The First-Timers Guide to Paris

If you are reading this, I guess you’re either planning a trip to Paris or you’re just bored AF and came across this post. Either way, welcome! I’m so very pleased to have you here.

In case you didn’t know, Paris is my favourite city ever! I’ve been to France a couple of times on my own, and let me tell you sis, it’s such a perfect place for solo travellers. It is also suitable for couples, family trips, etc so whatever your excuse is, you’re so very welcome in the city of love!

However, when I visited Paris for the first time I felt like there were so many things to see and do, and I didn’t really know where to start. That’s why I decided to put together a travel guide for first timers in this beautiful city, which will hopefully help you organise your trip and solve any inquiry you may have. Lets just get started:

WHAT TO SEE

There’s probably like a million things to see and do in Paris, c’mon, it’s PA-RIS. But if you don’t know where to start, and could do with some guidance, here are my top 5 recommendations:

The first Coco Chanel atelier: If you’re into fashion, this is a must. Located in the iconic 31 rue Cambon, it is situated in the heart of the first arrondisement, a five minute walk from la Place Vendome and the Ritz hotel Paris. This is the first ever Coco Chanel atelier, now turned into a Chanel shop.

-Museums: Did you know that in Paris most museum offer free entrance to European Union citizens under 26? Make sure you bring a proof of ID with you, such as Passport or National Identity Card. Once you are in Paris you will realise there are museums literally everywhere. Some of the ones I visited and highly recommend are: The Louvre, Musee D’Orsay & Musee De L’Orangerie.

-Galerie Vivinne: Located behind the Biblioteque Richilieu and near the Palais Royal, it is one of the most iconic indoor arcades in Paris. There are so many boutiques, shops, caffees and much more. It is truly a hidden geme in Paris, and you’ll be able to access it via Rue de la Banque and Rue Vivienne. Not to mention is such an “Instagramable” spot.

Montmarte: Also known as The Mountain of Martyrs and located in Paris 18th arrondissement. Some of the things you can do in this iconic area include visiting the “Basilica of Sacre-Coeur”, situated near the “Abbesses” metro station and join them during one of their prayers (obviously if you’re into it). In addition, the famous Moulin Rouge is also located in this area. It is actually a cabaret and you can go and book a reservation for one of the shows. There’s other museums that you can visit such as “Musée de Montmarte” or “Musée de la Vie Romantique”. Not gonna lie, the Moulin Rouge was one my favourite spots in Paris. If you’ve watched the movie and are just as obsessed as me, I’m sure you’re going to find it so exciting!!

-Iconic Landmarks: I’m sure I don’t even have to mention that if you come to Paris, you must visit all the different landmarks, which include: The Eiffel Tower, Les Champs Élysées & Grand Palais, Arc de Triomphe, The Centre Pompidou, Place Vendôme, Pantheon, etc. I won’t get much into detail since I’ll continue this topic in the section “What To Do“.

GETTING AROUND

Most of the landmarks that have been mentioned before are within walking distance from each other, however, Paris is a big city and you may need public transport to get to certain places. These are my two favorite options:

Metro: A single metro ticket costs 1.90 euros, and can be used for one journey, including all connections. You can purchase them at the ticket offices or machines in metro stations.  Make sure you keep hold of your ticket until you have completed your journey.

Bus: You can use the same tickets as in the metro, with no limit distance. The bus driver can sell single tickets, but make sure you have the exact amount. You will need another ticket if you change on to a different bus route.

In both metro and bus you can purchase a “carnet”, which gives you 10 trips at a reduced fare. The price of the “carnet” is 16 euros.

WHAT TO DO

-Join a free walking tour. THIS IS MY NUMBER ONE ADVICE. DO IT. Unlike regular tour provider’s services, there is no set price for these free walking tours. Let me say it again, I’m talking about A FREE TOUR AROUND PARIS. A native will show you around the city, and you will be able to learn about Paris and the history behind the most iconic landmarks, such as the Eiffel Tower or les Champs Élysées. f you come to Paris and feel lost or unsure about where to start, this is such a fantastic alternative to organise your day. These tours normally last 1-3 hours and you can tip the guide at the end of the tour. I will leave the link to the ones I joined when I visited Paris,  which are provided by a company called “Discover Walks”. Let me tell you, I joined like 2-3 tours everyday cos I did not want to miss a thing!  If you are travelling on your own, this is also a great alternative to meet people on the go.  https://www.discoverwalks.com/tour/city/paris-walking-tours/

Picnic Time! If you have the chance, I recommend you having a picnic in the gardens outside the Louvre Museum or Eiffel Tower. It’s such a beautiful experience, specially if you come over summer. There are plenty of food stands around, where you can get ice cream, drinks, and a wide variety of sandwiches.

-Enjoy a “café au lait” in a vintage coffee shop. One of the things I most love about Paris is the coffee shops! They are so cute and you can sit outside and people watch. The price of a regular coffee ranges between 3 and 6€. Don’t forget to get a delicious pastry with it, at the end of the day, you’re in Paris.

-Go luxury shopping. If you’re considering buying a designer purse or any other luxury item, what better place for it than Paris? Some of the areas I recommend are “Rue St Honore”, “Avenue Montaigne” or “Place Vendôme”. You’ll be able to find shops such as Louis Vuitton, Chanel, Cartier or Versace.

WHAT TO EAT

-You can get a full meal from pretty much any restaurant for around 20-25 euros.  ALTERNATIVELY, if you are travelling on a budget, a great alternative is buying food from the supermarket. The one I recommend is “Carrefour”, since you can find pretty much anything. MUSTS: French baguette, cheese, wine and any kind of bakery. It will cost you around 10 euros and you can take it to your picnic in the gardens outside the Louvre museum.

-It was actually hard finding vegetarian and vegan options at most restaurants, however the supermarkets offer a wide variety of veggie ranges at a cheaper price.

-Bakeries, bakeries, bakeries. Honestly, there are bakeries and patisseries everywhere. Have you even been to Paris if you haven’t tried a freshly baked croissant? Or Crepe? Or pain au Chocolat? Or meringues? Or macaroons? Priorities sis.

GENERAL TIPS & SAFETY

-DONT SIGN THE PETITION. Please, please, please. Watch out for scammers. There are certain people around Paris that will approach you asking you to “sign a petition” to help a “charity”. They will try and get your attention with the clipboard, so they can distract you and reach your pockets. If they approach you, just ignore them and say you’re not interested. Remember, Paris is one of the most visited cities in the world, so scammers are in search for lost tourists to take advantage of.

-Make sure you look after your stuff and do not leave it unattended under any circumstance. Even if you are eating at a restaurant and need to go to the toilet, you take your stuff with you. Period.

-Also, there would be so many people trying to sell you souvenirs, bags, even Museum tickets!!! Ignore them, because once you give them conversation or show interest they will literally follow you until you buy from them. Outside the Sacred Heart Cathedral a man literally grabbed my hand, laced a bracelet around my wrist and told me I had to pay for it!!! I was like “sir, I never asked you for it”. (The price wasn’t cheap either sis).

-Outside some of the most iconic museums, such as the Louvre, there would be people trying to sell you tickets at a cheaper price. I personally wouldn’t do it because first of all, you don’t know where they got those tickets from, and second, you don’t know whether the tickets are genuine or not.

-I’ve personally traveled to France and Paris multiple times on my own, and I have always felt safe. If you are travelling on your own, make sure your accommodation is as close to the city center as possible. When I travel on my own, I personally start my day super early, and then as soon as it starts to get dark outside I go back to my hotel.

Anyways, I could continue forever but this post would be endless. These are some of the best tips  can give you, to make your visit to Paris more enjoyable. If you still have any questions, you can comment down below or message me on any of my platforms.

As always, thank you so much for reading.

Until next time,

Aby xoxo.

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