Traveling to Paris for the First Time

May 11, 2011

It starts with an idea. Maybe you've dreamed of sipping a drink in an outdoor Parisian cafe or shopping at a couture boutique. Perhaps a movie such as Am?lie, Moulin Rouge or Inception sparked your interest in visiting Paris.

For a first time trip to Paris the process begins by envisioning how you see yourself in Paris. What will you do there - eat fabulous meals, fall in love, see beautiful artwork? Once you have a picture in mind of yourself in Paris, a trip can then be planned around what inspires you.

A Good Time to Travel to Paris

When you travel will have an impact on the type of trip you take. For instance, winter is generally the best time for avoiding the tourist crowds, but it's not so great for those who don't like cold weather. The spring and early fall will provide the most favorable weather for sitting in outdoor cafes, though some spring days can be rainy.

The summer season, especially during August, is the most expensive time to travel to Paris and the hottest. Also, the French tend to vacation during August, meaning that some restaurants, shops, smaller hotels and activities may not be available during this month. The city will be filled with tourists.

Consider if you'd like to use frequent flyer miles for your trip.

Giving Yourself Enough Time

We try to encourage travelers with limited vacation time to avoid squeezing in too many activities. Traveling can be exhausting, with unpacking, getting settled after arrival and dealing with jet lag. Also, if you?re traveling to multiple cities during your trip, you?ll want to factor in getting from place to place. Spending at least 3 days in Paris will allow you to get the full experience of this beautiful city.

Your Passport

All U.S. citizens traveling to Paris will need a passport. Also, your passport should not expire within six months of the last day you are in the destination country. Once you apply for a passport, it takes a few weeks to receive it. If you need it sooner, the application process can be expedited.

The next step for first timers to Paris is to create a travel itinerary.

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