First steps in a place you’ve never been to can be quite tricky. And as Paris is one of the most advertised places to visit around the world, we have far too many expectations formed about it. When you’re a foreigner you look for everything that would match your expectations and it’s frustrating not to find it eventually.
I’ve lived in Paris for a while myself and if I would return there at this moment these are the things I would do first. You probably will need several days to try out all of them, but I really encourage you to try. I guarantee you will have great time.
#5 Have a picnic by the Eiffel Tower
When I first came to Paris I couldn’t believe I was there until I’ve seen the Eiffel Tower. For me it was the ultimate symbol of even the whole France at that point. I spent the day walking around the city, saving the icon of Paris until the very last and it paid off – I’ve spent the whole evening at the tower eventually (that’s how good it was).
If you want to really believe you’re in Paris – make a stop at the grocery shop to pick up croissants, some wine and cheese and head to the Eiffel Tower (get out at the Trocadero station for a more spectacular view) to have a little picnic at the bottom of the tower. If you would like to go up the tower, then make sure you’re not carrying any liquids, as the security will take away all the wine you’ll bring.
#4 Enjoy a walk by the Seine river
Whenever people tell me about how they experienced Paris by walking it’s always either window shopping on Champs Elysees, or walking around Louvre. To me the best way to experience Paris on foot is to go to Notre-Dame area on the Cite island and go downstairs to walk by the river. It’s the best place to fall into the romantic atmosphere of Paris that you see in movies – couples walking together, french music playing and so on. Once again, take some croissants or macaroons with you for a more vivid experience.
#3 Visit Disneyland
Disneyland doesn’t need a thorough introduction. It’s a place from our childhood and is simply a great place to forget about everyday hassle and being in the big city. Make sure you take the Skip the line pass, as the waiting time can be as high as 1 to 2 hours. Even though it sometimes doesn’t look so from outside of the ride, there are many chambers used to queue people to wait.
You can take a regional (RER A) train from the city center that will get you to the Disneyland in around 40 minutes. Make sure you also check the ticket cost online – it will save you some money and precious waiting time.
#2 Take a daytrip to Château de Versailles
French like things to be nice and good looking and the palace of Versailles is the best place to enjoy it. The palace was built in 1623 by Louis XVIII and consists of museums and gardens. It’s a great place to walk around and enjoy both the inside of the palace and the surrounding gardens. Once again, make sure you bring some food with you, because gardens are so beautiful and big that you can spend many days there.
To get there you can take a regional (RER C) train to Versailles Château / Rive Gauche station from where you need to take a short walk to the Palace itself. Just follow the crowd from the train station, as everyone is going to the palace and its gardens. The total journey will take you around 1 hour.
#1 Take a Velib and get lost in Paris
This one is my ultimate favorite – there is no way you won’t feel local after this. If you really want to feel like a local – buy a daily ticket for a bike sharing system – Velib – and experience the city on the road. Take a ride through all places you wanted to visit in the center and enjoy doing it so like a local. I almost never have used the metro system and have taken the bike everywhere almost for free (the annual pass costed me 19 euros, but there are daily solutions as well). Just avoid obviously walk-only streets.
The system works as following – after you pay you can take the gray bike at any Velib bike sharing stations at any time as many times as you want at no additional costs. The only rule is that if you return it to the next station within 30 minutes you don’t pay anything more (if you don’t you pay something like 1.5euro per 30min). Don’t worry – stations are located every 300m and if the one you arrive to is full, you can get additional 15min to find a new station for free.
I hope you enjoyed my tips and those will be of value to you. Let me know about your favorite and must-visit places in Paris and have fun!