Insider Tips for a great holiday in Paris
Paris is absolutely ram-packed full of things to do, see and experience. It’s a fantastic city to visit, but it does help to have a rough idea of what you want to do before you hit the streets!
See the Sights of Paris
Whenever visitors come to stay with me in Paris the first things they always want to see is the obvious tourist attractions such as, Notre Dame, the Arc de Triomphe and of course the Eiffel Tower.
I find the best place to appreciate Paris in all its glory is from the dome of the Sacre Couer Basilica. It’s a bit of a hike up to the top, but once you’re up there, the views are breathtaking – remember to bring your camera, it’s an awesome spot to take some holiday pictures!
For a culture filled afternoon you can’t come to Paris without visiting the Mona Lisa in the Louvre. The Louvre is also home to an extensive art collection dating back to ancient Egyptian times.
If you need a little break from all the sightseeing, a great place to escape the hustle and bustle of the touristy places is the Jardins du Luxembourg. Another peaceful way to spend an afternoon is taking a stroll along the River Seine. The river runs right through the heart of Paris, so it’s a great way to take in the sights while getting a bit of exercise.
Food Glorious Food
You can’t come to Paris and not take advantage of the Parisian culinary delights on offer. No matter what your budget, Paris offers something for everyone. The Latin Quarter is very touristy, but personally I love the quirky atmosphere and there’s a great choice of small restaurants offering food from all four corners of the world.
For more typical ‘French food’ you’ll find the area of ‘El Marais’ has a much more authentic feel.
Paris For Kids
As an au pair in Paris, I’ve gotten to know the child-friendly side to the city. There are a surprising number of activities available aimed at children. There is, of course, Disneyland Paris and Park Asterix, both of which are just outside the city and always guarantee a great family day out! However, if you’re after something more low key and local, there’s always the Paris aquarium or, a personal favorite of mine is the Jardin d’Acclimatation. This 20 acre park is a haven for children; here you can find several rides and a giant play park, as well as a small ‘zoo’ area.
No matter what time of year you choose to come to Paris, there is always something exciting going on. In the summer time you’ll see the banks of the river Seine invaded by sand, deck chairs and sun umbrellas for the Paris Plage (Paris beach). With autumn comes the autumn festival and Nuit Blanche. (Nuit Blanche is a night of the year where many museums, galleries and bars stay open throughout the night – the streets are crawling with art lovers taking advantage of the free entry!)
If you’re lucky enough to be in Paris in the winter then you’ll be able to admire the Christmas lights which sparkle across the city and go for a ride on Paris’ giant Ferris wheel -.the Grande Roue.
Where to stay in Paris
The best advice I could give to anyone coming to Paris would be to rent a Paris apartment in the city centre. Not only is an apartment more convenient, but it’s also a lot more comfortable – after a hard day’s sightseeing it’s great to be able to just go back to your apartment and relax. Especially if you’re with children or in a group, you’ll find apartments offer more space and flexibility than other types of holiday accommodation.
Getting around Paris
Public transportation in Paris is excellent. There are metro stops dotted everywhere around the city, as well as buses, taxis and of course you can always rent a bike, or as the Parisians like to call them – Vélib.
Have you traveled to Paris, France? What are your favorite insider tips for things to do in Paris, France?
Thanks to Cristina Aragones for assistance with this post. Eiffel Tower photo courtesy of Roger. Park photo courtesy of Alain. Paris Ferris wheel photo courtesy of Marc Lagneau. Bicycle photo courtesy of Nancy D. Brown.