As a first time traveler to Paris, I had no idea what to expect. You hear these stories about pickpocketing, dirty streets, mean and/or rude people, etc. but you really don’t know what to expect. I tried reading some Do’s and Don’ts that other bloggers had posted but they were mainly about clothing and dressing for the winter time. Here’s some that I came up with that I think would have helped me
DO try to learn French.
In France, language is very important. French people are proud of their language. I made the mistake of not saying bonjour to someone and I got a rude stare and got ignored. So, learn some basic words and phrases such as the following:
- Bonjour/bonsoir – hello, good day/good evening
- Madame/monsieur – ma’am/sir
- Si vous plait – please
- Merci – thank you
- Ou se les toilettes? – Where is the bathroom?
- Un carafe d’eau – non-bottled drinking water/tap water
DO try all the foods!
I love cheese but I love my certain cheeses. I don’t like to venture out much but I tried it here and it was an amazing experience. Also, escargot is a MUST TRY.
DO take the metro.
Metro passes come in handy. Whether you buy a day pass or a booklet of ten, you can get anywhere and everywhere. And it’s much cheaper than getting an Uber or taxi and having the fare raise because of traffic .
DON’T rush yourself.
DON’T plan out your whole day, minute to minute.
These two go together; Plan parts of your day (such as large attractions or places you plan on spending a lot of time at) but don’t plan every minute and detail of your day. You will fall in love with a small bookshop and stay there for an hour. You will walk by a café or brasserie and stay for a tea or coffee.
DON’T stay at a hotel.
Get the full Parisian experience and stay at an Airbnb!
DO see the tourist attractions.
DON’T only see the tourist attractions.
These two also go together; You’re in Paris so of course you should go see the Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame, Arc de Triomphe, etc. But venture out and find the not so popular sights such bookshops, one shop boutiques, patisseries, etc.
DO visit neighboring countries if you have the time.
London is only a two-hour high speed train ride away. Amsterdam is three and Belgium is two. Even if it’s just for a weekend, a day even, try to make it out to the neighboring countries while you’re in Europe.
DO carry around an umbrella.
ESPECIALLY when visiting during the winter time, rain falls out of nowhere. It’s like a heavy drizzle rainfall.
DON’T be afraid to wear colors.
Many people think that Parisians only wear white, black, and grey. But don’t be afraid to have a little pop of color or even a light tan coat. Just stay away from the neon colors of course.
DO wear a scarf.
Most, if not all, Parisians wear a scarf. It’s just a thing here I guess.
DON’T wear heels or uncomfortable shoes.
There is A LOT of walking that happens in this city. Also, all the streets are uneven or cobble stone and it’s not fun walking around in heels with streets in that condition.
My biggest DO is DO HAVE FUN. Paris may seem scary. Whether it’s because of the horror story of pickpockets or the recent threats, don’t let that stop you from going out an exploring the city. Do be aware of your surrounding but don’t let it stop you from having a good time.