Paris is a dream destination for many travelers. However, some may feel a bit intimidated by the language barrier or customs, but have no fear! These 10 tips will help you navigate the city like a pro and make the most out of your visit!
1. Don’t travel in summer
While Paris is a wonderful city any time of the year, summer tends to be the worst time to travel there. Most French people flee the city during summer because it’s hot and the city isn’t generally air-conditioned. When you’re dealing with a city that has a long history like Paris does, it’s no surprise that many of the buildings aren’t air-conditioned. Also, since most Parisians leave Paris during the summer, tourists overtake the city. You don’t get a true representation of what Parisian life is like. Having said that, please don’t think you won’t enjoy yourself if summer is the only time you can get away, as it is almost impossible not to love Paris.
2. Don’t carry a backpack
This will make you stand out as a tourist and you’ll become a prime target for pickpockets. Most Parisians do not carry backpacks and if you are trying to blend in, get a different type of satchel to carry your things in.
3. Don’t wear sneakers
Parisians are incredibly stylish and this is one thing that will make you stand out more than carrying a backpack. You just don’t see Parisian women walking around in sneakers, unless they are headed to the gym or are out on a run.
4. Use the metro and bus
The metro and bus system in Paris is phenomenal; you can get almost anywhere in the city by taking public transportation. All of the stops are in French but don’t let that intimidate you, it’s the same concept as taking the subway in NYC or hopping on the bus in your town. The only difference is that the scenery will be completely distinct and you may see things that will make you laugh and/smile.
5. Get a rewards credit card
If getting to Paris proves to be too expensive for you, think about getting a credit card that is affiliated with an airline. This way you can rack up miles every time you use it. If there are bills you pay automatically every month from your checking account, transfer those bills to your credit card and get those points every month. You will be surprised at how quickly the points add up.
6. Don’t be afraid to travel in winter
Paris can be very cold and it does snow. However, Paris is absolutely beautiful in winter and a perfect time to visit, as the city isn’t overridden with tourists. As long as you pack the appropriate clothes to keep you warm, you should have no problem exploring the city and taking in the beauty of the sights with chills in the air.
7. Download French app to learn basics
Contrary to popular belief, Parisians aren’t mean if they see you are trying to make an effort. Many Parisians are happy when they see you at least trying to say, “Hello, how are you?” Download an app that will help you learn how to say a few basic phrases in French. Many Parisians speak enough English to be able to help you and many won’t mind speaking to you in your native tongue if you have shown an effort to speak theirs.
8. Learn how to wear a scarf like a Frenchie
French women wear scarves beautifully, the way they knot them around their neck is almost an art. Go on YouTube and see how to tie your scarf like them then walk around the city with it like that. You will be amazed at how a simple thing like a scarf can make you feel like you are a part of the culture.
9. Don’t order soda with your meal
Drinking soda with meals is very American and not something many Parisians do. If you want to blend it with the locals, order water or wine. For Parisians, food is an experience, not just a way to quell the hunger, and wine is a big part of that experience. If you aren’t a wine connoisseur and have no clue about what to order, there is always a house wine you can order.
10. Take advantage of sales
Unlike the USA, Paris only has sales (or soldes) twice a year. If you go in January you can take advantage of the sales as well as taste Gallete du Rois which is a French treat you can only get in January. The sales are citywide and if shopping is your thing then you will have a lovely time popping in and out of the shops.
Roni is a trilingual travel expert and a former tour guide. While living overseas, she learned so much about traveling, how to adapt, how to stay calm in unexpected situations and how to relax and enjoy life.