Here is a list of Paris travel tips and Paris hacks that helped me navigate the city for four months! Paris is a romantic city. It is known to be a dating wonderland. Picnics by the Effiel Tower, hand-holding under the starry night.
Unfortunately, what I’ve come to realize is that it just wasn’t that easy to live in the city of love. In fact, my 4-month stay was really quite hectic. Maybe I would have had a better experience if I just knew the city a little better!
Weather in Paris
The seasons in Paris are distinct. The summers are warm while winter can be quite chilly. Although Parisian snow tend to melt immediately, there always seems to be sp,e brown slush around the city streets between December and Fenurary.
When to visit Paris
Paris is most beautiful during Spring and Fall. Between May and June, the newly-blomed flowers and the freshly grown grass will make the city everymore enchanting. Paris between September and Novemeber also has enjoyable weather and smaller crowds.
Paris Travel Tips
Traveling within the City
Trains & Metro
Paris’ extensive metro system has approximately 300 stops. As such, metro stations are easily found throughout the city, especially in the city center. Trains run frequently in tourist zones, usually every 2-5 mins between 05:30 and 00:40 (5:30 am – 12:40 am) Sunday through Thursday and 05:30 – 01:40 on Fridays and Saturdays.
These buses usually stop at every station in accordance to metro line ends, so no worries when having a late night out!
The most confusing part of the Paris metro system is pricing.
Individual tickets and multi-day passes are available at every metro counter. Check out the various prices here. The problem is, Paris is divided into 5 different zones.
Every zone is subjected to a different price.
Zone 1-2 is central Paris (Light yellow area on the map). The majority of metro stations are within this zone. After these two zones, the RER Regional Express Network will provide access to other zones, such as Zone 5, where the Charles de Gaulle airport is located. For a more thorough read on zones and transportation, here is a great article that will give you a better understanding of Paris’ metro system.
The French government loves to help us kids and will subsidize a bulk of the cost for an annual pass. While the benefits are great, the bureaucratic process can be a headache. To get the application forms, visit one of the offices in a metro station and ask for the forms for Carte Imagine’R (you will need a valid photo id, a passport-sized photo, school enrollment info and a French bank account reference).
These cards may take a few months to be delivered to your address, which is rather annoying since finding a place in Paris isn’t always easy. However, tickets through card ends up being half the price of Navigo, which is the normal metro pass. It also provides a lot of benefits. For more information, click here.
Paris has an extensive bike sharing system called Velib. It’s around €2 for the first half an hour with a valid credit card.
Basically, don’t go over the time limit for each and you won’t have to pay extra! Read more about the biking system here.
I took the taxi once, it starts at €4 and is €1.25/km. While I feel for the taxi industry, Uber, a rideshare network, is just a lot more budget friendly for my student wallet. Like North America, Uber is really convenient in Paris. If you are a first time user, click here and sign up to get a free ride!
Paris Travel Tips
Traveling between Cities
There are tons of buses in Europe, including Euroline, IDBUS, National Express, etc
Megabus is probably the cheapest, with deals as low as ***€1.50*** if you book around a month or so ahead of time. (I was able to book a ticket to Brussels from Paris for €2! Now, they don’t have the most comfortable seats or the most extensive travel destinations, but I thought it was definitely worth it!
Planes and Trains
If you aren’t familiar with Skyscanner, you should be! The site provides the prices on all the days of the select month and shows the cheapest fare. It also has an option for spontaneous travelers. By selecting “flexible” in the destination tab, It will show a list of destinations organized by price from the point of departure.
Trains are quite expensive (yes I do think that Eurorail is extremely pricey).
Paris Travel Tips
Clubs and Bars
Paris has two completely different club scenes.
Generally expensive to get in, unless you meet a promoter (which is quite easy for girls, but be ready for comments on how to dress and whether you are pretty enough). When you do have a promoter, there is free cover, free alcohol, free booths, you name it!
Some of my favorite Parisian clubs are Nüba, an open rooftop bar/club, and club 79, a fancy establishment in the 16th arrondissement.
Geared towards a younger crowd, most are dressed casually while the cover is not as expensive, though this differs based on the club.
Paris Travel Tips
Is Paris Safe?
Overall, I felt safe during my 4-month stay in Paris. However, I was fortunate enough to live in a nice neighborhood. But there were several incidents that noted otherwise. Nonetheless, as a female solo traveler, I always take precautions beforehand.
Compared to say, Italy, People in Paris weren’t overly excited to help out tourists (to be fair, there are a lot of us). But start your sentence with a few French words, they are a lot nicer afterward!
Happy Travels xx