The best time to fly to Paris (or visit Paris in general) is during the off season from the months of October to March. By subscribing to flight alerts via Scotts Cheap Flights or SkyScanner, you will easily be able to know when your desired flight is at the best price. The chances of finding a great flight from your local airport are high, but if not, try searching for flights out of your nearest major city (i.e. Los Angeles, New York, Atlanta, or Washington D.C. )
If you are already in Europe, there are several routes to Paris. However, by using the search tool on GoEuro.com you can find the best transportation option from your location. I found a ticket from Luxembourg City to Paris for only $22 USD!
HOW MUCH WILL YOU NEED?
Any and everyone will agree that Paris is NOT a budget-friendly city. The city itself is a piece of art so I can definitely see why! Plan to spend no less than $200, however, this largely depends on how much time you plan to spend in the city. How much money you bring will also depend largely on your spending habits. If you like to shop, plan to withdraw cash to shop with street vendors. If you plan to spend less and stick to strict spending habits, you can get by with using just your credit/debit card.
The number of hostels and hotels one will find in Paris are endless. However, unlike most places, Paris is a city I would book my accommodation in advance rather than waiting until a week or just days before. Paris is a hub for artists, students, and creators of all kinds so many people travel to and from Paris to attend events. It can even be quite challenging to find a place to accommodate you for the entire length of your stay if you don’t plan accordingly. If your focus is to get out and explore the city, I highly recommend booking a hostel compared to a hotel.
Here are a few of my favorite hostels in the city:
Must-See’s & Must Do’s
1. Eiffel Tower
If you don’t see the Eiffel Tower did you even go to Paris? The Eiffel Tower is one of the world’s most visited monuments. Getting there is easy, and to take in all its beauty is free. Simply use metro line 6 and get off at Bir Hakeim, or use metro line 8 and get off at École Militaire. You may also use the RER train and get off at the Eiffel Tower stop. There is the option to climb to the top of the Eiffel Tower using the stairs or using an elevator. Ticket prices vary based on what level of the tower you want to see and if you choose the stairs or elevator. Tickets can be bought here.
2. The Palace of Versailles
The Palace of Versailles is unlike any castle or palace you will ever find in the world. I typically do not fall into taking the touristy route but the Palace of Versailles was worth every moment. If you plan to visit the Palace of Versailles, plan to spend your entire day here. Pack a lunch of French cheese, bread, fruit, wine and take it along with you to enjoy in the gardens!
**The Palace is closed every Monday so do not schedule to visit on this day or you will be sadly disappointed. Tickets to the Palace cost €20 and can be purchased here.
I was graciously hosted by The Paris Guy for my tour of the Palace, but all opinions are my own. I would highly recommend anyone take the guided skip-the-line tour of the Palace of Versailles rather than trying to navigate on your own. Thanks to my guide Fabien, my tour of the palace was something I can’t easily forget. Fabien shared small stories about each of the rooms and provided context to what it would be like to live during the days of King Louis XIV. The Paris Guy is an Italian-based company that provides guided tours from Paris city center to the Palace of Versailles and many other attractions in the city. The Paris Guy guides will meet with you in a central location, arrange your transportation to and from the city of Versailles and into the palace. A tour to the Palace of Versailles with the Paris Guy only costs €89.95. Along with the special equipment to hear your tour guide, round-trip transportation and local Parisian knowledge the value of this tour is unbeatable.
3. The Louvre
Art junky or not, the Louvre should be on every traveler’s bucket list. From the abstract architecture of the museum itself, and the treasures it holds inside you can not afford to travel to Paris and not visit the Louvre. It houses everything from mythological Greek sculptures to Da Vinci’s world-renowned Mona Lisa. As popular as it may be, getting access to the Louvre is quite simple and tickets are only €17. Simply buy your ticket in advance and you will not have to wait!
**Just remember, the Louvre is closed every Tuesday so don’t plan to visit on this day.
4. Café de Flore
Making a stop by a real Parisian pavement café is a must when in Paris. Café de Flore not only carries some of the best French delicacies, but is the stomping grounds of many historical people that you probably know. Ernest Hemmingway, Pablo Picasso, James Baldwin and many more made this quaint art deco cafe their own creative space. The prices at this café have risen exponentially since 1920’s so be prepared to splurge at your own risk. If you’re not in the mood for a spritz and croissant, that’s okay walking by Café de Flore to scope out the scene is well worth the visit.
5. The Latin Quarters
Much of Paris is defined by the historical significance it has but no area is comparable to that of the Latin Quarters. Many describe the Latin Quarter as the most lively part of the city, boasting many cinemas, shops, restaurants, and live music. Once you’re in the Latin Quarter you’ll easily have access to the Pantheon, the Luxembourg Gardens, and the National Museum of Natural History.
Prior to going to Paris, many will tell you that you will either love it or hate it. The best way to approach a city with such a large reputation is without expectations. Experiencing a city that attracts so many people will be tough on the pockets of anyone who passes through. However, with just enough planning, you may find that each dollar spent was well worth it.
Until Next Time,
The Pint Sized Traveler