Traveling to Paris for the first time?
Choosing the best time of year to visit Paris:
Deciding on the time of year you want to go to Paris is the first thing you really should do. The weather is the major topic to consider first. Paris has an average of 15 snow days a year mostly rain and damp in the winter with occasional winds and rain. The average temperature in Paris is 53 degrees the most pleasant weather of any capital in Europe. During the summer there are very few days that the temperature gets over 85 degrees.
August is the slow month for activities. August is their holiday month and many of the attractions are closed. Paris has a skeleton staff during this month. If you want to enjoy many activities, then you may want to choose another month to visit.
Want a first class hotel while you are in Paris? July and August are the best times to be sure of getting the deluxe room you are wanting. There are many students in Paris during July and August so getting a budget room is usually out of the question.
Remember the annual auto show is in late September and early October. The hotels are booked during this time so if you are going to see the car shows get your reservation in early.
We know everyone want to travel on holidays but Paris is not the place to plan your trip on a holiday because mostly everything closes. There are hardly any activities going on during the holiday seasons.
Whenever going over to another country you will need a passport. If you not French get a passport and be sure to check the expiration date on it, passports run out like coupons do. Indians need to apply for a visa to visit France. U.S. Citizens staying less than 90 days don’t need a visa. When staying longer than 90 days you will need to apply for a long-term visa, residence card, or a temporary-visa for your stay. A proof of income or means of income while in Paris and a good reason why you are applying for long-term stay is required.
When entering France you can only take certain things and amounts with you. In addition, when you leave France you have to be careful about what and how much you bring back with you. You can also find out about these restrictions from your state department nearest you.
Are you handicap and have special needs. Paris is better equipped to handle handicap than most cities. Most of the more modern hotels and facilities have the necessary equipment and rooms for the handicap and elderly. You should contact ahead of time to let them know what you need; or if you are going through a travel agency, they can do it for you.
Trains are even equipped for the handicap and special needs that you might have to have when traveling around Paris. The older trains have compartments for the wheelchair and guide dogs but the newer one are made with the handicap in mind.
Paris is a collection of arrondissements — numbered neighborhoods. The 1st is in the dead center of the city and the neighborhoods spiral outward from there, with 1-12 being the most central. You can tell the arrondissement by the last two digits in an address’s postal code.
The 1st is the geographical center of the city and home to some of central Paris’s top destinations, including the Louvre, the Tuileries Gardens, and part of Ile de la Cité. Here you’ll also find Les Halles.
The 3rd/4th (the Marais) is a funky little neighborhood that has historically been home to the city’s Jewish and LGBT populations. Today it’s a ritzy yet funky neighborhood brimming with boutiques and parks. Also here are the Centre Pompidou, Ile Saint-Louis, Place des Vosges, and the Hotel de Ville.
The 5th (The Latin Quarter) is home to the Sorbonne and Pantheon and is popular with students and young people to this day. Parts of it are a joy to visit; parts are absolute tourist traps. Tread lightly.
The 6th (Saint-Germain) is where you’ll find the former haunts of Camus, Sartre, and Hemingway. It’s also filled with a wide variety of boutiques and cafes and the Jardin du Luxembourg. Some cafes of note include Les Deux Magots and Cafe de Flore.
The 7th is home to the Eiffel Tower. This is a ritzy residential neighborhood and there isn’t a lot to do beyond seeing the Tower and Les Invalides, home to Napoleon’s tomb.
The 8th is home to the Champs-Elysées and shopping central. Also here are the Arc de Triomphe and Place de la Concorde.
The 9th is home to the Opéra and it makes a nice uphill neighborhood bridge between the popular shopping areas and Montmartre. This is where I recommend people visit to find a central neighborhood that isn’t as touristy.
Belleville, spanning the 10th and 11th with parts of the 19th and 20th, is the up-and-coming artsy area of Paris. Full of vibrant immigrant communities, art, edgy shops, and lower prices than you’d expect in some of the more traditional neighborhoods, Belleville is well worth a visit.
Montmartre (the 18th) is a hilly neighborhood home to the Sacré-Coeur, the Moulin Rouge, and the artist-filled Place du Tertre. This has historically been a bohemian neighborhood. While areas like Rue Lepic and its offshoots have lots of charm, the Pigalle area is seedier and home to many sex shops.
Packing Tips for Paris
Most Parisians dress in a neat and chic way. If you want to blend in, you’re best off avoiding shorts, t-shirts, and sneakers. Think nice jeans, ballet flats, boots, a nice pashmina or scarf, well-cut dresses, tasteful accessories.
Travel with us
You may not be aware of all the wonderful experiences available to you in any given location. Though you can do extensive research online, there are still many amazing experiences, restaurants, and local activities that may be completely new or haven’t been shared on social media yet. We have personal connections in each of the locations we run tours and are constantly seeking out new experiences for our guests. Let us help you create your itinerary by suggesting activities that may have not even been on your radar.
We pride ourselves in creating engaging and fun itineraries but we still understand that not everyone is thrilled to be doing each of the activities we have chosen. That’s where private tours really shine. You choose the people you want to go with, the destination, and the activities you want to do. With the help of our tour operations team, you can build your dream vacation.