Paris is the capital city of France a 19th century city with holding world famous landmarks such as the Eiffel tower, and the 12th century gothic cathedral Notre Dame. Paris’ nick name is La Ville Des Lumieres, meaning the city of lights. This was one of the first cities to have electricity which is where the nick name comes from. Below you will find my backpacking guide for 24 hours exploring the city including food, hostels, and things to do.
How to get there
There are two main airports servicing the city, Orly airport and Charles de Gaulle. They are both international and local flights in and out of the city. Charles de Gaulle airport is the larger airport for intercontinental flights, and has convenient train links to the city centre. Orly airport is the busier domestic airport with select international flights. Flying into Charles de Gaulle makes it way easier to get city center access because of the train.
Orly Airport Transportation to Paris City Center
This is the slowest and cheapest budget option for travel. The bus costs 8 euros and takes 45 minutes depending on traffic. The Orly bus to the city center is a direct bus whose time table can be found here. The busses run on weekdays from 05:00 am to 09:00 am and from 05:00 pm to 09:00 pm (every 30 minutes). Outside these hours, every hour. The busses leave every 15-20 minutes or more frequently. A whole list of the available different bus lines and routes as well as night bus options are found here.
– From Orly: 06:00 am – 00:30 am
– From Paris: 05:35 am – 00:00 am
– Paris – Orly South – S: exit L, Stop 3
– Paris – Orly West – W: exit D, Arrival level, Stop 5
A Taxi takes around 30 minutes depending on traffic and time of day and will cost a flat rate of 35euros. If you are going to left bank, it will cost 30€, and if you are going to the right bank, it will cost 35€.This is the fastest and most expensive option along with driving apps like Uber. You need a sim card for the country to be able to use these apps as well as get charged surged pricing for high times of the day. Ironically taking a taxi with a flat rate is often cheaper than driving apps in the city because of surge pricing. Private drivers can be arranged for 50euros as the mot expensive option.
This is the hardest and least convenient option that takes the longest and involves multiple transfers. The most budget option is to take the train at 12 euros per person oe eway ticket costs. The train takes one hour. There are two trains that run nonstop all day from 6am-11:30pm. The train is very complicated to take from this airport because you must first take the metro to get to the train station. Take the Orly metro to the Anthony Train Station, and then change to lines RER B or RER C. The total travel will cost 12.10€ and will take around 60 minutes.
Charles de Gaullae Airport Transportation to Paris City Center
This airport is the hub of the train into the city which is the most cost and time effective to get into the city. The RER B train runs from Charles de Gaulle airport (CDG) every 10 to 20 minutes, and is around a 50 minutes ride to the city centre. Tickets cost 10€ one-way, and can be bought at ticket booths in the arrivals terminal. The main train station in Charles de Gaulle airport (CDG) is near Terminal 3, in the Roissypole building. There is a train station in Terminal 2, however, these trains don’t run directly into the city centre. If you arrive in Terminal 1 or 2, catch the airport shuttle to Terminal 3 to ride the train. If you arrive at Terminal 3, follow the signs, go down one level, and you will be on the train platform. The official train time tables from the airport are here.
The bus costs 6€ – 11.50€, depending which line you wish to use, and the journey takes 80 minutes. There are three bus lines to choose from in the day. The most direct line is Roissybus, a direct line to the centre. The other lines are 351 and 350 which make several stops along the way. At night there are two bus lines, N 140 and N 143. The busses run from 05:33am to 04:00pm. There are nigth bus options as well which are the two lines listed above.
The taxi is 60euros and takes 40 minutes. These are flat taxi rates and can be hailed outside the front of the airport and at the taxi stand. This is great as well if you don’t have a sim card for other private driver pick up apps which will be around the same price or more with surge pricing and traffic. The private driver airport service you can arrange in advance is this company here.
Things to Do
The Eiffel Tower
The Eiffel Tower is Gustave Eiffel’s iconic, wrought-iron 1889 tower, with steps and elevators to observation decks. The tower is something magic to behold in the day and especially at night when it is glowing with lights as well as fireworks that occur. The tower is 276 meters at the top and the middle decks are between 57 meters-116 meters. The Eiffel Tower is a must see when you are in Paris, however if you do not want to pay to go up it is still very possible to see and enter the park the Eiffel Tower is in for free! You can bring a blanket, picnic and hang out in the park for a couple of hours to enjoy your Eiffel Tower views and experience. This is a great budget way to see the tower. Also the tower at night is gorgeous and lit up and another fun and free activity to come and see with lookout points from afar.
|June 14 – August 31||9:00 – 0:45Last climb at midnight.(for the summit 23:00)||9:00 – 0:45Last access at midnight.|
|The rest of the year||9:30 – 23:45Last climb at 23h.(for the summit 22:30)||9:30 – 18:30Last access at 18h.|
The new rates for 2019 below start January 14, 2019. These are the updated prices. Children under 4 are free!
|Adult r ate||Young rate |
(from 12 to 24 years old)Child rate
(from 4 to 11 years old)
/ Handicap (1)
|Child rate |
(from 4 to 11 years old)
/ Handicap (1)
|Lift ticket |
|16,30 €||€ 8.10||€ 4.10||Free|
|Summitelevator ticket ||€ 25.50||€ 12.70||€ 6.40||Free|
|2nd floorstaircase ticket||10,20 €||€ 5.10||€ 2.50||Free|
|Ticket stairs |
|€ 19.40||€ 9.70||€ 4.90||Free|
Lift ticket 2nd floor: Access to the second floor using the elevator.
Summit lift ticket: Access to the summit using a first and then a second lift.
2nd floor staircase ticket: Access to the second floor using the stairs. On sale in person.
Ticket staircase / elevator top: Access to the summit using the stairs to the second floor, then an elevator to the top. On sale in person.
How to get to the Eiffel Tour by Public Transportation
By Metro :
Line 9 (Pont de Sévres – Mairie de Montreuil: stop Trocadéro)
Line 6 (Nation – Charles de Gaulle Etoile: Bir-Hakeim stop)
Line 8 (Balard – Créteil: Ecole Militaire stop)
Line C (Versailles / Saint Quentin en Yvelines – Anthony / Massy Palaiseau: stop Champs de Mars – Eiffel Tower)
By Bus :
Bus 82 stops: “Eiffel Tower” or “Champ de Mars”
Bus 42, stop: “Eiffel Tower”
Bus 87, stop: “Champ de Mars”
Bus 69, stop: “Champ de Mars”
All of these stops allow you to walk to the Eiffel Tower in just a few minutes.
Pont D’ lena bridge over the Seine River
This is the old bridge parallel to the Eiffel Tower crossing over the river to the palace on the other side. This is a famous central bridge in the city that is filled with beautiful statues, gold and carved statues. This is also a great place to get a picture of the Eiffel Tower.
The Louvre Art Museum
The louvre is one of the most famous art museums in the world. The Louvre was a former historic palace that has a huge art collection, from Roman sculptures to da Vinci’s “Mona Lisa.” This is such a beautiful museum that can be perused for hours on end. The actual grounds of the museum above at night and by day are beautiful to visit. Especially when the pyramid is lit up at night with water reflections it is a peaceful courtyard to come hang out at night with a great view.
Online Ticket: 17 euros (Fast entry in less than 30 minutes)
Ticket in person : 15 euros
- Tuileries garden- Free
- Eugène Delacroix Museum 7 euros
Monday: 9 am – 6 pm
Wednesday: 9 am – 9:45 pm
Thursday: 9 am – 6 pm
Friday: 9 am – 9:45 pm
Saturday: 9 am – 6 pm (until 9:45 pm the first Saturday of each month)
Sunday: 9 am – 6 pm
Room evacuation begins at 5:30 pm or 9:30 pm on the night.
- The best time to visit the museum is in the morning from the opening of the museum and at night.
- From January 2019, the museum is open to all visitors free of charge, on the first Saturday of each month, from 18:00 until closing at 21:45.
- The way to enter the museum fastest in 30 minutes, Buy your ticket online:
- Buy your ticket
How to get to the Louvre with Public Transportation
Line 72 red is the fastest direct route to the Louvre leaving from Billancourt (subway station). This is the same leaving point as the metro on the yellow line 9. The bus is around 36 minutes and the metro is about 47.
Notre Dame Cathedral
The Notre Dame was one of my favorite experiences in Paris. Make sure to come on or before the hour so you can experience the old gothic church bells ring as birds fly and fill the old church square. The 13th-century cathedral with flying buttresses & gargoyles, which was a setting for Hugo’s novel is majestic.
The admission to the church is free. There are audioguides at the entry front desk. No luggage is allowed.
Open every day of the year from 7:45 am to 6:45 pm (7:15 pm on Saturday and Sunday). There are evening and morning masses that you can attend. The full schedule and their information is here.
Arc De Triumph
The Arc De Triumph is a historical monument that is an iconic triumphal arch built to honor Napoleon’s victories, with an observation deck. This is a free site to come see if you do not use the observation deck. This is definitely one of the best city lookout points.
JANUARY 2ND TO MARCH 31ST: Open daily 10.00am-10.30pm Last access 45 min before closing.
APRIL 1ST TO SEPTEMBER 30TH: Open every day 10.00am-11.00pm Last access 45 min before closing.
OCTOBER 1ST TO DECEMBER 31ST: Open daily 10.00am -10.30pm Last access 45 min before closing.
January 1st, May 1st, May 8th (morning), July 14th (morning), November 11th (morning) and December 25th.
The standard entry fee per person is € 12. There is a reduced price for young people (18-25 years) outside the European Union, and foreign teachers, €10. The group rate is from 20 people €10. The school group rate is € 30. The people who qualify for free entry are kids under 18, 18-25 year old nationals of Europe, disabled people and their caretaker, job seekers with certificate of less than 6 months. All booking and other information see their site here.
How to get to the Arc De Triumph by Public Transportation
Lines 1, 2, 6 and RER A, Charles-de-Gaulle-Etoile station / Lines 22, 30, 31, 52, 73, 92 and Balabus // then take the subway near the Champs Élysées or Grande armée exit
The Luzembourg Palace is the former royal residence, which is now repurposed & used as the meeting place for the French senate. The library of this palace is gorgeous and will cause any book lover and reader to swoon. This is a gorgeous palace that in the 1700s was the home of the senate. This was a princely palace until the French Revolution. See a virtual tour of the palace here.
The entry is free! There are very limited entrances to the public and it is worth the wait, lines and contacting the senate in order to tour on your trip. The gardens entry is free as well and is just one paid area you don’t need to enter.
Open to the public – Monday, Friday, & Saturday (if the Senate is not meeting), or by reservation, between 10:30am-2:30pm
For visiting information, email the Senate at email@example.com
Open to the public – Typically opens between 7:30am and 8:15am, and can close anywhere from 4:45pm and 9:45pm (depending on the season/month)
How to get to Luxembourg Garden and Palace by Public Transportation
Palace of versailles
This is a grand, 18th-century palace with gilded apartments, chandeliered Hall of Mirrors & a fountain show. This palace is further outside the city center but a great morning, day trip or half day tour. This is probably not worth it if you only have 24 hours in the city unless you go straight there from the airport before entering city center. The grounds of the palace have several parts on the vast land and different tour types. There is the castle, the domain of trianon, the beautiful gardens, and the royal stables to tour.
A 20euro ticket gives you a passport ticket with access to the castle, the domain of trianon, the gallery of coaches, the garden and the park. A castle ticket is 18 euro. A two day ticket access is 25-30 euro.
- Access to the Palace of Versailles and the Trianon area is free for children under 18, under-26s residents of the European Union, teachers assigned to a French school, people with disabilities and their companion , job seekers in France.
- On your arrival, present yourself directly at the entrance of your place of visit (Entrance A of the Castle, entrance of Grand Trianon, …), with your proof and a piece of identity.
- ATTENTION: on the days of the Grandes Eaux Musicales and Musical Gardens, access to the gardens is free only for children from 0 to 5 years old.
- The reduced price of the Passport (10 euros) allows people 6-25 years old residents of the European Union and 6 to 17 years outside the European Union to get priority access to the Castle (according to the reserved time). It also includes access to the Grandes Eaux Musicales or the Musical Gardens in the gardens. 0 €All free
The main entrance to the Palace of Versailles is by the Court of Honor.
- If you do not have a ticket upon your arrival and you do not get free: go first to the ticket office left in the court of honor in the Ministers’ wing South, then at entrance A of the Château, reserved for individuals.
- If you have booked your ticket online and have it printed at home or if you are free : go directly to the entrance A of the Château with your proof.
- The castle is open every day except Monday . The Castle opens at 9am; the Trianon Estate and the Coach Gallery only open in the afternoon (12pm), from Tuesday to Sunday.
- Open every day, the park and gardens are free (8am-6pm).
- The access to the Trianon estate can be done through the gardens or the city.
- The full detailed schedule and hours for each site location can be found here
How to get to the Palace of Versailles by Public Transportation
- Versailles is served by three train stations . The closest is that of Versailles Château Rive Gauche. The train is the fastest and most budget way to get to the palace from the city.
- The RER C arrives at Versailles Château Rive Gauche station, 10 minutes walk to get to the Castle.
- From Paris Montparnasse station, SNCF trains arrive in Versailles Chantiers station, 18 minutes on foot to get to the Château.
- From Paris Saint Lazare train station, SNCF trains arrive at Versailles Rive Droite station, a 17-minute walk to the Château.
- Get two tickets (round trip) from your departure station to Versailles station or a pass (Navigo, Mobilis or Paris Visite) including zones 1 to 4 if you leave Paris.
- The ticket T + is not valid for these trips.
Basilique du Sacre-Coeur de Montmartre
This is the best Paris city overlook as well as the most gorgeous old church to tour. This church sits up on a hill overlooking the best day and night view of the skyline. This is an iconic, domed white church, that was finished in 1914, with interior mosaics, stained-glass windows & crypt. My driver actually helped let me in on this city overlook view secret. There is parking outside the church where you can see the city overlook viewpoint from across the street.
The entry to the church is free. If you attend mass women dress appropriately covered and visitors be silent and respectful.
Here are the schedules of the Masses:
- Monday to Friday: 7h, 11h15, 15h Friday, 18h30, 22h
- Saturdays: 7am and 10pm (Sunday Mass)
- Sunday: 7h, 11h, 18h, 22h.
Open 6am-10:30pm daily to the public. Private mass can be scheduled. The public mass can be attended.
How to get the Basilique de Sacre Coeur
Jules Joffrin (M ° 12) + Montmartrobus (Place du Tertre stop)
Pigalle (M ° 12, M ° 2) + Montmartrobus (Norvins stop)
Antwerp (M ° 2) + Funicular (a metro ticket) or stairs
Abbesses (M ° 12) + Funicular (metro ticket) or stairs
Do not hesitate to contact the RATP plan : www.ratp.fr
30 – 31 – 80 – 85 (arriving at the foot of the hill)
The Moulin Rouge is the famous 19th-century cabaret featuring Belle Epoque decor, dinner & dancers in elaborate costumes. The place is a dinner theater serving cocktails.
There is an evening dinner show that starts at 199 euros. There are two evening shows at 9pm and 11pm. The evening shows start at 87euros depending on your seat.
How to get to the Moulin Rouge by Public Transportation
The closest Metro line to this tourist site is Blanche on Metro Line 2.
Where to Stay
Paris is a very expensive city and is definitely not a backpackers hot spot for traveling Europe. I have the top 5 budget and nice hostels listed below. The hostels range from $75-85USD/night. I stayed at Woodstock the cheapest hostel and it was definitely the most budget option. There are much nicer hostels available for only 5 or 10 more dollars.
Woodstock Hostel Montmarte
This was the hostel that I found online the day before I came into down and booked the colorful budget accomodations with an amazing garden. The hostel is a 12-minute walk from Gare de Nord, 13 minutes walk from the Moulin Rouge, the legendary 19th-century cabaret hall, and 600m from Pigalle metro station, where trains to Champ de Mars-Eiffel Tower take around 27 minutes. There are 4-, 6- and 10-bed dorms, and private rooms for 2. The hostel is brightly colored decor with wood-effect floors, bunk beds, and shared shower-only bathrooms. There is Wi-Fi, free breakfast and lockers. There’s also a late-night bar and luggage storage.
$75USD/night , BOOK HERE
ST CHRISTOPHER’S BUDGET HOTEL PARIS
This hostel is a quality chain of hostels in Berlin, Paris, Belgium and London. This hostel is a 2-minute walk from Eurostar service at Gare du Nord station, 2.1 km from the iconic Moulin Rouge and 2.4 km from Le Centre Pompidou. There are mixed and female dorms with linens, free Wi-Fi and private lockers, beds with individual power plugs, reading lights and privacy curtains. Towels can be rented with a fee. There are some private rooms with private bathrooms. Breakfast is free. There is an awesome hip and modern lounge and a computer room, along with a lively on-site bar/restaurant, a travel kiosk and coin-operated laundry facilities.
$85 USD/night, BOOK HERE
This hip colorful and modern decorated hostel is more budget and nicer than the low budget hotels. Hostels are the new boutique hotels on a budget for travellers. It is a 3-minute walk from Colonel Fabien metro station, a 10-minute walk from the Parc des Buttes-Chaumont and a 15-minute walk from Gare du Nord train station. There are mixed and female dorms as well as private rooms. Private rooms sleep up to 4; upgraded rooms add balconies with hammocks. Amenities include a stylish eatery, a rooftop terrace, and a buzzy basement bar with live music and DJs. There are also 24/7 coin-operated laundry facilities. Breakfast is an additional fee.
$80USD/night, BOOK HERE
The loft is in the Belleville neighborhood and a 3-minute walk from Parc de Belleville. This is an adults-only hostel and is only 2.3 km from Gare de l’Est RER station and 4 km from the Louvre museum. This hostel is colorful, clean and has mini chandelier lights in the rooms. There are private rooms and 4- to 8-bed dorms (mixed and same gender). There is free Wi-Fi, lockers, and en suite bathrooms. Breakfast is free. There is a guest-use kitchen, a bar and outdoor seating.
$85 USD/night, BOOK HERE
Set among shops and restaurants, this colorful, modern hostel is 4 km from the Louvre museum, 5 km from the iconic, white-domed Sacré-Cœur Basilica and 8 km from the Eiffel Tower.Funky mixed-gender and female-only dorms feature free Wi-Fi, shared bathrooms, and custom-made bunk beds with lockers, blackout curtains and reading lights. Cozy private rooms have en suite facilities and coffee machines. Upgraded quarters are located on the roof.There’s an eclectic bar with a wood stove and a lounge area; breakfast is available for a fee. There’s also a rooftop terrace offering views of the city.
$82USD/night, BOOK HERE