The capital city of France with a population of 2.2 million is home to some of the biggest sporting teams, stadiums and events in the world.
Sport in Paris
The city of Paris has hosted some of the most prestigious events including the 1900 and 1924 Olympic Games, the 1998 FIFA World Cup and 2007 Rugby World Cup Finals, along with matches for the UEFA Euro 2016.
- One of the richest club’s in the world and most successful in France, Paris Saint-Germain (Football) play their matches at the Parc des Princes in the south-west of the city and compete in Ligue 1.
- Stade Français (Rugby Union) play in the in the Top 14 league at the Stade Jean-Bouin and are one of the most succesful club’s in France.
- The Stade de France (Football/Rugby Union) is an 80,000 seated stadium to the north of Paris in Saint-Denis and home to French national football and rugby union teams.
- The French Open (Tennis) is one of the four Grand Slam events played every year, held over 2 weeks in late May/early June on clay court’s at Roland-Garros.
- The final stage of the Tour de France (Cycling) is traditionally held on the Champs-Élysées in July, with the winner of the yellow jersey presented on stage at the conclusion of the race.
- The Paris Masters (Tennis) is an annual tournament held at the Bercy Arena and part of the ATP World Tour Masters 1000 series.
- The 2024 Olympic Games will be held across Paris between the 26th July and 11th August 2024.
Travelling to Paris
Airport – Charles de Gaulle is the second largest airport in Europe and has flights to many international destinations. Located 30km north of the city, the airport has easy access to central Paris via the RER B train network (€10.30), with a travel time of about 35 minutes.
Orly Airport is the smaller airport but is still the second busiest in France. The airport largely serves domestic destinations and budget airlines. The free Orlyval metro service connects the airport with RER B train network at Antony station.
Thinking of going to Paris? Search & book your flights through Skyscanner here.
Bus/Coach – Ouibus and Eurolines have coaches to and from Paris from a number of different French and European cities.
Booked through National Express, the Ouibus to Bercy Station in Paris departs from London Victoria. Having done the reverse journey in September 2018, I can confirm that the coach itself was clean and comfortable and although the driver didn’t speak much English, the journey was quite straightforward. Leaving at 09:00, with a couple of breaks en route to Calais, the Calais-Dover ferry and then the journey from Dover to London Victoria, we arrived a little later than the scheduled 17:30 and were there for 18:20. If you’ve got spare time and are on a budget, the coach is a pretty good option.
Train – Paris has six major train stations:
- Gare d’Austerlitz has trains to/from Spain and Portugal, the Loire Valley and southwestern France.
- Gare de l’Est has trains to Luxembourg, Switzerland (Basel, Lucerne, Zurich), Germany (Frankfurt and Munch) and regular services to eastern France (Champagne, Alsace, Lorraine).
- Gare de Lyon has trains to Switzerland (Berg, Geneva, Lausanne), Italy and southeast France (Dijon, Lyon, Provence, Côte d’Azur and the Alps).
- Gare Montparnasse has trains to Brittany, Chartres, Angers, Nantes, Tours and Bordeaux.
- Gare du Nord has the high-speed Thalys trains to Amsterdam, Brussels, Cologne and Geneva, as well as the Eurostar to London.
- Gare St-Lazare has trains to Normandy.
Getting around Paris
Metro/Train – The excellent and cheap Metro service (€1.90 per journey) has 14 different lines, whilst the RER subarban train line has 5 lines, so between them will get you close to most of Paris’ main destinations.
Where to Stay in Paris
I can recommend several different hotels and hostels to stay in across Paris, having visited the city several times in the last few years:
- Generator Hostel (visited in September 2018 for the Ryder Cup) – this Hostel is very modern and clean compared with hostels I’ve stayed in the past. The 10 bed dorm itself was fairly spacious, with a shower and toilet in each room. There was a rooftop bar with great views of the city, looking towards the Sacré-Cœur and another basement bar. There were also bars and restaurants nearby, as well as a Franprix supermarket just over the road. Generator was easy to access with one of Paris’ main train stations, Gare du Nord, being approximately a 15 minute walk away. The hostel was on a large roundabout with Colonel Fabien metro station on Line 2, being just the other side of the roundabout. If you’re on a budget on your visit to Paris, I would highly recommend staying at the Generator Hostel.
- Hotel Lumières Montmartre (visited in May 2017 for the French Open) – a clean and modern hotel located in the 18th district of Paris and just a 15 minute walk from the Sacré Cœur. There is a nearby Lidl supermarket and the Jules Joffrin metro station is just under a 10 minute walk away.
- Hôtel Home Moderne (visited in August 2014 on a city break) – located in the 15th district of Paris, I remember booking this hotel based on its cheap price (I wasn’t long out of University) and good reviews – its pleasing to see it is still one of the best ranked on TripAdvisor! Convention metro station is a 15 minute walk away.
- Hôtel l’Élysée Val d’Europe (visited in February 2015 on a trip to Disneyland Paris) – perhaps you’re considering a trip to Disneyland whilst in Paris, or you’ve accidentally stumbled across this blog whilst researching a trip to Disneyland? Although not located in the park, this is the best nearby hotel you’ll find, being just a 10 minute free bus shuttle away. With the RER station and a shopping centre just across the road, this is the ideal stop for those on a budget when experiencing the magic of Disney.
What to do in Paris
Paris has some of the famous sights in the world, the most famous of which is probably the Eiffel Tower, the iconic 320 metre tower originally built as a temporary exhibition in 1889.
The glamorous avenue of the Champs-Elysées is 1.2 miles long and culminates in the Arc de Triomphe, the iconic monument built in 1836 honours those who fought and died for France in the French Revolution and Napoleonic Wars.
The Louvre Museum is the world’s largest art museum and is home to world famous artwork, including the Mona Lisa and the Venus de Milo. The Notre-Dame Cathedral and Sacré-Cœur basilica are other icons of Paris, with the nearby Palace of Versailles just a short trip away from the city.