Tourists often think that they can handle organizing their trip to Paris on their own. However, it is important to remember that, not only is Paris a foreign city, for many, it is also a foreign country. While planning a trip to Paris may not seem like it will be much work, many tourists still end up making these 3 common mistakes.
BOOK EVERYTHING IN ADVANCE
While tourists often realize the importance of booking a hotel as soon as possible, they don’t often realize that there are other aspects of their trip that need to be booked, as well. For example, to get to the top of the Eiffel Tower, you have to wait in extremely long lines for hours, taking time away from your vacation. Because of this, it is highly advised to book your tickets to the main attractions (as well as hotels, flights, and transportation) at least 3 months in advance.
To find out how to avoid the lines to the main attractions, click here.
DON’T BE A TOURIST
Although you are in fact a tourist, to get the most out of your Parisian adventure, you have to think like a local. Of course you should visit the Eiffel Tower and the Louvre, but remember that there is much, much more to Paris than its most famous attractions. Take the time to explore less popular areas to get to know the real, authentic Paris.
Try to avoid souvenir shops as much as possible. They are often full of overpriced, cheap-looking trinkets many of which aren’t even made in France. The same goes for street vendors. While those little Eiffel Tower trinkets may look enticing, selling them on the street is actually illegal. Instead, try to check out some local shops off the beaten path to find a quality souvenir that fully embodies your Parisian experience.
As a tourist in a foreign country, it’s easy to feel out of place and a little homesick. While many familiar chain restaurants have made their way to Paris, you should definitely try to avoid them. You are coming to Paris to experience French culture (including delicious food), and frequenting chain restaurants will cause you to miss out on the opportunity to try the authentic French cuisine in the most gastronomic city in the world.
When planning your trip, it’s easy to forget the most basic preparations. As Paris is a major metropolitan city, tourists often think that everyone speaks English and that it is not necessary to know any French. While many Parisians do in fact speak English, you should still come prepared with a list of basic French phrases. Even if you butcher the language, the fact that you made an effort goes a long way with a Parisian.
In addition to familiarizing yourself with basic words and phrases, you should also ensure that you have properly addressed safety concerns. Always be aware of your surroundings, especially in major tourist areas, and avoid carrying money or valuables in open pockets. However, you don’t want to make it obvious that you’re a tourist, so avoid hiding bulky valuables under your shirt or speaking English loudly on the metro.
In addition, you should come with a list of emergency contact numbers. In Paris, there is not one single 911 number for any emergency, but separate numbers for English-speaking police (17) and medical assistance (15). Be sure you know the country code for France (+33), as well.
More posts on Paris: