top of page
Search
  • Janis Nunez

3 Days in Paris with Covid Restrictions

Updated: Aug 18, 2023

Traveling internationally doesn't have to be a challenge if you do your research. Several countries are now allowing US citizens to visit again as long as you take the necessary precautions and follow their current rules set in place for your safety. Traveling to Paris with our 16 year old was amazing, but we did have some hoops to jump through before and during our trip. Don't let this deter you from taking your trips, especially since right now with there being less tourists in these areas it makes for a more intimate experience with the city.


I'll also link my previous post of our Anniversary trip to Paris and Reims from 2018 for more information for planning your trip: PARIS AND REIMS 2018.


BEFORE YOU GO


COVID REQUIREMENTS AND DOCUMENTS: Traveling to Paris requires that you are either fully vaccinated, you submit a negative Covid-19 PCR test result taken within 72 hours of departure, or that you have documentation of your recovery from Covid-19 within the last 3 months. This means you will need to take your CDC Card with you (or other documents listed above that meet the requirements). Things are constantly changing, so be sure and check all requirements before traveling. Take a photo or make a copy of your important documents. While we were there my husbands CDC card blew away at the top of the Eiffel Tower. Luckily he had a photo of it and they accepted that at all museums and sites.


All passengers are required to have a negative COVID-19 test result no more than 3 days before travel or documentation of recovery from COVID-19 in the past 3 months before they board a flight to the United States. The pharmacy charged us about $40 per person for the test. You will need to go into the pharmacy and pay for the tests, then get into the line outside by the tent where they are giving the test. There is a long form to fill out either online or on paper that you give to the nurse. Your results will be emailed to you in 15 minutes after the results are found. You need to show this to get onto your flight, so make sure you allow time for this. We had a 24 hour pharmacy across the street from our hotel and went first thing in the morning the day before our flight.


Masks are mandatory throughout all airports and on the planes. You have to wear the mask at all times, unless you are actively eating or drinking. In Paris they will require the medical masks and do not accept the reusable masks. Keep this in mind and take what you will need with you. You will also be required to wear a mask inside all museums and sites. Some places are not air conditioned, so keep this in mind if you have issues wearing a mask for long periods of time in the heat.


ADAPTER: You will need an adapter to plug in your electronics while you are in France. Check my Paris and Reims post link for the one that we use. We usually all have one, just in case as you will also need it at the airport in Paris if you need to charge while you are waiting for your flight home.


PHONE: Contact your cell phone provider to see what is included. T-Mobile gives unlimited data and texting, but charges $0.25 per minute for calls. I have read other companies require you to get a European SIM card, contact your provider for details.


Load travel apps. Here are some we use regularly when we travel: Google Translate, Uber, Rick Steves Audio Europe, hotel apps. These are specific to Paris: Bonjour RATP (use this for the metro), Next Stop Paris, Flash Invaders (fun game to play around the city while walking), Orsay Museum, Louvre Museum, Palace (Versailles), City Mapper, Moovit.


Take a portable charger. You will be using your phone a lot on this trip taking pictures and following directions to various sites. I took a portable charger that I kept in my purse and charged when it got low. My husband has one that is also a phone case. He likes the Mophie brand if you are interested in something that attaches to your phone.


ALERT your bank and credit card companies the dates that you will be out of town. This way you won't have any issues using them while you are out of the country. It's also good to let your neighbor know you will be gone so that they can keep an eye on things.


TSA PRE-CHECK AND GLOBAL ENTRY: Traveling with Global Entry, which includes TSA Pre-check, can make traveling much more convenient. Lines get long, very long. If you are traveling with only carry-on bags as we do, you take your ID and boarding pass straight to the TSA Pre-Check line to to through security. Clear is another option available that I've seen utilized a lot lately. Check to see which is better for you. Global Entry comes into play when you return from international travel. Rather than have to wait in the long line where you show your passport you get a face scan, printed out ticket, show it to security (usually no line), and you are off to your connecting flight, baggage claim, or out the door if you only take carry-on bags and it's your final destination.


WHERE TO STAY: The ideal spot is close to where you want to do the most exploring. I'd suggest the Latin Quarter or just outside of the area surrounding the Lourve. We chose to stay at the Crown Plaza Hotel Republique based on the fact that we were traveling with our son and really wanted to have two queen sized beds. This is rare and hard to find in Paris as hotel rooms are usually quite small. This was one of the few hotels that accommodated families, and had plenty of space for 3-4 adults. Keep in mind the further you are from the center makes it imperative that you are comfortable using the metro. This hotel was about a 20 minute metro ride to most things. Yes, you can take Uber or a taxi, but they will be caught in the Paris traffic which can take even longer. We utilized the metro and were able to get to all of the places we wanted to see without issue.

The arrondissements are marked from 1-19 starting at the center of the city. This will help you determine where you would like to get a hotel or Airbnb for your trip. Each neighborhood (arrondissement) has something different to offer travelers, so look into them and see what suits your needs before choosing a hotel. We love the Latin Quarter to stay and to wander about the city on foot.


AT THE AIRPORT


When you arrive at Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport you will go through customs and then can either take the metro to your hotel/Airbnb or take a cab/Uber. Both options are good and we have done both. Uber/taxi will definitely costs you more money, but you don't have the hassle of lugging all of your bags onto the train and it's connections. The metro ride from the airport is €10.30 one way. An Uber (depending on where your location is) will cost about €40-60. There are ticket machines to buy your metro tickets or you can use the office to purchase navigo cards and go that route.


METRO: There are a variety ticket/card options for the metro.

  • On our previous trip we used Navigo Cards. The card is valid from Monday at 12 am to Sunday 11:59 pm. This means if you arrive on a Friday, Saturday, Sunday you would either have to buy an extra pass or just use tickets until you start using your Navigo Pass. You also need to bring a photo with you to add to the pass. I discuss this on my other Paris blog post. Here is the link for the Navigo Travel Pass information.

  • The Paris Visite Travel Pass is based on how many days you will be there. These coordinate with zones and can include the airports as well. No photo needed. Here is the link to the RATP Paris Visite Travel Pass info.

  • You can also get t+ tickets, which is what we did this time. Once you know how to use the metro this is probably your cheapest option. Each one way trip (including connecting metro lines) costs €1.90. We actually only paid €1.60 because when you buy a carnet de 10 (pack of 10) it costs less. You can buy these from the machine right inside of the metro. We purchased a 10 pack and when it depleted, got another. Link for t+ tickets.

Below is an example of what is shown on the inside of the train. It helps you keep track of where you are and how many stops you have left. They announce each stop as they approach. Some trains have AC, but most do not. If you are using a seat by the doors and it starts to get full you are expected to close the seat and stand to make more room for others. To open the door from the inside or outside you either lift the lever or push the button depending on the train. Keep a hand on your purse/wallet as metro and tourist destinations can bring out the pickpockets. We luckily have never experienced this.

The Bonjour RATP app allows you to put in your destination from your current location, and shows all of the stops and transfers in real time. It also gives the correct exit (sortie), so that you are exiting on the correct street. The app also lets you know which metro lines are closed and reroutes you. Maps are located in the metro with your start location and all of the stops as well. Be sure to get on the train heading in the correct direction (line number and final destination). If it seems like I'm giving too much info, it's only because it can look more intimidating than it actually is. Metro is your best way to get around and includes all the metro city lines, buses, and RER trains.


PARIS MUSEUM PASS: Whether or not to purchase a museum pass really depends on what you want to do. What I have done each trip is add up the cost of all of the museums we plan to visit on our trip, and if it is equal or close to equal I get the pass. The passes are good for 2, 4 or 6 days. Here is the link to the passes, which has a list of the museums and sites included: Museum Pass Info. If you are traveling with someone 18 or under they get into most sites free, so you will just need to carry their Passport or Drivers License to prove their age.


Everything online currently states that you have to have a time slot to get into all sites and museums. On our first day we did book a slot for the Orsay, but they didn't even ask for it. You have to show your CDC Card before getting into the door, go through security, then show your ticket (Museum Pass) or ID (18 and under). After that we did not book any time slots. We went to the following: Arc de Triomphe, Eiffel Tower (not included in the pass), Orsay, Rodin, Orangerie, Notre Dame archeological site without a time slot. The only museum that we didn't go right through was the Lourve. Actually, I think I just needed to get a ticket for my son to get through. My husband went right in with his Museum Pass, but when we showed my son's passport they made us go get a ticket at the counter for him to enter. You can easily do this on your phone before you go. But it took maybe 15 minutes. Things are always changing so be sure and look at the museum websites before you go.


CURRENCY: France uses the Euro. You can take money out at any local ATM. We try to do this one time to avoid fees. We used our credit card most of the time, but there are times you need Euros. The currency exchange at the airport is usually overpriced, so we always find a local bank. Make sure to alert your bank and credit cards before you head out of town so that you can use them.


3 FULL DAYS IN PARIS


DAY 1: We arrived at the airport at 8am and decided to take an Uber to the hotel. (It would have been about €31 for the three of us, plus a transfer train with luggage, so we just forked out the extra cash). I love that most Paris hotels have balconies. Not huge, but enough to step outside and take a look around. The third photo is of the statue in the plaza in front of the Crown Plaza Hotel Republique. We freshened up and headed out to get a bite to eat.



You can find a Cafe or Boulangie on most corners and streets in Paris. We just walked around and stopped at the first one we saw. Make sure you get a baguette sandwich. I like the Parisian local favorite with just a baguette, butter, ham and cheese. It's simple and amazing. My son opted for a fancier version and was not disappointed. I always get an espresso too.



Having traveled to Paris in 2018 we knew the lay of the land for the most part, and which sites we wanted to take our son to visit. First on our list was the Arc de Triomphe. It's actually a good starting point. You can use your Paris Pass here for free entry, and it allows you to see the entire city. The Eiffel Tower, Sacre Coeur, the Seine, Notre Dame...can all be seen from the top. There was a lot of construction around the Arc. You couldn't walk under it freely to see all the beautiful architecture, and most of the sculptures on the outside had scaffolding around them. There are 248 steps to the top. You are required to wear you mask the entire time.



Next stop was the Eiffel Tower. We originally planned to take the metro to the Trocadero stop, but the stop was closed, so we went another way. Luckily the app let us know ahead of time so we didn't have to go out of our way. You will need to show your CDC card before going through security. Then you can get a ticket, go through more security, and head to the top! The Museum Pass is not good here, so you will have to pay for all tickets. The views from the top are breathtaking. You can picnic on the lawn or just stop to rest for a bit.



Take time and walk around the city and look at the architecture. We stopped at a cafe and grabbed some drinks before heading out to find a place to eat.



We took the metro to the Latin Quarter and Saint Michel Fountain. Along the way my son played Flash Invaders. You find invader characters on the sides of buildings and use your phone to capture them for points. In the evenings you can go to the fountain to hear local artists perform. People gather and sing along.



In an effort to find our favorite restaurant from our last trip (which has changed to something else), we stopped for charcuterie at a cobblestone pedestrian street not too far from the fountain. Here I was also introduced to my new Parisian drink, the Aperol Spritz. So refreshing! We also learned to always ask for a caraf d'eau (carafe of tap water).



With the time change and all of the walking, we decided to head back to the hotel to get rested for another day of sightseeing. The metro runs until 1:15 a.m. and until 2:15am on Fridays and Saturdays. Tickets are valid for 2 hours for a single one way trip.



DAY 2: We started our day at a Boulangerie around the corner from our hotel. Having a pan a chocolat and an espresso is my favorite way to start a day in Paris. Then we took the metro to start the day at the Orsay Museum.



We got off near the Place de la Concorde, walked through the Tullies Gardens, and over the bridge with locks people left to profess their love to each other until we came to the Orsay.



The Orsay Museum is by far my favorite museum in Paris, which is why we took my son here first. This museum is included in the Museum Pass.



We grabbed crepes and cappuccinos right outside the museum. They have savory and sweet options. You can get a table or go to the window and get them to go.



After the Orsay we headed to the Orangerie Museum in the Tullies Gardens. Here you will see the Water Lilies paintings by Claud Monet. You can use your Museum Pass here.



Make sure you enjoy the sites along the way!



Next, we headed to the Rodin Museum. Use your Museum Pass here. There is art inside the large building, outside in the garden, and also a side building with Picasso's art.



We made a quick stop to Notre Dame. It is still under construction, but you can get somewhat close to see the building. We were able to use our Museum Pass to go into the Archeological Crypt.



Then it was off to Montmartre, one of our favorite arrondissements, to see Sacre Coeur Basilica. There is a carousel at the bottom of the hill. If you walk to your left behind that area you can take the funicular to the top of the hill, or you can climb the steps to the top in front of the church. We took the funicular to the top as we planned to also climb the steps to the dome of the church. The inside is as beautiful as the outside, with smaller chapels along the perimeter. It's free to enter, we just had to show our CDC card.



There are 300 steps to the dome at Sacre Coeur. You get a ticket to the left of the church entrance (about 6 euros per person). The path has a lot of great photo opportunities along the way too. You get great views of the city from the top, including the Eiffel Tower.


We were also hoping to go into the crypt, but by the time we made our way back down it was closed. Next time when we bring our other son, hopefully. Now it was time to walk the streets Montmartre and find a spot to eat.



The square of Place du Tertre is considered by many to be the heart of Montmartre, not far from the Sacre Coeur Basilica. It used to be filled with painters and artists who will create your portrait for a price, but now they are just on the perimeter of the square's outdoor restaurant seating. Since Covid, they have had to have outdoor seating for customers to minimize crowds. This worked for us, and although touristy, it was in the middle of everything and honestly the food was great. My husband likes to try the local beers when we travel, and I got another Spritz. It was nice to sit and relax after a busy day of sight seeing.



We headed back over to Sacre Coeur to sit on the steps with the locals and tourists. We watched a few performers and sang along to some of the songs before heading back to our hotel for the night. It was a nice relaxing night watching the sun go down over the city.