The metro is really easy to navigate and will take you virtually everywhere in the city and some places in the suburbs. You should consider how much you’re going to use the metro or whether you’re going to walk more. If you don’t think you’ll use the metro/buses too much, I suggest buying a 10 ticket pack. If you think that during your stay you will be using the metro quite a lot, consider buying the navigo card and charging it for a week. One thing to consider about this is that if you charge the card for a week it is literally the week, not a week since you bought it (that is, if you buy the card on Wednesday, it will still run out on Sunday when the week ends). With this in mind, consider whether it’s worth it to buy the navigo. You can buy tickets at any metro station and the navigo at the main stations. Also keep in mind that both tickets and the navigo are good for the metro, the buses, and the trams (though you probably won’t be using the tram).
Just like the metro, the Parisian bus system is very organized and will take you anywhere in the city. It is also a good alternative if you don’t want to miss any of the city by being stuck underground, though it is usually not as fast as the metro. Here’s a map.
Paris has an incredible bike rental system called the Velib. You will see stations all around the city. To rent the bike you will need to make a €150 deposit which will be refunded as soon as you return the bike. You can subscribe for a day for €1.70 or for a week for €8. With these subscriptions the first 30 minutes of your ride are free. Afterwards, you will be charge a minimal amount. What most people do is return the bike within the 30 min and take another one out so that they’re not charged anything. It is extremely easy to use it, you can find instructions on the site.
They say the best way to see Paris is by scooter. There are several places that rent scooters in the city for you. Two really good ones are Paris by Scooter which offers prices from €30-€70/day, and Free-scoot, which also offers bike rentals if the Velib system doesn’t do it for you.
Photo by : https://www.flickr.com/photos/mattslens/
Where to eat:
Au pied du sacre coeur- One of the best French food restaurants in Paris. The food is amazing and it is not expensive, if you go during lunch you will get a great deal.
Chinatown- For Asian food in general, if you like Thai food this is the best place to go. It is located in the 13th arrondissement.
Au Lapin Agile- Another great French food place.
Brasseries- French people love eating at Brasseries, though they can be a little expensive for the quality.
Photo by : https://www.flickr.com/photos/gentverkend/
Do groceries: Cooking your food will help you save money, especially since restaurants in Paris are very expensive.
If you decide to buy the 10 ticket pass, walk as much as you can, it will save you money and help you see the city.
If you’re looking for cheap food during the day, crepes, kebabs, and falafels are a delicious and cheap option, they’re everywhere in the city!
Decide which museums are worth going in to. There are some museums that you should see even if it’s just from the outside (Le Louvre, Le Pompidou), but keep in mind museums are expensive so you want to be selective about which ones to actually go into.
Hang out in parks- Paris has amazing parks, and they’re free! Take advantage of it.
Giverny- Open from April 1st- November 1st. If you’re able to go, it is incredible!
Chartres- A small town 40 min from Paris, it is gorgeous and has a beautiful church.
Provins- Beautiful medieval town
Reims- Another renowned medieval town
Rouen- Medieval town
Auvers-sur-Oise- home of many impressionists
Versailles- Not to be missed! Just take the RER C towards Versailles Château
Fontainebleau- If you want to see other palaces.
Disneyland Paris- Take the RER A towards Marne-la-Vallée and get off at the Marne-la-Vallée/Chessy station.
Photo by : https://www.flickr.com/photos/luc-mechelen/
Some practical advice:
Manners are extremely important to the French. Always, always say “Bonjour” when you enter a place, otherwise you’ll be greeted coldly and even rudely.
It is considered rude to start eating before everyone else is ready to eat. Always wait for a “Bon Appetit” before you start eating.
Never drink your wine or other alcoholic drink before doing cheers. With wine, it is important to look at every person you clink with in the eye while you do so.
Beware of pickpockets. Keep all valuables in the bottom of your backpack/bag/purse/etc, and be aware of your things in the metro.
You will most likely encounter extremely rude waiters, don’t take it personally, it’s the French way of service.
Don’t worry too much about walking by yourself at night, Paris is a pretty safe city and most places are well lit and populated well into the night. The city is beautiful in the day time but it is breathtaking at night. A trip to Paris is not complete without some night strolling. Just be careful while you’re in certain neighborhoods (especially those in the North East of the city), follow your instincts, and avoid empty streets.
Not all crêpes are created equal. Avoid crêpe stands that are right next to landmarks, they’re always the worst. Never trust a crêpe stand where they have the crêpe already made, make sure they make it right in front of you.
Avoid making eye contact with people in the metro. It sounds awful but making eye contact or smiling at people will single you out as a tourist and make you vulnerable.
Don’t spend money on a city bus tour, they’re definitely not worth it since you can see everything on your own.
If you want to find a tour guide I suggest you see what toursbylocals and vayable have to offer, this way you can get interesting tours given by people who live in the city.