Monday, December 4, 2017

Top Ten Tips for traveling Paris like a Pro



Week 1 Paris!

I highly recommend visiting Paris in the Spring. But to make sure you have the best time, I’ve compiled a set of lists. Here is the first one with longer explanations below.

Top ten Tips for visiting Paris:
1.Weekly Metro passes start on Mondays and only Mondays
2. Bring a passport picture if you want a weekly bus pass
3. Order carbonated water
4. Don’t go on a jour de féirié (holiday) if you plan on shopping.
5. Don’t drink tap water
6. Learn at least how to say, “I don’t speak French.”
7. Don’t leave a tip
8. When eating out, clearly signal the waiter, they won’t interrupt you.
9. Bring good walking shoes but not tennis shoes and practice walking up stairs
10. Don’t talk loud in English anywhere



1. Weekly metro/bus passes is the cheapest way to get around. Unless you're afraid of being underground, use the metro or the buses to get around. There is Uber, but I always think that if you are in Paris, act as the Parisians. Also if you get there before Monday, buy either a one day pass or a several one-way tickets.

Because you want to be here
2. If you are going to buy the weekly pass, bring your passport picture and save yourself a lot of time and five euros. We searched the train station for an hour trying to find a photo booth that would take a credit card. It was a very frustrating hour!

3. Buying carbonated water not only is good for your digestion, but it also keep you from paying for bottled water but having the waiter fill it from the tap.

4. Opposite of America, all the stores are closed on holidays in France. You will not be able to do any shopping. If your vacations includes holidays, plan to do something else those days.
 See my post on which French Holidays to avoid.

5. Old pipes lead to leaky pipes. Enough said.

6. While I'm still pretty fluent in French and could shop, buy and make small talk, my poor husband was not able to speak any French. We rarely got separated, but I did teach him how to be able to say, "Sorry, I don't speak French." I think the natives appreciated that he at least tried.

7. Because of how they pay their service, you don't need to tip waiters.

8. Waiters in France are trained to be respectful of the diners and will not interrupt you if you are eating and talking. If you need help, Garçon, will attract his attention. I'm not sure what to say if you have a waitress. But you must flag them down to order, pay your bill or make a request.

9. If you are doing Paris right, you should be walking. A lot! And you'll be walking up a lot of stairs. So practice with a stair-stepper, lugging your luggage with you. Then you'll be strong enough to do Paris.

10. Speak in hushed tones in public spaces. Nothing is more rude than speaking English really loud in France. Trust me.

French Holidays that are horrible for shopping

List of French holidays to avoid if you want to shop:
New Years Day
Good Friday
Easter and Easter Monday
1 May
8 May
Ascension Day (40 days after Easter)
Pentecost Monday
14 July
Assumption Day
1 Nov
11 Nov
Christmas Day
Boxing Day (Day after Christmas)


Americans must be opposite of the French on this one thing: Shopping. While Paris shopping, I think, is some of the best in the world, you have to be careful and not go on Holidays. In the US, we shop on holidays, but in France, they close the shops and enjoy a day of vacation with their families walking around the parks or eating with friends.

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