Cole Porter wrote it and Frank Sinatra sang it: “I love Paris in the spring time, I love Paris in the fall, I love Paris in the winter when it drizzles, I love Paris in the summer when it sizzles”. We couldn’t have put it better: this is an exciting, vibrant and interesting city in any season. Bear in mind that many shops and restaurants close during August when their owners head off on holiday - though it does mean the city is relatively empty. Sales are on in January and June.
Note: flight, boat, train and bus timetables change constantly, and airlines come and go, so please do not rely solely on this information for your travel planning. Check with relevant companies, or a flight search engine like Skyscanner, first.
British Airways flies to Paris Charles de Gaulle from Heathrow, Gatwick, London City, Birmingham, Manchester, Bristol, Glasgow and Edinburgh.
easyJet flies to Paris Charles de Gaulle from London Luton, Liverpool, Newcastle, Bristol and Belfast.
Ryanair flies to Beauvais (an hour north of Paris, from where they organise coaches to Porte Maillot in central Paris) from Glasgow Prestwick, Dublin and Shannon.
BMI flies to Paris Charles de Gaulle from Heathrow, Leeds Bradford and Aberdeen.
Flybe flies to Paris Charles de Gaulle from Heathrow, London City, Manchester, Southampton, Bristol, Exeter, Aberdeen and Edinburgh.
Thomsonfly flies to Orly from Coventry and Doncaster.
Aer Lingus flies to Paris Charles de Gaulle from Dublin, Cork and Shannon.
Air France flies from Heathrow, London City, Bristol, Birmingham, Manchester, Aberdeen , Newcastle and Dublin.
The Eurostar whisks you straight into Paris Gare du Nord from London St Pancras and Ashford. This is probably the most relaxing way of travelling if you're coming from the southeast UK.
GETTING AROUND PARIS
Metro: practical for arrival and departure but let’s face it, Paris is too beautiful to be wasting time underground. The 14 lines are colour-coded, and directions indicated by the end-station (not north / south etc). It’s open from 05.30 until 00.30-ish, and a carnet of 10 tickets – also valid on buses – is good value at around EUR 10 (otherwise take coins for the machine).
RER (express rail): handy for longer journeys, especially from the airports to city centre. From Orly a quick shuttle (‘Orlyval’) runs to Antony on RER line B, and a courtesy bus runs to Pont de Rungis on RER line C.
Bus: slow in rush hour but at least it’s above ground, and a decent alternative if you know your route. Services slow after 6.30pm, but some night buses run. Pay with coins or using a ticket from your carnet (above).
> RATP website (plan your metro/bus trip, buy advance tickets etc)
Taxi: not too pricey, but often hard to hail on the street (look for a white roof light, or ask your hotel to book one). There are always taxis at Gare du Nord, if arriving by Eurostar.
On foot: this is the best way to see Paris, no question; take comfy shoes, a good map and an umbrella in winter. Our hotel reviews indicate approximate walking times from each hotel to the nearest sites of interest.
Other: There are also bateaux-mouches (tourist boats) plying up and down the Seine; a funicular and a local minibus service in Montmartre; and two suburban tram lines. Don't even think about driving around Paris (unless you are an old hand and your hotel has a carpark); street parking is metered and limited, and carparks cost upwards of EUR 20/day.