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Top tips for visiting Paris | Insight Guides Blog

Top tips for visiting Paris

The magnificent City of Light is poised for a fantastic 2016, not least as it prepares to host the Euro football tournament. So here are our top tips for making the most of the French capital.
Tips for visiting Paris: Old and new architecture in perfect harmony at the Louvre.
Old and new architecture in perfect harmony at the Louvre. Photo: Shutterstock


With two World Heritage sites, 143 museums, over 460 parks and gardens, and 171 churches and temples, it’s not surprising that 2.2 million Parisians have to share their good fortune with around 30 million visitors each year. 

Here we give you our top tips for visiting Paris – some even locals won't know about...


Buy a book: Explore Paris


Nuits Blanches

"White Nights," or cultural all-nighters, are held on the first weekend in October. Paris stays alive until the wee hours of the morning, with museums, art galleries and other cultural institutions opening their doors for free all night long. Special events are also organised across the city. Some metro lines also run all night on a Nuit Blanche to help sleepy punters get home. 

Museum Pass

If you plan to visit several museums during your stay, buying a Paris Museum Pass enables you to avoid the queues and save money on entrance prices at over 60 museums and monuments in Paris and the Île-de-France region; you can also make unlimited visits within the time allowed. Cards are available for two, four or six days and can be purchased from tourist offices, museums and galleries, at the airports and online (www.parismuseumpass.com).

 The Palace and Gardens at Versailles. Photo: Shutterstock

Jazz in Paris

On rue des Lombards (2nd) are three of Paris’s most famous jazz clubs: Le Baiser Salé, Le Duc des Lombards and the Sunset/Sunside. The Parc Floral inside the Bois de Vincennes has free jazz and classical concerts on summer weekends.

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A Vélo

Of all our top tips for visiting Paris, one of the very best is to explore the city by bicycle. Borrow one for free through the Velib’ scheme.

Avoid the queues at Versailles

Book tickets for the palace in advance via www.chateauversailles.fr. One of the simplest tickets is the Passport, which gives admission to the main sites. EU residents under 26 years old (non-EU under 18 years) are admitted for free.

Taking the train to Fontainebleau

The SNCF sells an all-in-one train-bus-château ticket. Check train times before travelling (www.sncf.fr), as services are infrequent.

Château de Fontainebleau, once a residence of Napoleon. Photo: Shutterstock

Vaux-le-Vicomte

You could combine route 18 with a visit to the palace at Vaux-le-Vicomte (Maincy; www.vaux-le-vicomte.com), as the two are within 16km (10 miles) of each other and on the same train line. Vaux is the former home of Louis XIV’s one-time Finance Minister, Nicolas Fouquet, and generally considered to be the forerunner to Versailles.

Beat the Crowds at Giverny

Monet’s house and garden can be extremely crowded with coach parties and school visits so aim for an early morning or late afternoon visit. You can also buy your ticket online to save queuing time.

Monet's garden in full bloom at Giverny. Photo: Shutterstock


Buy a book: Berlitz: Paris Pocket Guide

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