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Thanks to the Eurostar, it's now easier than ever to get a great price on flights to Paris as they have been getting cheaper and cheaper since this competitor came on the scene. This is music to our ears as Paris is one of the world's top city destinations and with big savings on flights to Paris from the UK, that means more money for all those fun things that you want to do.
Paris is such an exciting place for a break, with plenty of ways to enjoy yourself - whether you want to just sip coffee and watch the world go by, or are after cramming in as much as you can possibly see. Don't try and see it all though, there's far too much. Even the Louvre can take up a week to properly see it! That's another reason it's great that cheap holidays to Paris are so readily available, so that you can pop back time and again.
You also needn't get a hotel right in the centre of Paris if you want to eke out your budget. Just look for one that's close to one of the Metro or RER stations and you'll be whisked into the centre in no time at all. Try not to just see the sights using this underground transport though - walking between different areas is a great way to discover hidden gems and delicious places for a bite to eat whilst you're on your trip.
A flight to Paris takes around an hour from most UK airports, so you won't spend too long in the air before you can get on with your city break. You will find cheap flights to Paris from a variety of UK departure points so be sure to check all your nearest airports to get the best deal. Check your arrival airport carefully though - Charles de Gaulle and Orly are close by and on the RER but Paris-Beavais is quite a hike from the city at nearly 50 miles away!
With flights to Paris from all the major airports across the UK (and some of the smaller ones too) you won't have to travel far to catch your plane. Eurostar offer train travel direct to Paris from London through the Channel Tunnel and you can take your car across to France the same route from Folkestone to Calais. Or if you prefer a bit of the open sea, ferries run from Dover to Calais where you can then make your own way to Paris. Eurolines also offers low-cost coach travel to Paris from stops across the UK.
If you have arrived by train or by plane there are a variety of options for onward travel to your destination. It's easy to get into central Paris from either Charles de Gaulle Airport or Orly Airport as they are both on RER lines, the suburban railway, which connects with the metro, or both airports offer shuttle buses to the centre as well. If you arrive by train in to Gare du Nord it's similarly easy to get onto the metro, and there are plenty of buses too. Taxis are quite expensive in the daytime, particularly if they get stuck in traffic!
The best way to get around Paris is on foot as most of the major sights are easily within walking distance and you get to enjoy the quaint streets on the way. You could also hire a bicycle for short trips with the city-wide Velib cycle scheme. For faster trips around Paris, or to travel further afield, the metro is brilliant, as well as cheap. There is also a good bus network which uses the same ticketing as the metro and may be a better option if your metro journey includes lots of line transfers. Night buses run around the city after midnight and once the traffic dies down taxis are an economical way to get home in the evening.
France has an excellent road network if you want to hire a car or drive your own, although most of the major motorways do have tolls. Internal flights are a quick way to get from one part of the country to another if you're short on time, but you can see a little more if you travel by train. The trains in France are comprehensive and this makes it very easy to get around, and with high speed rail the long distances will fly by.
The weather in Paris is good for visiting any time of year. The summers are warm with average daytime temperatures of 25°C with only the odd day reaching stifling heat of 32°C or more. The winters are fairly mild compared with the UK with an average daily high of about 7°C and temperatures only dropping below freezing on the odd night. Rainfall in Paris is quite high but mostly comes in the form of isolated showers so be prepared with a brolly and nip into an obliging café to pass the time.
As one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world, Paris doesn't have a true low season but winter visitors will find the city a lot quieter and enjoy less queuing for the top attractions. April to July are the peak of the tourist madness. At the end of July and throughout August the majority of the locals go on holiday, resulting in a quieter Paris. Some shops close for this period, although most tourist attractions will stay open. Christmas and Easter are also busy times in Paris but if you choose to travel in early spring or late summer you can enjoy the best of the weather and fewer tourists.
It might be a short hop away from the UK, but Paris is a destination worth planning well in advance to get the best deals. You need to book Eurostar a couple of months in advance in order to get the cheapest tickets, as prices increase steeply for last-minute trains. The same is generally true of flights. Hotel prices stay the same most of the year round, though you are more likely to find a deal during the quieter winter months.
€ Euros. Banks do not normally exchange money, but post-offices will. You can also use Bureaux de Change but it's worth checking the commission and exchange rates as they are not heavily regulated and charges and rates can vary wildly. ATMs are widespread and usually offer better rates than exchange services, but do normally charge a small fee.
French. English is spoken at the main tourist attractions but in other places Parisians tend to respond much better if you try a little French before resorting to English. Young people speak more English than the older generations, but there is a high emphasis on manners so being polite will get you everywhere!
+33 for France and then 1 for Paris
Valid UK passport
The "must-sees" in Paris are almost endless! To start with, look for a hotel with a metro station near by and check out our Paris guide as well. Here are our Paris top five attractions, if we really must just pare our list down to five!
The Eiffel Tower is Paris's best-known landmark - although it was only meant to be temporary! The views are amazing thanks to Paris's flat landscape, and for the ultimate treat enjoy a meal at Le Jules Verne. This fine dining restaurant comes with a hefty price tag though, so you might try 58 Eiffel Tower on the floor below for slightly less jaw-dropping prices, but the same amazing view.
The Louvre Museum is so vast that you could visit every day for a week and still not see it all. It's best to do a little planning beforehand to make sure you see all the things you want to fit in - remember there will be crowds though! At least half of them will be between you and the Mona Lisa! Other highlights include Venus de Milo and the Napoleonic Apartments.
Notre Dame de Paris Cathedral is a gothic masterpiece on the Ile de Cite. Be sure to head inside to admire the windows, the crypts and to climb the bell tower for the view across Paris that inspired Victor Hugo's The Hunchback of Notre Dame. Plus, if you're after a quick lunch, try the mirrored splendour of Les Deux Palais just round the corner and try their onion soup.
Musee d'Orsay is housed in a former railway station, and it boasts Paris's best collection of impressionist paintings, featuring artists such as Monet, Manet, Cezanne and Van Gough - as well as statues and plenty more modern works.
Sacre Coeur Church is situated at the top of Montmartre, Paris's one hill, so the views from outside are great, and most evenings a crowd will convene to enjoy the sight, watch the Eiffel Tower light up, and create a party atmosphere. If you want an even better view, head inside this pretty church and climb to the top. You can also head out the back to enjoy the reflection garden. Or marvel at the very thing that gave the church its name (sacre coeur means sacred heart) - Jesus's heart (or, one of them at least).