Insider's Tips: see Paris the smart way

Planning your first Paris city break this summer? Make the most of your trip with some insider tips from the experts, us! Priding ourselves on being attraction specialists, we're expected to know it all - and we want to share it with you. The key to an unforgettable Paris experience during a hot summer is about first finding your bearings, and then choosing how and when to visit particular attractions - minimizing any stress along the way. Paris can be a complex city, and it’s easy to get confused about the layout and sights. We recommend you take a tour first, to work out the geography of the city, and after that a little inside knowledge can make all the difference. With over 60 of the city’s top attractions at your fingertips, including the Towers of Notre Dame Cathedral, the Louvre and the Arc de Triomphe, we've compiled 10 tips to help visitors plan an unforgettable trip to the city with the best sightseeing package, The Paris Pass:

  1. Your first priority should be a hop on hop off Big Bus tour - it’s a quick and efficient way to get your bearings, see the main sights and decide which ones you want to investigate further. Tours depart around every 15 minutes.
  2. Take a trip to the top of Montparnasse Tower and you’ll get amazing 360° views over the city. Arrive at dusk and you’ll catch the Eiffel Tower illuminations – a spectacular 10 minute light show which starts every hour. On Friday nights, you can even enjoy jazz on the roof terrace!
  3. Enjoy the Louvre without the crowds! Plan an evening visit, on Wednesdays and Fridays it’s open until 9.45pm, long after the school groups and tourist buses have gone.
  4. Be prepared for one of the best photo opportunities in Paris from a cruise on the River Seine. Get your camera ready on departure from the Eiffel Tower, looking north towards Montmartre and the Sacre Coeur!
  5. In your enthusiasm to get to Notre Dame Cathedral, make sure you don’t miss Paris’s most beautiful church. The 13th century Sainte-Chapelle is an architectural wonder and its overhead stained glass makes visitors feel like they inside a jewel.
  6. Berthillon ice creams are a Paris institution - and there’s only one place to try your first, at the original shop on the Île Saint-Louis, with Notre Dame in full view. A Parisienne treat for the senses!
  7. Get your dining reservations in early! Paris is famed for its food and the good restaurants book up fast. Website Ideal Gourmet will tell you where the best restaurants are and can even make the bookings for you.
  8. When visiting Montmartre, take the Petit Train to avoid the steep hills and cobbled streets – it’s a great way to see all the sights such as the Moulin Rouge, and you’ll spare your legs some hard work.
  9. Hang out with life-like French and international celebrities at the Musee Grevin wax museum - you’ll even have a photo opportunity to play piano with Elton John!
  10. Leave your locks at home! Lovers traditionally attach padlocks to the famous Pont des Arts Bridge as a token of their affection, but the practice is having a detrimental effect on the bridge architecture and recently caused a rail to collapse...
Don't forget a Paris Pass includes a Metro pass, giving visitors unlimited travel on the Metro, buses and RER express trains within central Paris, discounts on meals and shopping andpriority access at the busiest sites to avoid queues - plus a free guidebook.
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