By AAA Travel Editors
June 08, 2022
Paris captures the imagination. The architecture, historical offerings and cultural amenities — not to mention the cuisine — are all reasons people plan a Paris vacation, and rightly so. There are so many things to experience in the capital of France.
Even if your trip is brief, you can still find ways to appreciate this storied destination. As a travel agent for 26 years, AAA Travel Agent Wendy Evans, Associate Manager for Online Travel at Automobile Club of Southern California, has some ideas to make the most of the city with the time you have. “I’ve been selling Paris for a while,” she says. “I know the lay of the land.” She says one of the best — and most budget-friendly — things to do is to walk or ride around the city. You’ll pass architecture, parks and gardens.
“I’d walk around the streets. I’m a big coffee person so I love coffee and treats. I’d go to Les Deux Magots — that’s a great coffee shop,” she says of the well-known 1885 brasserie (located at 6 Pl. Saint-Germain des Prés). “It’s in an area where you can roam the streets and see the bookstores.”
Paris also has fresh produce markets, flea markets, festivals and shopping of all sorts. She suggests fitting in what you want to see on your initial visit with some additional time to just wander and appreciate your surroundings. “See the architecture, the gardens, the Eiffel and the Champs-Élysées. There’s a lot of beauty. I think it’s a beautiful place.”
If you arrive in Paris without a plan, you can still make it work. Staff at the Paris Tourism Office, 29 rue de Rivoli, will provide answers on getting metro passes and ideas on skipping lines and visiting the top attractions in Paris. On a first trip, you’ll want to make time for five places to go in particular — the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre, Notre-Dame Cathedral, the Latin Quarter and Palace of Versailles (time permitting). Evans shares tips on seeing them and fitting in a few others if you’re taking a short trip but want to familiarize yourself better with the city.