A Taste of Paris : The Planning

Eiffel Tower Paris France


Both my wife and I love French pastries. We enjoy looking for good French pastry shops on yelp and occasionally we just stumble upon them when we go traveling or shopping.

One of our dreams was to enjoy French pastries in Paris. Yes, I am talking about those delicious chocolate and almond croissants! We had been wanting to go to Paris and our dream came true this year! We happened to catch a good deal on airfare during the Thanksgiving week the year before. We heard there were supposed to be good Black Friday deals on airfare. So we checked using google flights and soon after, we were able to book our round-trip, non-stop flights from San Francisco to Paris on Air France at a very good price. We couldn't believe it!


We started making plans! My wife is an excellent planner. She read a lot of travel blogs on Paris and did a lot of research on TripAdvisor and Yelp. We gave a lot of thought to what we really wanted to see and do in this trip.

Since this was going to be our first time in Paris, we planned to visit such major places as the Eiffel Tower, Versailles, and the Louvre. At the same time, we would like to enjoy ourselves and not rush. We first looked for a good hotel. Our criteria were good location, safety, and comfort. We ended up with Hilton Paris Opera, which turned out to be an excellent hotel for us.


I am excited to share my list of essentials with you:

  • Cash
    We ordered our Euros from Bank of America. You have a choice of either having them mailed to you or picking them up at the bank. We used cash for taxi (from and to airport), tips, and pastry shopping. We used credit card for other purchases. We also found out that it was quite easy to get Euros in Paris as there were plenty of currency exchange offices near tourist places. 
  • Navigation/Directions
    We used google maps for our main navigation. Google maps provides excellent public transportation routes and information down to the departure time for the trains. 
  • Transportation
    We took a cab from/to the airport to/from our hotel. The taxi fare is a flat rate. From the airport to our hotel was 50 € and from our hotel to the airport was 57 € as there was a 7 € extra charge for hotel pickup. Taxicabs are plenty in front of our hotel. The hotel staff told us to let them know that we would need a cab to the airport about ten minutes before departure time from the hotel.
    Subway in Paris is called the Métro. We took the Métro everywhere when we were in Paris because it was very convenient. If you are planning to take the Métro often it is better to get a carnet of Métro tickets. A carnet is a set of individual tickets. You can get a carnet of 10 tickets for €14,90. For our 8-day trip we used 30 tickets for two people.
  • Phone
    We used the Orange Holiday SIM card that we bought at the airport. Look for a store called Relay. The Relay store where we got our SIM card was just outside Customs. We got the 10GB Orange Holiday SIM card which offers 120-minute talk time and 1000 text messages throughout Europe. We never used the talk time and the text messages at all and we did not even use more than 2GB of data during our trip. We mostly used data for google map navigation. 
  • Museum Pass
    We got a 2-day museum pass to use at Versailles, Louvre, and other museums. It was a time-saver because we did not have to get in line for tickets at each museum. We got our museum passes at the museum of architecture near the Eiffel Tower. You can read more about museum passes at http://en.parismuseumpass.com
  • Travel plug adapter
    We took plug adapters with us because the French plugs are different from the US ones. You can get them on Amazon or stores like Target and Walmart. You may need a voltage adapter as well if your device does not support 230 Voltage.
  • Restaurant reservations
    When possible, we made restaurant reservations ahead of time before our trip just to reduce risks. Many restaurants in Paris offer online reservations on their websites.
  • Tickets to the Eiffel Tower
    It is recommended to get tickets to the Eiffel Tower ahead of time (months ahead) if you are going to be there during peak season. You can purchase the tickets online on the official website (Official Eiffel Tower Website). We were actually a little late and had to get the "Skip the Line" package at a premium price from a tour company.


  • Our trip was at the end of April and the weather varied from warm to cool to rainy. Good thing we brought umbrellas. Scarfs came in handy and kept us warm on windy days. We bought ours in Paris.
  • Binoculars would be useful when we visited beautiful places such as Versailles, Eiffel Tower, etc.

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