU GET AROUND?
I’m a big fan of checking out public transportation prior to arriving. Some cities have great ways to get around the whole area and for cheap. Same goes when you are abroad. The transportation for the most part abroad is super easy and convenient and that is exactly the case for Europe! Literally, at every corner, there is a bus or metro stop. We definitely missed that when we came home. I also love public transportation because you get to experience and see the normal, everyday life and even interact with local people.
I always suggest people to read up on all methods of transportation and even download a map of the system beforehand so you know where things are and you can slowly become acquainted with the city or country you are visiting before you are even there!
If you’re not in a metropolitan city with easy public transportation, rent a car if you want to cover a lot of ground. Cabs, Uber, and walking are all options as well. I personally love not having to deal with renting a car and as many friends can tell you, it stresses me out having one while on vacation. BUT, having a car is totally worth it if you’re trying to explore outside of town or go more than 20-30 miles in a different direction. Always be on the hunt for a deal and if you do not see one ask!
Also, try and get the weekday rate because it’s so much cheaper than the weekend rate. They usually they’ll give you a special deal if you rent the car for a longer period of time – so play around with the dates if you can!
AIRPORT TO HOTEL
- RER Metro: Take airport shuttle to RER stations of Roissypole and Terminal 2
- Terminal 1, boutique level
- Terminal 2A and 2C, exit 8 from 2A
- Terminal 2B and 2D, exit 6 from 2B
- Terminal 2E, exit 2.06
- Terminal 2F, exit 2.08
- RER B departures, every day from 4.56am to 11.56pm, every 4 to 15 minutes, from stations at Roissypole and Terminal 2:
- Estimated journey time (airport shuttle\ RER B) to Châtelet-Les Halles: 45 minutes.
- Tickets (approx. €8), and travel passes covering zones 1 to 5
OTHER WAYS TO GET AROUND & MORE TRANSPORTATION INFORMATION
- Le Bus Direct: Tickets (€20 one-way and €34 return) can be purchased directly from the driver
- Bus 350 or 351
- Every day from 5.50am to 9.30pm, every 20 to 30 minutes. Direction: Gare de l’Est (metro Gare de l’Est)
- Bus 351 : Everyday from 6.30am to 9.30pm, every 30 minutes. Direction: Place de la Nation (metro/RER Nation)
- Tickets (approx. €4 = 3 bus/metro tickets) can be purchased from the driver. Travel passes covering zones 1 to 5 (except Mobilis) are also accepted. They can be obtained from the ticket offices and machines in RER stations.
- RoissyBus: Tickets (approx. €8) can be purchased from the driver.
Metro, RER (Suburban Express Railway)
- Single metro ticket costs € 1.80 (can be used for one journey including all connections)
- Can be purchased single or pack of 10 (€ 14.40)
- Valid for zones 1 and 2 (allows to travel anywhere in Paris)
- Airport to Paris center (30 mins)
- Same ticket as in metro but does not allow connections on same ticket
- This pass is valid for 1, 2, 3 or 5 consecutive days in zones 1 to 3 or 1 to 5 (2 days – € 21, 3 days – € 28.5)
WHERE SHOULD YOU STAY?
Again, this depends on the location and type of trip you’re taking, but if you’ll be busy and not home much, a cheap hotel is the way to go. You’ll save money for experiencing the location and if you’re just sleeping and showering somewhere, just make sure it’s safe and good enough!
Airbnb-type places are becoming one of my FAVORITE ways to travel, especially when I want to cook my own food and hit up Farmer’s Markets and things like that. Plus, if there are a few of you going, it’s super affordable!
A nice hotel is obviously the most luxurious choice, and if you’re looking for R&R or will be spending a lot of time resting, it’s nice to be somewhere that can cater to you. Since most hotels have a restaurant, gym, etc. it’s a good way to keep up with your routine in the easiest way.
We stayed at Best Western Premier Le Swann and would not stay there again. Forget that it was adorable and cute and around the corner from the metro. The rooms are very small, if you put even your suitcases on the floor there is literally NO room to move around! Bathroom is right next to bed, we could open the bathroom door while lying on the bed. The room had a safe but it was at the bottom of the closed. We had to literally lie on the floor to operate it. And folks, this is the biggest and solid reason of why we will not be returning. While checking out, the person at the desk first told my husband how the person who checked out before him was stealing stuff from the minibar in the room but he could not say anything to that person. Then he asked my husband, MY HUSBAND, if he took something from the minibar and asked him if he can trust him? TRUST HIM!! If you don’t trust your customers then you need to remove minibars from the rooms and have a vending machine in the hall or somewhere.
After he was done giving him a receipt of our stay at the hotel, hubby asked him if he was done? (Note: this is a pretty common thing to say in the US). On this the front desk man responded “Why would you ask such a thing? That definitely means you are hiding something…..did you steal anything?”……oh my lanta gus, he literally asked my hubby if he stole something!!! For anyone who personally knows my hubby, you would also be freaking out and wondering if this guy is serious or not. Very unprofessional.
WHAT SHOULD YOU DO?
I personally love finding ways to see a lot of ground unless I’m somewhere to fully relax – and that’s usually hard for me because I have so much energy and am constantly bouncing off hotel beds. Plus, I like to save the laying on the beach for longer trips.
Asking friends for recommendations – or going on forums like Quora or Travel Advisor – is great because you can usually comb through tourist traps. Especially for cities or places I’ve been before, I LOVE finding restaurants, parks, shops, that are away from the madness. PLUS you get to indulge in culture, culture, and more culture. I prefer experiencing a city as if I was a local and not a tourist, so that’s always important to me. Research, research, research! Especially if you are taking a big trip because you wouldn’t want to miss out on anything.
I cannot stress how important it is to search, research, and research! Especially if you are taking a big trip because you wouldn’t want to miss out on anything. Who knows when you will be back?! The world is HUGE.
I like to give myself a buffer when getting around and site seeing too. The worst thing is to stress yourself out with too big of an agenda and not have enough time to enjoy yourself. Schedule in an extra 15-30 min per activity, meal, whatever, and try not to rush around. You are on vacation for pete’s sake.
PLACES TO GO
Eiffel Tower (Take the elevator to 2nd floor. We don’t recommend going any higher.)
The best view of Eiffel Tower can be seen at Trocadéro. You will get the best pictures AND there are not a ton of people although there might be a huge convention of birds going on.
Musée du Louvre – Louvre Museum
Love Lock Bridges
Notre-Dame Cathedral (Notre-Dame de Paris)
Sainte-Chapelle – Holy Chapel (Lines were indeed long but they moved along swimmingly)
Arc de Triomphe de l’Étoile (Arch of Triumph of the Star)
Other places and things we recommend that we did go to but did not take a ton of pictures:
Basilique du Sacré-Cœur – Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Paris
City views from the dome of Sacré-Cœur
Le Marais – The Marsh historic district (Here you will find street art)
Walk along Avenue des Champs-Élysées (This is the street with luxury shops and cafes)
Dance along the Seine at night
L’église de la Madeleine – Madeleine Roman Catholic Church
Panthéon – Pantheon
If Possible Explore:
Ile saint louis paris (This is an island connected by pedestrian bridge that has restaurants one of which is ‘Berthillon’ – best sorbet in Paris)
Palace of Versailles – Château de Versailles
Palais du Luxembourg – Luxembourg Palace (You will need to do this as a day trip – you can’t just wake up one day and decide to go)
DO NOT RECOMMEND
Musée de Montmartre – Montmartre Museum (it just was not worth it)
Random Fact: Marte basically means dying in Hindi and we legit marte marte reached this museum and were then greeted by an incredibly rude man. #rude #justrude I guess this picture randomly taken by hubs makes up for it.