Paris is romantic, cultural, breathtaking, timeless and any other cliches you can think of. It’s an open-air museum, a mosaic of neighborhoods each with its own DNA and rich history. Paris is one of those cities which you can visit multiple times and still not see anything, perhaps because you’ll just want to meander around its boulevards and alleys without any specific purpose but to experience the Joie de vivre.
Paris can be visited at any time of year but its most charming seasons are the shoulder seasons of spring and autumn when the weather is pleasant, the city’s residents are out and about, and the tourist crowds are bearable. Here’s a breakdown of the seasonal experiences in Paris.
Spring: the cherry blossoms are out in April, Parisians come to life with picnics by the River Seine a weeklong norm, the days are sunny and long by May and June marks the start of festival season. This is my personal favorite time to visit Paris.
Autumn: the days are getting shorter but the weather can positively surprise (though pack an umbrella just in case). The trees are shedding their leaves and the atmosphere is extra romantic. This is an excellent time to visit.
Summer: the city is packed with tourists, the weather is hot and humid, and many Parisians are vacationing elsewhere. If you can handle heat and crowds, you’ll enjoy long and sunny days.
Winter: it can get bitterly cold and grey for constant periods of time. The sun might not make an appearance during your visit but your walks around Paris will get an extra dose of romance.
Assuming it’s your first time and you just want to take in the city’s top tourist sites, 3 days in Paris is really the absolute minimum. That said, you can easily spend 5 days in Paris and not get bored. If you really want to live like a Parisian, book an extended stay and slowly explore the city’s neighborhoods at your own pace.
Trendy: the Marais district (3rd and 4th arrondissements) offers a central location coupled with a small neighborhood feel. It’s the place to hang out on Sundays and it’s just a few minutes on foot to some of the city’s top highlights. Here’s a full list of Marais accommodations.
Chic: the streets and boulevards of the upscale Saint Germain des Pres neighborhood (6th arrondissement) are lined with boutiques, sun-drenched cafes, and monuments. Oh, and the Luxembourg Gardens are just a stone’s throw away. Here’s a full list of Saint Germain accommodations.
Historic: narrow lanes, magnificent churches, and even the remains of the old city walls – that’s why I love the Latin Quarter (5th arrondissement). It’s one of the most sought-after Parisian neighborhoods and, like the adjacent Saint Germain des Pres, it’s super close to the Luxembourg Gardens. Here’s a full list of Latin Quarter accommodations.
Central: if you want to be in the “heart of the action”, the Grands Boulevards of central Paris likely boasts a few bargain deals. Here’s a full list of Central Paris accommodations.
Hipster: first-time visitors to Paris rarely head east of the Canal Saint Martin (10th arrondissement) – a changing neighborhood that is kind of “hipster-central” these days due to the relatively sane housing prices. Here’s a full list of the area’s accommodations.
Needless to say, Paris packs a lot of must-see sites and that doesn’t even include the joy of just wandering around and seeing the “little things” that are unique to Paris and make it so special. Be sure to make advanced reservations to museums and official sites, and even to restaurants if you have your hearts set on the city’s prime dining spots. If it’s your first time in Paris, here are the top things you should consider seeing. If you’re a returning visitor to Paris, here are a few ideas.