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Are you thinking of visiting Paris? The city of lights is a wonderful place to visit any time of the year. While you won’t see everything in one trip, it is important to know some key details before going. Our Paris travel guide will help you plan an amazing trip.

History of Paris

museums in Paris

Paris, the city, and capital of France, situated in the north-central part of the country. People were living on the site of the present-day city, located along the Seine River some 233-miles (375-km) upstream from the river’s mouth on the English Channel (La Manche), by about 7600 BCE. The modern city has spread from the island (the Île de la Cité) and far beyond both banks of the Seine.

Know before traveling to Paris

arc de triomphe

Language

The official language of the country is French. But in the parts of the city that see the most tourists, people will understand and talk to you in English. Regional languages are also spoken like dialects of German and Celtic languages.

Currency

Travelers should never rely on one type of payment option when traveling to Paris.  The currency in France is Euro.  Mainly the same as many other European countries.

Credit cards

Visa and MasterCard are accepted by most shops and restaurants, though smaller merchants, some neighborhood restaurants or bars, and street vendors may not take credit cards. (Also, restaurant tips are normally given in cash.) American Express is accepted at higher-end boutiques and restaurants that cater to tourists.

Debit cards

Debit cards get the gold for convenience. Equipped with a chip, secured with a PIN, and providing direct access to your own money, almost everyone in France uses a debit card to pay. Visa and Mastercards are commonly accepted.

ATM

Your best source of cash is an automated teller machine (ATM) or cashpoint. You’ll find ATMs on banks and post offices all over Paris, and most of them have step-by-step instructions in your choice of French, English, and other languages.

Climate in Paris

The climate in Paris is temperate and is influenced by the Atlantic Ocean: it is cold but not freezing in winter, and pleasantly warm in summer; however, it receives some continental influences, so it can sometimes be very cold in winter and hot in summer. The best time to visit Paris is from mid-May to mid-September; in particular, from mid-May to late June, when the days are long, nature is in bloom, and there is a low risk of excessive heat.

Electricity

Electrical outlets in Paris usually deliver power at 220-240 volts. It is much stronger than most North American sockets, which usually deliver 110-120 V. Power plugs in France have the particularity of being male and female at the same time.

In most countries, plugs only have prongs and sockets are only receptacles for those prongs. However, electric plugs have 2 prongs and a receptacle in France. If your power plugs do not match this shape, you may need an adapter that also converts the voltage. 

Getting Around Paris

The city of Paris is well served by road links from all points of the compass, bringing visitors from all the major cities of Europe and beyond. Journey time between exits/gates is now displayed on illuminated overhead panels. Exit signs for each gate into the city are given plenty of time in advance so as not to miss them, make sure you position yourself correctly, in the right-hand lane.

The French are meticulous about staying to the right, and never drive more than a few hundred meters in the passing lane. The speed limit is 80-km/h (50-mph), Watch out for the speed traps.

Public Transportation

Paris public transport system is run by RATP and consists of 16 lines of Métro (underground), and 3 Tramway lines, 2 RER suburban express trains (which interconnects with the Métro inside Paris).

Getting There

If you are getting to Paris by plane you will arrive at one of the three airports serving the capital. Both Paris Charles de Gaulle and Orly Airports handle international and European domestic flights with the smaller Beauvais airport offering flights from ‘Low budget’ carriers. If you are getting to Paris by train from London you will arrive at Paris Gare de Nord station, one of six main stations serving the city. Depending on where your departure is you will arrive at one of these six mainline Paris city stations.

Culture

romance in Paris

Paris for lovers is the perfect place to pop the question

Paris is the center of art, fashion, food, and architecture. As one of the world’s leading cultural centers, it is home to many cultural icons like museums and monuments. French people love music and the opera, and Paris has some of the largest opera houses in the country.

When it comes to fashion, Paris is the home of haute couture and the starting point of all trends. The French are really proud of their food and Paris’ food represents many regions and cultures. The festivals celebrated in Paris are Bastille Day, Parc de la Villette (the open-air cinema event), Bois de Boulogne that features outdoor theatre performances, film and music festivals, etc.

Attractions in Paris

During your trip to Paris, there are a few things you much see and do.  Such as; stop at the Eiffel Tower, see a cabaret show at Moulin Rouge, indulge in a chocolate tasting tour, visit the Louvre after hours to see the Mona Lisa painting.  Of course, there is nothing more relaxing than enjoying a river cruise along the Seine.

Photography hotspots

Lastly, we wanted to mention in this travel guide to Paris a few excellent spots to take some photos.

  • Saint-Chapelle
  • Au Vieux Paris D-arcote
  • Versailles Palace

I hope you found this Paris travel guide helpful. Leave your comments below!  Here are some ideas on the best way to spend your day in Paris.