See France like a local. Work with a local to plan your trip.

Travel to Paris: 7 Easy Tips from Locals

March 5, 2020

To make your travel to Paris easy, we asked locals for their advice. They came up with these 7 simple steps to follow to ensure your trip is magnifique. 

For personalized advice, have a French local plan your trip. With their help, you'll see a side of Paris that most tourists miss Learn more

"Linelly helped us beyond anything we could've planned ourselves. Everything she suggested for us was spot-on, and I feel we got the best experience by following a local's guidance."
Kate, Recent Traveler
Kate, Recent Traveler

1: Decide which neighborhood to stay in 

Le Marais | Sandro Cenni/Unsplash

Paris is sliced into twenty arrondissements. Locals tell us that every section of the city is a bit different, so knowing where to stay is a good first step as you plan your travel. 

So...where should you stay?  It depends on your travel style. Our trip planners tell us that the Latin Quarter (5th Arrodisement) and the Marais (4th) are good choices. 

Locals tell us that the Latin Quarter, on the south side of the Seine (called the Left Bank) is home to students, jazz clubs, and fantastically classic Parisian architecture. 

They say that the Marais (directly across the river, on the Right Bank) has a totally different vibe, although many of the same perks. Here, you’ll find cool art galleries, a surplus of museums, and tons of great Jewish bakeries and restaurants. 

Both offer an opportunity to indulge in one of the best things to do in France—people watch at one of the country’s many cafes. 

Of course, you might be looking for something a bit different. So see what locals say about which of Paris’ 30+ neighborhoods fits your travel style. 

2: Make a list of your top attractions to see

What’s on your dream itinerary? Our trip planners tell us there is no one-size-fits-all travel plan for Paris—the city has way too much going on to do it all. Get some local advice about what to check out!

Maybe you’ll decide to prioritize museums. Paris is home to some of the world’s best. Locals rave about the popular places to visit in France, like Centre Pompidou—but also about hidden gems, like the quiet, but lovely, Picasso Museum. 

If you’re into history, you’ll find it around every corner. Or, maybe, down some stairs. Locals tell us that you’ll likely have to wait in line to visit the Paris Catacombs, but this creepy experience is worth the wait. 

As for food—well—that’s a place where you’ll definitely want some suggestions. There are over 40,000 restaurants in Paris!

What kind of traveler are you?
Let’s face it. People want different things when they travel. Rather than spending hours sifting through blogs and top 10 lists written by people who may have totally different interests than you, why not start by sharing a little about what’s important to you when exploring a new destination?
Enter your travel preferences below and we’ll connect you with a likeminded local in France to help you plan your trip based on your specific interests.

3: Learn about transportation 

Le metro | Anastasia Zhenina/Unsplash

Paris is extremely walkable. But if you want to see the top places to visit in France, you’ll likely have to take some form of transportation. As the French say, pas de souci! No worries. Locals tell us that transportation in France is easy to use. 

Navigate with ease with some local advice. Our trip planners say you’ll have three main options: 

  • Le metro: The Parisian metro has 14 colored lines, which work much like the metro in NYC. It’s expansive, safe, and easy to use. (Locals note that when you buy your ticket, you’ll have an option for English.) 
  • Le bus: You can also take the bus—your metro tickets are good here too (but not if you already used a single-ride ticket on the metro). 
  • Uber: This works the same as anywhere else. Just be sure that your phone works. If not, you can always hail a cab.

Transportation in a new place can feel overwhelming. Locals tell us that once you get the hang of it, it’s easy! But they can help out by providing detailed transit instructions.  

Local Tip:

If you’re taking the metro, don’t lose your card. Fare enforcement may check it. And, if you’re on the RER, you may need it to exit the station. 

4: Research restaurants and French foods

Restaurant in Paris | Rishabh Varshney/Unsplash

Are you a foodie? Paris is one of the best cities in France for excellent meals. Here, locals rave that you’ll find romantic riverside cafes, classic French bistros, and a surprising smattering of fantastic international cuisine. 

What should you eat in Paris? Locals suggest: 

  • French bistro food: This includes steak frites (steak and fries), confit de canard (duck confit), and boeuf bourguignon (beef stew). 
  • Falafel: You’ll find excellent falafels in Paris. Go to the Marais neighborhood for some of the city’s best. 
  • Pastries: France is dotted with excellent bakeries. They sell everything from bread to fancy pastries for special occasions. Croissants are amazing, but try other stuff too—like pain aux raisins

As you enjoy a late-night meal, remember to be cautious as you walk home. France is safe, but Paris is a big city. So take the same precautions you would anywhere else. 

Work with a local to plan your trip.
See a side most people miss.

5: Prepare for Sunday closures 

Locals tell us that one thing you should know about Paris is that some places will be closed on Sundays. 

This is typical throughout France. In Paris, you’ll find more things open than in other cities and towns.

However, some grocery stores, restaurants, and shops will be closed on Sundays. Plan accordingly! 

Local Tip:

You’ll find more places open in the Marais, the Jewish district of France. 

6: Plan a day trip (or two)

Loire Valley | simgi/Pixabay

Some of the coolest places to visit in France are an easy day trip from Paris. Benefit from local advice! Our trip planners tell us that these are some stellar day trips: 

  • Loire Valley: Dream of wandering through fairy tale castles? The enchanting chateaux of the Loire Valley will do the trick! Take the train to Blois. It takes about 2.5 hours from Paris.
  • Champagne: Cheers! Did you know that sparkling wine is only called champagne if it comes from Champagne? Go ahead and raise a glass. You can take a train to either Reims or Epernay. It takes between 45 minutes and 2 hours depending on where you go and which train you take.  
  • Normandy: In Normandy, you’ll get to explore a completely different part of France. Check out sites like the Normandy beaches, Mont-Saint-Michel (France’s famous island abbey), and beautiful small towns like Saint-Malo. Take the train to Rennes (about 2 hours) or Caen (about 3 hours). 

7: Get advice from a local Parisian 

To sum it up, Paris is a wonderful place to stay in France. So get the most out of your Parisian adventure! 

When you work with a local to plan your trip, you know your getting expert, insider advice from the people who know best—actual Paris locals. 

Why see Francel like a tourist when you could enjoy it like a local? Learn more

Still have questions about travel to France?
Why not ask someone who lives there? ViaHero connects you with a local to help plan your trip. They’ll create a guidebook based on your personal travel style.
You’ll see a unique side of a destination and travel independently—all while saving time and money in the planning process. Find a local today.

Looking for more info?