First Time Traveling to Paris? Know These 5 Things
Bon voyage! If you’ve been planning your first Parisian adventure for a while, and it’s finally time to go, we’ve got some tips to help make your trip a little less awkward and a lot more wonderful.
Greet Everyone – in French, s’il vous plait!
Even if you don’t speak French, knowing a few words can help smooth any encounter over. Parisians especially appreciate being greeted in their native language, as it shows that you’ve made an effort to really immerse yourself in the culture. “Bonjour Madame” and “Bonjour Monsieur” can go a long way to creating a relationship with your server, cab driver, and others. Also, saying thank you, “merci”, is good in any culture, at any time.
Rent An Apartment vs Hotel
If you’re heading to Paris on a tour group, then your hotel arrangements are taken care of. If you’re on your own, consider renting an apartment through any number of companies. Do your due diligence when renting, though – know exactly where in the city you want to stay (are you able to walk far distances? Would you prefer to be near the subway? Would you like to be near a specific museum?), what your budget is, and what amenities the apartment will have on hand.
Museum Passes Aren’t Always Necessary
It’s easy enough to purchase Paris museum passes in advance or in Paris itself. But be careful that you don’t purchase too large of a pass package. There is a LOT to see and do in Paris. Depending on how long you are in town, and what time of year, there could be long lines to get into the most popular attractions. If you buy an expensive museum pass, you might find yourself feeling rushed to hit everything on the list. Hopefully this won’t be your last visit to The City of Lights, and you can visit the other places on your next trip.
Don’t Tip Servers and Don’t Pay For Water
A meal in Paris, whether a quick cafe au lait and croissant at a corner bakery or a five star sit down meal, always feels special. But no matter where you dine, remember that you do not tip waiters in Paris. Here’s a great guide for when not to tip and when to tip.
Another tip for first time visitors to Paris: you don’t need to pay for water. Tap water is perfectly drinkable in Paris!
Plan Breakfast On The Go
Rather than eat in your hotel, stroll the city streets for more traditional Parisian breakfasts. There are always cafes that will have light (and less expensive) fare available. And, it’s acceptable in France to wander the streets having your breakfast. If you’re in an apartment, go to the local market and load up on breakfast foods for your place. And don’t get pulled into any signs that say breakfast in English – this will be a non-authentic and pricey option.
Anyone’s first visit to Paris is magical and special. Make it even better by implementing some of these tips to make it even more enjoyable.