Country: France
Currency: Euro (EUR)
Peak Season: December-April, June-July
Shoulder Season: August-October
Median Temperature: 11.60 C / 52.88 F
Main Languages: French, Italian, German, English
Primary Modes of Transportation: Metro, bus, train, tram, bicycle, taxi
Recommended Duration of Stay: 5 days
Recommended Pocket Money: $200.00/day
Tourist Passes: Paris Pass, Paris Museum Pas, Paris Visite Pass
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There could be no lovelier and more romanticized city than Paris. Bridging the gap between beauty and innovation, Paris has been the home and inspiration of some of the greatest minds in art, literature, politics, and technology in the past millennia.

Notwithstanding its relatively small expanse, the city receives more than 45 million tourists per year. The city’s economy is greatly bolstered by its tourism industry. And it being headquartered by nearly a tenth of the Forbes 500 companies, amplifies its finance, communications, and IT industries. The city’s eminence in warfare is heavily credited on Napoleon Bonaparte who, in the turn of the 19th century, among many other previous rulers, changed the political landscape, decimated rival countries, and thrusted France to the top, ultimately bringing Paris to the international limelight for centuries to come.

Paris is located at the flat plains of river Siene, is bordered by the Périphérique, a ring road encircling the entire city. Roads outside the city are known for being heavily congested with traffic, and gridlocks are a common sight, due to the daily influx of tourists. Parisians, much like most Europeans, prefer walking than public transport. In effect, you’ll notice the slim physique of most locals in the city. The city is comprised of 20 districts known as “arrondissements,” which are called by their number. These arrondissements run spirally from the center in a clockwise manner. All seasons, except for the sweltering summer months of July to August, are the perfect times to visit. Rainfall is quite scarce and goes away easily.

Packing List

  • Fashionable, seasonal clothing, and by fashionable, we do not mean “kitsch”—don’t overdress; wear added vestments/accessories when you feel underdressed or if they pair nicely with your dress
  • A decent pair of walking shoes, a sweater/jacket/windbreaker, a compact umbrella and anything to keep you protected from the sudden rain; remember that you’ll be walking for most of your stay
  • For ladies, a decent bag or a backpack that doesn’t make you look and feel haggard; men, on the other hand, are advised to pack light (which they often don’t) and bring black denim/leather pants
  • Essential medication and toiletries; contrary to popular belief, not all pharmacies sell every known drug, though have many alternatives for the one prescribed to you and are often safer
  • A decent camera, plenty of film/memory and batteries; bring your electronics to keep you company, and forget about gadget-hunting in Paris—the VAT is high, unless you buy from a duty-free shop

Things to Do

  • Visiting the Eiffel Tower, Paris’ most recognizable landmark; the iron-clad, 1063-foot tower has three observation decks, which includes restaurants and souvenirs shops at the lower levels
  • Being enamored with Louis XIV’s Palace of Versailles; the building predated Louis, but it was under his rule that a simple hunting lodge would soon become one of the largest palaces in the world
  • Exploring the Notre Dame Cathedral, which epitomizes French Gothic architecture, and the city’s unsevered ties with the Catholic faith; the cathedral was the venue of Napoleon I’s coronation
  • Engrossing yourself with ancient world antiquities and paintings inside the Louvre; da Vinci’s Mona Lisa and Michelangelo’s Venus of Milo are just two of many requisitioned world masterpieces
  • Taking pictures with a backdrop of the Arc de Triomphe, commemorating Napoleon I’s conquests the visible part of the arc is adorned with reliefs of the commander and his comrades in action

DON'T

  • A decent camera, plenty of film/memory and batteries; bring your electronics to keep you company, and forget about gadget-hunting in Paris—the VAT is high, unless you buy from a duty-free shop
  • Talk to freshly locals who are “aristocratic” or otherwise “important” in society; unlike in the US, there’s a border of communication here that delineates the working- from the higher-class
  • Eat voraciously—the French are easily disgusted with tourists who partake in “savagery” inside restaurants; punctuality, attire, manners and courteousness are necessary to prevent a faux pas
  • Take public transportation, unless you’re overly exhausted or in a hurry; Paris is a walking city—the beautiful avenues are meant to be walked and experienced, so forget about taxis
  • Be carefree with your belongings—always keep your wallet tightly tucked and don’t leave your handbag’s content exposed; be warned that French pickpockets are the sliest in the world