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If you're planning a campervan tour of France or Europe, chance are the you'll be including the wonderful city of Paris in your itinerary. Whether you're starting or ending your motorhome travels in Paris, or just passing through, you'll find plenty of useful information here about Paris for campervan travellers. Enjoy!
You’ll Fall in Love with Paris again and again
Paris. It’ll take you more than one visit to even begin to appreciate its sheer magic and wonder. Plus, as we all know, visiting Paris is always a good idea. You would be hard-pressed to find any faults in an urban wonderland that promises visitors history, art, culture, fashion, fine cuisine and hypnotic cosmopolitan charm. Your only real challenge will be scaling back on your list of things you can see and do in the time you have. That is, unless you decide to stay forever instead of coming just for a holiday.
Museums are found throughout the city, offering world-class art, antiquities and historic icons that will boggle your senses. Cutting edge art galleries will introduce you to new artists while the city’s architecture and scenery could also qualify as fine art. Whether you want to wander the catacombs under Paris or tour its cathedrals, you will soon realise that there is nowhere in the world quite as impressive as this city on the Seine.
Get ready to indulge in culinary bliss. Many Michelin-rated powerhouse restaurants call Paris home and patrons fight for reservations and a place at their coveted tables. There’s no need to drop hundreds of Euros to manage a great meal, though. Even crepes from carts on the streets or a boulangerie’s buttery croissant are tantalising enough to tempt even the most sophisticated palate, and they cost next to nothing. And there’s something about sipping a coffee or a glass of regional wine at a Parisian sidewalk café — Paris will bewitch you.
While it might not seem obvious, Paris is ideal for campervan exploration. Save the money you’d otherwise spend on expensive hotels by camping in lovely spots near the city and travelling in each day. Buy your produce and supplies at gourmet shops and cook up your own masterpieces at night. If shopping’s your thing, make sure you have lots of room in your luggage for all the treasures that you will discover in fashionable stores and browsing funky weekend markets.
How far are campervan depots from Paris airport?
There are no campervan rental depots located near the airport. However, most agencies offer pick-up service from the airport and this is often included in your rental price (but must be pre-arranged). Be sure you book this service as it will save you many Euros and make things easier. If your company does not offer a customer shuttle from the airport, then plan to take a taxi. While distances to the various depots vary, getting there by public transport with your luggage and other supplies will likely prove an ordeal, and not the best start to your holiday. Plus, if you are arriving during rush hour the amount you will save on the cab fare is not worth the time you will.
When are the best times to visit Paris?
There really is no bad time to visit Paris. Each season offers its own wonder and brings its own unique magic. Winter means walks with snowfalls. Spring means the air is filled with the perfume of blossoming flowers as you wander the Tuileries Garden. Hot summers offer a great excuse to stay cool as you tour the galleries of the Musée d’Orsay. Autumn is awesome, the trees showing off their colourful hues. When packing clothes for your trip, however, consider the typical temperatures you’ll experience when you’re there:
Dec - Feb: Low 3°C, High 8°C
Mar - May: Low 5°C, High 20°C
Jun - Aug: Low 14°C, High 25°C
Sep - Nov: Low 6°C, High 21°C
Places to Visit in and around Paris
There are endless options for museums to visit, but the Louvre should be top of your list (here you can see the smug grin of the Mona Lisa). However, this cultural hot spot is often swamped with tourists so consider visiting other venues such as the Musée Picasso, Musée d’Orsay, Musée de l’Orangerie, Musée Rodin or Foundation Louis Vuitton. All of these museums house impressive collections with names that even non-art lovers will know and recognise.
Paris is known for architectural decadence. Its many palaces will delight while providing plenty of picture-taking opportunities. Just a short walk from the Louvre, the Palaise Royal housed royal families up until the time when the Palace of Versailles was built. Entrance is free and guided tours are available. Versailles is just a short distance from Paris and well worth the trip. You may have seen Versailles in books or movies but there is nothing like roaming the estate’s gorgeous gardens, filled with history, beauty and a dash of mystery.
Yes, Paris seems to shine with light but it also has a very dark side that’s also worth exploring. You can tour the spooky catacombs beneath the city, walking amongst the remains of over six million Parisians while learning more about the history of the city. Paris is also renowned for its incredible cemeteries and the famous people buried there. One of the most popular is Père Lachaise where Jim Morrison is buried. You can also take one of the thrilling ghost and vampire tours, and hear stories that will have the hairs on the back of your neck standing on-end.
Best known for its fashionable couture clothing, shopping for clothing in Paris is an experience like nothing anywhere else in the world. Fashionistas should bring a spare suitcase if planning some retail therapy here. Not sure where to begin? You can hire knowledgeable shopping guides who will help you find the best clothing and accessories and who can tailor an experience to your preferences. (The best neighbourhood to shop is said to be the Marais.) On a budget? There are lovely vintage stores, affordable international chains and fun outdoor markets where you can spend a little and get a lot. Not to be missed is the famous flea market Marché aux Puces‘s, a labyrinth of stalls that together offer everything you could possibly ponder purchasing.
Sightseeing Done Easy
If this is your first time in Paris there are a few obvious places you must tick off your list, from Notre Dame to the Eiffel Tower and everywhere in between. Most likely, you are on the road trip of a lifetime and itching to hit the road and only in Paris for a day or two. The best way to see the iconic sites in a short time for not much cost? Hop on a tour bus.
9 Tips for Visitors to Paris
- Basic manners, even for visitors with next to no French at their disposal, means greeting people with a “Bonjour, monsieur,” or “Bonjour, madame,” whenever you enter a shop, restaurant or other establishment. “Au revoir” is a nice touch as well when you depart.
- There is absolutely no need for a vehicle in Paris— it’s more of a hindrance than a help. If you do drive into Paris with your campervan, expect crazy driving, narrow streets, dirty looks and expensive parking.
- Taking a taxi during rush hour can mean a longer commute than the Metro.
- The proper French meal ends with cheese (and they take cheese very seriously)!
- Aim to have a picnic at least once on your trip through France. Stop at a bakery, outdoor market or gourmet shop for all you need to guarantee a lovely afternoon.
- If you have food allergies or sensitivities and are struggling with the language, make sure to have the details written down on a card in French. Show this to waiters so they can recommend what to avoid on the menu that might make you ill.
- Most major attractions allow you to book ahead of your visit and you should try to do so for popular museums, galleries, tours and the like.
- There are lots of free and inexpensive things to do in Paris. In winter, they include ice skating. Skating rinks dot the city and skate rentals are cheap.
- There are lots of day trips to places just outside of Paris with amazing things to do.
MAJOR EVENTS IN PARIS
- Paris' Circus of Tomorrow Festival (Cirque de Demain) – early January
- Antique Books Fair - February
- St Patrick's Day in Paris – March
- The Nuit des Musées – May
- Féte de la Musique - June
- Paris Jazz Festival - Every Weekend in July
- A Month of Concerts – August
- Paris Autumn Festival - September to December
- Paris Banlieues Tango - November
- Christmas Markets - December
What are the best ways to get around Paris?
Paris has a great public transport system that can whisk you around the city and has very reasonable rates. However, the best way to see the city is on foot so be sure to pack comfortable shoes. The Metro system is convenient but you’ll find it quicker to walk if you are taking a trip less than three stops. While on the Metro, keep your ticket with you at all times. To orientate yourself, pick up a map that has both the streets and metro system. There are 16 Métro lines (lignes) (1-14, 3bis, and 7bis) on which trains travel all day at intervals of a few minutes from 5am until half-past midnight (half-past one in the morning on Saturday night/Sunday morning), stopping at all stations. If you are lugging heavy bags, however, you will likely have to climb stairs so you may want instead to opt for a taxi. If you’re unencumbered with luggage, renting a bicycle is a safe and cheap way to get around. Traveling by bus can be confusing if you’re not familiar with the route, so be sure to ask if the bus stops where you want before you board. It’s best not to drive into the city – it’s just not worth the hassle.
Where Can You Camp in Paris?
Parking your camper in a safe place in Paris – or even near Paris – isn’t easy. But ParkingsdeParis.com offers free advance bookings in three of the car parks in its network that are able to house vehicles of between 2.2 and 3.6 meters in height and under 10 meters in length. More information can be found here.
Camping Indigo Paris at 2 Allée du Bord de l'Eau is the only campsite actually in Paris, located near the city centre on the eastern bank of the Seine. There is usually a shuttle bus available from the site to the actual centre of Paris (a 15-minute journey). There are 435 pitches on this 7ha site which includes a play area, supermarket and restaurant along with a motorhome service area. But book ahead!
As well as Camping Indigo Paris, there are also other recommended campervan parks near Paris:
What Campervan Brands are Available in Paris?
Motorhome rental brands in Paris include:
- Pure Motorhomes
- Avis Car-Away
- Big Sky
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