Everyone must go on a city break to Paris, at least once in their life! This is where you travel with the one you love, with the kids to expand their horizons, with your friends on a shopping trip, or with your friend who is interested in art and history. Paris is the big city that offers everything that is good and exclusive, especially on the food front. Read our guide and get inspired!
Can a city break become more romantic?
If you are going on a romantic trip abroad, where do you set the course? The final answer to this question is for many Paris. The French capital has for centuries been referred to as the romantic capital of the whole world, which with its inviting style and pleasant population is a favorite tourist destination for tourists from all over the world. Every single year, tens of thousands of Norwegians travel here, to experience good food, art, nurture love, museums and not least sights such as the Eiffel Tower.
Paris in spring and autumn
According to Countryaah, the French capital is one of the largest in Europe, and with its 2.2 million inhabitants, one can safely assume that one gets the metropolitan feel of Paris. People like to travel here in the summer to enjoy the warm climate, but also in the autumn the city shows itself at its best, especially since the worst tourist flow has then stopped.
Travel to Paris
You get to Paris the fastest and easiest way with direct flights from SAS, Norwegian or Air France. The direct route is operated by these companies daily. The flight takes about two and a half hours, and if you book well in advance, you will be able to get very cheap flights.
With a stopover, the travel time will at best be one hour more, for example with KLM via Amsterdam, or Lufthansa via Frankfurt (you have many options).
Some tour operators also sell package tours to Paris, with charter flights that go directly, or with tickets with the companies that fly directly.
If for some reason you do not like to fly, it is relatively common to take a train from Oslo to Paris. You must calculate travel time of at least 24 hours, depending on which train route you take. The fastest is usually via Hamburg and Cologne.
Airports in Paris
Almost all scheduled flights land at either Charles de Gaulle Airport or Orly Airport. Some low cost airlines may decide to land at Beauvais Tillé Airport, but from Norway this is unusual.
Transfer from Charles de Gaulle airport to Paris
Charles de Gaulle is located 25 kilometers northeast of the city center. From there you have many transport options into the city. The fastest is the express train to RER which runs many times an hour to Gare du Nord. You can hop on the train at both Terminal 2 and Terminal 3. If you land at Terminal 1, you can take the bus (or walk) to one of the other terminals. The buses to Roissybus also run 4 times an hour, but use significantly more time. The time issue is also a factor if you choose a taxi. On weekdays during working hours, it can take well over an hour to get to the city center by bus or taxi.
From Orly to Paris
Orly is only 14 kilometers south of the center of Paris, but it is more clumsy to get to the center from here, depending on where the hotel is located. The airport has two terminals. These are connected by a free line (Orlyval), which also takes you to the RER train which leaves from Antony station. There you change to the RER train which goes either in the direction of Mitry-Clay, or in the direction of Charles de Gaulle. Both routes run through the center of Paris.
If you choose a bus, OrlyBus to the Denfert-Rocherau metro station is often the best option. From there you can use the metro system or taxi to get to the hotel you are staying at.
Overnight in Paris
Paris has a lot of places to stay and you will have no problem finding a hotel that matches your price range. The hotels are scattered throughout the city, but you should of course be out well in advance if you want to find available rooms in the most popular tourist areas. In addition, you will be able to get a better price if you book well in advance, or outside the tourist season.
The city is divided into 20 parts (Arrondissement). Arrondissements 1 to 8 are all central, and good choices if you want a short way to the sights. However, choosing a hotel in other districts is not a scandal. For example, parts of Arrondissement 18 are considered the most romantic, especially if you choose a hotel in Montmartre.
Here are some suggestions:
- Sightseeing in Paris– Choose a hotel in Arrondissement 1, possibly Arrondissement 2 or 3. Then you live close to the Louvre, Place Vendome, Notre Dame, the Pompidou Center, the Champs-Élysées, and much more.
- Romantic city break in Paris– Stay in the aforementioned Montmartre and take your partner on a picnic at the Sacre Coeur. See also a show at the Moulin Rouge, visit the oldest vineyard in Paris, and see one of the few remaining windmills in the district.
- Shopping holidays in Paris– Find a comfortable hotel in Marais (Arrondissement 3 and 4). There are shopping galleries, chain magazines and the exclusive design shops close together.
- Luxury holiday in Paris– If you want to stay exclusively, it is Arrondissement 8 you should aim for, and preferably on or near the Champs-Élysées. You get the Arc de Triomphe right nearby, and can pick and choose from exclusive restaurants, bars and cafes, as well as elegant design shops.
- City break for food lovers– Many believe that Arrondissement 11 is the place to stay for those who love good food and drink. Exciting restaurants abound here, several of them starring in the Michelin guide. Also take a look at Rue de Charonne, where there are many small and cozy eateries with phenomenal food.
- Family holiday in Paris– Saint-Germain-des-Prés in Arrondissement 6 is a good choice if you are traveling to Paris with children. Choose a hotel near the Jardin du Luxembourg. There are playgrounds for the youngest children, they can ride a pony, rent a rowing boat on the small lakes, rent radio-controlled boats, and much more.
- Holiday for night owls in Paris– If nightlife is important, the Marais is one of the districts that suits you. Then you live close to streets where the bars are close, clubs with DJs, and all night long clubs like Nuba. If jazz clubs and wine bars are more your thing, you should stay in Saint-Germain-des-Prés.
How to find the right restaurant in Paris
If you have not chosen a specific place to eat from a guide or something like that, and just want to stop by a typical French restaurant for a delicious meal, here are the tips on how to find the right place:
- Navigate to a street or area that is several blocks away from famous attractions and sights.
- Look for small eateries, preferably a bistro or brasserie with an unobstructed entrance area.
- Avoid places where the menu is in English, or where the dishes are illustrated with pictures. Then you know that the restaurant is frequented by locals. They know best where to eat.
- Also listen to those who enter the restaurant, or are already sitting at the tables. If they speak French, it is very likely that you have come to the right place.
- Avoid places that have few or no guests. If you have to wait to get a table, or have to share a table with others (common in many small restaurants), this is a very good sign.
Recommended hotels in Paris
- Splendid Etoile Hotel– Elegant and romantic hotel close to the Champs-Elysées, often with nice prices.
- Hotel du Petit Moulin– Cozy little hotel in a perfect location in the Marais. Luxurious rooms, top service and a short distance to shopping and sights.
- Albe Hôtel Saint-Michel– Affordable hotel right near Notre Dame. Very affordable and good option, location taken into account.
Getting around Paris
The metro is obviously the best option if you want to move quickly and cheaply in Paris. In total, there are 16 lines and about 300 stations in the city, which means that virtually all of Paris is covered. The trains run through the metro from 05:30 in the morning, to 01:30 at night.
A single ticket costs about 2 Euro, and can be purchased at newsagents and tobacco kiosks throughout the city, or at vending machines at the subway stations. You get a discount if you buy a set of 10 tickets in a row. You can also buy full-day passes, weekly passes, or monthly passes, with prices that depend on which zones you are to travel within. In the center, zones 1 and 2 apply.
You can use the same tickets on buses, including the 42 routes with night buses. The night buses run from 01:30 to 05:30.
It is also nice to move on the Seine with the river buses. They run about every 25 minutes in high season, but can be quite difficult to fit.
If you want to take a taxi, you have to look for cars with white lights on the roof. Orange light means the taxi is busy. Taxis can be found in separate parking spaces, usually along the main streets, outside stations, or other areas where a lot of people travel. You can also call and order a taxi from a number of different companies. Please note that taxis have fixed fares, and it is common that you have to pay extra for luggage, for more than 3 passengers, and more in the evenings, at night and on weekends.
It is considered safe to holiday in Paris, but there are cases of gang crime and pickpocketing. Here are the most important things to keep in mind when it comes to safety:
- Watch out for pickpockets, especially when taking the subway and staying in crowded places. The pickpockets are most active where tourists travel, and they have an easier job the more populous the place is.
- Do not leave bags, telephones or other valuables lying on the table, or hanging from the chair, in restaurants, cafes, etc. Especially not on outdoor seating. Take valuables with you when you go to the toilet.
- Avoid staying in dimly lit areas after dark. This is especially true around metro stations such as Les Halles, Gare du Nord, Jaures, Stalingrad and other stations located outside the city center.
- There is little chance of being robbed in Paris, but you could be the victim of attempted fraud. As in other big cities, this is often someone who wants to sell you gold or other valuable, fake appeals, “help” with luggage, or gangs trying to divert attention in some way (often combined with a driven pickpocket).
- Be careful in traffic, and especially when crossing streets. The traffic in Paris is more hectic than we are used to from home.
- Despite previous terrorist attacks in Paris, the city is also considered safe in this area. Still, for example, avoid large demonstrations if they should occur, and be a little extra careful when you are in extremely crowded areas.
- Please note that the French police take their job seriously when it comes to security. Show valid ID if asked.
- Never leave your luggage unattended. There are not only thieves you need to think about, but also police who do not take chances. Unattended luggage is something the police like to blow up, after they have cleared away all people and animals.
You can safely drink tap water in Paris, but many prefer bottled water instead. It is otherwise nothing special to think about, and in terms of health there is no difference between staying in Paris or Oslo.
Bring a European health insurance card that you get from NAV, and get adequate travel insurance. As a Norwegian citizen, you have the same right to medical assistance in France as the country’s inhabitants. The travel insurance gives you back money on any deductibles, medicines or anything else you may need.