Paris travel guide

Paris travel guide

Country: France (République française)
City: Paris (Paris)
Languages: French
Currency: EUR
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Interesting facts about Paris

  • In the beginning Paris was a small Celtic village. It was covering only the tiny area of Île de la Cité. So if you want to see where it all started, head to the isle, which shelters Notre Dame Cathedral.
  • The name of the city derives from the Celtic tribe called Parisii, who founded it in the 3rd century BC.
  • Vikings made many attacks on the lands of France and England. In 845 AD they even attacked and occupied Paris. To withdraw the Vikings, King Charles the Bald paid them about 2500 kilograms of silver and gold.
  • Despite its name Pont Neuf, which means New Bridge in French, is the oldest standing bridge in Paris. It exists since 1578. It was named like that because it was the first modern bridge – had pavement and didn’t have any houses on it.
  • In the beginning of 20th century a human zoo existed in Paris. Visitors were able to see people from Madagascar, Congo, Tunisia, Morocco and India in their natural environment. Read more here.
  • Many people were against the construction of the Eiffel Tower. They claimed that it will spoil the beauty of Paris. Guy de Maupassant, a French writer, went so far in his hate that he used to have his lunch at the restaurant on the Eiffel Tower. It wasn’t because he liked the food that much, but this was the only place from where he couldn’t see the iron building.
  • Louvre is one of the most visited art museums in the world because of its treasures Mona Lisa (La Joconde) and the Venus de Milo statue. If you want to see the museum, be prepared to spare at least a day from your time.
  • The name of Avenue des Champs-Élysées means Elysian Fields in French. According to the Greek mythology the Elysian Fields is the resting place of the heroes’ souls after their death. This is the Greek version of Valhalla.
  • There is a Statue of Liberty in Paris, too! It is 1/3 of the size of the original. The statue is on small island in Seine River. It symbolizes the friendship between France and USA.
  • The birthplace of the Cancan dance is Moulin Rouge, a famous cabaret in Montmartre opened in 1889.
  • Paris is called “The City of Light”. It is not only because it was one of the first cities in Europe, which had gas street lighting. It is also because of the important role of Paris during the Age of Enlightenment.

Airports in Paris

There are three airports: Charles de Gaulle Airport, Orly Airport and Beauvais–Tillé Airport.

Charles de Gaulle Airport is the biggest airport in the city. It is situated in northern suburbs of the city. See here how to get there and some helpful airport maps.

Travel from Charles de Gaulle (CDG) or Orly (ORY) International Airport to your centrally located Paris hotel. 

Book your airport transfer from your centrally located Paris hotel to Charles de Gaulle Airport.  

Orly Airport was the main international airport in Paris before the construction of Charles de Gaulle Airport. Orly Airport is southwest of Paris. Check out how to get there using the metro or the bus.

Beauvais–Tillé Airport is a small low cost airport. It is located 70 km north of Paris. You can reach it by a shuttle bus. See more details here.

Major train stations

There are six major train station : Nord Station (Gare du Nord), East Station (Gare de l’Est), Lyon Station (Gare de Lyon), Austerlitz Station (Gare d’Austerlitz), Montparnasse Station (Gare Montparnasse) and Saint-Lazare Station (Gare Saint-Lazare).

Best time to visit Paris

If you are visiting Paris in July plan your trip around the middle of the month. The French national holiday (Bastille Day) is on 14 July. On this day the French celebrate the storming of the Bastille during the French Revolution. The celebrations include a military parade on Champs-Élysées and spectacular fireworks on the background of the Eiffel Tower.

The first Saturday of October the White Night (Nuit Blanche) takes place. It is an evening art festival during which you can see free artistic installations and performances all over the city.

Of course the Christmas season is not to be missed. It starts at the end of November when the Christmas lights are lit on Champs-Élysées. Visiting any of the Christmas markets will put you in the right Christmas mood.

Paris travel guide

What to see in Paris

What to see outside of Paris

Travel itineraries

Where to eat and drink in Paris

Paris travel tips

Where to stay

During my trips I stayed in Hotel France Albion and New Orient Hôtel.

Free Paris tours

Discover Walks offers everyday free tours with several options to choose from. If you enjoy the tour you can tip the guy at the end.

Day trips out of Paris

Palace of Versailles (Château de Versailles) is the most famous palace near Paris. If you want to explore the place, a day will barely be enough. You can reach the palace by the suburban train RER C.

Versailles by Bike Day Tour: take a tour of Versailles with a difference – by bicycle! It’s the only way to see Versailles’ expansive gardens plus you’ll get to see highlights of Versailles that most visitors miss.

Palace of Fontainebleau (Château de Fontainebleau) is another stunning residence of the French monarchs outside Paris. The place is definitely less crowded, but as much beautiful as Versailles. You can reach it by train.

Palace of Vaux le Vicomte (Château de Vaux le Vicomte) is a small palace close to Paris. It belonged to Nicolas Fouquet, the finance minister of the Sun King. The palace can be reached by a train.

Loire Valley Castles Day Trip –Chambord, Cheverny and Chenonceau: take a day tour from Paris to visit the three most famous chateaux of the Loire Valley.

If you are travelling to Paris via the Beauvais–Tillé Airport don’t miss to see the Beauvais Cathedral. I promise that you will be stunned by its beauty.

Giverny and Monet’s Garden Bike Tour: spend about 1.5 hours enjoying Monet’s gardens, his house and the famous water lily pond.

Champagne Region Day Trip: enjoy a glass of bubbly as you spend a day in the famous region of Champagne on a day trip from Paris.

Mont Saint Michel Day Trip: take a full-day tour from Paris to one of the most popular attractions in France, the fairytale island of Mont St-Michel off the coast of Normandy.

Paris to Bruges Day Trip: include a day trip to the charming town of Bruges in Belgium’s Flemish region on your Paris holiday.

WWI Somme Battlefields Day Tripon this small group tour of the Somme battlefields, you will discover a part of France that suffered severely in the violent and bloody battles of the Great War.

Normandy D-Day Battlefields and Beaches Day Trip: take a poignant, memorable day trip from Paris to visit the Normandy battlefields and landing beaches of World War II.

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