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19 Unique Tips for Traveling to Paris

March 07, 2020

1. The Eiffel Tower, many people dream of eating inside… but it’s much better to eat at a restaurant with a great view of the tower. The meal will be better, you’ll spend less, and see the tower sparkle! One of our Favorite restaurants with a view is Les Ombres. You’ll be surrounded by beautiful glass atop a rooftop overlooking the tower.

2. Don’t be afraid to venture into local Parisian markets. Farmers bring fresh ingredients from all over the country, and it’s very fun to visit. There are markets all over the city weekly. check out this link to find all the markets. https://www.paris.fr/equipements/marches-alimentaires/tous-les-horaires

3. One of our favorite secret restaurant bars in the Montmartre is Hôtel Particulier Montmartre. It’s hidden away behind a secret gate, where you have to be buzzed in to go down a secret path that leads to an epic view of the tower before you turn left into a sultry garden bar.

4. Parisians eat late, and many restaurants close between lunch and dinner. Most dinner restaurants open at 7 pm

5. Don’t be afraid to use the metro, the stations offer free paper maps, and you can download the RATP app on your phone in English. Also, Uber cars are across all of Paris, if you don’t feel like taking the metro.

6. Many of the shops and restaurants in Paris close in August… French people typically have 5 weeks of paid holiday vacation, and they like to take the whole month of August to escape the heat and enjoy their vacation.

7. Purchase a passport ticket for Versailles before you go there. It’s better not to wait in line to buy a ticket after arrival.

We give our clients a tip to head straight to the garden first and rent bikes to explore the fountains and Marie Antoinette’s chateau. Pack a lunch and picnic in the garden before heading up to the main chateau in the afternoon. That way, you do the day in reverse and skip out on the crazy crowds of the main castle.

8. See other museums besides the Louvre. The Rodin is a secret favorite and home to a beautiful sculpture garden, and another favorite is l’orangerie, which is usually empty and home to Monet’s waterlilies. But the best is the Petit Palais, which is free and hosts beautiful works along with a secret garden cafe.

9. Head out to Parc Sceaux during the second week of April to see fantastic Cherry blossom trees. Most tourists stick to the Tuileries and Luxembourg. Still, Parc de Sceaux is a beautiful and short train ride away from the city and hosts a variety of lakes and tree lines, lots of space for biking, it’s worth a visit for the beautiful cherry blossoms.

10. Paris is best explored by foot. It’s a small city and easy to navigate by street… even better best to be lost in. There are so many monuments very close together. You’ll actually bump into the Louvre or Eiffel Tower. The city is a walking museum, there are so many beautiful places to be explored, and all you need is your two feet.

11. Learn a few French words. French people will be 100 times more helpful to you if you try to speak a little French. The bare minimum would be Hello/ Good evening,’ (Bonjour/ Bonsoir) ‘Please,’ (S’il Vous plaît) ‘Thank You,’ (Merci) and ‘Sorry’ (Pardon). These few words will change their whole attitude to you. Keep in mind they say bonjour for all entries to a restaurant, bus, clothing store, bakery, use it everywhere!

12. Spend a few hours in a cafe. Tipping is not mandatory or very expected in France. Servers make a regular hourly wage, so they don’t care if you sit in the same place all day.
Enjoy a cup of coffee and a book. Also, keep in mind that it is rude of them to bring the check without you asking. The word to ask for the bill is l’addition.

13. One of the best views of Paris, in our opinion, is from the top of Galeries Lafayette, the shopping center. Keep taking the escalator to the top, and you will have a free view of the city! The best-paid view, in my opinion, is from the top of the Arc de Triomphe. There is a small fee, but it has a magnificent view of the city, and the Eiffel tower and all the streets lead straight up to you. It’s open late, so go for sunset.

14. Keep your metro ticket through your journey. Especially recently, metro tickets are checked a lot more, and the RATP staff usually hide around corners near the exit, so they do a surprise check of your ticket as you make the turn. You mustn’t throw away your ticket until you have fully exited into the street outside, or you could incur a fine.

15. We recommend not renting a car in Paris. It can be a total nightmare to drive in the city, and with such great public transportation and Uber available, there is no sense in stressing yourself out with parking, traffic, and different driving rules. Cars are great to explore outside the city, but inside, don’t bother.

16. The first floor is not at ground level. The first floor starts at 0 in France. For North Americans, this can get very confusing. But keep this in mind when searching for your level.

17. Pharmacies in Paris can be found everywhere, and because of socialized healthcare, they are very reasonably priced, if not cheap. Even without health insurance in France, you can receive cheap medicine from the pharmacy, and almost all the pharmacists speak at least a little English. They’re also very helpful, as any doctor.

18. Make sure to avoid scammers and scams while visiting Paris. It always breaks our hearts when clients lose money to scams or pickpockets. It’s very important to keep your phones hidden and close to you in restaurants and especially the metro. The pickpockets are very good in the city, and you won’t even know your phone or wallet is gone until it’s too late.

19. Know who to call in an emergency. It’s crucial to have someone to call while visiting. The most important number is 112 (for hearing assistance dial 114). The operator will dispatch medical assistance (SAMU, 15), the police (gendarmerie, 17), or fire and accident (sapeurs pompiers, 18) depending on the situation. French firefighters are trained to deal with medical emergencies and are the most commonly dispatched unit.

 

Written by our Paris Network Developer, Krystal Kenney

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Frances Coleman says:
7 months ago

Thank you for these tips.