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France

Paris

About

With a secure place among the world's most visited cities, Paris attracts travelers with an intoxicating blend of beauty, romance, and warm baguettes.

Many of the most memorable things to do in Paris are free. Exploring neighborhoods on foot, window shopping, enjoying views of the city, and relaxing at parks such as the Jardin du Luxembourg doesn't cost a dime. And, some Paris attractions, such as the Musee d'Orsay, offer free admission on select days.

Dining in Paris is an attraction all its own, but all food is not created equal. Plenty of restaurants on the tourist track dole out mediocre meals, so to get a true taste of the renowned food of Paris it's best to choose your restaurants as deliberately as you choose sights.

Before you arrive, familiarize yourself with a map of Paris, noting the divisions by arrondissement, or neighborhood. The numbered districts spiral out clockwise from the center of Paris. Each has its own personality and appeal, from the student-friendly 5th to the hotbed of iconic sights of the 7th.

Paris rewards the curious. Stick to the main sights—the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre, the Champs-Elysees—and you'll probably enjoy the city; but find something all your own in Paris—a cafe on a quiet place, a neighborhood patisserie, or a tiny boutique selling vintage posters—and you're likely to love it.

Finding competitively priced airfare to Paris should be straightforward, though you might also compare airfares to other European cities, especially if Paris will be part of your wider European itinerary.

When To Go

Paris experiences four seasons and accommodates many moods. Summer is typically the most popular time to visit because schools are on break, festivals fill the city, and the weather is pleasant. Winters are less busy because the climate can be cold, but some come for attractions such as ice skating at Hotel de Ville and shopping at the Christmas markets. Although rainy and cool at times, spring and fall can be ideal for a mix of decent weather, lower prices, and smaller crowds.

high season: June to October
low season: January to March
shoulder season: April to May, November to December

September, October, and January experience a rise in visitation due to numerous trade fairs and conventions.

Weather Information

Summers are typically sunny and warm with an average high of 75 degrees, while winters bring snow and rain with average temperatures reaching a high of 44 degrees. Spring and fall can be misty and overcast, with an average high of 60 degrees. At any time of year, be prepared for the possibility of rain. Pack an umbrella (even in summer).

Crowd Information

The auto show every two years in late September or early October draws a significant number of people and can get quite crowded. New Year's Eve is also a popular time for the city and attracts many visitors. The Champs-Elysées attracts quite a crowd for Bastille Day on July 14, which is celebrated with fireworks and parades. Onlookers also swarm the avenue for the finale of the Tour de France in late July.

Closure Information

Shops and banks will close for major holidays such as New Year's Day, Easter Monday, Ascension Day (40 days after Easter), Whit Monday (seventh Monday after Easter), Labor Day (May 1), Victory Day (May 8), Bastille Day (July 14), Assumption of the Virgin Mary (August 15), All Saint's Day (November 1), Armistice Day (November 11), and Christmas Day (December 25). Museums and monuments are typically closed New Year's Day, Labor Day, and Christmas Day. Because many Parisians go on holiday, some shops and restaurants may close during August. Under French law, stores must close on Sundays unless they are grocers. While there are some boutiques in Paris that flagrantly disregard the law, you should buy anything you will need from a shop by Saturday. Most museums are closed on either Monday or Tuesday, with a few exceptions that remain open all week. As a general rule, most are open from 9 or 10 a.m. until 5 or 6 p.m., while several may open later and close at 8 or 9 p.m. A few major monuments stay open until 11 p.m. or midnight. Most national museums offer free entry the first Sunday of the month, although lines can get long.

When to Save

Prices are lower during winter and spring, when the weather is cooler and tourism slows down. Many package deals are available, and many airlines offer reduced prices on flights. For the best bang for your buck, visit during early spring and late fall. You will benefit from weather that is still tolerable, yet save on hotel and airfare.

When to Book

Last-minute deals can be found for those with flexible schedules.

Information provided by the Paris Convention and Visitors Bureau