Classic highlights of Paris

Nature
The wow factor for nature - does it show nature at its best? Doesn't need to be the wilder-beast migration or diving with hundreds of hammerheads. Rather make you pause as you realise just how awesome the natural world can be
2
Culture
How much does this experience showcase some of the better and finer things that us humans can offer? Sure, it can be ancient ruins and renaissance churches, but it can also be festivals or soaking up some of the great modern cities of the world
10
Fun factor/activity
Very simple - was it fun? This is usually linked in with doing some kind of activity - i mean, walking along some cliffs is nice, but paragliding from them, now that is fun. Its a vastly underrated factor in a truly great experience
4
Avoid the crowds
Big tour groups and being surrounded by loud fellow tourists can sap the life out of even the greatest of travel experiences. This score is to reflect just how much you can avoid this. But. . . The score also takes into account if the crowds actually add to the experience, such as with a party town or a bustling food market
2
World famous
How world famous is the experience?
10
unique
How hard is it to have a similar experience in other places round the world?
10
Overall Score
The highest score of nature or culture, + fun factor, + avoid the crowds, + the highest score of world famous or unique. Then turned into a score out of 100. More details at the bottom of the page
65 *What the scores mean and where do they come from
continent
Europe
country
France
Length of time
1-2 days
Rough cost
Obviously people have different tastes, so this will depend on those tastes, but this is a rough idea of price of the whole experience based on 2 people able to split the accommodation costs and excluding travel there and back
$ 350
Time of year visited
February
Primary Tags
Click on any of the tags to see all travel experiences with the same tag
RANKING
How this travel experience ranks compared to all the other experiences on this site
163rd/334 This travel experience's ranking compared to all the other experiences on this site
Top 50% SUMMARY RATING: Great Experience

Summary

One of the world’s most famous cities and with some of the most recognisable landmarks anywhere, Paris is quite simply one of world’s must-visit destinations.  However, it is unfortunately quite common for people to leave Paris a little disappointed.  In fact, Paris Syndrome (“a sense of disappointment exhibited by individuals when visiting Paris”) is a thing.  This is less down to the lack of allure from the big ticket highlights, and more people’s disappointment that Paris doesn’t meet their romantic dream-like expectations of the peaceful walk along the tree lined streets all to themselves as they drift to find a hidden restaurant with that perfect table sat out the front under the stars with perfect views of the Eiffel Tower . . . ahhhhh how wonderful . . . oh and with the subtle music playing in the background and that perfect (reasonably priced) meal . . . ahhhhh, yes, how dreamy.  Of course, the reality is that Paris is a big expensive modern city with millions of fellow tourists wanting a piece of the action and the ever-present risk of the moody grey Northern French weather

 

So, whilst I think many people do get that perfect visit, many don’t as they either don’t know the secrets or don’t have a local to show them round.  I’ve visited Paris several times, but haven’t really had that local knowledge, so I’m going to score the visit based on that which, in summary, is still “one of the world’s must-visit destinations” based on its big ticket attractions, but don’t build up your expectations to the point that you leave with Paris Syndrome

highlights

Must Do #1 - the Eiffel Tower (well, dur).  If can afford it, go big and book dinner on the top floor

Must Do #2 - the Arc de Triomph. Be sure to get the views from the top as it can be a touch underwhelming starring at it across the 8 lanes of traffic and 12 arterials that radiate out from it

Must Do #3 - The Louvre. World famous paintings and a stunning setting.  Even if not into art, do it and, if you're one of those who gets knackered in art galleries (you know who you are), give yourself an hour to zip through

Must Do #4 - Walk along the Seine underneath the lamp-lit bridges. Yes, it can get busy and probably doesn't meet the romantic expectations, but its one of the best way to get a feel for the city

Must Do #5 - trying escargots (snails) on the Champs Elysees. Hit it that cliché first-time visitor vibe hard

EXTRA - get views from slightly further out. The best views are from the Eiffel Tower, and, to a lesser extent, the Arc de Triomphe, but also consider one of the views across the city.  For this, the hilltop of Montmartre with the Sacré-Coeur basilica is best, or Montmartre Belleville Park if that suits your travel better

EXTRA - Notre Dame. Gorgeous setting and still worth visiting even after the fire for its fame pre and post fire, but I wouldn't say its a must see

EXTRA - the locals. Paris is a bit like London in a way, in that the people of London / Paris are a different breed to the rest of the UK / France.  So, not only is Paris a very cosmopolitan city, but generally Parisians are a bit more direct than the more generally laidback French from outside the city.  They have also, of course, managed to further refine their French moodiness so, whilst this moodiness is sometimes unavoidable, it does help considerably to try to speak as much as possible in French even if your only word is Bonjour (and, yes, this is written by an Englishman who prides himself in annoying the French when possible, but its just easier to try)

EXTRA - The Paris Metro. Don't worry, everyone finds it confusing

Experiences nearby

The below map shows experiences nearby with a colour that reflect the Overall Score of those experiences

Score Detail

Background - how many times have you asked someone what a travel experience was like and the response was "amazing" or "awesome"?  That response is nice to know, but it makes it hard to differentiate that experience compared to others.  That is exactly what these scores are trying to do - differentiate the experience by giving a score out of 10 based on 6 categories and then giving an overall experience score

This overall experience score is calculated by:  take the highest of the "Culture" or "Nature" score (1-10) + "Fun factor" (1-10) + "Avoiding the crowds" (1-10) + highest of the "Unique" or "World Famous score" (1-10).  Then convert into a score out of 100

Extra detail - the logic being that I find all of the 6 individual scores important, but I don't want to mark an experience down just because it doesn't cover both "Culture" and "Nature", or because it isn't both "World Famous" and "Unique".  Take the examples of Safari in The Serengeti and walking through Rome - they both appeal at opposite ends of the nature / culture spectrum, and you can have a fantastic time without needing to appeal to both sides.  So, their overall scores aren't penalized for their lack of one or the other, and I've done the same for "World Famous" vs "Unique".  But . . . I do think that the "Fun factor" of an experience is important, irrelevant of other factors, and so is "Avoiding the Crowds" (or where there are crowds that add to the experience).  So, both of these scores are standalone