Before you head on over to the city of light and love, make sure to check out these do’s and don’ts to get the most out of your trip!
Do pick up a few phrases of French.
I always find the stereotypical rude and condescending Parisian to be ludicrous and hypocritical. Parisians are lovely, but only if we break out our common courtesy as well. Remember to greet people before you begin talking. It doesn’t hurt to learn a few simple French phrases as well to earn you brownie points and make daily interactions more comfortable.
Don’t overspend on your hotel room
Unless that’s your intention, of course, in which case, spend away! Parisian real estate is notoriously pricey and a single bedroom in the Latin Quarter can cost you over 200 euros! Fortunately, Paris has a beautiful metro system, so staying in the suburbs and commuting in can save you a fortune.
Do your research
Lines for attractions such as the Arc de Triomphe and Eiffel Tower can stretch for hours, so figure out how to beat those lines and avoid paying inflated prices. Lots of websites can direct you towards the best way to enjoy everything you want, at a fraction of your time and budget.
Don’t leave too little time to visit your must-see attractions
Places like the Eiffel Tower, Arc de Triomphe, and Montmartre generally take up less time to visit than the real heavy-hitters, such as the Louvre and Versailles, which can take you, especially if you are a museum buff. Figure out where you want to spend your time, or risk leaving Paris disappointed.
Do keep an eye out for pickpockets and scammers
Nothing says “rob me” quite like a tourist. Ditch those sneakers and fanny packs and opt to dress like the Parisians. Try using a cross-body bag that you can keep a hand on at all times and stay alert in particularly crowded spaces, where it’s easy for pickpocketers to rip you off.
Don’t spend 10 euros on water
Tap water is safe and there are dozens of outdoor water fountains in Paris where you can refill your water bottles. Trust me. 10 euros for a bottle of water? Not worth it.
Do eat real French food
So you’ve come to a gastronomical delight only to eat McDonald’s every day? What a waste of a trip! If you have the room to splurge, do so at one of the restaurants; otherwise, choose a cafe or bistro to sit down and spend some quality time enjoying life. If that doesn’t fit your budget either, buy some groceries and have a picnic in a park or on the banks of the Seine. You’ll have a great time.
Don’t join the hordes of people standing right in front of the Mona Lisa
Instead, enjoy a less cramped but equally nice view of the painting from the side. If you’re not an art buff, it will feel exactly the same.
Facebook and email will still be in existence wherever you are (unless, of course, you’re behind the Great Firewall of China) but Paris will only be there for as long as you are. Whats the point of travelling anyways if you’re experiencing the world through your devices?
Don’t stay in when it gets dark
You’re missing the fantastic light show, especially the one that the Eiffel tower becomes. Plus, there’s so much activity and hustle and bustle outside. Go! Enjoy yourself! Be free!
Do leave the passport and plastic behind
Make photocopies and stick them in the safe. They’ll be safer (see what I did there?) there than being carried around the city.
Don’t forget how Parisian tipping works
Gratuity is built into your restaurant bill, though extra tips are appreciated by your servers. Remember to tip guides, porters, and taxi drivers though!