75 Tips for a Great Vacation in Paris
You’ve been dreaming about it, and now you’re getting ready to go for your first vacation in Paris. How do you make sure you’re going to have the best possible visit?
First, admit right at the beginning that you can’t see everything. There’s just too much Paris for one trip (even 10 trips). So, pick and choose by interest, and perhaps by neighbourhood. Rather than race all over the city, pick an area and really explore. Make time to sit in cafés and parks, watching the passing parade. That’s what Parisians do. You should do the same on your vacation in Paris.
The #1 Tip for your Vacation in Paris – Plan, Plan, Plan
Please do not come to Paris with nothing planned thinking you’re just going to “wing it”. That’s a sure route to exhaustion and not having a good time.
You need to plan your vacation in Paris. A simple rule of thumb – for each day, choose one “main event”, say a museum, a monument (Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame, etc.) and then some less structured ideas – e.g. picnic in a park, shopping, hanging out in cafés. Don’t try to cram two big museum visits into one day, or two events that are on opposite sides of town.
Then, for all museums or events, buy tickets or passes ahead of time. Just “showing up” at the Louvre with no advance ticket means at least an hour in line – a complete waste of time.
Nice restaurants require reservations, sometimes weeks in advance. Plan accordingly.
Paris Travel Tips – Best Times to Visit Paris
If possible, make your vacation in Paris during the spring or fall. It’s less crowded than summer, and all stores will be open. Did you know that many small stores and restaurants in Paris close for weeks at a time in summer? Parisians take their vacations seriously! So, May/June or September/October are both wonderful times to visit Paris. The weather is usually perfect for walking around, the shops are all open and you’ll miss the summer crowds.
Summer Vacation in Paris
What if your only time for visiting Paris is summer? No worries, there will still be lots to do. Paris really makes an effort to entertain visitors during their busiest season. But there WILL be tourist crowds at the monuments and big museums, so go first thing in the morning (find the opening times and be there 15 minutes ahead), or find alternatives to the most popular sites and museums.
What to do? Wander through the neighborhoods. Go to a park. Find a little café or restaurant, order a glass of wine and just hang out, living like a Parisian. Or head to one of the summer-only attractions, the Paris Plages, man-made “beaches” along the Seine. They truck in tons of sand, chairs, tables, loungers, open boat bars… and hey you’re on the beach in the middle of Paris. Find free movie screenings in parks. More events throughout Paris are listed here.
AIR CONDITIONING TIP: Before you book your summer accommodation, make sure it’s air conditioned. Don’t take it for granted – some smaller hotels and many rental apartments won’t be, and Paris can be très hot during summer. Get up-to-date hotel prices here.
Finding Your Way – Paris Arrondissements
Study a map to learn the Paris arrondissements, aka, the Paris neighbourhoods. They’re numbered from 1 – 20, in concentric circles with 1 – 8 being the center of the city and then 9 – 20 in the ring around them. Outside of these arrondissements are the Parisian suburbs, which can be interesting to explore, but for your first time, you’ll want to stay in the downtown area.
Postal Codes: the Key to Paris Arrondissements
It’s worth understanding the “postal codes” – they are the key to the Paris arrondissements. It’s how Parisians see their city. For example, you might see an address with the postal code 75005. The “75” means it’s Paris, and the last numbers are the arrondissement. So, 75005 means it’s in the 5th (Ask a Parisian where they live and they’ll just say the 5th, or 9th, or whatever). The only odd one is the 16th which has both 75016 for the south end, and 75116 for the north.
What’s Where in Paris Arrondissements
Now that you know how Paris arrondissements work, here’s where you’ll find the most popular attractions:
1st and 2nd Paris arrondissements: the right bank of the Seine, The Louvre, Palais Royal, Tuileries Gardens, Musée de l’Orangerie, Jeu de Paume, Place Vendome, Sainte-Chappelle, La Concierge
3rd and 4th Paris arrondissements: this is the Marais with the Notre Dame Cathedral, trendy shops, cafés, the Jewish community, City Hall, Place de Vosges, Centre Georges Pompidou, Picasso Museum
5th Paris arrondissement is the left bank, the Latin Quarter, aka the student quarter, the oldest part of Paris with many inexpensive restaurants, jazz clubs, Shakespeare & Co bookstore, the Pantheon, the Cluny Museum, the Jardin des Plantes municipal gardens
6th Paris arrondissement is St Germain des Près where you’ll find the Jardin du Luxembourg, Luxembourg Museum, church of St-Germain-des-Près, the literary cafés Cafe de Flore, Les Deux Magots, and Brasserie Lipp, the St. Sulpice church and lots of shopping for clothes, chocolate and food
7th Paris arrondissement is the Eiffel Tower, Musée d’Orsay, Rodin Museum, Les Invalides (Napoleon’s Tomb and War Museum), food shopping on Rue Cler, and lots of government offices and embassies
8th Paris arrondissement is the Champs Elysées, Arc de Triomphe, Place de la Concorde, the Grand Palais and Petit Palais, luxury hotels, designer label shopping, embassies, the very civilized Parc Monceau (nannies with rich kiddies), La Madeleine church
9th Paris arrondissement is the “old Paris opera house” the Palais Garnier, the Olympia music hall, department stores Galeries Lafayette and Printemps and lots of shopping
10th Paris arrondissement is one of the new hip ’hoods with new restaurants and cafés springing up, Canal Saint-Martin, the Gare du Nord and Gare de l’Est train stations
11th Paris arrondissement, like the 10th includes Canal Saint-Martin, lots of restaurants and cafés, Le Point Ephémère concert hall. Both the 10th and 11th are still off the main tourist radar (no big museums or monuments) and wonderful places to walk, shop, drink and be Parisian.
12th Paris arrondissement is the Place de la Bastille, the new Opera Bastille, the Bercy Arena and concert hall, Museum of Cinema, the huge Marché d’Aligre market (where many chefs shop), the Gare de Lyon train station and the Bois de Vincennes park (biggest in Paris!)
13th, 14th and 15th Paris arrondissements are not popular tourist destinations, but home to Paris’ Chinatown, the “Lost Generation” restaurants along Blvd Montparnasse (Le Select, La Cloiserie des Lilas), the Paris Catacombs, the Tour Montparnasse (highest observation deck in Paris)
16th Paris arrondissement has the iconic views of the Eiffel Tower from the Trocadero across the Seine, but also the Marmottan Museum (world’s largest Monet collection), the Palais de Tokyo and Museum of Modern Art, luxury shopping and hotels, the Paris Aquarium, Musée du Vin (with tastings!), the Bois de Boulogne park (with horse tracks)
17th Paris arrondissement isn’t generally on the tourist track as it’s mostly a residential area with shops, services and markets for the locals, which makes it perfect if you want to get away from “tourist Paris”
18th Paris arrondissement is Montmartre, “the mountain of martyrs”, the artistic quartier and former home of Van Gogh, Renoir, Pissarro, Toulouse Lautrec, Picasso, Matisse and more. See the Sacré-Coeur church and some of the best views of Paris. Also, the Dali Museum, the Moulin Rouge and more sex shops that you can count.
19th Paris arrondissement is Europe’s biggest Science Museum, the spectacular Philharmonie de Paris concert hall, the Music Museum in the Parc de la Villette, the Parc des Buttes Chaumont and the man-made Basin de la Villette.
20th Paris arrondissement is Belleville, the rowdy revolutionary quartier which was once a place to avoid, but is now artist central, and also being gentrified with new restaurants and cafés. Great city views from the Parc de Belleville, best street murals on Rue Dénoyez, the famous Père Lachaise cemetary (Jim Morrison, Oscar Wilde, Edith Piaf), La Flèche d’Or rock club, across from the hip Mama Shelter hotel.
Where to Stay for your Vacation in Paris – Apartments, Airbnb, Hotels
Pay attention to the arrondisements if you’re booking accommodation. You want to be in 1 – 20, likely 1 – 10 on your first trip. You might see less expensive accommodation outside of the downtown, but unless you’re on a super-tight budget, it’s worth being close to the attractions. It can take quite a while to get into the heart of the Paris arrondissements from the burbs.
Paris Apartment Rentals
Think about renting an apartment Paris, especially if there are more than two of you. In addition to Airbnb, there are a few very good Paris rental agencies with wonderful apartments. We’ve staying twice with Paris Perfect, once in the 5th near the Notre Dame, and once in the 7th with a view of the Eiffel Tower from the bedroom. Spectacular! Also, Cobblestone Paris gets gushing reviews for their apartments in the hip Marais area.
Paris Airbnb Rentals
You’ll also find many wonderful Airbnb apartments in Paris. If it’s your first time renting Airbnb, click here to use our special code to get $50 off your stay. Use the filters to find the right rental for you. In particular, look under “More Filters” so you can choose the arrondissements that interest you.
Why rent an apartment? Easy. It gives you the chance to practice being a Parisian. Visit the markets and shops and buy a few groceries. When you get up in the morning, make your own breakfast and be amazed that you’re actually in Paris eating the rest of yesterday’s baguette (you’ll buy another one later) with wonderful French jam and fresh coffee. If you’re lucky, you have a little balcony or big windows with a view!
Choose a Hotel for a Glamorous Vacation in Paris
Paris has hundreds of hotels from the super-luxury legendary Ritz, George V and Meurice to charming family-operated hotels scattered through the city. Find the latest prices on Paris hotels here. Comparison shop to find one that’s just right for you. We’ve stayed in hotels in the 5th, 6th and 11th. All of them were wonderful – maybe we’re just lucky (or maybe we did tons of research), but we’ve always enjoyed our accommodation in Paris.
Getting Around Paris – Walk and use the Metro
The best way to get around Paris – walking, the Metro and buses. Unless you’re very experienced driving in European cities, you don’t really want to drive here.
Also, think twice about taxis. You can’t hail them on the streets, and they get stuck in traffic like every other car.
Bring comfortable walking shoes and use the Metro. Download a Paris Metro map here. Yes, there are a lot of lines criss-crossing the city. Try to pick the route that will get you closest to your destination without changing lines too often. If you’re going to use the Metro frequently, buy a “carnet”, 10 tickets at once to save.
Download a good map app to your phone, preferably one where you don’t need cell service to use. Google Maps lets you download maps to your phone that don’t require a connection. On your first trip to Paris, this will be a big help orienting yourself.
The Budget Paris Bus Tour
For the price of a bus ticket, catch the 69-route bus that passes by many of Paris’ “greatest hits”. Start either at the west end by the Eiffel Tower or the east at Père Lachaise cemetery. In between, keep your eyes open for the Musée d’Orsay, the Pont Alexandre III, the Grand Palais, the Notre Dame, the Louvre, the Marais and much more.
Paris Walking Tours
This city was made for walking, and there’s nothing like a Paris walking tour to orient you, give you inside knowledge and work up an appetite.
The biggest selection of Paris walking tours are here. Buy your ticket in advance because some of them are very popular and will sell out.
For the literary set, Writers In Paris Walking Tours takes you through the streets of Paris with Hemingway, Fitzgerald, Sartre, Beauvoir, Camus, James Joyce, Gertrude Stein, George Orwell, and many other great writers.
One of the most popular ways to tour Paris is on a bike. Here you’ll find dozens of bike tours in and around Paris – book your tickets to reserve your spot.
Sandeman’s New Europe runs tours in many European cities. In Paris, you can choose from a free tour and over 100 paid tours.
For more personalized tours that could focus on food, art, architecture or history, try With Locals.
Make Time for Paris Parks
Plan to enjoy the legendary Paris parks. Find the café in the busy Tuileries for a lunch under the trees. Picnic on the Champs de Mars facing the Eiffel Tower. Find both the Medici Fountain and a copy of the Statue of Liberty in the Luxembourg Garden.
One of the sweetest Paris parks is the Square du Vert-Galant on the tip of the Île de la Cité (a great spot for your Paris picnic under the willow tree). If you’re up in the boho 19th, the Parc des Buttes-Chaumont offers spectacular views of Paris, especially at sunset.
Learn French Customs and French Manners
For your Paris vacation, make an effort to learn a few French customs and manners or you may find yourself being snubbed. When you enter a restaurant or store, you must greet whoever you meet with a simple “Bonjour” and on the way out, “Au revoir”. I can’t over-emphasize how important this is. Without it, you will think that the French are “so rude”. No, they’re not. They’ve just grown up with basic manners. You say “hello” and “good-bye” without fail.
The French also have a different attitude about customer service in small stores. The shopkeepers are there to serve you. That means you don’t touch and take things from shelves. If you’re interested in a blouse or shirt, indicate it, and the shopkeeper will show it to you. If you walk into a shop and the shopkeeper is busy with someone else, feel free to look, but don’t touch. Wait your turn.
This applies to small food shops too. (We learned the hard way, filling a basket with cheese and dairy products while the shopkeeper was busy – we nearly got thrown out. After a local schooled us, our second visit was much better). They are there to serve you and will take the items off the shelves for you.
In the bigger department stores, it’s much more self-serve.
How to Find the Best Restaurants in Paris
Paris is a pleasure ground of restaurants and cafés. You can just walk into most cafés, brasseries and “tourist restaurants”, but better restaurants will always require a reservation. Plan a couple of weeks in advance for the real hot spots, a few days for others. Check their websites to see if you can book online, or whether you have to phone. If you’re staying in a hotel, call them about two weeks before you get there and ask the concierge to make your reservations.
Although there are restaurants all over the city, today’s hot arrondissements are the 10th, 11th and 12th. This is where the young chefs are opening their own bistros and inventing new dishes. They can be informal, loud and lively… and they’ll be packed, so once more, reservations are a must for most, although a few don’t accept reservations, so get there early.
You can also find a larger selection of Paris food tours here – something for every taste and budget.
Lindsey’s book The New Paris is highly recommended. A great resource and a must read whether it’s your first or 10th time to Paris.
David Lebovitz is a chef and has written our favorite cookbook, My Paris Kitchen. Read it before you go to get into the mood for your trip.
Even with all the information on the web (and sites like this one), we still like a good reference guide. Our favorites have been the Lonely Planet guides. Here’s the latest Lonely Planet guide to Paris. Worth having, either digital or paper version.
And if you still like old-school maps, Lonely Planet has a great Paris map too.
Ordering in a Paris Restaurant
Try to learn at least a bit of French, starting with “restaurant French” so you know what you’re ordering from the menu. The tourist restaurants will have English language menus, but don’t count on it in others. Although some of the servers may be able to help you in English, the menus will all be in French.
In general, Parisian restaurants have fixed menus with no substitutions. The chefs take pride in the plates they send out, and don’t take kindly to “could I have a salad instead of the potatoes”.
Also, if you are vegetarian or have special food requirements, check ahead of time. Don’t make the mistake of going to a classic bistro, where the menu leans heavily on meat, and ask for a vegetarian dish. It’s not likely to happen.
Plan for Your Paris Picnic
Your most memorable meal could be the Paris picnic you make yourself. Shop in a little gourmet grocery store, then a patisserie for a decadent dessert and a wine shop for a half bottle of chilled champagne (take two glasses from your hotel or Airbnb). Then find a bench down along the Seine with a view (there are many near the Notre Dame), and pinch yourself to make sure it’s all real.
How to Shop in a Paris Boulangerie
A tip when you’re in a boulangerie or patisserie buying your baguettes and desserts. The busy ones will have a line-up. Before you get in line, have a look around so that you know what you’re ordering. Once you’ve decided, get in line. Have your money handy, so that when it’s your turn to be served, you’ll be ready (French can get impatient – bad manners to keep them waiting). Also, many of these shops don’t accept credit or debit cards. Check before you enter.
Read more about how to find the right boulangerie for the best baguettes here.
Find the Most Popular Paris Markets
If you’re renting an apartment, going shopping in the markets is one of the real pleasures of Paris. There are over 90 food markets throughout the city. Some are permanent market streets, while others set up one or two days a week.
If you’re looking for a guided market tour (they’re fun – we’ve done it!) and maybe a cooking class too, look here for a great selection. You’ll also find options for Paris flea markets, some of the best in the world!
A Word on Paris Dressing
Parisians have a sense of style and appropriateness. So, in general, sweats and gym clothes belong in the gym, not the street. Men generally don’t wear shorts. If you’re wearing running shoes, make them stylish.
Of course, you can wear what you want, but just know you’re being judged. Here’s an idea – bring one stylish outfit with you, and then shop for the rest.
Paris Museums the Smart Way
The Louvre is massive. Don’t let the size scare you, but on the other hand, don’t try to “do the Louvre” in one visit. It’s worth planning your trip and seeing the sections that are most interesting to you. If you have to see the Mona Lisa, keep in mind it will be mobbed – but hey, it must be done, so just have patience.
Biggest tips – buy your Louvre tickets ahead of time and skip the long line-ups. Don’t waste your Paris visit standing in lines. That’s for amateurs.
Similarly, the Musée d’Orsay will also be busy. Advance tickets will save you time. The d’Orsay has two interesting restaurants – one on the second floor that serves a nice 3-course lunch in palatial surroundings, (we go there every time we’re in Paris) and a less formal one, but incredibly stylish, on the top floor behind one of the giant clocks.
Our favorite Paris museums include:
- Musée de l’Orangerie for the Monet water lily murals on the top floor and the impressionist and post-impressionist collections on the lower level
- Musée Marmottan Monet for a wonderful collection of Monet’s
- Musée Picasso for a spectacular collection of the master’s work
- Centre Georges Pompidou for modern art and its very stylish Georges restaurant and terrace, perfect for a sunset meal or drink
- Fondation Louis Vuitton for the futuristic Frank Gehry designed building and the collection of contemporary art
- Musée Carnavalet for furniture and artifacts from the history of Paris
- Musée National du Moyen Age – Thermes de Cluny for medieval art
- Musée Rodin for Rodin sculptures (The Thinker, The Gates of Hell) and a fine collection of paintings
- Musée du Luxembourg for their themed shows, generally European
- Musée Jacquemart–André for their themed shows, generally European
- The Grand Palais and The Petit Palais for their blockbuster shows
- Museum of Modern Art and the Palais de Tokyo (next door to each other) for contemporary, avant-garde art
There are many more museums in Paris, but these are ones we’ve been to and enjoyed. For all of them, it’s worth checking the website to see whether advance tickets are available, especially for any heavily advertised shows.
What To Do on the Champs Elysée
A quick word on the Champs Elysée. By all means walk it from the Arc de Triomphe down to the Place de la Concorde. You’re in Paris, you have to do it. Once upon a time, this was a glamorous shopping street, but not anymore. Some have compared it to Times Square in New York. However, we think it’s worth doing once, if only for some of the views along the way.
Money-Saving Paris Coupons and Passes
You can save time and money when you buy some of the available passes such as Paris Pass (over 60 of the most popular attractions and tours) or the Paris Museum Pass for admission to over 60 museums and monuments. These passes are particularly good if you want to see a lot of attractions in a few days. More than saving money, a pass saves time since you don’t have to line up for tickets. Check the sites for features and options.
However, if you only want to visit a few museums or attractions, you can still skip the line by buying your tickets online ahead of time.
Plan Ahead for Paris Concerts
We like going to concerts of all kinds when we travel and look up venue listings before we go. From classical music, opera to rock bands in dive clubs, we’ve enjoyed all kinds of Paris concerts. Here are some venues to check before you go.
Rock, Contemporary and R&B venues
Paris is a Mecca for Live Jazz
Paris Concerts: Classical, Opera and Ballet
Tour the jewel box chapel at Sainte-Chappelle. Admire the incredible stained glass which depicts key Bible scenes. More Sainte-Chappelle information and tickets here.
Or, take in a classical concert in Sainte-Chappelle. Go early to give yourself time to admire the stained glass. Read about our visit to Sainte-Chappelle here.
The famous Opéra Garnier (inspiration for Phantom of the Opera) is worth a tour. Advance tickets are here.
Or you could go for the ultimate in Paris concerts, and spend an evening at an opera, concert or ballet at the Opéra-Garnier. Arrive early, have a glass (or two) of champagne in the spectacular lobby and then settle into a red velvet chair for the performance. It doesn’t get any more Parisian than this. Note: when you go to the site, be sure to choose “Palais Garnier” as the site represents a number of locations.
8 of the Best Photography Locations in Paris
- Shoot sunsets from the bridges. Depending on which bridge, get the Notre Dame, Eiffel Tower, reflections in the Seine and boat traffic.
- Head for the roof-top restaurant of the Galeries Lafayette department store for a view with the Eiffel Tower in the background.
- Shoot from the top of the Montparnasse Tower for shots of Paris without the tower (Paris photographers’ joke).
- From Sacré-Coeur or Parc des Buttes-Chaumont you’ll get wide angle views of the city.
- To get unique perspectives of the Eiffel Tower, head to some of the small side streets. You’ll get shots of the tower looming over Parisian restaurants and shops – two in one!
- Consider the “gargoyle shot” from the Notre Dame bell tower, the Champs Elysée from the top of the Arc de Triomphe and the arc of the Seine from the top of the Eiffel Tower.
- Get up at sunrise to shoot street scenes before they become crowded.
- You can shoot inside the Louvre (no flash!), but not Musée d’Orsay. Most museums have signs. If you don’t see one, ask first.
Where to See French Movies with English Subtitles
Parisians love the movies. Do you want to see a French movie, but with English subtitles? Lost In Frenchlation runs subtitled French movies in cinemas throughout Paris. And being French, it starts with a cocktail one hour before screening time.
English Language Bookstores in Paris
Go to the legendary Shakespeare & Co bookstore, just across the Seine from the Notre Dame, even if you’re just browsing. New books, old books, rare books, it’s a bibliophile’s dream. Take note of the events they hold at the store and enjoy their café right next door.
The San Francisco bookstore is another well-known English language shop in Paris. It features mostly used and rare books, with choice selection of new releases.
For over 20 years, the Abbey Bookshop has been the Parisian cultural epicenter for Canadians, Anglophones and Anglophiles from all corners of the world. Although offering a wide variety of Canadian books, its main attraction is an eclectic collection of over 35,000 English titles.
Air Conditioned Cafés and Restaurants in Paris
The French are not big on air conditioning, even during the frequent summer heat waves. Very few homes have AC, hardly any cafés or restaurants either. To help you keep cool, I Prefer Paris created this list of AC-friendly restaurants.
Maitre Albert, 1 Rue Maître Albert, 75005
Bofinger, 5-7 Rue de la Bastille, 75004
Maison Blanche, 15 Avenue Montaigne, 75008
Les Cocottes Arc de Triomphe, 2 Avenue Bertie Albrecht, 75008
Le 24, 24 Rue Jean Mermoz, 75008
Sorza, 51 Rue Saint-Louis en l’Île, 75004- Ile St. Louis
L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon Hôtel du Pont Royal, 5 Rue Montalembert, 75007
Les Bouquinistes, 53 Quai des Grands Augustins, 75006
Ma Cocotte, 106 Rue des Rosiers, 93400 Saint-Ouen at the flea market
Le Petit Pontoise, 9 Rue de Pontoise, 75005
Le Coq Rico, 98 Rue Lepic, 75018
Elmer, 30 Rue Notre Dame de Nazareth, 75003
Blue Elephant, 43 rue de la Roquette, 75011
Bon 25 rue de la Pompe, 75016
La Coupole, 102 Blvd. de Montparnasse, 75014
Glou, 101 rue Vieille du Temple, 75003
La Rotisserie, 19 Quai de la Tournelle, 75005
Les Editeurs, 4 Carrefour de l’Odeon, 75006
Brasserie Lipp, 151 Blvd. Saint Germain, 75006
Mariage Freres, 30 rue du Bourg Tibourg, 75004
The Best Day Trips from Paris
Vincent Van Gogh fan? Then a day trip to the town of Auvers-sur-Oise is a must. This is where Van Gogh spent the last few months of his life, painted some of his best-known masterpieces and is now buried beside his brother Theo. See our review of a day in Auvers-sur-Oise for the details.
Another favorite day trip is to Claude Monet’s home, gardens and water lily ponds in Giverny. About an hour outside of Paris, you’ll see the restored home, the spectacular gardens and the water lily ponds.
Probably the most popular day trip outside of Paris is the Palace of Versailles. Keep in mind that this is a very big site, with a variety of tickets available depending on what you want to see. Advance tickets are a must to ensure you have the best experience.
Be a Smart Traveler in Paris – Avoid Pickpockets and Scams
Like many European cities, pickpockets are at work in Paris, especially on the Metro, the RER train from the airport to downtown, in train stations and popular tourist destinations. Bulging wallets in back pockets, open purses and unguarded bags are favorite targets. Be wary if someone is getting too close to you – a popular trick is for one person to bump and distract you while an accomplice grabs and runs.
Watch for scams, especially involving children. For years now, the Paris “fake petition” scam has used young girls who claim to be deaf and dumb. They approach you with a clip board and want you to sign, and then ask for a donation. Totally fake! Wave them away, and keep walking.
An ancient scam involves a guy who looks like he’s scooping something up from the sidewalk near you. Look! It’s a “gold” ring. Often, he’ll ask if it’s yours – stupid question, right? – and then offer to sell it to you. Don’t engage. Shoo him away. On a recent trip, we encountered this stunt three times in one day. The last time, we just laughed at him.
There’s also the “fake argument” trick. You’re walking down a street, when all of a sudden, a huge argument breaks out amongst a group of people. The natural inclination is to stop and watch for a moment. At that point, busy hands are sneaking up behind you looking to relieve you of wallets and purses. Just walk on…
If you’re in an outdoor café, don’t sling your purse or bag across the back of your chair. It’s such an easy target. Keep it in your lap. Similarly, don’t leave your cell phone on the table. You’ll never catch that kid doing a “grab and run”.
Read About Paris Before You Go
There are thousands of books written about some aspect of Paris. So, whether you’re interested in memoirs, literary fiction, Paris history, food (restaurants or home cooking), the arts… you’ll find something that relates to Paris.
So before you go on your Paris vacation, why not get into the mood?
We have a whole bookcase of Paris books and there are more being added every year. Some of our favorite Paris books are here.
Last Tip – Slow Down
It’s exciting to find yourself in Paris at anytime – but your first time can be overwhelming. You’ll be tempted to rush around and try to get as much into every day as possible.
Resist that temptation. If you enjoy Paris, you can be sure you’ll be back. Those who love Paris, tend to love it a lot. They’ll even find ways to fit in a 3-day stopover on the way to somewhere else.
So, slow down. Enjoy every croissant, every macaron, every café, every walk through the boulevards and along the Seine.
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