We can never get enough of Paris. Its proximity to London means we’ve spent more weekends than we care to count in the city. Its secret alleyways, city centre, famed boulangeries, and hidden eateries, all seem familiar now. We’ve written so much about Paris over the past couple of years, but here’s a short guide to Paris – perfect if you’re visiting the city for the first time.
Paris is one of those cities that actually live up to the hype. As you can probably tell, we’re head over heels in love with it. If the mere mention of Paris excites you as much as us, then make sure you read our suggestions for planning that trip to Paris soon.
Getting into/flying out of Paris
Paris Charles De Gaulle Airport is almost an hour and a half outside the main city of Paris. If your flight lands at a reasonable time, we’d suggest taking a cab to the city. However if you flight lands or leaves Paris at an odd hour, then we’d highly recommend staying the night at a convenient airport hotel. Airport hotels are also ideal if you intend to rent a car and drive to places around Paris such as Versailles or Disneyland Paris.
NOMAD hotel is conveniently located just 10 minutes away from the CDG building and offers a free shuttle service as well. This new-age hotel offers a unique mix of comfort and technology to its guests. The ground floor boasts of a colourful lounge and an expansive breakfast area. We like NOMAD because it is targeted at travellers and has useful facilities such as luggage lockers and a laundromat. Rooms are compact and uber-modern. Everything in the room is operated by a customised ipad – rest assured you’ll spend at least an hour sampling different light settings in your room.
Once you reach Paris, there is no dearth of accommodation options in the city – decadent hotels, affordable apartments, and everything in between. Of course you could go down the classic French luxury route.
If you want something truly unique and hip, check out Mama Shelter Hotel. There is nothing predictable about this urban hotel designed by Philippe Starck. The ultra-modern rooms are bedecked with iMacs and every facility that a traveller could possibly need.
It’s a ten minute walk from the Alexandre Dumas Métro Station, so it is away from the hustle bustle of the city centre. Channel your inner hipster and give this one a go – after all how often do you find detachable superhero masks used as bedside lights? Don’t forget to drop in at the resident restaurant, laden with graffitti. Read our detailed review of Mama Shelter Restaurant, Paris for more.
Mama Shelter is not centrally located, so it might not be ideal if you want to stay in the centre of Paris. If you want something more central, we’d suggest looking up an apartment on Air B&B – renting an apartment is the perfect way to experience Paris like a local and we love it. Do make sure you read reviews and check amenities before booking an apartment 🙂
There is a crêperie at every corner in Paris. Nutella crêpes, ham and cheese crêpes, crêpes served with fresh ice-cream, crêpes covered with whipped cream and fresh fruit – the possibilities are endless. While it’s virtually impossible to get bad crêpes in Paris, Rue de Montparnasse is the place to be for crêpe enthusiasts and well all foodies. This is where the Parisians go to get there crêpe fix. There are dozens of crêperies here but La Creperie Bretonne and La Petit Josselin remain our favourites. Every single item on the menu can be summed up in 5 words – a big serving of deliciousness!
Read our article on the best cheap eats of Paris for more leads 🙂
Have a cuppa:
As you probably know, the two of us are always in search of elusive cafes, which make the perfect cup of coffee. I live with a coffee geek – as a result, citrusy notes, acidity, and viscosity are the words I hear almost everyday. I’m still not sure I can detect notes, citrusy or otherwise, in my coffee just yet, but I’ve begun to appreciate good coffee 🙂
There’s no shortage of good coffee in Paris but Café Lomi is one of our favourite cafés in the city. A short walk from the Marcadet Poissonniers Metro station, its succinct menu and no-nonsense approach to good coffee is seductive. Go for a cuppa or drop by over the weekend for workshops on espresso making, brewing methods, and extraction techniques.
Read our detailed review of Cafe Lomi, Paris for more
You will spend hours exploring Parisian landmarks such as the Eiffel Tower, Sacre Coeur, and Notre Dame Cathedral. When you’re all cultured out, head over to the city’s urban spaces where bohémes and artists congregate. Discover fresh street art near the Alexandre Dumas Métro Station, live performances on exotic musical instruments at Le Marais, and multi-cultural cuisine and thrift stores at Belleville that lend a completely new dimension to the traditional idea of Paris – they will make you fall irrevocably in love with the city.
Read our article on Offbeat Things To Do In Paris for 13 of our favourite things to do in Paris 🙂
24 thoughts on “Planning a trip to Paris – The basics”
Hi, I tried to subscribe for the newsletter but as soon as I click at the subscription it says invalid email???
We’ll have a look into this right away – thanks for pointing it out 🙂
I must say I am an ardent follower of your blog and refer to it every time I plan a trip. I did take your advise and go to Montparnasses tower instead for the city view and it really helped me save time as well gave one of the best views of the city. Do read about my day trip to Paris here https://thetimesofmanyphases.blogspot.in/2017/08/paris-in-just-one-day.html
Sure thing 🙂 Glad you found our suggestions helpful
This post is really useful, I’m actually hoping to go to Paris later this year. I haven’t been since I was a teenager (other than Disneyland Paris 2 years ago).
Uh oh – you definitely need to plan a trip there soon Sam 🙂
I have been to Disneyland Paris three times but not Paris itself. I would love to visit one day. Kaz
Hope you make it there super soon Kaz 🙂
I am a huge fan of Paris and have visited a fair few times myself, the nomad hotel sounds right up my street! 🙂
It’s a pretty cool concept – I love discovering such technologically advanced amenities in the hospitality industry 🙂
I haven’t been to Paris for ages and never for a proper trip. Great tips.
The next time you go, you must spend at least 5 days in Paris 🙂
Fantastic post, so informative! I’d love to get a real crepe from Paris! Yummy!
Nobody does crépes like the French do them – aah SO good 🙂
Paris is somewhere that both ne and my partner would like to visit but i think we would come via the eurostar. I will be bookmarking your posts for when we make the trip!
Ooh yes the Eurostar is a great option, especially you’re coming from London 🙂
I have to be honest, Paris is probably my least favourite European city – I have been 3 times, and didn’t really enjoy myself as much as I have done in other cities/countries. I find it quite dirty and very over crowded. That said I love exploring old abandoned buildings and things, so that railway looks like something I’d really enjoy x
we have heard that quite a lot from many people – I think it’s a love hate relationship when it comes to Paris 🙂
I visited Paris on a coach trip YEARS ago and would love to go back as an adult and experience the restaurants and museums. I think the Eurostar would be the way to go now! xxx
Absolutely – Eurostar makes sense especially if travelling from London to Paris 🙂
We love Paris too its so easy to get to and you can never get bored of the city , there is always something to do, see and discover. i will check out your recommendations on our next visit.
That’s great Nayna. Hope you enjoy your next trip to Paris 🙂
Travelling on a shoestring budget to Paris. I am thinking of finding accomodations in Latin Quarter to save on local travel. Is that a good option?
Can’t really comment from personal experience but don’t see that as being a problem