Paris! Aahh, the word stimulates some such priceless feelings and emotions which people who have visited the city already knows so well. And for those who are going to visit Paris for the very first time, things are really going to be too interesting. You would go through newer heights of discovery as you walk through and travel through the beautiful old city with colors and arts of fusion from the past and present.
Traveling tips are really important when you are visiting a new place. And if it’s such a significant trip of Paris tour, then you must have a lot of important advice and tips in your kitty to confront any and every situation, and take the full joy of the tour without disappointment or going through situations you aren’t prepared for. That is why here are shared things which will prepare you the best to tour Paris for the first time.
Tip-1: Learning basic words of French
Visiting Paris without any knowledge of a single French word can be challenging. In Paris, most of the population speaks French. And you would hardly find a local speaking good English. Although many of them know English, and speaks broken English and understands too, yet they love it when they hear their mother tongue from the mouth of the tourists. When you try to start a communication in French, however poor and broken it is, the effort only would charm a local in Paris, and one would be happy and feel warmer towards you and would love to help you heartily. However French is not an easy language to learn to fast. It takes time and dedication. But, you really do not need to become a master in it. All you have to do is pick a few common basic French words which will help you find your way as you need it.
Bonjour: this is “Hello” in English. You must try to greet any person you are talking to or staff in a shop or office etc. with this word. Starting a conversation or just greeting with the word is considered politeness and is a practice in Paris. If you do not utter Bonjour, then you are considered rude.
S’il vous plait: this word means “please” in English. Use it just like you use other, please. In all contexts where please is used, and wherever you are requesting something, do use this word to get attention and kindness.
Merci: this means “thank you”. When you say this word, you simply show your gratification to anyone.
Ou est la station de metro la plus proche: This means, which is the nearest metro station. You may have to ask this question when you feel lost or need to know the station to determine the route.
Tip-2: Buy a travel pass to get around Paris
There are two ways to get around Paris. One way is to walk a lot and get single tickets for the metro to travel occasionally. Another way is to get a travel pass or the Paros metro, which will enable you to travel freely in the metro as and when you need to. It actually depends on a few things that you would go for the travel pass or not. If you are an extensive traveler, and would not want to leave an important part of the city left undiscovered, then you need to walk to travel a lot, and then the pass would be helpful. Also if you realize that you have enough money to spend, and also enough days in hand to explore Paris vividly, then you should get a travel pass for free roaming through the city without having to buy single tickets every time.
Tip-3: Get appropriate shoes for traveling
Traveling Paris is fun and really interesting. But at the same time, it is hectic too. You will be walking a lot. Being in a new city makes the inquisitive traveler walk a lot. And especially if you are a lady, and have a fascination to wear fashionable heel shoes, then you might consider forgetting your high heels for a few days while you a traveling the city extensively. Get the most comfortable walking shoes with soft soles, so that the feet do not get as much tired, and you need not rest often between walks. Loafers, doctor sole shoes, slippers, and sneakers are good choices, and you may choose any one of them as per your style and comfort. Overall keep your feet as comfortable and fresh as possible to support you in discovering the city.
Tip-4: There are pickpockets in Paris- Beware!
While traveling in and around the city, you will have to be extra cautious about your bags and belongings, mobile, wallet, and money. Things can get stolen in a whiff. You will have no time to react if one snatches your mobile, wallet or belongings suddenly while the metro door is closing and escapes. The metro is a place, where inside trains in crowded situations, pickpockets can wash you off in seconds. You must not keep any backpack at your back, and wear it at your front. Also do not be inattentive about your purse, bag or belongings in crowded places.
A scam in Paris works by diverting the attention of people by asking them to sign some kind of petition. They suddenly come and approach you anywhere. And if you start reading and signing, then their team would use that few seconds to get your things slyly as you focus in on the signing or reading work. Hence, if you are asked to sign some petition etc. on the roads, then do not give it any importance, and continue walking your way while staying more alert about your precious belongings.
Tip-5: Get informed about credit and debit card usage, banking, and mobile usage
When you are traveling abroad, then you need to get well informed about the use of banking and mobile services. Both charges extra when you are using them internationally. The international roaming charges by mobiles operators are high. Also, bank charges extra when you swipe the card at ATMs abroad. Hence, you must inform your bank that you are traveling to Paris, and get advised of using the cheapest card or mode of digital cash usage. In case of mobile usage, you may talk to some of the international services who give SIM cards for use abroad for the traveling days.
It’s not just the mobile SIM card for calling that matters, but the online connectivity too. You are used to using the internet and staying connected all the time from your smartphone to access emails, social media, messengers etc. Hence, you must find an apt ISP for these days of travel too where you can use the service at a reasonable charge.
Tip-6: Try walking tours in the city
Walking tours in the city makes you aware of so many things, that any such tour can be one of the best ways to know an unknown place. If you are traveling in Paris with a local, who takes you through a cultural, gastronomical, social, and historical walk of the city, and helps you get to know the city, then there can be nothing special like that. This is one of the best options to know a city by heart and see things through the eyes of a local guide who knows the city well.
Tour guides who explore the city with you exhibit their passion for the place in their own way, and the emotions pass from them to the travelers. That is why when you travel with a local guide and walk through the city, then you touch the city by heart and emotions. In fact, you should go for a city walk of Paris to get more entertained than the usual package tours.
Tip-7: Check the weather before planning travel
Weather in Paris is unpredictable actually. You can be happy to see the day start with bright sunshine, and then suddenly you would be disappointed to see sudden heavy rain which continues through the day. Hence, your traveling plans may get hampered and totally spoiled because of bad weather. That is why you must check the weather forecast before traveling to Paris. This will help you use your days fully without any disturbance and enjoy traveling totally.
Tip-8: Learn when to tip in Paris
Tipping is a good way to show your gratitude. But if you are tipping because you are used to then pause and learn tipping practices in Paris. In Paris, you need not tip every bar attender, and waiter etc. In fact, they do not look for tips too and it’s not a practice there as they get paid a good salary for their jobs. But you can tip the travel guide who is taking his full day to show you the city in the most engaging and entertaining way. And you may also like to tip at a restaurant where they treat you great and suggest you the best wine combination with the food. In Paris, tipping is a way to show your gratitude humbly and is not a way to show that you can pay more money.
Tip-9: Collect the Paris museum pass
Collecting the pass to travel the Paris museum is a great way to save money, travel through all the interesting museums of the city in a budget, and make the traveling economic and hassle-free. You really must visit the museum in Paris to know the city and its history and culture fully. Without visiting the museum you won’t even know half the essence of the old city. But the museum entrance fees make up for a collective big amount, which can be reduced a lot when you buy a tourists pass. The more days you buy the pass for the lesser you would pay on average hence you can buy a pass and enjoy the museums and also save well.
Tip-10: Arriving at Paris with luggage needs to be planned
If you arrive in Paris with luggage, then the best form of transportation to your hotel would be a taxi or shuttle service. The metro is good, but for the the Paris metro can be quite confusing with so many stations and routes. Without knowing which station corresponds to which locality, you may take a long time determining the way, and this can be quite of harassment with heavy and multiple luggage. Hence you should plan a transfer to the hotel by a shuttle or taxi beforehand. You can book these things online.
Tip-11: reserve your restaurant in advance
In Paris, you can reserve a restaurant in advance by email. An email to the restaurant would secure your seat. This will help you avoid the rush and queues at the finest dining places. Your hotel can help you with this advance reservation. You can also reserve many other amenities in advance, and everywhere you would actually be saving much time by avoiding queues.
Tip-12: Keep a day or two extra in hand
It’s very important that you keep a day or two extra in hand while touring Paris. This is because if you have the extra days, you may then avoid taking stress on days when you are too tired or may attempt another visit to a place which you found closed in the first attempt for some reason. An extra day saves you in case you are sick too. Being in a new place, and eating and drinking things you are not used to, and overall the change in environment is likely to bring on a stomach upset or maybe some allergies or sleeping problems etc. in some unlucky cases. In that scenario, you can still complete the tour as planned by utilizing the extra days.
Tip-13: You need to buy bottled drinking water
This is a very important tip for all. If you are concerned about pure and safe water for drinking, and whether the normal tap water is safe for you, then you can be assured about the tap water in Paris. It is safe for drinking and brings no problem to health or taste. However many tourists do not know this and may fall prey if the waiters in restaurants and room service in hotels try to sell bottled water. You may, under the insisting pressure of waiters, order sparkling water or mineral water with lots of extra expenditure, which is not at all required. Just order plain water wherever you go, by saying “carafe ”, and use the money you would have spent on bottled water elsewhere in more meaningful things.
Tip-14: Avoid the pressure of utilizing passes you bought with proper planning
Passes you buy at Paris, like the museum pass and the metro pass, are to help you travel smoothly while spending reasonably, and also avoid queues in all ticket counters. But once you have bought a pass, you may feel internally pressurized to utilize it to the fullest or reasonably enough, so that the money invested in it makes sense. But in some cases, you may feel more like walking through the streets, shopping or window shopping, sitting somewhere quietly, absorbing the essence of the city, or eating local food items at heritage places. In some cases, you may not feel like using the metro or visiting museums in a day or two. And then again if you know in mind that your pass would expire soon without being used and the money would go to waste, then the smartest thing you can do is plan the travel accordingly. Do whatever your heart yearns for, but try to do those things in a route which covers the metro with a few museums, where you may visit through the day while also taking long walks and seeing the streets.
Tip-15: Planning Versailles
If you plan Versailles immediately on reaching Paris, instead of seeing Paris itself then you might think of a change in plan, and visit it later after you have got an idea of Paris as the city itself. This is because when you go to Versailles, you will face a big crowd, long lines to wait through the day, and may have to compromise your plans and visit a less visited chateau just to avoid the extreme rush.
Tip-16: Avoid breakfast in hotels
There is no need to waste Euros on costly buffet breakfasts in hotels. Rather you can get a coffee and a croissant from any local cafeteria or street side cafes and that would be under 5 euros. This will help you save the money for some crises he really is not getting any food for some strike or anything.
Tip-17: Save more from your touring budget by choosing hotels away from the city center
Avoid staying at the heart of the city, where the tariff of hotels would be sky high. Rather choose hotels away from the city center. You won’t have to compromise on comfort though, and will only have to travel little more. But the money you save on the tariff will be worth it.
Tip-18: Try to avoid lines by planning ahead
Every attraction in Paris will be making you stand in some short, medium or long queue for purchasing the tickets. Even if you have booked tickets there may be a line to validate them. That is why you cannot avoid lines in Paris in major attractions. However, if you stay informed which attraction has a shorter line and crowd on certain days, then you may plan to visit that on that day of the week. Like, the Louvre museum gets a smaller line on Fridays and Wednesdays. Hence, as a newcomer to Paris, you may plan your visit accordingly to Louvre. In this way, you will have to plan. However, there are places, where no planning works and will have to face the line and crowd anyhow. One such place is the Eiffel tower, which is always busy.
Tip-19: do not be disappointed about what you couldn’t see
There are so many things in Paris to see, that a very short tour might only offer you glimpses of the city attractions. If you plan a longer tour then also something or the other would be left out. It happens with all. Hence, do not be disappointed. You can again come over to Paris later in life to visit the things that were left out. Hopefully, some of the best attractions like the Eiffel Tower and the Mona Lisa are not going to run away anywhere on their own.
Tip-20: Keep your hotel name and address handy
This is important to find out the hotel at ease. There can be many hotels with similar names. And when you do not know the language it can be difficult to read and find. Hence, you must have the details handy to get better guided.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I buy an advance ticket to the Eiffel Tower?
Yes, you can buy an advanced ticket to the Eiffel Tower. As soon as you finalize your Paris visit, immediately secure tickets to the tower online. In case you find the tickets are sold out, wait and try after a week, and again in a week. This is because they release more tickets periodically to accommodate and give chance to more tourists in a day.
What is the currency in Paris?
The currency used in Paris is Euro. You will have to carry euros with you to be comfortable moving around the city. 1 euro is approximately 1.37 USD. You can bring less than 10000 euros inside France. And this will be good enough to tour Paris.
Which credit card is accepted in Paris?
Visa is the most widely accepted credit card in Paris and then follows Mastercard. American Express and Discover are not accepted in most places. If you are boarding a taxi, do ask and ensure they accept a credit card if you plan to use the card for payment.