How to Beat the Crowds in Paris
As the home of the Eiffel Tower and Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa, it comes as no surprise that Paris is one of Europe’s most-visited cities. With so many visitors, the streets can be busy, but here’s how to find breathing space in France’s capital.
Avoid the metro at rush hour
Take a stroll instead.
During rush hour, commuters pack into the Paris Metro like sardines in a can. If you plan on sightseeing between 8am-10am or 5pm-7pm, it’s quicker and more comfortable to explore on foot. Besides, the handsome Haussmann boulevards of Paris lend themselves well to walking.
Save time by skipping the line.
Decide which key sights you'd especially love to visit, and then book your admission ticket in advance. Attractions such as the Louvre, Eiffel Tower, and Catacombs offer skip-the-line access, which saves you hours of waiting in line.
Think outside of the box
Find the alternative sights of the French capital.
If you need a break from the crowds, skip big-name sights and head for lesser-known gems. Try the observation deck at Montparnasse Tower instead of the Eiffel Tower; cruise along the Canal St. Martin or the Marne River instead of the Seine; search for the hidden highlights of the Louvre; or enlist the help of a guide to discover alternative arrondissements.
Escape the city
Head into the countryside.
If you’re sick of being shoulder-to-shoulder with other visitors, escape Paris altogether and head for the French countryside. The capital is within easy reach of Normandy’s beaches, the castle-strewn Loire Valley, and the Champagne region.
Explore at night
See art in the evening.
As darkness descends on the City of Lights, Paris’ bistros and bars fill up, and the crowds on the street thin out. Take advantage of the quieter period with some nighttime sightseeing; the Louvre stays opens late and is typically less crowded after dark.