Paris is an extremely accessible city thanks to the metro. It would be especially helpful if your hostel location is near a metro station. If you are staying for at least 3 days, purchase a "Paris Visite" ticket which will save you time and money. Enjoy the Parisian life by buying cheese and chocolates from the supermarket which will only cost you a few euros. Take advantage of the many offered free tours and free museum entrance within the city.
Finesse Angelica F. Evangelista
I would rent an apartment for ten days, that's what I always do in the Latin Quarter. This way you immerse yourself in the local lifestyle. You can buy fresh croissants every morning and have coffee on your balcony overlooking the city (most apartments have some sort of terrace). Notre Dame, the beautiful Sainte-Chapelle (holy chapel), Eiffel Tower, and Arc de Triomphe is a one-day affair (start early) and you can even fit in a cocktail in the evening on the roof of La Samaritaine at Pont Neuf overlooking the Seine. You need at least a day for the Louvre or any museum for that matter. Versailles is a day trip or at least most of a day but worth seeing the extravagance. Don't cram in too much sightseeing or your trip will seem over in a flash. The best and only way to experience Paris is just walking, riding the Metro and getting lost, spend at least a day doing this. The Metro is very easy to navigate with color-coded maps in every station and on every car. You can never really get lost. Oh, and even if they pretend they don't, every Parisian speaks some English. Just ask them if they do in French -- parlez-vous anglais? They won't shut up after that, nice people. Paris is the most romantic city in Europe and a great place for a honeymoon -- I had mine there.
Paris is good only to get quality French perfume. All the rest in this awful city is not worth even thinking about it.
St Petersburg Russia, Anastassia
It was my first time in Paris in the summer of 2009. The architecture and old buildings are over whelming. La Louvre is outstanding. Go up the Eiffel Tower about an hour before sunset. Enjoy the view of this magnificent city, as it looks cleaner from up there -- otherwise Paris is very dirty. Watch where you walk and sit, even in the Metro. Wear good walking shoes that are easy to clean. There are lots of Gypsies especially in tourist areas -- just walk away. Yes, local Parisians can be rude too. Oh and some French would help but you get laughed at with Québécois French.
Be very careful when you choose your hostel in Paris! 80% are old and ruined by time and very poor maintenance. I've heard that some even have rat baits under the bunks, and that it seems totally normal to the owners, so don't expect any help in case you wake up during the night hearing "something" scratching into your backpack. Always go for the top three, this will avoid bad surprises.
If you do not plan to use the metro too much, I would recommend getting a carnet of ten tickets for 11.10 euros -- which works out much cheaper than buying them singly.
Stay in Montmartre, it's beautiful. Eating cheaply is no problem if you visit the fruit/vegetable stands combined with the bread and cheese stores. I still have cravings for a real baguette. Knowing some French would be very useful. I knew nothing, and had to mime a lot and look like an idiot. It is not a problem as long as you are polite and attempt to communicate. Bike touring is also very nice!
"Les trois maillets" is great only for people who love the piano. If you hate jazz, it's not the place for you. My favourite is "le Vrai Paris," in the Montmartre area, which is the real Paris. The Latin Quarter area is really too sketchy.
Barnaby P. , London, England
Paris is great! There's a fine cabaret in the Latin Quarter called "Les Trois Maillets" -- be sure to swing by. It gets crazy in the basement later at night and, frankly, just a little bit sketchy.
Montmartre is the best part of Paris, the true Paris, and the area by itself is secure. To stay in Montmartre is a must if you find a nice accommodation to stay -- don't do like me and read carefully the Paris' hostels reviews before you book online because, for some reasons, Paris is a uniformly horrible city for hostels. My parents, who backpacked in Paris in 1978, had warned me -- bad security, rip-off, showers full of mold. Trust me, it has not changed for twenty-nine years! Expect body fluids and dehydrated insects' carapaces on your bedding (not a joke, I saw that!). The area of Montmartre is absolutely gorgeous with its pedestrian streets and its famous basilica du Sacre Coeur. Go there at sunset with a bottle of wine and puckered lips. Relax as Paris lights up around you and enjoy watching people stroll by for hours.
Sofia, Södertälje (Sweden)
It's a lovely city. I spent three nights there. Took a tour bus the first day, then it was me, my map, and my metro ticket the other two days -- just exploring. They have great food too, and I managed to get by with my smattering of French!
Paris is truly a beautiful city, give yourself plenty of time to see it or you'll miss out. Travel is easy with the Paris Metro, just grab yourself a map and you'll figure it out very quickly. Never be afraid to (politely) ask questions -- the rumors about the typical French coldness is decidedly untrue, and most people will be more than willing to help! The Arc de Triomphe is breathtaking when viewed during sunset, while the Eiffel Tower is best viewed at night. Take the stairs if you're looking for a bit of a workout! Most importantly, don't be afraid to try out a little French! You'll amuse the locals a little, and they will be a lot friendlier with you and overall much more helpful! Bonne chance!
I went to Paris last summer with few expectations, it was the last stop on a European vacation. I fell in love! Paris is beautiful. The Eiffel Tower was amazing especially at night with all the lights. Fat tire bike tours is a must -- four hours of touring around Paris on a mountain bike then a hour on a boat going up the Seine drinking wine! Wonderful. I only encountered two rude french people. One was on the overnight train from Basil Switzerland to Paris, the ticket guy made fun of my high pitched voice, pinching his nose to imitate me! The second was a waiter in a Paris cafe. The waiter was trying his best to be haughty, but he had a black eye and several scratches on his face and looked like he had been in a fist fight, he ended up looking silly. Everyone else I encountered was more than helpful and very friendly. Several people went above and beyond common courtesy to help when I was lost. I love Paris! Going back next year!
Paris is amazing, I fell in love with it and so do most people. I have to say the Eiffel Tower and the more touristy sites were a little bit of a disappointment. On the other hand Montmartre and places like the Sacre Couer were amazing. But seriously screw what they say about French attitude, people are fantastic.
Paris is wonderful. I just finished backpacking across Europe for 5 weeks and it is my favourite place! Try the Berthillon gelato on the Island. Accept no substitutes...it is the best stuff you will ever eat. Also try a Chocolate Crepe with real chocolate (not Nutella). It may be on the menu as Crepe du Chocolate du Maison. And try to speak some French! The locals will laugh with you, try to help you and overall be friendlier. Oh, and watch for the dog poop on the sidewalks!
Paris, it was as beautiful as everything I had read. I just returned from Paris and I am in love. Everything is within walking distance from the Metro/RER system. The Parisians are very warm, friendly, and helpful (especially the police). It is true that Parisians dress well, but that can be said for most of Europe, so if you go to Europe in general, try to dress a little better than you usually do. I fortunately wore black most of my stay, so I fit right in. As far as the "snobbiness" - I did not encounter any. The French were most charming and happy to help me. (I do speak French, so perhaps that was my ticket). I took a night train from Paris to Rome and made some great friends! Train is the way to go - buy one of those Eurail passes! They are well worth the money! Ciao!
Denise - Philadelphia, PA
Walk everywhere when possible. Go to all the major tourist stuff - the reason these things are so popular is because they really are that beautiful! But don't forget the rest of Paris. Spend some time down by the canal, go to the Parc de Belleville & Buttes Chaumont, Chinatown in the 13th etc. Look up - or you'll miss a lot of the architecture. Sounds dumb I know, but you'd be surprised... Smile at people and make an effort to speak French. Enjoy!
Yeah, Paris, joy, this place is awesome if you like big iron towers and bread. Buy the bread in shops and eat on the street. Don't buy cappucinos. Watch out for idiots on the subway. Spend a day here, then venture out into the countryside, the real beauty of France.
Just two tips for Paris: Take a bottle of red wine, some bread, and cheese up to the top of Mont Martre to the steps of the Sacre Coeur at dusk and just gaze. And two: do a Fat Tyre night bike tour from the base of the Eiffel Tower, a great way to review everything you've seen that day as the sun sets in summer!! A truly beautiful city!
Stay in the Latin Quarter if you want to see the "tourist" Paris. Stay in Montmartre if you want to live like a Parisian.
My advice is stay in the Latin Quarter for total funkiness! Also, go up the Eiffel Tower at night, other places like Notre Darme and the Arc will give you great views of the city too, so do those in the day and go up the tower in the night time. They do a light show and it's gorgeous. Also, unless you are in Paris for a full week, the travel pass isn't worth it. Just buy individual tickets or walk.
Paris is a great city. Don't believe the hype about the attitude. Check out the Eiffel Tower at night. The lights and hundreds of people drinking in the park all night can make for a fun night. Walk up the tower instead of the elevator. It's easy and cheaper. Try French, it's easy and you'll get a much better attitude, as you will anywhere, when you use just a little of the lingo. Merci is not hard to say. Don't miss out on a great city.
The Montmartre area is the "real" Paris, away from all of the tourist and stuff. Eat at a cafe. Watch out for pushy guys in the Red Light District.
Ahh Paris! You have to grab opportunities here or they will pass you by... make the most of everyday. Go to a jazz club, try to mingle, befriend a Parisian show puppy. Learning a language opens many doors and I guess I missed out by being a clueless foreigner. Dress well or don't bother at all. Like really, khaki shorts will not be tolerated. Paris is a little more reserved than Italian cities and a little more practical. It's still a mystery to me. Why all the hype? hmmm... to be continued.
You could stay in Paris forever — if you can afford to — and still not get enough. I ran the whole time day and night and did not see the half of it. And remember, please at least try to speak a little French and you will be surprised how pleasant Parisians will be—don’t try and you will experience the stereotypical aloofness. My advice, buy one of those language learning cd’s at your local book store before you leave home and get the basics like “Ou se trouve le WC”, the last part is pronounced VC (Where’s the restroom.)
You can't really go wrong as far as location goes when you're looking for a hostel in Paris. They're pretty much all within a few blocks of a metro stop, which means you're always about 10-15 minutes from anywhere in Paris. By the way, buy a multi-day metro pass rather than paying for each trip to save money.
Paris is divided into neighborhoods called arrondissements which are numbered (1è, 2è, 3è, etc.). The hostels in Paris are spread out over so many different parts of the city that you will find at least one hostel in almost every arrondissement. So which area is best to stay in? If you know you want to visit a particular neighborhood, you could look for hostels in that arrondissement. But really it doesn't make too much difference since Paris is well-connected with an extensive subway system that will get you anywhere in the city you want to go. So don't worry too much about the various locations, just look for a Paris hostel with a decent rating that's available during the dates of your stay.
When you arrive in Paris, whether it's by train or plane, you'll probably get to your hostel by métro (subway train). A few tips... Unless you have a European credit card with an embedded chip, your credit card probably won't work in the ticket machines, so go to the window to buy your ticket. A "carnet" (pronounced "car-nay") of 10 tickets is the best value if you'll be in Paris for more than a day or two. And when you buy your tickets also ask for a free métro map.
Hi, I'm David,
the Hostelz.com local expert for Paris hostels. Welcome.