100+ Tips on How to Prepare for & Enjoy Paris
Tours and walks
#Don't miss the tour of the Paris Sewer System. Great discussion point and fascinating to boot. The cost- 4.5 euro Location: just off the Quai d'Orsay at the Pont de l'Alma. It is helpful to know that you are looking for a small round building in order to buy tickets. Also, note the days it is open. I have a sensitive nose and the day we visited, it was completely tolerable!
Carol, Palmyra, USA
#Traveling solo can get lonely. Hook up with local groups to get some social contact and companionship. For example, in Paris join WICE (Women In Continuing Education) and take advantage of their short (2 hrs to 1 day) programs. This is an anglophone organization. Website: www.wice-paris.org
Candace, Indianapolis, USA
#If you arrive in Paris a bit jet lagged as we did, eager to partake of the City of Light but unsure of your energy to do so, get to the Seine and take a petite voyage on a bateau mouche or any kind of river craft. Take in the city and Notre Dame from the River Seine, regardless of the time of day, and melt into the history, romance, and charm of Paris.
Donna, Davis, USA
#Hop On-Hop Off bus tours are a great way to see Paris if mobility/walking is an issue. We discovered another benefit as well. There are a wide array of bus pass options, and one is this - you can buy a combination one day bus and Louvre pass. You save a little money, and the best thing is the bus stops at the Louvre and you by-pass the ticket line. At the end of your visit to the Louvre, you board the bus for your next Paris experience! If you are not visiting lots of Paris museums, the special Museum Pass is not worth the purchase, and that is why this bus/Louvre offer could be another solution. Be aware you have to use the combo pass on the same day.
Meg, Massachusetts, USA
#Take the batobus - a bus on the river - as much as you can to see Paris from the water. So easy, so fun!
Sherry, Ottawa, Canada
#I contacted Paris Greeters email: firstname.lastname@example.org. They are a group of volunteers who will take you on a 2-3 hour walking tour in their neighborhood, giving wonderful info, history, and more. You are touring off the beaten path which makes it so interesting and different. You make a donation of 20 euro or whatever you want when you book online. You choose an area or interest and a greeter will be assigned to you and will contact you. Ours went about 3 hours and was fantastic. We (2) gave her an extra tip as well.
Margaret, Paciano, Italy
#For a lovely and inspiring stroll, walk along the Viaduc des Arts in the 12th, peeking into the gorgeous artisan studios that line the viaduct. 1 au 129 avenue Daumesnil. When you get to the end, look for a set of stairs. Go up them and walk back along the elevated garden. More information: www.leviaducdesarts.com
Cynthia, Denver, USA
#I ended up in Paris 'solo' quite unexpectedly and thought I may only see the inside on my hotel room or on a tour bus full of folks with white hair. I was not ready for either choice. Soooooo A friend of mine had been in Paris and recommended the only way to see this city was with this walking tour company called New Paris Tours. Well, I put on my walking shoes, grabbed my backpack and made my way to join the free, yes free, walking tour. Brilliant, entertaining, knowledgable and friendly tour guides are their claim to fame and I can tell you this tour company was the reason my trip to Paris was not a failure. I took two more tours at very reasonable prices with them, I met folks from around the world and hooked up with them after the tours. I saw places and ate meals with the tour group in fantastic local pubs..... all praise. I hope others will look them up when in Paris.... everybody and all languages are welcome.
Kimberly, Pickering, Canada
#Somefantastic and easy day trips out of Paris are to Versailles and Chartres as well as Giverny. Just plan to arrive at Giverny as soon as it opens!
Jilly, Eugene, USA
#Well just outside of Paris is a marvelous morning experience! Get up early, buy a baguette or croissant and take the train from Gare Saint-Lazare to Vernon on the Paris-Roen-Le Havre Grand Ligne (45 min. on the fast train). Enjoy the day's awakening on the way to Monet's marvelous gardens. They open at 9:30AM. You can walk or bike from the station or get a bus. After you absorb Claude's home, his art, his gardens and ache for his vanishing eyesight as you take in glorious blooming diversity, walk or bike back down the road to the little Impressionist Museum and eat at the adjacent cafe before returning to Paris. If you arrive in Giverny before 9:00 in the morning, you'll miss the big crowds and you can soak up the quiet beauty of Giverny before heading back in Paris by 1 or 2PM.
Museums, cemetaries, and monuments
#These are the churches and museums I recommend...
- Rodin Museum opened in 1919, dedicated to the works of the great French sculptor Auguste Rodin. Website: www.musee-rodin.fr/en/home-en
- Musee D' Orsay located in an old train station in an historic Beaux-Arts railway station built between 1898 and 1900. Website: www.musee-orsay.fr/en/home.html
- The Louvre is one of the worlds largest museums and the home of the Mona Lisa. Website: www.louvre.fr/en
- Notre Dame Cathedral both inside where Victor Hugo's protagonist Quasimodo lived in his book "Hunchback of Notre Dame" and also underneath which is called The Archeological Crypt and has gallo-roman artifacts Website: www.notredamedeparis.fr/-English-
- St. Germain des Pres which is the oldest church in Paris. Website: aviewoncities.com/paris/saintgermaindespres.htm
- Sainte Chapelle is a royal Gothic medieval Gothic Chapel: Website: sainte-chapelle.monuments-nationaux.fr/en
- Chateau Vincennes is on the outskirts of the metro. Built in 5thC by Charles V. One of the biggest and best preserved castles in Europe. Website: en.chateau-vincennes.fr/
Monicque, Memphis, USA
#One of my favorite and most emotionally moving experiences was when I went to the Louvre early in the morning before it was open and anyone was even in line. It was quiet and magnificent. I was basically there by myself absorbing the history and architecture. It was also free. It was an experience I will never forget and it happened totally serendipitously.
Kimberly, Little Elm, USA
#The Louvre has more than one entrance. If the lines are long, inquire with a docent about additional, lesser entrances that could cut your wait time significantly.
Stacy, Stillwater, Canada
#I love Paris and have spent a lot of time there. One of the places I've found for reasonable food on a Sunday evening (when many places are closed) is the food court in the shopping center (Carrousel du Louvre) attached to the Musee du Louvre. Lots of choices and you don’t feel conspicuous eating alone. Lots of good people-watching as well!
Jane, Milwaukee, USA
#Purchase a museum card for the maximum number of days as possible. These cards work for consecutive days in most of the museums, galleries, etc. They don't actually start until you activate the card for the first time. Plan the days you want to visit museums and galleries before you activate the card and enjoy. Several perks come with these cards. One, you don't need to stand in the regular lines. This is a huge time saver as there are special lines for museum card holders. Two, you save money with this one card. Three, if there is only one or two pieces you are interested in at a gallery, you can go in, look at those, and leave. You don't feel you need to spend the whole day to get your money's worth. Four, if you want to go back to some museums, it's easy to do so with this card.
Wendy VanHatten, Vacaville, USA
#There are many wonderful museums, but two in the Marais are especially worthy of your time. The home of Victor Hugo at Place des Vosges is a lovely glimpse into the life of Parisians then and now. It is so charming and personal. The square teems with life of the local residents and their children and tourists as well. A friendly group, I've always found the locals willing to chat about their interests and yours, too. Place des Vosges is easy to find, just a big block off Rue de St. Antoine or a couple from Blvd. Beaumarchais and the Bastille metro station. Website: www.victorhugo.gg/hauteville-house
#If you're on a spiritual journey through Paris you must visit the Chapel of Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal. Both Notre Dame Cathedral and Sacre-Coeur Basilica were amazing, but the place we felt a spiritual presence was the Chapel. Even my very young granddaughters felt it.
Krystina, Independence, USA
#While Paris has countless museums to visit, I would like to point Journeywomen to the Museum of the Middle Ages (also known as the Musee de Cluny). Here you can step into Paris' medieval past, seeing the original Unicorn Tapestries and other treasures in the Gothic former townhouse of the Abbots of Cluny. The site also features the ruins of a Roman bath, on which the Abbey was partially built, and a restful medieval-inspired garden which includes footprints of the animals in the tapestries. Go and see for yourself! Click!
Diane, El Cerrito, USA
#Take note of this World War Two monument that remembers all the Jewish people in Paris rounded up my the nazis. Do not miss an oft-overlooked (literally and figuratively) Monument to the Deportation across the small street behind Notre Dame on Isle de la Cite. It is a gut-wrenching, intimate and amazingly powerful experience in a small space. Exquisitely and simply designed. A small sign is all that marks the stairs going down into the monument. You can see the Seine through the bars. Quotations etched into the stone illuminate the atrocity. One room is simply stone, supposedly showers - with stone bars of soap emblematic of where prisoners were gassed. The story of how 200,000 Jews were put on barges and shipped out of Paris.
#The oldest pet cemetery in the world, Le Cimetiere des chiens D'Asnieres-sur-Seine is easy to reach via the Metro and a short walk. It is filled with tombstones and monuments for 40,000 animals including cats, a race horse, lion, monkey, and rabbits. Take Métro Line 13 in the direction of Gabriel Peri Asnières-Gennevilliers. (Some trains go to St-Denis-Université; you don't want those.) Get off at Mairie de Clichy. Turn right on Rue Martre and walk until you reach the bridge over the Seine. Cemetery is at the other side of the river.
Patricia, Mentor, USA
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