Below are the experiences from me and my wife’s visit to Paris for 5 days during new year time ( 29th Dec 2014 – 2nd Jan 2015 )
Following tips can be referred by families and I’m sure it’ll answer majority of your queries.
It does NOT cover Disneyland though.
( UPDATE : to https://vikramviknowledgesharing.wordpress.com/2018/06/26/paris-disneyland-normandy-travel-guide-part-deux/ for Disneyland and Normandy Visits )
1. City Tips
4. City Travel
6. Places to Visit
8. Additional Info
1. Always carry a good map which has got public transport markings as well.
2. Buy Paris visit travel card ( which allows you to use all public transports within Zone 1-3 , as most of the attractions are within zone 1-3 ). Do NOT buy “Paris City Pass” or “Paris Museum Pass”
3. Do NOT visit during x-mas or new year time. We had really bad experiences during new year celebrations 2014 near Arc De Triomphe. This is mainly because of worst crowd management by Paris police , you will spoil your new year.
We heard same from others in Paris during that night. A portuguese lady struck in metro for 3 hours with thousands of other passengers as cops didn’t allow them to get out and join party.
Also fights in Metros during new year night , cops carrying furious dogs bashing those people just like movie scene. Must be avoided city to visit during New Year for sure
4. Preferable time to visit can be Summer, as it’s has got longer days to enjoy day light and visit many more places.
5. Be aware of people who approach you saying “my friend” , “brother” , “do you know english” or over friendly person/s wishing in your language.
6. Do not give money to people showing some random sad story ( imaginary mostly ) in streets , Metros, Near tourist places etc.
7. Be aware of pick-pocketers in always crowded Metro lines and public places
8. Ignore the people who always try to sell something at most of the common tourist places , not sure why cops or tourist department not taking strict actions these annoying people
9. Make list of commonly used French words which can be quite helpful
10. Carry basic medicines
11. Main stations have lockers where you can keep the luggage for a day
12. Take RER B from Gare Du Nord to reach CDG within 30 mins and another 15 mins to reach your check-in gate.
1. Many restaurants food is quite expensive as compared to quality. Avoid restaurants near to tourist places , instead visit the once which are little far away.
2. Make list of eateries based on http://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurants-g187147-Paris_Ile_de_France.html
3. Try to carry some energy biscuits , bars with you to keep your energy level intact and avoid costly places.
1. We stayed in Ibis Budget in Bercy and found it quite good. Avoid spending too much money on stay near to City Centre as you can always travel in fast metros to reach city centre.
2. Try to find budget Airbnb if you are lucky enough , it’ll be good option as owner can be your city guide and source of information to all Paris queries.
City Travel :
1. You will need a day to understand how public transport works in Paris.
2. As compared to Berlin , it’s really bad.
3. Metro station signs are hidden; not easily locatable , too much traffic on roads.
4. Metro underground will make you walk more than in the city. They are poorly designed and laid out. Can’t believe of such bad civil engineering , not suitable for elderly , people with disabilities , couple having kid/s, pregnant women.
5. Travel by M 14 line as it’s driverless train and you will enjoy ride sitting in front of it.
1. All the famous museums are always crowded. In order to save time in queue , book ticket/s online.
2. As Museums takes lots of time , I will prefer not to visit them except Musee De Louvre.
3. Discuss with your family / partner if they really want to visit and spend lots of time in Museum and later decide which once to visit.
4. If one is not living in a city , I will rather skip museum visits altogether
Places to Visit:
Again refer to http://www.tripadvisor.com/Attractions-g187147-Activities-Paris_Ile_de_France.html and discuss with family / partner where you want to visit and spend time.
You can categorize places as below
Can be Visited based on Time & Energy:
You can take 1 or 2 days of bus tour to cover most of these and later visit once you made list of at your own pace.
Avoid using “L’Open Bus Tour” as we found it average and not worth the money they charge.
Start the attractions’ visit as early as possible and continue till sun-set
Or you can ask locals about any particular info about shopping based on your budget needs.
Additional Info :
http://www.worldofwanderlust.com/hacks-save-money-europe-travel/ – Hacks To Save Money On Europe Travel
http://www.tripadvisor.com/Travel-g187147-c75916/Paris:France:Paris.Essentials.Before.You.Go.html Paris Travel – Before You Go