What is it about the charm that Paris has even for those who have never visited it? “City of Lights”?
The glamor, history, exquisite gastronomy and mix of different art movements that this city embraces create an inner longing to be part of this mystical and bohemian atmosphere that we have only seen in films or read in novels.
So yes, Paris for beginners is all about the materialization of this imaginary world!
The menu includes Edith Piaf’s La Vie en Rose, small cafes, palaces, opera and croissants au chocolat.
So Paris is first and foremost a city for walking and walking and walking.
So pack your comfortable shoes (no bulky tennis shoes screaming “I’m a tourist”) and casual / formal / chic clothes!
Let the journey begin from the moment you arrange your trip. Buy a travel guide to Paris and download it to your phone or small tablet for less weight (you’ll want to carry it around during your trip). Knowing the story behind the beauty that you are watching will make a world of difference and result in a memorable experience.
A beginner’s guide to Paris
Booking for your trip: I really recommend at least 5 days in Paris … no less, but a lot more if you can!
Choose a hotel – Where to stay?
Paris is divided into twenty Arrondissements or districts. Remember, Paris is for walking, but you still have to take this metro more than once. As long as you’re near a subway station in any of these districts, you’ll be close to most destinations: 1, 2, 3, 7, 8 and 9. ARR.
Read our guide to the Arrondissements of Paris.
Arrival in Paris
Before leaving the airport, find a city map. If you can’t find one, ask at your hotel.
You have the option of the RER Paris city train and connection with METROPOLITAIN (metro, underground, etc.) or take a taxi. If you’ve just landed from a transatlantic flight and can afford a € 40 fair, I would definitely recommend the taxi over the train, otherwise the train is fine. Just keep this in mind when packing your suitcases as you will have to pull it up a few flights of stairs and walk with it for a while.
Lots Applications for your phone Help set up train and metro routes and estimate the travel time specific to Paris, a well-spent US dollar, or use the free one provided by RATP (Transportation Authority).
Read our guide to using the Paris Metro.
How to plan your Paris sightseeing route for beginners
How much time you spend in each location depends on you, your style of travel, and the amount of time you count on. Museums take a long time to really enjoy, but no matter what, be sure to visit them Musee d’orsay and the Musee du Louvre is a must!
My recommendation for Paris for beginners
Follow a route around a Arrondissement Make a list of for each day Something to see and Buy tickets in advance Avoid lines. Try not to be too strict with your time because you won’t be enjoying the real Paris if you have to keep up with it. Enjoy an extra glass of wine when you’re having a good time, sit on the green chairs Tuileries garden and live the Parisian experience.
Places not to be missed in Paris
There are so many things to do in Paris for beginners, here are some places not to be missed!
The Musée du Louvre, the Jardin des Tuileries, the Place Vendôme, the Palais Royal, the Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel, the Notre-Dame de Paris, the Sainte-Chapelle, the Hôtel de Ville (Paris City Hall), the Center Georges Pompidou , Saint-Jacques Tower, Jardin du Luxembourg, Église Saint-Sulpice, Abbey Saint-Germain des Prés, Tour Eiffel and its Parc du Champ de Mars, Les Invalides, Musée d’Orsay, Ecole Militaire, Champs-Elysées, Arc de Triomphe , Place de la Concorde, Église de la Madeleine, Grand Palais and Petit Palais, Opéra Garnier, Montmartre, Basilica of the Sacré Cœur, Église Saint-Jean-de-Montmartre, Musée Rodin.
If you have the time that Palace of Versailles is only an hour by train from Paris but you should spend at least 4 hours there. So reserve at least half a day, you won’t regret it! If you don’t have time, check out Napoleon’s 3rd apartment Get a glimpse of Versailles at the Musée du Louvre, which was the Royal Palace a long time ago.
This all seems like too much to see and do, but in fact, you will find that most of them are close together.
Time and budget for shopping?
As you would expect, Paris has one of the trendiest streets in the world. Rue Faubourg Saint-Honoré where every major fashion house can be found. But Paris has options for all budgets and styles. Galleries Lafayette and Champs-Elysées offer a great variety.
Related reading: Wine, dining and shopping tips for the Paris Opera
Must eat in Paris
While there are numerous plates in Paris, you will likely eat some of them more than once … just because they are too good not to do.
I will make a list of those that I consider must-have. Since I’ve tried some of these in different places, I’ll suggest where I liked them the most:
– Croque Monsieur (Sandwich) – Le Café de la Paix, famous restaurant across the street Opera Garnier, The most amazing building of the Napoleonic era.
– Foie gras – We ordered this at every place where we had lunch, dinner or a snack. They were all good, but I can’t remember if I liked it the most.
– Foie Gras Poêlé (Seared fois gras) – L’Ilot Vache
– Côtelettes d’agneau – L’Ilot Vache
– EntrecÖte – Le Relais de l’Entrecote
– Cheese – In France there are 56 types of cheese that are classified and regulated by a Protected Designation of Origin (AOC). So your options are wide. I would recommend that you try: Brie and Neufchâtel. We ordered cheese at every cafe we went to and we did great every time. French will have cheese as an entrance or as a dessert with fruit and sweet wine.
– Berthillon ice cream – Everywhere on the Île Saint-Louis
– Galettes de blé noir or sucrée au beurre (Buckwheat flour crepe with sugar and butter) – La Crêperie des Canettes, a cozy little place in Saint-Germain
– Nutella crepe and Crepe Sucre et Citron (with sugar and lime) – Everywhere on the street
– Hot chocolate – Le Café Angelina in the Louvre
Even if you don’t have a sweet tooth Ladurée is an emblematic French luxury bakery that serves the Double decker macaronyou have to visit and try.
You will get along fine with any French wine, but I recommend the ones from the Bordeaux Region and Sauternes for dessert.
For good food and a great atmosphere, I also recommend the following: Le Mini Palais, Le 7ème Vin. every cafe in Le Tuileries, and at Le Jardin du Luxembourg.
Communication in Paris
Learn some useful phrases and words for beginners to explore Paris: bonjour, merci, parlez-vous anglais ?, Oui, s’il vous plaît ?, Au revoir. Here are some more useful European phrases to study.
But do not worry. Nowadays, many Parisians speak English, or at least those that tourists normally interact with.
Learn a few basic French phrases in Babbel.
You will want to return to Paris time and time again and each time you will embrace its charm in a different way.