Are you planning a trip to Paris in 2022? Paris for first-timers can be overwhelming; there are so many things to see and do!When it comes to planning for ANYTHING I generally go super ham on that. From steps 1 to 100 OCD because I just can’t bear the thought of something going wrong. This is why my first-time traveling to Paris, I wanted it to be perfect. p.s. there were hiccups – read about it in this post. I spent 1 year planning the biggest trip of my life. I wanted everything to be perfect & I wanted to have as minimal glitches as possible. So if you’re planning your first trip, here are a few beginner tips & tricks to planning the perfect “almost” vacation.
The Best Time To Travel To ParisI’ve been fortunate enough to visit Paris twice and in 2 seasons. Summertime, and Fall. I’ve yet to make a spring debut, but “coming soon”. If you love crowds, touristy vibes, and busyness, then summertime in Paris may be ideal. It’s warm, colorful, playful, and full of life. Your outfits may be more flowy and bright, and sitting on terraces people-watching is a delight. On the flip side, it may be more expensive as it’s peak period. Accommodation, flights, and possibly food may increase. Paris does however hosts ONLY 2 sales sessions or soldes, so if you have been wanting to snag some style or beauty pieces from your favorite brands, then both of these seasons are ideal. On the other hand, fall or between the end of October – December is colder and darker, and accommodation prices go down as it’s the mid-period. Because who wants to be in the cold? The demand is low but the supply is higher. Classic economics. However, if you love that season, changing colors, and getting on your layering chicness, it’s perfect for you. From my research, springtime seems to be the best time with reduced rates, SLOW SEASON, and it would be wonderful to experience the blooms of cherry blossoms. Regardless of when you do choose to visit, do some research and plan around it. What to do in different seasons, what to wear and what events are taking place that you would love to visit apart from the touristy sights and activities. If you want a perfect guide on seeing Paris before check out Tiffanie Davies’ channel – an American in Paris right here.
The Formalities of Travelling to ParisBefore deciding to purchase your airline ticket find out whether or not you need a Visa (be it in transit or short stay). My first trip to Paris required so much paperwork to do “for a two-week stay”, from bank statements, and travel insurance, to getting a lodging certificate or tenant lease from France, to visa photos, to interviews. It was a lot of red tapes and we know the French love bureaucracy. In the end, it was worth it. Today, my passport exempts me from getting a visa unless it’s for a year or more as the visa waiver has been lifted for my country. One of the best ways to find out if you require a visa is to visit or call your local embassies or visit their websites for more information. Some countries also require certain vaccinations, so pay attention to the detail. You don’t wanna get to a new land and have to be sent back. Your designated visa website should have outlined all the requirements for visiting Paris.
Booking Your Trip To ParisNow that you have gotten through the grueling process of some embassy representative making you sweat bullets come the fun part. I deeply recommend budgeting for a big trip and saving up enough. Paris is EXPENSIVE, therefore having enough is super important. There are so many options for booking your trip online “Tripadvisor, direct airline site, Expedia et al et al..”, but finding the best flight for your money’s worth is key. Booking way ahead of your scheduled date is a key trick to snagging budget flights, from direct or affiliate sites. I’ve always traveled through Air Caraibes as I am a 10-minute flight away from Martinique and it’s always cheaper, plus their service and experience are great. It will save you a couple of bucks & you will also have fun picking out your seats. Booking closer to your travel date can be more expensive as the demand for airline seats gets higher. Shop around, and ensure that the flight times, stops, and conditions are ideal for you. Don’t go solely on price. Look at the logistics of the flight. Are you up for long transits or multiple stops? Would you prefer that extra legroom or are you ok with being crammed between 2 stranger passengers? Frankly, I am not, so if it means that I may have to pay extra to get to my destination quicker, in better comfort, and skip the numerous airport security checks, I will do that. Sometimes, last-minute bookings can be a steal.
Where To Stay In ParisFrom the very popular AirBnB to independent vacation rental agencies like Paris Perfect or Paris Attitude, there is no lack. When it comes to accommodation, the choices are immense. I’ve used both AirBnB & Paris Attitude in the past, but I definitely would love a more sophisticated experience next time. Considering your budget, desired amenities, and the arrondissement you would love to stay in Paris, finding a hotel, bed, breakfast, or self-contained apartment “preferred” should be easy. If you’re looking for a touristy vibe with lots of nightlife, the center “1-5” is perfect, if you prefer to integrate more into the quiet the outer arrondissements are ideal. My first apartment was on the 2nd in 2015 through Paris Attitude and my second via AirBnB in the 11th in 2016, I could definitely tell the difference. The 11 whilst close to la bastille – night light, had a sense of home, and slowness. Whereas on the 2nd, it was busy and I managed to make a few friends who were tourists and locals at a restaurant – which turned into a night at a club. Based on what you would like your experience to be, do the research on each arr. and then start the search for accommodations around. You definitely want to save on getting around by walking, as it’s the best way to experience and see a new city. Check out Girls Guide to Paris’ hotel recommendation page here or Paris Perfect for self-contained apartments right here.
Getting Around ParisWhen I found the apartment I was going to stay at, I used to spend my spare time walking up and down the corners via google maps, I familiarised myself with what restaurants, supermarkets, sights, etc were nearby and how to get around using the metro and using a map. One of my go-to tips and something that helped me tremendously was that I made a few friends prior to visiting. After enrolling into Alliance Francaise here, one of the employees introduced me to one of his friends located in Paris to get a local experience. Additionally, I spent a year on a pen pal website conversing with french natives who I met up with in person on my first visit. It’s great to explore as a tourist, but getting the experience from a local is always an added bonus. When walking around, pay attention to the street names, and restaurant names near your accommodation, as all the buildings look the same. Observing your surroundings is important especially if you’re traveling solo. And if anything, google maps is always there to help.
How to Save for Your Trip To ParisEVERY PENNY COUNTS. Not that you will be focusing on money only, but you want to be able to keep yourself out of the poor house when in a foreign country. Whether you plan on financing your trip through savings, loans, or credit cards pay attention to your spending. One of my tips is to research the average daily budget for the country you want to visit. Plan your itinerary in advance, places you want to visit, eat, shop and save save save. A great way to see your budget clearer is, by compiling a spreadsheet with rough calculations per day based on what you want to do, where you would like to eat, etc. This will give you a rough estimation of your daily spending, and stick to it. Unless of course, you have unlimited disposable funds.
Saving Up Quick Tips
- Cut out unnecessary miscellaneous spending
- Cook meals at home to save buying out
- Skip the cafes & make your instant cappuccinos at home
- Raise funds or get a part-time job, or second income source if possible.
- Sell your stuff “Especially the things you don’t use“
What To Wear In Paris.What you wear will coincide with the time you decide to visit Paris. Simply put, research the weather during the time of year you would like to visit. There is nothing as fun as 8-degree weather in the summer. As uncontrollable as the weather is, predictions can be off track. Instead, pack according to the average temperature, but leave room for flexibility. Perfect example, the tropics is marketed as a sunny paradise, but during peak seasons “like now’, there can be bouts of unexpected, prolonged periods of heavy rain. Pack light, but pack smart, pack chic. And if you want to have a little fun with it, blend in “comme Une Parisienne“. A capsule-style wardrobe is always a great start and there are so many ideas you can find on Pinterest. I absolutely love My Chic Obsessions’ French chic style guides for different seasons. Check it out.
Quick Tips On Packing For Your Trip To Paris
- Pack the essential basics that way you can mix and match up
- Go simple (unless you wanna go all out fashion week)
- Pack all liquids in separate ziplock bags to avoid spills