Advance Planning

Two months before Book accommodation, organise opera, ballet or cabaret tickets, check events calendars to find out what festivals will be on, and make reservations for high-end/popular restaurants.

Two weeks before Sign up for a local-led tour and start narrowing down your choice of museums, prepurchasing tickets online where possible to minimise ticket queues.

Two days before Pack your comfiest shoes to walk Paris' streets.


  • Lonely Planet ( Destination information, hotel bookings, traveller forum and more.
  • Paris Info ( Comprehensive tourist-authority website.
  • Sortiraparis ( Up-to-date calendar listing what's on around town.
  • Bonjour Paris ( New openings, old favourites and upcoming events.
  • HiP Paris ( Not only vacation rentals ('Haven in Paris') but articles and reviews by expat locals, too.

Top Tips

  • An unforgettable introduction to the city is a river cruise (or hop-on, hop-off Batobus trip) along the Seine, floating past quintessentially Parisian landmarks like the Eiffel Tower, Louvre and Notre Dame.
  • The metro is inexpensive, efficient and easy to use. Local buses are a scenic alternative.
  • Prebook attractions online wherever possible to avoid standing in long ticket queues.
  • Brush up on at least a few basic French phrases. Interacting with locals in French (even if only a little) is not only respectful but will make your time in the city infinitely more rewarding.
  • Above all, don't try to cram too much into your schedule. Allow time to soak up the atmosphere of Paris' neighbourhoods – lingering over a coffee on a cafe terrace and exploring the backstreets are as much a part of the Parisian experience as visiting major sights.

What to Take

  • Comfortable shoes – Paris is best explored on foot
  • Phrasebook – the more French you attempt, the more rewarding your visit will be
  • Travel plug (adapter)
  • Corkscrew (corked wine bottles are the norm; screw caps are rare); remember to pack it in your checked baggage for flights

What to Wear

As the cradle of haute couture, Paris is chic: don your smarter threads (and accessories such as scarves). You'll also stand out as a tourist less and therefore be less of a target for pickpockets. Dress up rather than down for the 'nicer' restaurants, clubs and bars – no jeans, shorts or trainers/sneakers.

Bring sturdy shoes whatever the season – cobbled streets aren't kind on high heels or thin soles.

When visiting religious sites such as Notre Dame, be sure to dress respectfully.

Pre-departure Checklist

  • Check passport validity and visa requirements
  • Arrange travel insurance
  • Confirm airline baggage restrictions
  • Book accommodation well ahead
  • Make reservations for popular and/or high-end restaurants
  • Buy tickets online for the Louvre, Eiffel Tower etc
  • Organise international roaming on your phone if needed (and be sure to check roaming charges)