Stress-free Planning Tips for a Parisian Getaway

Notre Dam de Paris

Notre Dam de Paris

by Cami Krein,

As exciting as it is, planning a trip to Paris can be stressful. What if your hotel is too far from the iconic sights? Where can you get a taste of the storied French cuisine without spending a fortune? Is the coffee really as bad as everyone says it is? Don’t let the details overwhelm you. Here are four tips to help you plan a trip to the French capital without the stress:

Book Early

Book all travel plans as early as possible to get the best price on tickets and avoid using up all of your budget on pricey fares. AOL Travel notes that another reason to book early is because it helps to kick-start travel planning and get the ball rolling for booking accommodations and planning the trip itinerary.

Get Travel Apps

Take advantage of technology and download a few travel apps to help plan and organize your trip. European travel guru Rick Steves’ Audio Europe app (free) features four audio tours in Paris for popular sites such as the Louvre and the Orsay, as well as travel advice for numerous other European cities. The Metro Paris Subway app ($1.99) is handy for those who want help navigating the notoriously confusing Paris metro system.

Check in on everything at home via your home security system through the system’s web app. If you have a remote access system, found online LifeShield.com, you can stream video from home using the LifeView app (free). Keep all of your travel arrangements and lists of must-see attractions organized with a note-taking app like Evernote (free) where you can store trips detail and access them offline.

Learn the Arrondissements

Understanding the arrondissement system is essential to help you get around the city, but it’s equally important to understand it before booking your accommodations. The arrondissement system dates back to 1795 when the city was divided into 12 administrative districts. It was updated to the present-day system of 20 arrondissements by Napoleon III in 1860. Numbered one to 20, they start in the center of Paris and spiral away from the center in a clockwise direction. Learning this system can make it easier to determine what part of town to stay in. Here are some of the most-popular arrondissements to stay in and their famous sights:

  • Arrondissement 1: The Louvre, Tuileries Gardens, Royal Palace, Forum des Halles
  • Arrondissement 4: The Marais district, Notre-Dame Cathedral, Place de Vosges, Centre Pompidou
  • Arrondissement 5: The Latin Quarter, Pantheon, Jardin des Plantes, Cluny Museum, Sorbonne
  • Arrondissement 6: Jardin de Luxembourg, Saint-Germain des Pres
  • Arrondissement 7: The Eiffel Tower, Musee d’Orsay, Musee Rodin, Invalides
  • Arrondissement 8: Champs-Elysees, Arc de Triomphe, Grand Palais, Place de la Concorde
  • Arrondissement 18: Montmartre, Sacre-Coeur, Moulin Rouge
Consider Alternative Lodging

While Paris is home to numerous world-class hotels such as the Plaza Athenee, George V and the Ritz Paris, many travelers on a budget find apartment rentals to be a more affordable way to stay. By renting an apartment, you can usually get more space for less money than in affordably-priced hotels.

In a city famous for its food, budget-conscious travelers also appreciate having a small kitchen of their own to prepare goods from plentiful local markets. Home Away and AirBNB are two websites you can use to find affordable Parisian apartments.

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