5 best tips when visiting Paris!
Paris is a magical city that is on many people's list of places to visit. Everyone knows of the Eiffel Tower, the hundreds of cafes and bakerys that line the street, the magnificent Notre Dame cathedral, but here is a list of valuable tips and suggestions just to make your trip to Paris a little more special.
See Paris by bike
Transportation in Paris is excellent. No matter where you are within Paris, there is most likely a metro station within 10 minutes walking distance. Sure, the metro gets you from A to B in no time, but if you have time to spare, why not enjoy the city from above? To make it even more convenient, Paris has set up an excellent bike rental system called 'Velib'. You can subscribe to the system for an hour, a day, a week or even a year. There are bike stations every few blocks, so all you need to do is check out a bike, ride to your destination, check in your bike, and off you go! Riding the bike along the Seine river and within the streets of Paris is a different experience that is more memorable than traveling through the underground.
Learn a few basic French phrases
The French are infamous for being stereotyped as rude and impolite. But having lived in Paris, I have yet to meet a rude French. You will find that a little effort on your part will go a long way. If anything, learn "Bonjour" (Hello), and "Parlez vous Anglais?" (Do you speak English?). You may find that the French are much more willing to speak to you if you attempt to speak in their language first. Just think how you would react if a foreigner came to you in your country, and blurted out something in their own language that you cannot understand... don't assume that everyone speaks english.
Book in advance
Everyone hates waiting in line, and yes, lines at major tourists attractions can be long. The average wait time during peak tourist season to go to the top of the Eiffel tower is about 2 hours. But book your tickets online, several months in advance and you will have virtually zero waiting time. The same goes for the Louvre.
Beware of pick pockets!!
People tell themselves they are prepared for pick pockets, and they are always aware of the belongings, yet hundreds and hundreds of tourists still fall victim to theft. Don't leave items of value in your pocket, or even visible for anyone to see. Thieves can snatch phones right out of people hand's. Don't sign any papers, when the Roma's come at you with their clipboards and beg for signatures. They will empty your pockets when you are distracted. Thieves are always coming up with new and clever ways to outsmart you. So don't ever let your guard down!
Look past the obvious
To truly enjoy Paris and all it's charms, one must look past the obvious attractions such as the Eiffel Tower and the touristy street of Champs Elysees. If time allows, walk along the Seine river, explore the alleys and little boutiques. Breathe in the air and enjoy the smell of freshly baked bread. Visit the lesser known attractions such as the eery Catacombs, the hauntingly beautiful cemetery of Pere Lachaise, or walk through the pedestrian street of Rue Montorgueil and enjoy some of the best meats, cheese and wine that Paris has to offer.
Paris is a beautiful city full of rich history and charm. Although a relatively small city, there are plenty of things to do and see. Don't let pickpockets ruin your time there, and remember to open your eyes, nose and ears to all the city has to offer even if you are just walking to your hotel. Every single moment is to be enjoyed and remembered for years to come.