Are you planning on visiting Paris, France Soon? Great, here are some tips. Paris is the city of Light and public displays of affection, it is so exciting.
Are you going to be mocked for wearing New Balances? Perhaps but, Who cares I want to have fun and enjoy life.
Well you are in the right place. We can help a little with information. All you need to know before arriving to Paris.
Although wandering around the city aimlessly eating baguettes is just as acceptable and fun. And if you do insist on seeing, doing, and eating everything the tourist books say you must, make sure you’re smart about it.
THINGS must DO, so you have the most fun. While you there.
Even if you eat LOT of kale, still eventually you are unfortunately going to die. It sucks, we know. But the good part is that before all of that happens, you get to hang out in Paris.
Probably the most beautiful and cultured city in the world — and to make sure you squeeze every last ounce of life out of this glorious place,
-First go to the flea markets And you must buy a souvenir “treasure” to take home.
– Go to Harry’s Bar and have Bloody Mary. It’s the bar that birthed the perfect hangover cure, so pay a visit.
– Go to Sacré-Cœur and listen to Buskers Beer, live music, and a view of the world’s most beautiful city are hard to find elsewhere.
– See the Mona Lisa and regret it those crowds won’t quit, but you have to pay you respects.
– Go to Père Lachaise even death looks stunning in Paris.
– Go to Angelina and wait in line for hot chocolate It may seem silly, but you need to know what the fuss is about.
– Take a Bateaux-Mouches boat cruise Embrace you inner nautical tourist.
– Eat a falafel in the Marais It’s Middle Eastern not French, but it’s so good that no one cares.
– Spend lot’s money on fancy chocolate put Patrick Roger’s kids through college with a few pieces of chocolate-covered ganache.
– Have a glass of wine at the Les Deux Magots or Café de Flore and Quietly judge people. Guidebooks say they are apparently the only two cafés in Paris, so you’d better try them.
– Bike ride with a Parisian along the Seine Preferably ride with a striped shirt and scarf waving in the breeze. Baguettes in basket optional.
– Descend into the Catacombs Millions of Parisians’ bones creepily on display for you morbid enjoyment.
– Picnic, picnic, picnic just get some cheese and go the Seine or a park,.
– Dine in the Eiffel Tower It’s the height of cliché and fine dining.
– Stroll the Champs-Élysées More fun doing it at Christmas. when the lights make the crowds bearable.
– Ride the Metro line You know you’re curious to find out about. Don’t leave without solving the mystery.
– Hear an organ concert at a church You have pick of the bunch, so visit Notre Dame or Sainte-Chapelle, among the many others, to hear what those pipes can do.
– Must watch the fireworks from the Champ de Mars on July 14th Watch the show directly from the front of the Eiffel Tower. Large crowds, sure, but it is cool don’t miss it.
-Eat at a fancy, Michelin-starred restaurant it doesn’t even have to be that expensive.
– Watch the Champs-Élysées Unique views of the Champs-Élysées from up above await you. And there’s a lift!
– Witness the chaos of the Galleries Lafayette during the sales Save a few euros. Test you agoraphobia.
-Must see an opera or ballet at the Palais Garnier Play dress-up and enjoy a show in arguably the world’s most beautiful theater.
– See a Monet somewhere (d’Orsay, l’Orangerie, Marmottan) He’s at least once French painter worth checking out, though of course there are probably others…
– Must try street crepe Ham and Cheese wrapped in a crepe is street-food perfection.
– Walk the stars up to Montmartre After all that cheese, you’ll need to workout.
– Pretend to shop on Avenue Montaigne They don’t know what the sales are here, but it’s fun to pretend.
– See a football match at the Stade de France Yes, the French do more than just eat cheese and baguettes.
– Ride on a scooter or motorbike You need to have that quintessential Paris moment when you’re riding down a ridiculously gorgeous street, wind in you hair and life in you hands.
– Have a macaroon taste-off Ladurée vs. Pierre Hermé — whichever loses, you win.
– Take a day trip to Versailles You may have been putting it off, but don’t insult Louis XIV by overlooking his legacy.
– Buy a kitschy Eiffel Tower keychain from a migrant vendor. This way you keys will remind you daily that you aren’t in Paris anymore.
– Visit the Moulin Rouge, Lido, or Crazy Horse for a cabaret show Paris was basically built by topless dancers.
– Pet the bunnies at one of the oldest flower and bird markets on Île de la Cité Well, it’s better than eating them.
– Attend a jazz concert somewhere. – Have a swanky club night out somewhere, like Le Baron Just be ready to take an Uber home.
– Buy the best French baguette in Paris Must have this crossed off already. Get with it.
– Go to Maxim’s Dine or have drinks It’s Art Nouveau and it’s Maxim’s
– Buy a book from Shakespeare and Co. … and understand every English word gleefully.
– Go up the Montparnasse Tower Get the bird’s eye view of Paris that actually includes the Eiffel Tower.
– Play pétanque with some grumpy Parisians Where else is it actually cool to play the French version of bocce ball?
– See an outdoor movie in the summer It’s where cinema was invented.
– Have a drink/tea at a five-star hotel Enjoy yourself – Dance the tango on the Seine on a summer evening.
-Drink Champagne along the Seine pop a bottle of bubbly – The main thing enjoys you life while you can.
The myth that everything shuts down in August is not a myth at all and totally happens. Everyone leaves for the vacation month, and things close for weeks at a time. But if you do find yourself there during the dead season, here’s what to do.
Stay close to the river for optimum city access If you want to be closest to the traditional tourist stuff.
Find a hotel or an Airbnb in the 1st, 4th, 6th, or 5th arrondissements (neighborhoods), which spiral clockwise from the inside out like a snail shell.
… but if you want something a little more upbeat, try the neighborhoods in the northeast
The areas around Metros Republique, Oberkampf, and St. Maur have hip, affordable bars and are only a 15-minute Metro ride from the touristy center.
Conversely, southwest Paris is seriously swanky, and not always in a good way.
Take the Metro
The Metro is ridiculously easy to navigate and is obviously marked by Hector Guimard’s Art Nouveau designs. Just be sure to lift the lever on the door if you want to enter or exit
— they don’t open automatically.
… and never throw out you ticket
You’ll likely buy a carnet of 10 really-easy-to-lose tickets. Controllers do periodic checks for these little tickets, and if you’re caught without, you’ll have to deal with their stone-cold fury, and a big fine. Seriously, these guys are terrifying. Don’t mess this up.
RER is bigger, faster, and accesses the suburbs (and the airports). They are identified by letters A, B, AND C. SNCF Transilien is the giant train line for the suburbs and beyond. Stick with the Metro and you should be fine. This might not be as relevant with so many rideshare systems these days, but it can be pretty tricky to find a cab after a night out, and when you do, it’ll be super expensive. Go to a bar within walking distance of you stop and never get lost! Don’t go to the top of the Eiffel Tower Similar to the Empire State Building in NYC, going to the top of the tower is overpriced and not as worth it as you think it will be. See the city from up high from the top of the Tour Montparnasse and actually have the Eiffel Tower in you view, or head to Montmartre for a sweeping, totally-free skyline.
Visit Versailles… if you have time
If you’re a history buff knock yourself out, but it’s expensive and the line to get into the palace is absurdly long. The better option is to wander the grounds for free on a sunny day. See Venus and Mona, of course, but do not leave without walking through the lavish Napoleon III Apartments. The place is enormous — wear comfortable shoes. See Monet’s Water Lilies, then picnic in the Tuileries Garden The tiny Musée de l’Orangerie in the southwest corner of the park is the permanent home for a handful of works by Picasso, Chaim Soutine, Modigliani, Matisse, and, the pièce de résistance, eight giant panels of Monet’s Water Lilies. It won’t take you more than an hour or two to see everything so pair the visit with lunch in the garden.
Buy bread, cheese, and produce at an open-air market. And then go hang out in a park with you loot. Markets are everywhere. Have an authentic breakfast on a terrace. You could brunch but really, a cafe a pain au chocolat or a croissant is all that’s necessary. If you want milk in you coffee order “un creme” — it’s basically a latte. Don’t be a smart ass and order “un cafe au lait.” No one does this.
Indulge at the best Michelin restaurant you can afford You’re here; you just enjoy yourself. Eat iconically Steak frites, fromage, foie gras, crepes, croissants — all the foundation of the French food canon. You’d be silly to not try ‘em in their origin country, at the Paris place that does them best. And don’t waste you money or calories on cheap crepes in front of the Eiffel Tower — they’re targeted towards tourists and often don’t use quality ingredients (you’ll see off-brand Nutella in the back, and a stack of pre-made pancakes). Instead, a ham and cheese crepe from a takeaway stand attached to a restaurant is the move.
Ladurée’s macarons are good, but Pierre’s pastries are downright divine. Savor you meal Be prepared to wait a bit between courses because leisure is a national pastime. And always ask for “une carafe d’eau” (a carafe of water) if you don’t feel like constantly asking for refills. It won’t have ice in it. Tip if you feel like it Your meal could be “service compris” (tip included) or “service non-compris” (tip not included), but either way, if you server was nice, leave a few euros on the table when you leave. Eat Lenny Kravitz’s favorite falafel This wouldn’t be a Paris guide without L’As Du Fallafel!! Head to a cafe Loud, divey bars with dance floors are a rarity, so do as the locals do and head to any one of the hundreds of cafes or wine bars to drink, smoke, and talk in circles about the three topics forbidden in America, but beloved in France: sex, religion, and politics.
Dance at a club Grand Boulevard and Pigalle (though the latter is considerably sketchier) are great destinations for the big nightclub scenes. Rex Club will have everything you’re looking for, including a hefty cover charge.
Hang out by the Canal Saint-Martin While fancier people and tourists picnic on the The central river is inarguably stunning (and horribly, horribly dirty) and each of its 37 bridges totally walkable… particularly if a bar is you destination
Learn at least a little of the language These four basic words will suffice: “bonjour” (hello), “au revoir” (goodbye), “s’il vous plait” (please), and “merci” (thank you). Immediately speak English with a French person and they will pretend to not speak English. Speak French with a French person, they will switch into English. It’s just how it works.
Pleasantries are mandatory Say “bonjour” and “au revoir” to every shop owner, salesman, and server every time you enter and exit a store or restaurant. Step up you clothing, but don’t worry too much
Popular opinion will have you believe that all Parisians are beautiful, svelte snobs who only wear designer clothes. Which is mostly true, but France has loosened up dress codes considerably in the last 30 years. Plenty of people wear sweatshirts, shorts, and tank tops. You can too!
Try not to be… so American
Keep you voice down if you want to blend in. The French tend to mumble inaudibly.
Bread goes on the table, not on you plate, and you better not butter it Unless it’s breakfast, butter likely won’t even be an option. But buttered bread with shellfish is totally okay, for some nonsensical reason.
“Faire la bise” instead! An air kiss on each cheek is a standard greeting for both men and women. And eschew the handshake if you’re introduced to someone — state you name while you faire la bise and you’re all set. It’s actually an excellent system because there’s never any confusion about if you should shake hands, pound, hug, kiss, or high five.
Beware of scams Hecklers can be particularly intense in this city. People trying to sell you sunglasses, umbrellas, Eiffel Tower key chains, and water bottles are concentrated around the big tourist spots like Eiffel Tower, Montmartre, and the Louvre and are mostly harmless, if not mad annoying. But if you do decide you want 15 key chains for one euro, don’t be distracted during the transaction as that’s when accomplices pickpocket.
More nefarious are the women angling for you sympathy by pretending to be deaf, and the “finger scam,” in which men target non-French speakers and tie a friendship bracelet around you wrist, and then aggressively follow you around demanding payment
Eye contact People will make it with you. And hold it an uncomfortably long time. Do it right back.
Avoid the tourist traps never, ever eat anywhere on the Champs-Élysées unless you have plenty of money to blow on a $16 cafe. Same goes for restaurants near Place St-Michel, though the views around there are, gorgeous.
Watch where you step
For a city this beautiful, it’s baffling that locals don’t feel the need to curb their many, many dogs.
And speaking of dogs…
There’s no such thing as a doggie bag. Most restaurants serve appropriately proportioned dishes that you’re expected to finish. You’ll seem rude otherwise.
Avoid unnecessary bank charges Bank of America has a deal with Banque Nationale de Paris (BNP Paribas), which enables you to make the cash withdrawals at BNP ATMs sans fees.
Paris doesn’t shut down on Sundays Particularly in touristy places, you’ll always be able to find a restaurant or a food store or a tabac for cigarettes.
Saying how much you love the Metro is like telling a New Yorker stuck in the Lincoln Tunnel for the fifth time in a week “how wonderful the brickwork is”.