Paris Travel Tips & Photos
Do you need Paris tips for your upcoming trip?!
While I am not any kind of expert, I wanted to share some helpful Paris tips. Hopefully, my few tips and photos 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. It was during the winter of 2011. From San Sebastian, Spain, I took a high-speed train from the south of France (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 the Montmartre neighbourhood.
My friend Joanne who was studying in Paris at the time gave me instructions for getting from the Montparnasse train station to the apartment. Getting around was fairly easy even with my minimal French from growing up in Canada. The only problem I encountered was using my credit card for the ticket machine because at the time it did not have a chip. Rather than use an automated machine for a metro ticket, I lined up to buy one from a ticket agent.
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HELPFUL GENERAL TRAVEL TIPS
- Flights: Find a cheap flight using Skyscanner or Momondo. I like these two booking sites because they both search all websites and airlines around the globe including budget airlines.
- Accommodations: I use Booking.com or Tripadvisor to find the best rates on hotels. Hotels.com offers a free night after booking 10 nights
- Get up to $40 off your first Air Bnb stay by using this code!
- Travel Insurance: Having gotten sick on my travels in the past, I never travel without being insured. You never know when something may happen. For my round the world trip and extended long-term travel, I use World Nomads. For other trips, I have used Roam Right and they cover activities like extreme sports.
Find some helpful Paris tips at the bottom of this post!
Paris was exactly as I imagined. When I got to my friends’ place in Montmartre, I was shocked to see that the apartment was spacious. It was not typical of Parisian apartments minus tiny kitchen and bathroom (which is typical of Europe). There was even an elevator which was handy to get my rolling suitcase up to the fourth floor.
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My Parisian Photo Diary
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
Woop there she is. The Mona Lisa, very underwhelming (IMHO)
Skeletons in the Paris catacombs
The ceiling in Sacre Coeur
I lit candles for my late mother at Notre Dame Cathedral
I walked into a photo shoot and this cute model boy. Bonjour!
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
Paris travel 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. I still have problems with some of my chipped American ATM cards.
- Buy bulk rides for your metro pass rather single tickets, there is usually a discount for doing so.
- If you want to save some money on the road, buy groceries at Carre Four if you are staying in an Air Bnb or hotel room with a fridge. Eat yogurt (good for the travelling stomach), fruit, cereal, etc. to save money. Buy larger containers or water and dispense into a reusable water bottle. That way less plastic goes to the landfill.
- Buy baguettes from the boulangerie, cheese from the fromagerie, meats from the boucherie, and pastries from the patisserie. 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 pastries I was eating as well as to save money.
My thoughts and pointers I want to share about my experience in Paris:
- Coffee is actually not that good in Paris (it’s getting better now with third wave coffee shops opening up. If you think Parisian cafes, in general, have great cafe au laits, you are wrong.
- There is dog poop everywhere. People do not pick up after their dogs as they do in North America. At one point in Paris, you will be stepping in it. I guarantee you. I thought I was safe but on my last day, as I walked out of Pere La Chaise cemetery and pulled a fast corner, I stepped in poop. Ugh.
- Some cool retail shops to check out are Merci as well as a bookshop called 7L which is primarily photography and fashion books. It was opened by the late Karl Lagerfeld.
- Eat 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.
- To combat the so-called rudeness: Learn some key phrases in French!
Helpful words and phrases to know in French:
Hello: Bonjour (bon jou)
Good night: Bon soir (bon swa)
Goodbye: Au revoir (o rev wa)
I will have the salted caramel macaron: Je voudrais le caramel de sel macaron (jeh vu dray le ca ra mel de sel ma ca rohn)
I will have 8 macarons please (a box of Laduree macarons): Je voudrais huit macarons s’il vous plait. (jeh vu dray weet ma ca rohn see vu play)
Thank you very much: Merci beaucoup (Mer see bow coo)
I don’t speak French: Je ne parle francais pas. ( Je ne parle frahn say puh)
I don’t understand: Je ne comprend pas. (je ne com pren pa)
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