Paris – the city that needs no introduction. It can’t be missed by any traveler. You won’t be bored there even after an intense week full of sightseeing. Check out our Paris What To See – Travel Guide to find out more about one of the most popular destionations in the world.
How to get in Paris
Of course, there are a few airports in Paris, but Beauvais is this one which operates the most of low-cost routes (Wizz Air and Ryanair), so is the most interesting for budget travelers. You can catch cheap flights to Beauvais from many many places around Europe.
Poznan airport – Paris Beauvais airport – Gdansk airport (Wizz Air, €25 RT)
FROM AIRPORT TO THE CITY
Paris Beauvais airport – Paris center Porte Maillot (Pershing car park) – Paris Beauvais airport (Beauvais Shuttle, €29 RT, goes a few times in every hour, takes 75 minutes)
Notice: Every flight is connected with a particular bus, but you can take each one you want. Going from the center of Paris to the Beauvais airport we recommend taking earlier bus, especially if it’s just before a weekend. There could be a huge traffic jam on the road leading out of Paris, as happened to us. We reached the airport an hour later than it was planned, but fortunately, we had caught an earlier bus, got enough time for airport procedures.
How to get around Paris
Public transport in Paris has a really wide offer, so I’ll show you only the most useful options for budget, limited-time tourists.
In the center (1-2 zones) the best idea is to use metro. Buses are reasonable only in very short routes – we used it only once when one of the lines broke down for a while. To get to Parisian suburbs you must take express train RER. In our opinion there are 2 types of tickets worth to check out: t+ ticket and Paris Visite.
T+ tickets are just single tickets used mostly for metro rides. Moreover there are valid for buses, tramways and also for RER trains, but only for 1 zone*. They cost €1.90 each (approx. $2). You can buy a carnet with 10 t+ tickets for €14.50 (approx. $17).
*for further RER rides you need to buy Origin-Destination tickets for specific prices
Paris Visite is a travel card used for unlimited riders by all kind of public transport within 1-3 or 1-5 zones valid for selected number of days (from midnight to midnight). Don’t forget to write your full name and dates on the pass!
Paris Visite for 1-3 zones costs: €11.65/ 1 day, €18.95/ 2 days, €25.85/ 3days, €37.25/ 5 days
Paris Visite for 1-5 zones costs: €24.50/ 1 day, €37.25/ 2 days, €52.20/ 3days, €63.90/ 5 days
Most important metro stations:
Eiffel Tower: Trocadero (lines 6 and 9), Bir Hakeim (6)
Arch of Triumph: Charles de Gaulle Etoile (1, 2, 6)
Louvre Museum: Palais Royal Musee du Louvre (1, 7)
Notre-Dame Cathedral: Saint Michel – Notre-Dame (4), Hotel de Ville (1, 11)
Basilica of the Sacre-Coeur: Anvers (2)
La Defense: La Defense (1)
Champs-Elysees: Charles de Gaulle Etoile (1, 2, 6), George V (1), Franklin D. Roosevelt (1, 9), Elysee Palace: Champs-Elysees – Clemenceau (1, 13), Miromesnil (9, 13)
Palace of Versailles: it’s out of Paris and not served by metro. Best way to get here is by RER express train (RER C – Gare de Versailles Chateau Rive Gauche) or SNCF train (Versailles – Rive Droite)
What to see in Paris
There’s no need to describe it. You can get to the top for €17 (by two elevators with switching them on the 2nd floor). For youths until 24 years old ticket costs only €14.50. Also there are cheaper tickets that allow reaching only second floor by an elevator or on foot, but there’s no point to do it – YOU MUST SEE PARIS FROM THE TOP OF THE EIFFEL TOWER. The views from the 2nd floor are good, but the panorama from 276 meters (however total height of the tower is 324 m) made on us an enormous impress. And it’s very windy at the top – prepare yourself for it.
Important note: Book your tickets online as early as possible. We booked ours more than 2 months in advance and then there were only a few left. If you are too late, you will get stuck in a queue to the ticket counter for hours.
Here you are the link for booking: CLICK HERE
ARCH OF TRIUMPH
50 meters high monument that honors people who fought and died in the French Revolutionary and the Napoleonic Wars. It’s placed on the Place Charles de Gaulle at the western side of one of the world’s most famous avenues – Champs-Elysees. You can reach the top by stairs: €8, for students €5
The world’s largest art museum with such masterpieces and as: Mona Lisa (by Leonardo da Vinci), Venus de Milo, Winged Victory of Samothrace, Law Code of Hammurabi.
You need the whole one day to visit at least the most known exhibits, as the museum is really huge. There’s a few entrances to get inside – the most crowded, but the most spectacular is by Louvre Pyramid. We’ve been there in the morning of a weekday in off-season, so waited in a queue for only 30 minutes. We recommend doing the same thing for you to avoid standing for a couple of hours in afternoons and weekends. After you got inside, rent an audio guide! Even if you’re not too much interested in listening about exhibits, you can use GPS installed in a guide. You will get lost many times there, so it’s very useful. An audio guide costs €5, but students get 2 for 1. Visiting Louvre costs €15, but it’s free for students from European Union plus EEA countries and all underage ones.
World-famous, medieval Catholic cathedral being a great example of French Gothic architecture. It’s worth to see the cathedral inside and it’s free of charge. You can write yourself to the visitor’s book as well. If you have enough power to climb to the top (422 steps) you can see Paris from cathedral’s tower. It costs €10, but again it’s free for EU students and all underage ones.
BASILICA OF THE SACRE-COEUR
Roman Catholic church beautifully placed on the hill in Montmartre district. Apart from the unique white-dome church, the hill is a nice place to take some pics with the panorama of Paris. Getting inside the basilica is free of charge and it’s not allowed to take any pictures or make videos – a security guard watches it!
Notice: at the bottom of the hill just where you’re going to start your way to the basilica, groups of young black men wait for tourists and by force they try to fasten a bracelet on their wrists. When they did it, they claim money for this ”service”. Just run away from them and do not let them to do this trick on you.
Modern business district of Paris with many skyscrapers and headquarters. You can see there the Grande Arche and watch the fast pace of the life in La Defense.
PALACE OF VERSAILLES
Residence of French royals in XVII-XVIII century and the symbol of the absolute monarchy. It holds over 700 rooms and 120 of them are opened to public (e.g. King’s and Queen’s Grand Apartments, Hall of Mirrors). Behind the palace there are also huge Gardens of Versailles with fountains, well-manicured bushes and lawns located on the both sides of the Grand Canal. Gardens of Versailles is a great place to sit on the grass to picnic, relax and admire surrounded greenery and feel its atmosphere. If you are underage or a resident of the EU under 26 years old, you can visit the Palace for free. Others must pay €15.
1.9 km-long glamorous avenue running between Place Charles de Gaulle (where the Arch of Triumph is placed) and Place de la Concorde. It’s famous for its posh restaurants, cafes and luxury stores that are situated on the both sides of the street. It’s nice to have a walk there while visiting nearby attractions.
Official residence of the President of France. It’s possible to visit the palace inside for only two days in a year during European Heritage Day (third weekend of September). That time the entrance is free, but the queue is extremely long. If you are going to visit Paris beyond that weekend, you can see the palace only through the entrance gate.
Sleeping, Eating, Safety and other tips
Expenses on accommodation will be the biggest part of your spendings there. The cheapest double rooms start from €35-40 (approx. $42-48) /night and the cheapest beds in dorms from €18-20 (approx. $21-24). We used couchsurfing in Paris, so the only cost we had was a gift for our host – of course it was a bottle of Polish vodka :)
Dining in Paris is a long and various story, but simply: if you find a dinner in Paris for €10 (approx. $12) or less (yes, it’s possible!), it will be a great deal.
In Paris the same like in many other European metropolises it’s easy to be mugged in a metro by organized gangs of pickpockets. You must be extremely careful there.
If you study in any of EU countries, visit Paris during that time – showing your student card allows you to get into many places for free!
There are many street vendors in Paris (especially in the Eiffel Tower area), who sell some trinkets like miniature Eiffel Towers. Most of them do it illegally and police patrols try to get rid of them from touristic places. If you bought sth from them, probably nothing bad would happen, but we advise you to buy your souvenirs from authorized shops.
How much does it cost? (per person)
flights RT: €25 (approx. $30)
airport shuttles RT: €29 (approx. $35)
public transport (1-3 zone Paris Visite pass for 3 days, one t+ ticket, one Origin-Destination ticket, one return SNCF ticket): €34.65 (approx. $42)
Eiffel Tower (at the top, discounted): €14.5 (approx. $17)
Louvre audio guide: €5 /2 persons: €2.5 (approx. $3)
food spending: €45 (approx. $54)
souvenir: €1 (approx. $1)
TOTAL for the whole trip (4 days): €152 (approx. $182)
Spending for 1 day (food + transport, accommodation free): €20 (approx. $24)