How to enjoy a socially distanced city break to Paris

The French capital is calling! Here’s how to explore it safely this summer...

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  • 01 July 2020
  • • 7 min read

Thinking of booking a trip to Paris this year? Now that France has started to lift some of its Coronavirus restrictions, you can start planning a city break to the French capital. With social distancing rules still in place, the way you explore Paris may be somewhat different to the norm - but you can still have an awesome getaway despite the recent measures put in place. We’ve crafted the ultimate socially distanced city guide to Paris so that you know the best things to do in the City of Light once travel bans are lifted...

Things to know before you go

  • Currently as it stands, you can only travel to France if the trip is deemed essential so wait until these rules are relaxed . We expect this to be soon and will keep this page updated

  • Arrivals from the UK and some other countries are asked to self isolate in Paris for 14 days, so we recommend waiting until this restriction has been lifted before travelling to France

  • Avoid using the Metro to get around. If you do choose to use public transport, make sure to wear a face covering

  • Don’t feel like flying or going to an airport during the pandemic? The Eurostar is a great alternative option to travel to Paris. The rail company has made changes to its seating arrangements to ensure the safety of travellers. You must wear a face mask or you may not be able to board the train.

  • Clubs and large festivals in Paris remain closed

*As we’re sure you're aware, the situation in Paris is fluid with things changing and improving every day, however we must make it clear that our content is correct at the time of posting and has been built on the latest government advice and information we do have. We are doing our best to provide the most up-to-date information and clearest recommendations for you that may conflict with updated guidelines and we will therefore monitor and adjust when necessary. Our goal is to create a safe and useful guide for our guests, so that you can really enjoy your stay with us creating incredible moments and memories during your trip.

Enjoy the atmosphere from a street-side cafe or bistro

Paris’ bars and cafes are open again which means you can indulge in authentic French cuisine on your trip to the city. The great thing about Paris is that it’s famed for its outdoor eating culture, which is perfect if you’re not comfortable eating inside the restaurants yet (even though they are open with a reduced capacity). The outdoor pavements of French bistros and cafes are full with locals soaking up the summer vibes with a glass of vin in hand, so there will be no lack of atmosphere. 

Just hope that the weather pulls up while you’re there! We recommend booking your tables at restaurants in advance to avoid disappointment. If you plan to visit some bars, try and choose ones with outdoor space like Belushi’s which has its own waterfront terrace!

The foodie capital is famous for its brunches, so check out ...

Check out our (most of these have outdoor seating)

Stroll through the stunning Parisian parks

Paris’ parks are the lungs of the city and the perfect place to spend a sunny afternoon. Buy some cheese, ham and a fresh baguette from the local supermarket and set up a picnic on the grass at one of our favourite green spaces - there are plenty. The best parks include the Tuileries Garden, Parc des Buttes-Chaumont, Parc Monceau, Parc de Belleville (which boasts panoramic city views), Wood of Vincennes (which is the largest public park in Paris) and Parc Floral de Paris. Parks are perhaps the easiest place to social distance in the city.

Thinking of visiting the city in autumn? Here’s our guide on .

Explore the city’s museums

The Louvre is the most visited museum in Paris and it’s preparing to open on July 6th. If you’d like to visit this beautiful art gallery which houses the Mona Lisa, you must book a time slot online and wear a face mask. Signs have been put up through the museum to maintain social distancing and avoid overcrowding.

There are some other famous museums which are now open or partially open. For example, at the Musée de l'Orangerie only the rooms of Claude Monet’s Water Lilies are accessible until 14th September - and again, you must book a time slot and wear a face mask. The Paris Catacombs are also open again providing you book your slot. This is a great time to discover Paris’ smaller museums like the Catacombs which attract less crowds. Here's .

Want more?

Grab a croissant and coffee to go from a local patisserie 

You can’t come to Paris and not eat your bodyweight in croissants and pastries. The city’s charming patisseries are open again so you can grab a croissant to takeaway or eat in. We’re drooling just thinking about the cream-filled eclairs, tarte tatins, macarons and flakey pain au chocolats waiting to be eaten. We’ve rounded up , as well as the . Just remember to try and pay contactless where possible, and avoid using cash payments if you can.

Tour the main sights by bike

The best thing about sightseeing is that most of it can take place outdoors. From the Arc de Triomphe, the Sacre Coeur to the historic streets of Marais to the Eiffel Tower in all its glory, Paris can be enjoyed best by simply walking or cycling around and soaking it all up (which is great if you want to avoid the Metro). The Eiffel Tower is open for visits by the stairs only from June 25th to June 30th, then by lift also from July 1st - you must wear a mask. Top tip: you can get the best view of the Eiffel Tower from Trocadéro just outside the Metro station.

The hop-on hop-off Big Bus Paris Tours have suspended their operations until further notice, so we recommend taking a free walking tour from the hostel instead, or hiring a bike from Paris Bike Tour for €15 a day to get around much faster. Paris is a big city which makes it difficult to get from arrondissement to arrondissement by foot so be prepared to do a lot of walking if you aren’t a confident cyclist (and some Ubering if you feel comfortable enough). 

Alternatively, pick a general area you’d like to stay in and explore that part of Paris for the duration of your trip. This will make it much easier to socially distance and there’s always plenty to do in each arrondissement.

Hit the shops!

The shops in Paris are open again so you can get a taste of the city’s famous fashion scene. The major department stores like the Galleries Lafayette are welcoming shoppers back to enjoy the array of shopping opportunities within its stylish mall, as well as the food courts and panoramic views from the rooftop of the store. 

The city is also home to some awesome thrift shops, so if you’re getting into sustainable shopping, check out .

Feel the nostalgia at Disneyland Paris

Disneyland Paris and Walt Disney Studios will be gradually opening up again from July 15th with reinforced health and safety measures and a limited capacity in the parks to avoid overcrowding. If you’re planning to visit Disneyland, be prepared for a few of the rides and facilities to be closed as the park phases its opening. Book your tickets in advance to secure your slot. For updates, keep checking the Disneyland Paris website .

Where to stay?

St Christopher's Inns

Hostels are allowed to reopen in Paris including St Christopher’s Inns. Check out the changes we are making in our hostels to keep in-line with government guidelines and social distancing rules

St Christopher’s Inns have two hostels in Paris which are welcoming guests back from 1st July 2020. 

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