Planning a trip to Paris can be an overwhelming undertaking, with so much to see in so little time. Which arrondissement should you stay in? Is it worth trekking out to see Versailles? How much time to spend? With so many questions, preparation is key. Here are five essentials to help you plan your Parisian getaway:
Apps for Long-Distance
Whether you’re leaving your children, cats, or work behind, it can be difficult fully to disconnect and enjoy yourself in Paris if you don’t allot some time to check-in on everything back home. Luckily smartphone apps have made doing so easy, you can do everything from checking up on your home through apps for home alarm systems to chatting with your kids or co-workers via Skype. Download the necessary apps before your departure.
A few months before your trip, read a few memoirs of writers’ experiences in Paris to get excited for all the romance and adventure that the City of Light has to offer. Some recommended memoirs include:
- “Paris Times Eight: Finding Myself in the City of Dreams” by Deirdre Kelly: Kelly’s coming of age story of eight trips she has taken to Paris and how each time affected her differently.
- “The Sweet Life in Paris” by David Lebovitz: Written by pastry chef and cookbook author David Lebovitz, this book offers equal parts realism and fantasy, peppered with countless tips on how to see Paris like un vrai parisien.
- “Paris, Paris: A Journey Into the City of Light” by David Downie: History buff Downie, delves into the historical backgrounds of each of Paris’ most-storied cultural cornerstones and presents Parisian history in an approachable and intriguing manner.
- “Paris: A Love Story” by Kati Marton: Award-winning journalist Marton shares the story of her own love, loss and transformation in this unabashedly candid New York Times bestselling memoir.
- “Paris Was Ours” by Penelope Rowlands: Rowlands compiled a collection of memoirs from well-known writers about their time living in Paris, including David Sedaris, Diane Johnson, Edmund White and Judith Thurman.
A Reliable Map
Worried about navigating the Metro? Red Maps have transformed the travel map, making their products equal parts travel guide and map, all while being easy-to-read and compact. The Paris edition highlights historic sites along the Right and Left Banks of the Seine, including St. Germain, Les Tulieries, Le Marais and Place Vendome, as well as architectural highlights, such as the Eiffel Tower, Arc de Triomphe and Notre Dame. Red Maps Paris edition also lists top museums and notable hotels and fashion boutiques in the French capital.
Guides from the Pros
Invest in a comprehensive guide book that details all of the in’s and out’s of Paris and offers tips to make the most of your time in the French capital. Fodor, Frommer’s and Lonely Planet all have thorough guides, most of which are updated annually to include all of the most up-to-date information and pricing.
European travel guru Rick Steves also publishes a prolific tome on Paris that can be helpful to plan your trip.