Paris Travel Tips & Photos
Do you need Paris tips or inspiration for your upcoming trip?!
While I am not any kind of expert, I wanted to share some helpful Paris tips as well as photos and my experience from my time in the City of Lights. Hopefully, these will provide some inspiration and help with your trip planning
While I was on my round the world trip, I spent 2.5 weeks in Paris during the winter of 2011. From San Sebastian, Spain, I went on to Paris. I took the express train from the border of Spain in a town called Hendaye to Paris. The train journey took about 6 hours and when I arrived in Paris, I stayed with some of my friends at their apartment in Montmartre.
My friend Joanne who was living in Paris at the time gave me instructions on how to get from the Montparnasse train station in Paris to her apartment. Getting around was fairly easy even with my minimal French. The only problem I encountered was using my credit card because at the time it did not have a chip. Rather than use an automated machine for a Metro ticket, I had to line up and buy one from a ticket agent.
Paris was exactly as I imagined and more. When I got to my friends’ place in Montmartre, I was very shocked to see that it was actually spacious. It was not typical of Parisian apartments minus the kitchen and bathroom. There was even an elevator which was handy to get my rolling suitcase up to the fourth floor.
Find some helpful Paris tips at the bottom of this post!
Outside of the Louvre in Paris
Here’s a hall in the Louvre. It is as amazing as you think it will be!
Nike The Winged Goddess of Victory sculpture inside the Louvre
Everyone wanting to see the Mona Lisa
The Mona Lisa, way small and underwhelming (IMHO)
Skeletons in the Paris catacombs
The ceiling in Sacre Coeur
Rooftops in Paris. View from Montmartre
I lit candles for my late mother at Notre Dame Cathedral
I walked into a photo shoot and this cute model boy. Bonjour!
Ohh la la Laduree!
St Ouen flea market
Grand Roue Paris
The Seine River
Jim Morrison of the Doors’ grave at Pere La Chaise
Oscar Wilde’s grave at Pere La Chaise
Shakespeare and Company bookstore in Paris
Merci Shop neon sign that reads: “Luxury is not a pleasure but pleasure is a luxury”
The iconic Tour Eiffel at night
Here are some Paris tips that I can share:
- Americans!! Please note, some train ticket machines will not accept your chipless cards. Call your bank to see if you can get one before you depart for Europe. I experienced several occasions when my then chipless card gave me problems.
- Buy bulk rides for your Metro pass rather single tickets, there is usually a discount for doing so.
- Buy groceries at Carre Four if you are staying in a hotel or apartment rental with a fridge. Eat yogurt (good for the traveling stomach), fruit, cereal, etc. to save money.
- Buy baguettes from the boulangerie, cheese from the fromagerie, meats from the boucherie, and pastries from the patisserrie. Yes, we North Americans are used to one stop shopping but this is Paris! Do as the Parisians do!
- Walk a lot. I walked instead of taking the bus or metro to counterbalance all the macarons I was eating as well as save money.
My thoughts and pointers I want to share about Paris:
- Coffee is actually not that good in Paris. There are some good coffee shops opening but if you’re a serious coffee drinker, you will most likely be disappointed. The cafe au laits you think you’ll be savoring? Pretty weak!
- There is dog poop everywhere! People do not pick up after their dogs like they do in North America and at one point in Paris, you will be stepping in it. I thought I was safe but on my last day, I walked out of Pere La Chaise cemetery, pulled a fast corner and stepped in a pile of poop. Ugh.
- Some cool shops to check out are Merci and Colette as well as a bookshop called 7L which is primarily photography and fashion books. It was opened by Karl Lagerfeld
- Get some falafels at L’As Du and if you’re craving something American, check out Bob’s Juice Bar
- People always say Parisians are rude. I didn’t find that the case and dusted off my Canadian school French. So here’s something to combat the so-called rudeness: Learn some key phrases in French!
Helpful words and phrases to know in French:
Hello: Bonjour (Good day)
Good night: Bon soir
Goodbye: Au revoir
I will have the salted caramel macaron: Je voudrais le caramel de sel macaron
I will have 8 macarons please (a box of Laduree macarons): Je voudrais huit macarons s’il vous plait.
Thank you very much: Merci beaucoup
I don’t speak French: Je ne parle francais pas.
I don’t understand: Je ne comprend pas.
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