Paris Travel Guide
Paris is a city unlike any other. It is overflowing with culture, history, and beauty. And while people travel to Paris to see the Louvre, climb the Eiffel Tower, or see Notre-Dame, the real magic is found in the streets. Here, the ins and outs of daily life play out — chic women on bikes pedal their children to school, artists post up in cafés with a notebook, and both young and old line up morning and evening for a fresh baguette from the neighborhood boulangerie. It is likely everything you imagined, and then a bit more — because while Paris is a city with a strong cultural identity, it also houses people from all over the world who add their own culture and customs into the mix. This is why a visit to Paris' top sights is simply not enough — to truly get a sense of the city, take to the streets where the essence and enchantment of Paris is most felt.
As you explore the streets of Paris, you'll find yourself walking the hills of Montmartre in search of that perfect crepe spot or meandering through Belleville, a Chinese neighborhood interspersed with hip, young Parisians and elaborate murals. Across the Seine, you might find yourself enjoying an all-too-early verre du vin at a café in Saint-Germain-des-Prés or exploring the winding streets of the Latin Quarter. It doesn't take much to find yourself fully immersed in this special city.
To make sure you don't miss a thing, take a moment to read through our Paris travel guide, where we share our favorite local haunts, must-do activities, and favorite hotels.
Central European Standard Time (GMT+1)
Best Time to Go
It's hard to beat a visit to Paris in the spring or summer when the weather is warm, Parisians flock to the parks, and all seems right in the world. If you want to avoid the crowds, a trip in the month of August — when most Parisians go on vacation — is hard to beat, although be prepared for some restaurant and shop closures. And somehow even during the winter, when the skies tend to be grey and the temperatures low, Paris still shines — all you need is an extra layer or two.
Things to Know
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I don't speak French: Je ne parle pas français.
I'm lost: Je suis perdu(e).
I would like… : Je voudrais...
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Calling Code: +33
Capital City: Paris
How to Get Around
Trains: The easiest (and often, the fastest) way to get around the city is by train. There are Paris metro and RER train stops throughout the city, with a one-way journey costing around $2. Single and multi-day passes start at $14.
Buses: The bus network offers a great, above-ground alternative to the Paris train system. A single journey costs around $2 and is often used to connect metro stations that are spaced further apart.
Things to Do
Neighborhoods to Know
Le Marais — 3rd arrondissement: It's hard to top Le Marais. It's centrally located, has myriad boutiques, galleries, and cafés — and excellent food (don't miss falafel at L'As du Fallafel on Rue des Rosiers). In addition to having plenty to do, the feel of the neighborhood is undeniably quaint — winding, cobblestone streets are lined with old buildings and hidden courtyards.
Montmartre — 18th arrondissement: Montmartre has housed and inspired artists for decades — including Claude Monet, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Edgar Degas, and Pablo Picasso — and today, it is just as inspiring. You'll find arty cafés, cobblestone streets, history buildings, and from the steps of Sacré-Cœur, stunning views over the city.
The Latin Quarter - 5th arrondissement: The Latin Quarter is home to the Sorbonne University, so as you might expect, you'll find students roaming the streets and pouring over books in hip cafes. Here, you'll find plenty of old buildings and venues bustling with life — jazz clubs, bars, and historic restaurants.
Île de la Cité and Île Saint-Louis — 5th arrondissement: You'll find these two islands smack dab in the middle of Paris on the Seine river. Île de la Cité is the historic center of Paris and is home to Notre-Dame and Sainte-Chapelle, while the quieter Île Saint-Louis has shops and restaurants sprinkled among historic buildings and streets.
Saint-Germain-des-Prés — 6th arrondissement: This neighborhood, with its narrow cobblestone streets, unbelievably cute café patios, and designer shops is probably exactly what you imagined Paris to be like. There is arguably no better place to sip on a glass of wine and people watch the afternoon away.
Belleville — 20th arrondissement: If you're looking for a different Paris than what you'll find in the tourist-laden neighborhoods down south, head to Belleville. It's where Chinatown meets hipster-town, the food is cheaper (and arguably, better), and buildings are covered with vibrant street art.
Spring: Paris comes to life in the spring, but the weather can still be a little cool — high 50s to high 60s — and you might catch some light rain.
Summer: The summer is definitely Paris' high season, with June and July ideal (yet busy) months to visit. In August, many Parisians take their own vacation, so the city will be a little less lively.
Fall: Fall in Paris can be beautiful, with temperatures that range from the low 40s to mid 50s and a handful of rainy days a month.
Winter: The winter months can be grey and chilly in Paris (sometimes with a dusting of snow!), but it's the perfect time to visit if you want to avoid the crowds and dress in layers, which always has a super-chic effect.