Visit Paris in Your 20s
Looking back on my many journeys through Paris, I am eternally grateful to have began my exploration of this unfathomable city during my 20s.
Paris in your 20s is this wild mix of accessibility. You’re young and fit enough to take a sporadic run up the Montmartre hill; you’re old enough to hang out at hotel bars without looking out of place; and you’re the perfect age to marvel at 19th century paintings by day & then stumble into a peep show on the Pigalle strip by night… balance.
It goes without saying, however, that traveling in ones 20s takes disciplined budget and planning. Even the most loosely ended trips require presence of basic necessities and somewhere to rest your head — even if it is a hostel dormitory!
Here are some things I know for sure when it comes to visiting Paris in your 20s.
Budget Wisely in Paris in Your 20s
It’s already been mentioned, but budget is a big factor in ensuring the success or failure of your visit to Paris. This is particularly true if you are a traveler coming from somewhere outside of Europe, as the euro holds a certain weight over most other currencies around the world.
I am always astounded by how easy it is to live in Paris even on the tightest of budgets. What’s more, by how many things there are to do in Paris with no budget at all.
Many of the best attractions around the French capital are entirely free to visit and experience. From walking the banks of the Seine; to viewing the Eiffel Tower from the Champ de Mars; to free Shakespeare theatre shows in the Bois de Boulogne. The city is even covered by free guided walking tours that take visitors through almost all of the arrondissements at no charge at all (tip only)!
Most travelers in their 20s will tell you that the biggest issue they faced was finding suitable accommodation for the duration of their stay that wouldn’t break the bank.
Paris is great because there is something for everyone when it comes to places to stay. Whether you’d like to be treated like a queen in the luxury hotels of the 1st arrondissement, or don’t mind roughing it in a hostel for just a few euros a night — Paris can cater.
Airbnb in Paris impresses me time and time again. It’s great for travelers in their 20s as it has the option to choose between renting entire spaces or simply opting for a room in a communal space.
Communal living is a sought after form of accommodation for most young travelers because it gives one the opportunity to meet like-minded individuals who are on a similar journey to themselves. Hostels were the original form of this kind of connectivity; sites like Airbnb and Couch Surfer have since taken over.
Budgeting while working your way through Paris is one of the surest ways to making the most of each day you spend here. Take it from someone who’s done the aimless wandering thing as well as the budgeting version — peace of mind is a big help when traveling in your 20s.
Socialize in Paris in Your 20s
I bring up this next point very loosely; I am well aware that socializing isn’t necessarily for everyone and that there are many 20-something year old travelers out there who prefer to keep to themselves — I find myself being one of them deepening on the destination.
That being said, a large part of experiencing Paris in your 20s revolves around social spaces and forming further connections with individuals in said spaces. This may sound daunting, but hear me out.
Your 20s are essentially just the beginning of what I’m sure you hope to be a long life filled with travels and new destinations. Most people who visit Paris in their youth make a point of returning to the city at a later stage in life, if not sooner.
Putting yourself into social spaces in Paris allows you to meet people and forge friendships that put you in an elevated position for the next time you want to visit the city. Your first trip to Paris may be spent in a crowded hostel dormitory; but your second could move you to a couch, or even bedroom, in one of your new acquaintances apartments somewhere in the city — hopefully at no cost!
The best way to meet people while in Paris is to embrace all that the city’s nightlife has to offer. While getting obliterated on the Pigalle strip is an option, there’s also nothing wrong with an evening of live jazz at a bar in Montmartre; or a drink on the rooftop of the nearest theatre, post show.
Being the eclectic and inclusive city that it is, some areas in Paris are simply better suited to certain age demographics than others. While the Champs-Élysées in the 8th arrondissement is an exquisite part of town, it’s notably more targeted at more mature crowds visiting Paris.
Oberkampf is an up and coming district just before the Bastille neighborhood. The day and nightlife here is centered around youth culture, street art and affordable entertainment. At the bars you’ll find worthwhile happy hours with drink specials virtually unheard of in Europe.
Le Marais is interesting because it seems to have a place for both the youngest and oldest of travelers; something for everyone, if you will. The streets and restaurants here are constantly buzzing — one of the most social parts of Paris without a doubt.
Since many travelers in their 20s tend to either be current or ex-students, the student towns of Paris are some of the best places to be while in town. The Latin Quarter of Paris takes up most of the 5th arrondissement and is a distinct student town.
The streets of the Latin Quarter are in a perpetual state of buzz thanks to the many cafes, restaurants, bars and live music venues in which the youth of this town spend their time. My go-to in this neighborhood is a place called Caveau de la Huchette where there is live music every night and people are nice… a safe bet!
Make Time to Sightsee in Paris in Your 20s
One of the biggest mistakes that young travelers make is unevenly distributing their time between day and night activities. As young people we can get so caught up in our need to see and be seen that we begin to neglect the finer things in life.
While running around the streets of Paris by night can make you feel somewhat invincible, I encourage travelers in their 20s to make time for good old sightseeing as well.
Sightseeing in Europe is by no means an activity reserved solely for the youth. On the contrary it is one of the things that all travelers can enjoy, from adolescence right through to old age.
What you’ll come to appreciate about sightseeing in your 20s will be returning to Paris sometime in the future and being able to observe how things have changed since your first encounter with them.
Take for example the incredible Notre Dame Cathedral that floats on the island in the middle of the Seine. Large portions of the cathedral recently burnt down in a tragic fire that broke out during the structures renovations. Young visitors to this landmark today will be able to revisit in 20… 30… 40 years and openly reflect on the way the site has changed or been reconstructed compared to what they initially experienced during their younger years.
It’s a remarkable thing to be able to do — but it means you have to get out of the house and see the things!
If arranging excursions isn’t your forte then link up with group tours or travel guides who are heading there regardless (Read more about Discover walking tours). Sightseeing in groups is more fun anyway, and you’ll learn a thing or two by having a trained professional present who is educated on the subject.
Make Use of Social Media in Paris in Your 20s
Those of us in our 20s today just narrowly missed the window where being technologically challenged could still be considered cute or acceptable. Our modern world runs on social media whether we like it or not; we might as well make the most of it and let it help us explore a foreign land.
Across the internet there are targeted websites and individuals all dedicated to exposing the best and the worst parts of Paris. Instagram pages featuring daily content of things to do, eat, see or read give one valuable insight into the worlds between the arrondissements and can be helpful in getting you to figure out your next move.
The city of Paris is not small by any means; knowing where to go at all times during your trip can become overwhelming. Add to this overwhelm if you’re someone with dietary requirements or a language barrier.
Social Media in the forms of Instagram, Facebook, Yelp and Trip Advisor are valuable resources to have on hand when you simply can’t float aimlessly any longer. They are also ways of meeting people around the city.
Tinder in Paris is another popular past time observed amongst individuals usually in their late 20s and early 30s. The app gives even the loneliest of travelers access to thousands of individuals all looking to form connections in the city of love.
And what would the city of love be without a summer fling that drives your 20-something year old soul right into the depths of the Seine River and back again. Romantic picnic on the Champ de Mars anyone?
Take Day Trips from Paris in Your 20s
People underestimate how much time and energy taking day trips while traveling actually requires. It’s a lot more than just arranging times with a tour company and waking up at the crack of dawn.
Your 20s are a time for coming and going; moving and then moving again. Day trips out of Paris do just that — and then they bring you right back again!
Day trips out of Paris come in a range of different excursions. A trip to Versailles would be the most common; this is a French attraction that tickles the fancy of people young and old, no age bracket required.
Similar to Versailles, but more suited to people who don’t enjoy spending all day in queues, the palace of Fontainebleau is another worthwhile attraction that gets you out of the city.
A day out in Normandy is perfect for anyone with time and energy to spare roaming the vast countryside and hunting down secret beaches. You can also visit Claude Monet’s old house in person and spend some time reflecting in his garden.
One day trip that I’ve noticed is increasingly popular amongst the 20ish year olds in Paris is the 32km long journey out to Disney Land Paris toward the east of France.
If you ask me, your 20s are possibly the perfect age during which to experience this worldwide phenomenon. While Disney’s main target market may be kids, a trip to Disney Land is something that requires cognition and long term memory to enjoy fully. Your 20s are the perfect time to strut around the park and reconnect with your inner child for a day — oui oui oui!