I have been to Paris many times. It’s one of my favourite cities and I am lucky enough to live close enough to be able to visit the city of lights in just one day if I want to, even though I prefer to stay longer of course!
This post is part 1 of 3 travelposts about spending a daytrip in Paris. So for all you Paris-lovers out there (and I know there are many)… stay tuned these coming weeks!
In this first post I will tell you my secrets on how to get the most out of 12 hours in Paris.
In next week’s post I will share with you a day-trip itinerary which covers the highlights and the week after that there’ll be an itinerary which gives you a different view of the city of lights.
How to get the most out of 12 hours in Paris?
Find out where you’ll be arriving and where you’ll be departing!
Find out where exactly in the city you’ll arrive as this will have consequences on your itinerary. Also find out at what place you’ll be leaving. Is it the same place as your arrival point or somewhere else?
When I go to Paris for a day, I usually go with Slangen Reizen, a Dutch bus company. The bus drops us off and picks us up at the Bateaux Mouches which is a very centrally located place… fab for a daytrip!
Decide on 2 or maximum 3 things you want to do!
If you only have 12 hours to visit the city, think ahead… What would you like to do when in Paris? Do you want to stroll around a bit? Or do you want to visit a museum or a show? Will you do a boat trip? Do you want to go shopping?
Decide on 2 or maximum 3 things you want to do and please check the maps to see if they’re within easy reach of eachother!
Always have a plan B!
You can plan a fantastic walk in this beautiful city, but make sure to have an alternative! Now I must say that I have never had to take out my umbrella when in Paris… no matter what time of year I went! But I always have an alternative in mind for when the heavens open up.
Above picture was taken during a passages walk. Paris has these passages and galleries filled with shops and bistros… so much fun to do this walk… especially on a rainy day!
When you have decided what you want to do, check some websites for practical information: opening hours, admission prices,…
Perhaps it is wise to book your ticket in advance to avoid queueing. That way you save so much time and sometimes even money as online tickets are often cheaper.
And on one daytrip, we wanted to get some Paris Fashion Week vibes… so I checked out when and where we could expect to see some interesting people. Above picture goes to show we got what we wanted 😀
Where to eat?
When I’m in Paris for just one day, I want to eat somewhere nice for lunch. For diner we usually buy a baguette which we eat on the way home.
But where to have lunch? Paris has so many fantastic bistros, lunchrooms, restaurants,… you won’t be left feeling hungry! When I’m in Paris for just one day, I like to make a reservation as I don’t want to lose precious time looking for somewhere to eat.
Here are some suggestions:
- Ralph’s: I had lunch at Ralph’s, the restaurant at the Ralph Lauren shop at Boulevard Saint-Germain (website), during a daytrip with my best friend Katrien. You can read all about this daytrip in this post. We had the most wonderful lunch in this fabulous restaurant. We sat in the rich interior, but there is also a very cosy patio which will be just lovely on a beautiful day in spring or summer. Ralph’s really is a posh restaurant. The good thing is that the price of the lunch menu is a bit more friendly than the price of the diner menu 🙂 Definitely to be recommended!
- Saint-James Albany: during another daytrip with Katrien, we had brunch at Saint-James Albany near the Louvre (website). This hotel is extremely posh… but the brunch, with which your stomach will be oh so very pleased, is only 31 EUR which in my opinion was a very good price as we ate A LOT!!! We already had quite a walk in the busy city and we really enjoyed our lunch on the quiet and calm patio, away from the hustle and bustle from the city. You can read about our brunch in this post.
- Hotel Daniel: on a daytrip with my two daughters, we didn’t actually have lunch, but we had afternoon tea as we all three have a sweet tooth! We had a baguette in the late morning and I had made a reservation for afternoon tea at this beautiful hotel not far from the Arc De Triomphe at 4pm. We had walked many kilometres by 4pm so we were happy to rest our feet in the beautiful lounge of Hotel Daniel (website)! The sandwiches were lovely, the scones with clotted cream were heaven and the patisserie was absolutely divine!! You can read about our afternoon tea in this post.
What about public transport?
When you’re in Paris for one day or for longer, public transport is ever so easy to take you from A to B!
The metro for instance, brings you to the other side of town in a flash. Make sure to calculate enough time though, as it sometimes takes longer to walk in and out of the metro than the metro ride actually takes!
You can buy a single metro ticket or a carnet of 10 tickets. If you plan on using the metro several times during your daytrip, it might be cheaper to buy a Paris Visite pass, which you can also buy online.
Three more tips…
To finish today’s post three more little tips…
- Wear sensible shoes! Even though you’re in the capital of fashion, please put comfort over fashion concerning your shoes… you’ll walk for hours on end and your feet will be ever so happy in a comfortable shoe!!
- Pack sensible but light! You don’t want to carry a heavy shoulderbag all day long so try to pack light and sensible… Here’s a post on what to pack on a daytrip.
- Use your smartphone! To make phonecalls, take pictures, but also to download some apps…
- Paris Metro Map: this app uses the official RATP map and includes a handy route planner
- Paris travel guide and Offline city map: this app offers free offline maps, multifunctional lists to plan and organize your trip and insider tips.
- Make sure that when you are planning to use your smartphone often, to take an extra battery with you!
Well, I hope I gave you plenty of inspiration for your next visit to the City of Lights! Need some help to plan your day? Next week and the week after that I will give you two itineraries on what to do on a daytrip… make sure you don’t miss it as I will give you heaps of tips!