travel guide to
The Eiffel Tower, art, romantic locations, award-winning food, Arc De Triomphe.
This is Paris.
In Paris there is beauty everywhere you look, whether it’s in the architecture, the art or even the food. Due to its compact size, Paris is the ideal place to go for a long weekend or a week away. This small city has so much personality and lots of things to do. So we’ve put together the perfect Paris travel guide.
Looking for something in particular? Use the quick-links below to jump to a specific section.
Weather in Paris
Paris is a good city to visit at any time of the year. If you’re after warm temperatures and sunshine, June and July are good months. The winter months bring colder weather and fewer lines at the attractions.
August is an unusual month. This is the time most French families abandon Paris to go on holiday. Which means a lot of independent shops and restaurants will be closed and the streets will be empty. The quiet atmosphere might be just what you want if you don’t mind sticking to the regular supermarkets.
Paris month-by-month average temperatures.
January 5 °C | February 6 °C | March 9 °C | April 11 °C | May 15 °C | June 16 °C | July 20 °C | August 20 °C | September 16 °C | October 12 °C | November 7 °C | December 5 °C
Currency in Paris, France
The currency in Paris, France is the Euro – €
Bank notes are for €5 and higher. There are 100 Cents to 1 Euro. Coins come in units of 1c, 2c, 5c, 10c, 20c, 50c, €1 and €2.
Unlike the US Dollar and the GBP, the Euro doesn’t have a common nickname across Europe. But in France you might hear it referred to as une balle which used to be a nickname for the Franc. This fell out of use when the Euro came along but is starting to gain popularity again, except this time as a term for the Euro or money in general.
In cafes, restaurants and bars, it’s actually in the law to include tax and tips in the bill. This is known as “service compris”. This means you have technically paid a tip already however it is customary to leave an extra €1 to €2.
Taxi drivers should be tipped 5% to 10%, or you can round up their fare to the nearest Euro.
Dial 112 for all emergency services. Alternatively dial 15 for medical help, 17 for police or 18 for fire service.
Internet and Wifi
Cafes and restaurants often provide free Wifi and hotels will as well (although you might want to check in advance). There are public hotspots dotted around Paris but they are not that reliable.
If you need the use of Wifi while you’re exploring Paris, you might want to rent a Travel Wifi/ Pocket Wifi device. These useful gizmos connect to the local mobile networks and act like a Wifi hotspot.
Paris attractions and things to do
Whether you want art or history, shopping or gorgeous views, Paris has a lot to offer. So we’ve chosen our favourites attractions for you to visit and see in the French capital.
Musée du Louvre
The Louvre is home to over 35,000 pieces of art including the famous Mona Lisa. If the size of the place is overwhelming, don’t worry, the Louvre offers themed trails and tours so you can make the most of your time there.
Whether you’re taking a photo of it from the Champ de Mars or taking a lift to the top of it, the Eiffel Tower is a must-see. Nothing says “Paris” quite like this metal structure built in the 1880s.
A collection of fashionable French stores in a beautiful building. If you’re going to go shopping you might as well do it in style. Here you’ll find fashion, homeware stores, restaurants and cafes.
Château de Versailles
The Château de Versailles is a truly stunning place to visit. The estate contains a large palace, gardens, the estate of Trianon and the park. The palace is the centrepiece but if you want a quieter experience the Grand Trianon is less crowded and has a fascinating history.
A medieval Catholic cathedral in the heart of Paris, Notre-Dame sits on the Île de la Cité in the middle of the Seine. The cathedral is the epitome of gothic architecture that features the Rose Window and its famous gargoyles.
Arc de Triomphe
At the Western end of the Champe-Élysées is one of the most famous monuments in Paris. The Arc de Triomphe was built in the early 1800s as a way to honour the French soldiers who had fought in the Napoleonic War. You can buy tickets to go inside and the top of the Arc offers a fantastic view of Paris.
Even though Paris is a relatively small city, the Paris metro is one of the busiest subway systems in the world. It doesn’t matter if you’re sightseeing or commuting, if you’re travelling across Paris you’re probably going to be using the metro.
The Paris metro is run by the RATP group, the same public transport provider that runs the RER and other transport services in Paris.
Métro map and route planner
You’ll find an interactive map of the metro system, tram lines and RER line in the free Paris Metro Mapway app. So you don’t have to worry about looking for one while you’re there. The app also makes it easy to plan a journey in Paris. Just let the app know which stations you’re travelling between and the app takes care of the rest.
Tickets and Cards
Passengers on the Paris Metro still use paper tickets and they are one of the easiest ways to pay for your journey. They can be used for the Metro, RER, tramway lines, the Montmartre funicular, and the Ile-de-France bus lines.
There are special conditions for using the tickets on buses, so make sure to check the RATP’s guidelines.
A basic single-use ticket, called the T+, is €1.90. A popular option is to buy a carnet of 10 for €14.90 (and€2 for the Navigo Easy pass, which is necessary to load your tickets).
The ParisVisite is a travel card that is available for 1, 2, 3, or 5 consecutive days. It allows unlimited travel on the same services as the regular tickets. There are two types, Paris Centre covers Zones 1 to 3 and Paris Banlieue covers Zones 1 to 5, which includes the airport. Prices start at €12 for 1 day in Zones 1 to 3 (Paris only), up to €65.80 for 5 days in Zones 1 to 5 (Greater Paris area).
Where to buy tickets and how to validate them
You can buy tickets or the ParisVisite cards online or from ticket booths or from any ticket machine in the Metro.
Tickets require validating before you travel. If you have to go through a barrier on the metro this will validate your ticket. However, this won’t always be the case. At some stations on the Metro and RER, look out for a yellow box at the end of the platform and insert your ticket there.
Make sure to always keep your ticket with you. Inspectors will sometimes check if you have your ticket; being caught without one will result in a fine. So don’t lose it!
The Paris Metro runs from about 05:30 to 01:20 Monday to Friday. On Saturdays and Sundays the metro opens at 05:30 and runs a bit later to 02:15. These times also come in to affect the evening before a public holiday.
The RER operates daily from 05:30 to about 01:20.
The times can vary depending on the station. If you need the exact First and Last train times, there is an extra feature in the Mapway Paris Metro app that provides the times for each metro station.
There aren’t many Paris Metro or RER stations that are completely wheelchair accessible. Some stations might have lift access to the platform but won’t have wheelchair access to get on to the train itself.
This is mostly because of the age of the metro system and it is why RATP have made promises to improve accessibility on the Metro.
For wheelchair users, getting the bus will be a much better option as all RATP buses are wheelchair accessible. For some buses you may have to let the driver know you wish to board and then get on through the middle door.
For the latest information please visit this RATP page.
Other Transport in Paris
The Paris buses are painted in the RATP colours of turquoise and grey, so they’re easy to spot. You can buy your ticket from the driver at €2 per journey. However a cheaper alternative is to use the T+ ticket. These can be used for the Metro and RER as well and can be bought from the ticket machines in metro stations.
The RER trains run across Paris and can be used alongside the Metro. But there are also major routes leaving the city as well. For example, if you plan on visiting Disneyland Paris you will need to catch an RER train out of central Paris.
The T3a and T3b are the only trams to run entirely within the city of Paris. You can see an orange line for T3a near the Southern end of the Paris metro map and a green line in the North East corner of the map for the T3b.
The Paris metro tickets and cards can be used on the trams and you can also plan routes on them using the Paris Metro app.
Taxis and Ride sharing
Taxis are not always easy to find in Paris so you might have to look for a taxi rank. A white light on the roof means the taxi is free and an orange light means the taxi is taken.
Pricing can be a little confusing as it changes depending on time of day and the zone you are in. In central Paris a typical journey will cost somewhere between €6 and €12.