Yes, I left the warm Mediterranean sun and my beloved Barcelona and headed to Paris. It is officially day 5 here and I’ve learned so many insider tips on getting around the city. Whether you’re visiting Paris or settling in for the first time, hopefully these suggestions could guide you through.
All Aboard! Arriving to Paris – Did you know Paris is a central connecting point for most major cities across Western Europe? Although you can find many discounted flights through Vueling and EasyJet, taking the train to Paris is the most scenic and sometimes can be the cheaper option. Not to mention, you arrive directly into the city center which means you don’t have to pay for the airport shuttle or train. Plus you never have to deal with hectic airport security. The TGV is the national French railroad system and they have a great website in English. On a side note, whatever you do, wherever you go, don’t ever take Ryanair. Ever.
Le Métropolitain – Traveling by metro is by far the easiest way to move around the city. It’s extremely efficient and fairly cheap. You can either purchase 1 single ticket for 1.70euro or a pack of 10 for 12.70euros. Lines 2 and 6 also travel above ground and offer beautiful views. Check out the Eiffel Towel near Birhakeim from line 2 or the Sacre Coeur from line 6. You might see a lot of people jumping the ticket booth, but don’t risk it unless you want to pay a 45euro fine. Download the RATP app on to your smart phone which offers you a metro map and journey routes. It’s available in English and very user friendly.
*Ring-Ring Velib! – When you have a better understanding of Paris and you feel brave enough, travel by the city’s bike program. Unlike other European destinations that don’t offer day passes, you can easily rent a bike for 1.70euros or get a 7 day pass for 8euros. The self service bike system runs 24 hours. Either pay at the Velib station or purchase from the Velib website. This is not a bike that you can keep for the entire day. You must return the bike within the first 30 minutes if not you will be charged an extra fee. If you’re going to go over your 30 minutes, return your bike and pick up another one.
Free Wifi: You don’t have to pay 5euros at Starbucks to get free wifi when you’re on the go. Many parks and public spaces offer internet access. Look for the ZONE Wi-Fi sign, connect to Wi-Fi Orange, open your browser, click on ‘Select Your Voucher’ and you then will have the opportunity to sign up for a two hour session. You will have to provide an email address and name.
One last note, French culture and people are polite therefore act accordingly. Always greet people with bonjour during the day and bonsoir in the evening, finish requestes with s’il vous plais and don’t ever forget to say merci beaucoup .