Planning a Paris Trip: 23 Best Paris Planning Tips

Are you planning a Paris trip? I’ve got all the essential Paris travel plan steps you need to consider.

Dreaming of strolling along the romantic streets of Paris, indulging in delectable pastries, and taking in iconic sights like the Eiffel Tower and Louvre Museum?

Well, get ready to turn that dream into a reality because I’ve got you covered with all the essential tips for planning a trip to Paris.

From finding the perfect accommodations to navigating public transportation like a pro, I’ll ensure that your first time visit to Paris is not only smooth but also filled with incredible experiences. I will also point out mistakes you’ll want to avoid too.

As a seasoned traveller, and especially one to Paris (I’ve been to Paris 8 times) I’ve picked up some tricks along the way.

So, if you are ready to immerse yourself in art, history, and the unmistakable joie de vivre that permeates every cobblestone street in Paris, let’s get planning! Prepare to plan a vacation to Paris that will leave you falling head over heels in love with this enchanting city.

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13 Tips on How to Plan a Trip to Paris

1. When Should You Start Your Paris Trip Planning

Let’s dive right into the first tip for planning your dreamy Parisian getaway: timing.

So, when should you kick off your Paris trip planning? Well, if you’re aiming for that perfect balance of having enough time to prepare and avoiding any last-minute frenzy, I recommend starting your planning around 4 to 6 months before your desired travel dates.

This sweet spot allows you to tackle the big stuff, like snagging those affordable flights and securing a cozy abode in the heart of the city. Plus, it gives you plenty of room to research and curate a list of must-see attractions, quirky neighbourhoods, and mouthwatering dining spots.

Now, if you’re more of a spontaneous soul and love the thrill of last-minute adventures, fear not! Paris is always ready to welcome you with open arms. Even if you decide to plan your trip on a whim, you can still find fantastic deals and a plethora of unforgettable experiences. Just remember to embrace the unexpected and let the City of Lights guide your steps.

For my first couple of trips to Paris, I would book far in advance so I had something to look forward to for months! But now, I’ve been known to book 5 to 6 weeks in advance (in non-peak times).

2. How Many Days to Spend in Paris

Ah, the eternal question: how many days should you spend in the most romantic city? Well, the answer depends on your appetite for exploration and how deeply you wish to immerse yourself in the city’s charm. Ideally, I would recommend allocating a minimum of 4 to 5 days to truly savour the essence of Paris. This timeframe allows you to leisurely wander through iconic landmarks like the Louvre, take a romantic boat ride along the Seine, and of course, make that obligatory stop at the magnificent Eiffel Tower.

However, if you have the luxury of time, extending your stay to a week or even more is like adding an extra layer of buttery croissant to your Parisian experience. It grants you the opportunity to uncover lesser-known neighbourhoods, visit even more museums like Musée d’Orsay, and get lost in the magic of charming Parisian parks.

I have stayed a minimum of 4 nights or 5 days when first visiting the city. However, now when I go to Paris I stay for weeks at a time. I can never get enough of Paris!

3. Best Time to Visit Paris

As the famous quote goes, it’s always a good time to go to Paris! Paris, being a city of beauty in all seasons, offers unique charms throughout the year.

  • Spring (March to May): the city bursts into a kaleidoscope of blossoms, especially the pretty pink cherry blossoms.
  • Summer (June to August): brings longer days and a vibrant atmosphere filled with outdoor festivals, picnics by the Seine, and open-air cinema screenings.
  • Autumn (September to November): bathes Paris in a golden hue, with mild temperatures perfect for strolling through parks and sipping hot chocolate at quaint patisseries.
  • Winter (December to February): envelops the city in a romantic ambiance, with sparkling Christmas lights adorning the streets and Christmas markets popping up around the city.

So, whether you’re a fan of blooming flowers, sun-kissed afternoons, golden foliage, or winter wonderlands, Paris has a season for you. I’ve visited Paris in each of the seasons and there isn’t one I didn’t like.

4. Budget Your Paris Trip

Now it’s time to get down to the nitty-gritty of your Paris travel planning: the budget! I know what you’re thinking—Paris can be pricey. But fear not, my savvy travellers, because, with a little know-how, you can enjoy the wonders of the city without breaking the bank.

First things first, consider travelling during the shoulder seasons (spring or autumn) when airfare and accommodation prices tend to be more budget-friendly. To save on accommodation, think beyond the traditional hotel and explore options like cozy apartments.

Another tip is to embrace the local culinary scene—indulge in delicious street crepes, seek out neighbourhood bistros, and picnic in the city’s beautiful parks. Not every meal in Paris needs to be fine dining.

And when it comes to attractions, take advantage of free entry times or opt for a museum pass to enjoy multiple sights at a discounted rate.

Lastly, utilize public transportation like the metro to get around, as it’s not only convenient but also cost-effective at only €1,90 one way. Remember that Paris can be enjoyed on any budget.

5. Book Your Flight or Train

train station paris to london on planning a paris trip

When it comes to flights, flexibility is your friend. Keep an eye out for flight deals and be open to adjusting your travel dates by a day or two to snag the best fares. Or, consider flying internationally with a stopover. Take advantage of reward points, whether that is through flying with the same airline or with your credit card.

If you are already in UK or Europe, you might prefer the scenic route and arrive by train. To save money on train travel be sure to book your tickets in advance. The early bird catches the Eurostar, after all!

Booking well ahead of time can save you some precious euros and ensure you secure the best seats. I’ve enjoyed trips from Brussels to Paris and London to Paris by train and it is a cost-effective and efficient way to travel

6. Buy Travel Insurance for Your Paris Vacation

For any travel outside your country, you’ll want to prioritize your peace of mind by purchasing travel insurance, unless you have coverage through your employer or country.

If not, trust me, it’s a small investment that can make a world of difference in case the unexpected happens. One travel insurance provider that comes highly recommended is SafetyWing Insurance. With their comprehensive coverage and affordable plans, SafetyWing ensures that you’re protected against unforeseen circumstances such as trip cancellations, medical emergencies, lost luggage, or even travel delays.

Get your FREE SafetyWing quote today

7. Determine Where to Stay in Paris

map of paris in colour highlighting the best places to stay in paris for planning a paris trip

Choosing the perfect neighbourhood to call home during your Paris trip is always my favourite part of any trip planning!

Let’s navigate the maze of arrondissements and find your ideal Parisian abode. Paris is divided into 20 arrondissements, each with its own unique charm and character. For those seeking a central location, I recommend exploring the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, or 6th arrondissements.

In the 1st arrondissement, you’ll find the iconic Louvre Museum and the magnificent Tuileries Garden. The 2nd arrondissement is known for its vibrant shopping scene and lively atmosphere.

Moving on to the 3rd and 4th arrondissements, you’ll discover the enchanting Le Marais neighbourhood, brimming with trendy boutiques, quaint cafés, and historic landmarks like Notre Dame Cathedral. The 5th arrondissement is home to the Latin Quarter, where you can immerse yourself in the boho vibes. And finally, the 6th arrondissement boasts the picturesque Saint-Germain-des-Prés neighbourhood, filled with charming streets, art galleries, and stylish boutiques.

8. Book Your Accommodations

Now that you’ve determined the ideal Parisian neighbourhood for your stay, it’s time to find the perfect accommodations to complete your dreamy escape. When it comes to booking your home away from home, you have many options to choose from.

If you prefer the convenience of hotels, Paris has a myriad of charming establishments to suit every taste and budget. From boutique hotels that exude elegance to cozy budget-friendly options, you’ll find a range of choices in the heart of the city.

On the other hand, if you desire a more authentic experience, consider renting a vacation apartment. Websites like Airbnb, Vrbo and Plum Guide offer a diverse selection of stylish and comfortable rentals, allowing you to truly immerse yourself in the Parisian lifestyle.

9. Plan Your Paris Itinerary

Now for the best part, the exciting task of planning your Paris itinerary!

Start by identifying your must-see attractions, whether it’s admiring the Mona Lisa at the Louvre, ascending the iconic Eiffel Tower, or wandering the charming streets of Montmartre.

Then, consider grouping nearby attractions together to make the most of your time and minimize travel between locations. Don’t forget to leave some room for serendipity, as some of the most magical moments happen when we let ourselves get lost in the city’s hidden corners.

And let’s not forget about indulging in Parisian cuisine! Plan your meals around iconic foodie experiences like savouring a croissant at a local bakery, enjoying a leisurely picnic along the Seine, or treating yourself to a delicious meal in a cozy bistro.

Flexibility is key, so be open to adjusting your plans as you discover new gems along the way. Remember, Paris is a city meant to be savoured, so take your time and allow yourself to immerse yourself in the enchanting atmosphere.

Paris Trip Itinerary

Once you’re ready to explore all the possibilities, you might be interested in some of these activities:

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10. Book Your Paris Tours

After you’ve determined which must-see sites you want to go to it’s time to pre-book the entrance tickets and book your tours in advance to secure your spot.

Paris offers an array of fantastic guided experiences that cater to every interest and curiosity. Whether you’re a history buff, an art enthusiast, a foodie, or simply a lover of all things Paris, there’s a tour for you. I especially love the walking tours in the neighbourhoods, here are some of my favourites:

Explore the streets with a knowledgeable guide who will unravel the fascinating stories behind iconic landmarks. Indulge in a culinary tour that will take you to local markets, bakeries, and cheese shops, allowing you to taste your way through the city’s gastronomic delights. Alternatively, take a leisurely cruise along the Seine River to admire the city’s stunning architecture from a different perspective.

My Top 3 Picks: Paris Tours

#1 Top Pick
glass triangle with building in paris for a weekend


Louvre Museum Timed Entry

✅ Choose your time slot

✅ Reviewers say “short line at timed entrance queue, but the line moves very quickly”

#2 Pick
eiffel tower, bridge, seine river on planning a paris trip

Eiffel Tower Timed Entry

✅Choose your time slot and summit access

✅ Reviewers say “you can have as long as you like in the tower on each floor.” 

Check Price
#3 Pick
eiffel tower, buildings, road on planning a paris trip

Arc de Triomphe Rooftop

✅Access to Tower

✅ Reviewers say “Not only did it save us time but the view was amazing”

11. Plan for Paris by Learning French

pillars with fall trees in paris plan trip

Get ready to elevate your Parisian experience by planning ahead and brushing up on your French skills! While many locals in Paris do speak English, making an effort to speak a little French can go a long way in enhancing your interactions and immersing yourself in the local culture. Here are some handy English-French translations to get you started:

  1. Hello – Bonjour
  2. Thank you – Merci
  3. Please – S’il vous plaît
  4. Excuse me – Excusez-moi
  5. Yes – Oui
  6. No – Non
  7. Goodbye – Au revoir
  8. Sorry – Pardon
  9. I don’t understand – Je ne comprends pas
  10. Can you help me? – Pouvez-vous m’aider?
  11. Do you speak English? – Parlez-vous anglais?

To plan ahead, create a list of essential phrases and vocabulary specific to your needs, such as ordering food, asking for directions, or shopping. Bonne chance! (Good luck!)

12. Paris Planner Packing List

Are you ready to pack your bags for your Parisian adventure? Let’s make sure you have everything you need to look stylish, comfortable, and ready to conquer the streets of Paris. Here’s a handy packing list to help you out:

  • Classic essentials: Pack versatile wardrobe staples like a crisp white shirt, a little black dress, and a pair of well-fitting jeans. And, opt for neutral colours. These timeless pieces can be dressed up or down for any occasion.
  • Chic layers: Paris weather can be unpredictable, so pack a mix of lightweight sweaters, cardigans, and a stylish jacket or blazer. Layering is the key to adapting to changing temperatures and adding a touch of Parisian flair to your outfits.
  • Comfortable shoes: Prepare to explore the city on foot, so prioritize comfort without sacrificing style. Opt for a pair of fashionable sneakers, ballet flats, or ankle boots that will keep your feet happy during long walks.
  • Scarves and accessories: Embrace the Parisian love for scarves by packing a few lightweight, versatile options. They can add a pop of colour to your outfits and keep you warm on cooler days. Don’t forget to bring your favourite accessories to elevate your look effortlessly.
  • Practical bags: A crossbody bag or a stylish backpack will be your best friend for strolling around Paris. They’ll keep your essentials secure while leaving your hands free to capture those picture-perfect moments.
  • Rain gear: Paris showers can be unpredictable, so come prepared with a compact umbrella and a lightweight rain jacket to stay dry without compromising your style.

Remember, Parisians have a knack for effortless elegance, so pack items that make you feel confident and reflect your personal style. Aim for a mix of comfort, versatility, and a touch of Parisian flair.

13. Paris Plan for Your Arrival

Congratulations, you’re about to touch down in the magical city of Paris! To ensure a smooth arrival and start your adventure on the right foot, let’s plan your arrival strategy. When it comes to getting from the airport to your accommodation, you have a couple of excellent options.

The first is taking a taxi, which offers the convenience of a direct ride to your destination. Taxis are readily available at the airport, and it’s a hassle-free option if you have a lot of luggage or prefer a door-to-door service. Simply follow the Taxi signs at the Charles de Gaulle airport (or Orly airport). Taxi drivers will charge you a flat rate based on the left bank address (€55) or right bank address (€50) and how many bags you have.

Another efficient and cost-effective option is the train. The RER B train from Charles de Gaulle Airport takes you directly to various central stations. From there, you can easily transfer to the metro to your accommodation.

10 Mistakes to Avoid When Planning a Trip to Paris

How to plan a Paris trip to ensure a smooth and unforgettable experience, here’s a list of 10 mistakes to avoid:

  1. Overpacking: Resist the urge to pack your entire wardrobe. Stick to essentials and leave room for souvenirs you’ll pick up along the way.
  2. Neglecting comfortable shoes: Paris is a city made for strolling, so leave your heels behind. Not even local Parisian girls wear heels in the city.
  3. Renting a car: Skip the hassle of navigating Parisian traffic and limited parking spaces. Embrace the city’s efficient public transportation system instead.
  4. Only travelling in the summer: Paris holds its allure throughout the year. In fact, if you only see Paris in the summer, that’s when the locals have left the city for their holidays.
  5. Doing too much: Resist the temptation to squeeze every attraction into your itinerary. Give yourself ample time to truly appreciate the beauty of each place you visit.
  6. Not buying skip-the-line tickets: Save yourself from long queues by purchasing skip-the-line tickets in advance for popular attractions.
  7. Neglecting day trips: Don’t limit yourself to Paris alone. Explore the outskirts and take day trips to nearby gems like Versailles, the charming village of Giverny or Reims in the heart of the Champagne region.
  8. Not booking dinner reservations in advance: Paris is a culinary paradise, so be sure to secure dinner reservations ahead of time for any of those trendy restaurants.
  9. Being afraid of using the metro: Embrace the metro system—it’s a convenient and cost-effective way to navigate the city. Don’t let fear hold you back from exploring all that Paris has to offer.
  10. Not embracing the local culture: Engage with locals, attempt a few basic French phrases, and immerse yourself in the city’s rich culture. It will enhance your experience and create lasting memories.

By avoiding these common mistakes, you’ll maximize your time, minimize stress, and make the most of your Parisian adventure.

FAQ About Paris Planning

When is the best time to visit Paris?

The best time to visit Paris is during the spring and autumn seasons when the weather is generally pleasant, and the city is less crowded. However, Paris is beautiful year-round, so the best time to visit ultimately depends on your preferences.

How many days should I plan for a trip to Paris?

It is recommended to plan at least 4 to 5 days for a trip to Paris to allow ample time to explore the city’s iconic landmarks, museums, and neighbourhoods, and experience its vibrant culture and cuisine.

How can I get around Paris?

Paris has a comprehensive public transportation system, including the metro, buses, and trains, which are efficient and convenient for getting around the city.

Are there any Paris city passes that offer discounts?

Yes, there are city passes available for visitors to Paris, like the Paris Museum Pass that offer free or discounted access to attractions, skip-the-line entry, and unlimited use of public transportation. Assess your itinerary and preferences to determine if a Paris pass would be beneficial for your trip.

What are some recommended day trips from Paris?

Some recommended day trips from Paris include the Palace of Versailles, Giverny (Monet’s Gardens), the Champagne region, Normandy for the D-Day landing beaches, and the castles of the Loire Valley.

Is it necessary to learn French before visiting Paris?

While learning a few basic French phrases can be helpful, English is commonly spoken and understood in most tourist areas in Paris. Many locals, especially those working in the tourism industry, can communicate in English.

What are some recommended local dishes to try in Paris?

Some recommended local dishes to try in Paris include croissants, baguettes, crepes, escargots (snails), French onion soup, coq au vin, steak and frites, and boeuf bourguignon.

Is it necessary to book attractions and restaurants in advance?

Yes. It is necessary to book popular attractions, such as the Eiffel Tower or the Louvre Museum, in advance to secure your preferred time slot and avoid long queues. For restaurants, reservations are recommended, especially for popular dining establishments.

As a Holidaymaker

By following these Paris trip planner tips you should have a stress free holiday! Remember the most important one, and that is to embrace the Parisian way of life.

That means savouring the delicious cuisine, appreciating the art and architecture, and immersing yourself in the vibrant culture that permeates every corner of the city.

Simply strolling along the Seine River or simply sitting in a charming café watching the world go by, Paris offers an abundance of magical moments waiting to be discovered.

So pack your bags, let your wanderlust guide you with this travel planner, and get ready to create memories that will last a lifetime in the captivating city of Paris. Bon voyage and enjoy every minute!