Love & Lourve- Paris
Paris, the city of love and the Louvre, has so much to see and do it had my head spinning.
Paris is a lovely city- although I think that it may be a little over-hyped. I was surprised to see so much graffiti and dirty streets in quite a few areas, but nothing I haven’t seen in other cities. Also, I wish I could say that the stereotype that French people are rude is wrong- but their attitude was nothing to write home about.
My first tip for Paris is to decide what kind of trip you want and what you really want to see. Do you want to stroll through the streets of Paris? Do you want to check every attraction off your list? I say this because you can easily get caught up in this beautiful city and get overwhelmed by the sheer quantity of attractions it has. It’s almost impossible to see everything Paris has to offer- so don’t overdo it, pick what you think you will really enjoy.
Tip #2– Do NOT go in the summer. However tempting it may be, skip this busy season and not only for the weather, but because everyone in Paris goes on vacation in August. All the cafes and restaurants we had bookmarked and were ready to go to were closed. One of the days that we were there was a bank holiday and not a single soul was in the street.
Tip #3– Do buy the Paris Pass- whenever I travel to a major city, I look into their city pass and see if the attractions I want to see are on there and what else it includes. In the case of the Paris Pass, it was well worth it. Some attractions have to be booked in advance and separately, such as the Louvre. We were able to see all the attractions we wanted, but the biggest plus was the included unlimited subway pass which was how we got around the city.
Tip #4- Do buy designer in Paris- the savings are unbeatable. Don’t even waste your time or money buying designer in the states- it’s priced higher and you pay taxes. I compared prices in Paris and Italy and they were the same, so you can save anywhere in Europe. In Europe, tax is included in the price- so, not only do you pay a cheaper price, you also get refunded the tax once you leave Europe. The experience is quite nice as well. The store clerks will offer you champagne and drinks to celebrate the very LARGE amount of money you are about to drop. Enjoy the moment. I do not recommend going to the flagship stores, they have lines circling around the building. Go to the smaller, quieter stores and expect better treatment.
Tip #5- If you want pictures without a million other tourists- go EARLY. Arrive well before the opening times of most of these attractions and you will get beautiful pictures. Also, stop relying on strangers to take your pictures and then having to pretend you like the way they came out. Buy a cheap phone tripod like this one I purchased from Amazon, and take your own photos.
Not a soul in sight at 8am
Tip #6- Skip Versailles- UNLESS you purchase a guided tour that will get you straight into this beautiful palace. We waited TWO AND A HALF HOURS to get in and it was the worst experience. The line was so ridiculous- and once you are an hour into the line, it’s almost painful to think to leave. Once inside, the place is so crowded and full of tourists just standing around trying to take pictures (that they will LITERALLY never look at again- let’s be honest) it’s about the last place you want to be in. Also, the gardens have a separate line and a separate cost- so if waiting in more lines sounds like fun- go for it!
Tip #7– Do not expect anything to be in English. Paris is an international city and with the sheer amount of tourists they have visiting the city it is truly a wonder why they don’t have basic English in places like the metro or street signs. We were sitting on a train one day when all of a sudden it came to a stop and an announcement came on and many people got off. We waited for the English translation- and it never came. Also, If you try to learn some French beforehand, people are a little more receptive to helping you
Tip #8- Do catch the sunrise in Paris- it’s unbeatable.