When is the best time to fly to Paris?
Spring months of March to May and autumn (between September and November) are often considered the best times to fly to Paris, as the locals have returned from their summer mass exodus and you’ll get a true insight into the city’s usual ambient atmosphere. You’ll also benefit from fewer crowds, cheaper flights and better holiday deals making your trip cheaper all round.
The major tourist season and the most expensive time to book a flight to Paris, runs from Easter to mid-September, with another peak in the winter months.
July and mid-January are packed with the couture fashion shows, and Bastille Day on 14 July is also a very busy time. Although summer is guaranteed to attract hordes of tourists, Parisians usually abandon the city to go on their own holidays at this time. As a result, some shops and restaurants may be closed so it’s worth checking the opening hours of particular venues in advance, but there should still be ample choice. Summer is the perfect time to enjoy leisurely strolls around the city and lazy, warm evenings with a glass of wine in one of Paris’ idyllic cafés.
Fashion-lovers will get the most out of Paris during autumn and winter, as this is when the city explodes with Fashion Week excitement – this event attracts a huge amount of visitors from all around the world, so make sure you book your hotel early, if you plan to visit Paris during this season.
Between November and March, you’ll find yourself in the off-peak season but even though the weather can be chilly, the city will still retain its charm during its coldest months. Take the opportunity to enjoy some wonderful, indoor Parisian delights during the off-peak season, such as ballet performances, operas, or art exhibitions. Christmas in Paris is magical, and you’ll be able to get into the festive spirit outside City Hall where ice skating takes place every year.
If you’re looking for a bargain, avoid Christmas and summer peak times; instead, aim for the transitional seasons (spring/autumn) to find both cheap air travel and affordable accommodation. The transitional seasons can have generally mild and pleasant weather, but always bring waterproof jackets, as the climate can be changeable
The stunning French capital is one of the most popular tourist destination in the world, with millions of foreign visitors every year booking flights to Paris to see all the iconic city has to offer. From the splendour of the Louvre to the modernist cool of the Pompidou Centre; the top of the Eiffel Tower to the meticulously planned and signposted city sewer system, every landmark in this city is famous.
Equally renowned for exuding style, the capital is also, of course, the place to shop. The Faubourg Saint-Honore district is full of designer shops, the roads around the Champs Elysees have high-end chain boutiques and the flea market at Saint-Ouen has eclectic, unique bargains. Spend the day shopping, sightseeing or watching the world go by in one of Paris’s many famous cafés. As the sun sets, the city comes alive with a plethora of restaurants serving every type of food, trendy bars and noisy nightclubs.
Paris is at its best in springtime, particularly May and into June when the temperatures are usually in the high teens and 20s. July and August can be hot and stuffy with temperatures going to the upper 20s and sometimes into the 30s. Early autumn is ideal and sunny weather continues through the first half of October. Throughout the winter months, especially February, temperatures are in the low single digits and below, skies are usually grey and the weather is windy and damp, although there's very little snow. July is generally the warmest month and February the coolest.Getting from the Airport to the CityCharles de Gaulle (CDG)There is a bus run by the Paris Transit Authority which travels to the Opéra every 20 minutes between early morning and late evening. In regular traffic, the journey should take 45 minutes to complete, but you might find yourself stuck on-board for longer if you hit rush hour.Alternatively, the shuttle service is a comfortable way to reach Paris.If you’re planning on using the taxi service, expect it to be the most expensive option. The journey will take anywhere between 30 minutes and one hour.Probably the most cost-effective way to reach Paris is on the RER-B line from CDG’s suburban express train. This service runs from early morning to late evening and the trains depart every 15 minutes. .Orly (ORY)There are buses from Orly to Les Invalides, Charles de Gaulle Etoile, and Montparnasse. This service runs every 15 minutes and the journey takes between 30 and 45 minutes depending on the traffic.To get the train into Paris, you will have to hop on the shuttle bus to reach the station. Trains leave every 15 minutes and you should arrive in Paris in about 35 minutes.Alternatively, you can catch the monorail service that runs every 4 to 8 minutes.Beauvais-Tillé (BVA)This airport is serviced by a bus to the city centre; there is also a railway station that has trains going to Paris eight times a day. Often, airline passengers utilise a privately scheduled coach. There are also shuttles from here that can take you to Disneyland Park, which is a popular destination for those arriving at this airport.
Getting around Paris
Walking through Paris is an experience in itself. The city is filled with lovely walks through alleyways, squares, boulevards or river paths. Paris is very compact, so you can walk the whole thing if you’d like. But with so much to see, you might want to speed things up by taking the subway.
The Métro is the easiest and quickest way to get around. You can find the stations by looking for a big yellow “M” within a circle. Most entranceways have Art Nouveau railings with archways labelled Métro or Métropolitain. The RER suburban express lines and the Métro lines are colour-coded, but Métro lines are numbered while RER lines are lettered. If you’d like to stay above ground, you can take a bus into the early evening. Buses move fairly quickly through traffic, since Paris has designated special bus lanes on the street. You can also take a taxi, but it can be difficult to flag one during rush hour. Driving in in the city isn’t recommended as the traffic is dense, one-way streets can prove confusing and parking scarce.
Paris insider information
- Paris is made up of 20 administrative districts called “arrondissements.” They begin at the centre of the city and curl clockwise around and out from the centre. All street signs tell you which arrondissement you are in. Districts are within arrondissements; for example, St-Germain-des-Prés is in the 6th arrondissement, Montmartre in the 18th, and both the Quartier de l'Opéra and Pigalle are in the 9th.
- Street maps, also called street plans, are available nearly everywhere including at the entrance to and inside Métro stations, in bus shelters, at department stores, and the Paris Convention and Visitors Bureau. Very detailed arrondissment maps are available through vending machines in each district.
- There are more than 150 art galleries and museums in Paris, and most of them are worth seeing. Chances are you have time to see only a few, and you can do this while being kind to your budget. Some galleries are free so do some research before you set off. Paris also has museum passes which grant you unlimited access to more than 70 museums and monuments in the Paris area. You can buy the passes online and have them delivered to you at home.