A Layover in Paris, France

A Layover in Paris, France

I had a short 20-hour layover in Paris, France so we decided to make the most of it. Paris was my first solo trip and I had a terrible time. I told my best friend that Paris hates me so she decided to take the lead and show me how to do Paris right.


Must Know Before You Go

When to Visit: The best time to travel is during the Summer shoulder months (April-May, September – October) when there is pleasant weather and fewer crowds. The busiest time is June – August and the weather is sweltering. 

Visas: US citizens do not need a visa for visits under 90 days.

Language: French. Many people in Paris speak English but it is important not to expect that everyone speaks English. Locals appreciate it when tourists attempt to speak French.

Currency: Euro. Below is the exchange rate as of December 2023.

  • $1 USD = €0.93 EUR
  • $1 AUS = €0.61 EUR
  • £1 GBP = €1.17 EUR
  • ¥100 JPY = €0.64 EUR

Credit Card vs. Cash: Credit cards can be used in most establishments. 

ATMs: ATMs can be easily found in France. 

Tipping: France does not have a tipping culture. Tipping is not expected in restaurants, taxis, or hotels. 

UNESCO World Heritage Site: France has 52 UNESCO sites. This includes the palace of Versailles, cathedral of Norte-Dame, and the historic site of Lyon. An extensive list can be found here

National Parks: calanques, Vevennes, Ecrines, Forests, Guadeloupe, Guiana Amazonian, Mercantour, Port-Cros, Pyrenees, Reunion, Vanoise


Getting Around:

Paris has great public transit. We took the metro from CDG airport to the city center. Tickets could be purchased at the ticketing machine. Once we arrived at our hotel, we were able to walk everywhere we needed to go.

Where to Stay:

We stayed at a 4-star hotel, Hotel Splendid Etoile. It has canning views of the Arc de Triomphe. We arrived in the AM and they were accommodating to allow us to check in early. We paid €240 for a classic room. The room was tiny but we adored the location and the workers were the friendliest.



Day Date To Do To Eat
1 Mar. 20, 2022

1. Les Catacombes de Paris

  • Catacombs museum, costs €29/pp
  • advance reservations required

2. Explored Paris

  • Arc de Triomphe
  • Musee du Louvre

Lunch: PAUL

  • Ordered: Chocolate Croissant, cappuccino

Dinner: Pizzeria Popolare

  • Ordered: Margherita Duras, La Fameusa Pate A La Truffe, Paccheri Al Ragu Di Salsiccia


March 20, 2022

Lunch: PAUL

We arrived in Paris in the late morning. We checked in and immediately ventured out. Our time slot for the Catacombs was at 1:30. We decided to grab a quick bite to eat before we waited in line for the museum. We went to PAUL, a bakery located all over France and there is one located right across from the Catacombs. I just ordered a chocolate croissant and cappuccino while my friend ordered a veggie sandwich and a cappuccino.


Afternoon: Les Catacombes de Paris

The Catacombs of Paris are underground ossuaries that hold more than six million Parisian remains. These ossuaries were created to assist in the overflowing cemetery crisis.

To visit the catacombs, advance reservations are required. Tickets can be purchased on their website here. Our tickets were €29/pp. When it gets closer to your time slot, you can make your way to the museum. There are separate lines depending on the time slot. Make sure that you are standing in the correct line. Once you enter the building, you go to the ticket counter, and scan your pass to retrieve your tickets. Once you retrieve your tickets, you can pick up your audio guide and proceed to the entrance. It is a self-scanning machine. You scan your ticket and it will allow you to go in. In my case, because Paris hates me, my ticket did not work. The worker who issued my ticket said that had never happened before and he had to escort me in.

The catacombs are impressive. There are so many nooks with bones arranged in different positions. Two things to note, no flash photography, and do not touch the bones. We spent about 1.5 hours here. It never got too crowded when we were here which was great since we did not feel Claustrophobic.


paris paris

Evening: Explore Paris

After the Catacombs, we headed back to the hotel to get ready for the night. We wanted to have a nice dinner and maybe check out a Jazz bar. We walked over to the Arc de Triomphe and the Musee du Louvre area. From there, we walked to the dinner.

paris paris

paris paris

Dinner: Pizzeria Popolare

For dinner, our hotel front desk recommended Pizzeria Popolare, a popular pizza place. He stated that reservations are recommended, but the restaurant does allow walk-ins. The pizzeria opens at 6:30 pm for dinner. We decided to test our luck and wait right before they opened. When we arrived, there were two lines, one with reservations and one without. Once the restaurant opened, those with reservations were seated first. Those without reservations filled in any open seats. We sat between two parties. It was snugged but we are glad to be seated. Highly recommend making reservations!

The interior was beautiful. There were bottles of liquor on one wall and it had this farm chic vibe. For dinner, we ordered the Margherita Duras, La Fameusa Pate A La Truffe, Paccheri Al Ragu Di Salsiccia. We even ordered a bottle of red wine. Everything was delicious. However, I am lactose and got extremely sick at the end of dinner. We had to take the metro back to our hotel. We never made it to the Jazz Bar.

paris paris

So does Paris still hate me? Absolutely.