[All content and prices updated August 2013]

Why you should add Paris to your Indie/RTW trip

France's capital city, Paris - sometimes called the City of Light - is arguably the most popular tourist destination on earth. It's famous for its architecture, art, history, fashion, food and also for being incredibly romantic. It's also where you'll find one of the most famous landmarks on earth - the Eiffel Tower. Yes, you could do much, much worse than to spend some leisurely time in Paris.

  • Most people visiting Paris will take in at least a couple of the city's incredible art museums.
  • Everyone's heard of The Louvre, and it's a must-see (even if you just go in to get a peek at the Mona Lisa'smysterious smile), but some of Paris' other museums can be less crowded and equally as rewarding.
    • Musee d'Orsay, for instance, is inside an old train station and has been beautifully redone to house lots of 19th century artists.
    • You'll find lots of Monet at Orsay.
    • Centre George Pompidou is a cool modern art museum, with the building itself being as much of an attraction as the art inside.
  • In addition to the museums, there is also art all around you - Paris is an exceptionally beautiful city.
    • From the Eiffel Tower to the Arc de Triomphe to Notre Dame Cathedral to Sacré Coeur, you needn't enter a museum to see beauty.
    • A simple stroll down the Champs-Élysées on a spring day will have you humming "April in Paris" in no time.
  • And the cafe culture in Paris is thriving, so be sure to take some time to sit outdoors and do some people-watching!
  • The French do the finer things in life better than anyone else.
  • No one cooks better than the French
  • It never gets dark in the City of Light
  • See how much wine you can enjoy in a night

Indie travel tips for Paris

When travelers head to Paris for the first time, the main sites should definitely be visited. It'd be a crime to go to Paris without seeing the Eiffel Tower or Louvre. But what if you've been there before or want to add it to part of a larger itinerary? What can you do to have the best indie travel experience?

  • Visit the African quarter near Montmartre.
  • Wander around the flea market at Clingancourt.
  • Head to the Bercy Village in the 12th arrondissement on the weekend. This is where the Parisians come to relax.
  • Check out Aligre Market, which is surrounded by great wine bars and restaurants.
  • Explore Canal Saint Martin and its trendy bars and cafes.
  • Check out some lesser known museums like:
    • Museum of Decorative Arts
    • Museum Gustave Moreau
    • Musem of Fairground Arts

Transportation

Paris has two major international airports, so you should be able to find a decent deal on flights to Paris. The larger of the two is Charles de Gaulle (code: CDG) and it usually has the lowest airfare for overseas flights. Orly Airport (code: ORY) also has some good deals, especially on flights within Europe.

Accommodation

Sleeping in Paris can get expensive quickly, so book your hostel in advance to avoid paying through the nose, especially if you are traveling during the summer high season. Remember that Paris is the most visited city in the world, so plan accordingly.

Photo credits: wlappe