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Top 20 Travel Tips For Paris You Need to Know Before Visiting [2019]

Traveling can be daunting, but nothing a few tips won’t unwrinkle that brow.

If you’re planning a trip soon, here are some travel tips for Paris to help you get the most out of your visit. You can also check this 100 travel tips list for more general travel advice.

Working around your budget is frustrating and we understand perfectly – here are some tricks to shave down travel costs and upgrade your comfort while enjoying your vacancy.

1. Book a hotel inside Paris, near a major metro station

But won’t it be expensive? Not necessarily so.

We recommend staying near major metro stations such as Saint-Michel Notre Dame, Chatelet Les Halles, Charles de Gaulle Etoile, Montparnasse, Odeon, and Nation for convenient travel.

You’ll save time and budget as you won’t have far to commute. Book early for cheaper fares; there are also plenty of mid-range hotels, hostels, and guesthouses for strict budgets.

2. Write down your hotel name, address, and phone number

This is for three reasons:

  • When you’re filling out arrival forms for immigration, they’ll most likely ask you for these details.
  • It is stressful trying to navigate a foreign city especially if you don’t speak the language. Keep the hotel name and address on you to ask for help if lost. It is also convenient to show taxi drivers or for when you’re ordering an Uber.
  • Your hotel’s phone number is great for emergencies and if you run into any trouble with the language barrier as the staff will be able to get you the help you need.

3. Always say bonjour and au revoir

Always greet people with a Bonjour
Always greet people with a Bonjour © Alexis Brown

Veer on the side of politeness and friendliness where you can.

Paris locals are more likely to meet and greet you with a smile if you give their language a whirl.

Start off your interactions with a bonjour even if you don’t speak enough French to follow up, and tap off with an au revoir.

4. Wake up for sunrise (at least once)

Wake up for sunrise at least once in your trip to Paris
Wake up for sunrise at least once in your trip to Paris © Willian West

With a myriad of vantage points (think hills, gardens, beautiful bridges, and towers) available, definitely set the clock early to catch sunrise.

If your hotel room has a balcony, chances are that you can watch the spreading glow without having to leave your room.

It’s beautiful, it’s parisian romantic and it’s an “at least once” experience you don’t want to miss.

5. Get a Paris Pass

There is never enough time to see everything, and our itinerary is often limited by our budget as well.

Luckily, the Paris Pass steps up as a solution – gathering all your travel cards, entry passes, and sightseeing needs into one package, it is the ultimate investment that will save you time and money.

The Paris Pass covers free and fast-track entry to over 60 major attractions, a 1-day Hop-on Hop-off Bus Tour pass, a Paris Viste Travelcard you can use on metro and buses, and a comprehensive guidebook detailing how and where to use it.

A couple at the Louvre - Honeymoon in Paris
A couple at the Louvre © kissinparis.com

Sounds like a good deal right?

The Hop-on Hop-off Bus Tour saves you the hassle of navigating between attractions whilst giving you a scenic, commentary-provided tour around Paris.

You’re free to choose which landmarks to visit and which ones to pass.

Big Bus Paris Tour
© Charles Platiau / Reuters

What you don’t manage to see with this 1-day pass is made up for with the Paris Visite Travelcard, included in Paris Pass enabling unlimited use of public transport within central Paris for the length of your stay.

Cut down on waiting time and entry cost with the Skip-the-Line ticket included.

Classic Paris must-do experiences such as the Louvre Museum, the Paris Opera House, the Palace of Versailles, and Bateaux Parisiens River Cruise can be enjoyed at reduced prices.

Be sure to read through the guidebook for details on special privileges. Check out the official Paris Pass website for more informations.

6. Explore Paris streets on foot

Walk as much as you can in Paris
Walk as much as you can in Paris © Esther Driehaus

Interact with an authentic Paris by traveling on foot.

Buses and the metro might save you some commute time, but you’ll miss out on the hidden gems and photography spots on the way!

Delve into the narrow lanes and cobbled enclaves, and find some of Paris’ best viewing bridges.

You won’t regret it and it’s a good way to budget too.

7. Wear comfortable shoes

Adding to the above tip, do wear comfortable shoes.

You don’t want to break in new shoes and get blisters on your first day; you’d be miserable hobbling around the rest of your trip.

As tempting as it is to dress fashionably, you should prioritize comfortable shoes for maximum walking potential.

8. Be prepared for blisters (and other medical emergencies)

In the event that you get blisters from walking too much anyway, pre-emptively suit up with some first-aid care.

Prepare for your travels by packing with you Compeed’s Blister Care which are my absolute favourite blister care. I always have a pack in my bag when I travel or when I buy new shoes. They’re that effective!

Compeed Blister Care

They cradle the arch where the heel meets the back of your shins, and buffers pressure on the protruding bone of your big toe. If you feel like a blister is about to pop, use these plasters to cushion the area; they’ll relieve friction and pressure.

Pack-up from Amazon here and forget your blisters.

It is also a good idea to pack basic medicines for headaches, coughs, stomachaches and whatever you’re susceptible to.

A range of plasters and alcohol wipes are standard bring-along too. You can keep them in a small baggie or in a plastic case for easy find.

And of course, don’t leave behind any long-term medication.

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9. Avoid eating in tourist areas

Search for authentic Parisian restaurants where to eat
Search for authentic Parisian restaurants where to eat © Valentin B. Kremer

This one might be hard to pull of sometimes because hunger waits for no one, but try to avoid restaurants within touristy areas.

That’s not to say that they’re not delicious but they tend to be more expensive and you’ll find equally yummy eats at lower budget range.

Restaurants in tourist areas may also twist recipes to cater to international tastes. Seek out authentic flavor at smaller community establishments instead.

10. Only tip if you really want to

Tipping isn’t required although it is appreciated.

Still, it never hurts to thank someone for their quality care, so tip at your discretion. If you do, keep at a comfortable 10 to 15 percent of the bill but don’t feel obligated to do it.

11. Tap water is free at restaurants

Tap water in France is healthy and free in restaurants
Tap water in France is healthy and free in restaurants © Cloris Ying

Loaded with healthy minerals, adhering to EU hygienic standards, and controlled thousand time a day (Ref. EauDeParis.fr) tap water in Paris is your top-up liquid.

Not only does it taste good, but it is free! If your server asks what water you’d like, make sure to clarify it is tap water you want, or you’ll get (expensive) bottled water or sparkling water instead.

Make sure to ask “une carafe d’eau s’il vous plait” and you’re good to go.

12. Get on a cruise

Bateaux Mouches on the Seine, Paris
These tour boats cruise up and down the Seine, illuminating landmarks with powerful lights mounted on their sides. © Joe deSousa

Take to the waters for an unforgettable experience down the Parisian river.

You’ll pass under stunning bridges and drift along major attractions such as Eiffel Tower and Notre Dame Cathedral.

Best of all, this unique sightseeing tour is covered by the Paris Pass; it includes a Bateaux Parisiens River Cruise ticket for free!

If you don’t have a Paris Pass you can get a cheap seine cruise ticket, or you can get a full lunch or diner seine cruise to enjoy your meal in an extremely romantic way.

13. Learn some key French phrases

Learn basic french to communicate with people
Try to learn basic french to communicate with people © Alice Triquet

Try to connect with the locals by making an effort with the language. This travel tip is relevant in any country you’ll visit.

Not only is it nice to show interest in their culture, knowing a few phrases will help you travel smoother too.

Start a notes page on your phone with some simple words such as greetings, directional verbs, place nouns (like bathroom, restaurant, airport, etc.) and ‘thank you’.

14. Bring travel plug adapter for your electronics

Make sure you get to charge your electronics by bringing a travel plug adapter that fit French sockets.

France uses Type C and Type E sockets, which has two round prongs and are ungrounded.

Your adapter should have rounded or pointed ends and should be round-shaped; newer French sockets are recessed so square-ended plugs won’t fit unless the package states otherwise.

You can get this 2019 updated universal adapter from Amazon that you can use in France and all the countries you’ll visit.

Universal Travel Plug Adapter

To avoid burning out your electronics, also bring a converter plug that runs at 220-240 volts. While most modern devices such as laptops and phones have built-in converters, check if your other appliances have dual-voltage switches.

15. Get Insured

Insurance is the one safety net you should not go without. Why? Because it will cover any unexpected loss or medical emergency that happens overseas. This includes misplaced or stolen luggage, flight cancellations, medical emergencies, and in the worst-case scenario, death.

Insurance largely reduces costs incurred on such occasions; overseas hospital fees could mirror the cost of your entire trip. Trip-based insurance doesn’t have to be expensive either. Make sure this insurance covers all days of your trip and covers your planned activities. It should be a good fit for your adventure.

World Nomads provides great insurance offers for travelers, covering over 150 adventure activities. Created by travelers who understand the risks of various fun endeavors (and the desire to enjoy these activities, no fear), their insurance policy is extremely flexible and comprehensive. You can go scuba diving or bungee jumping, or challenge mountain biking depending on which plan you go for.

Best of all, they provide a 24/7 emergency hotline. The multilingual service center will help connect you to emergency personnel and transport of the city you’re in. You can also buy and extend your insurance package while traveling; it’s that easy.

Check out the official World Nomads website for more details and ask for a quote or try playing with the widget below to get your personalized quote.

16. Be aware of pickpockets

Be aware of the pickpockets in the metro and on the streets
Be aware of the pickpockets in the metro and on the streets

Unfortunately, pickpockets do still thrive in Europe. Be diligent with your belongings especially in crowded and well-known tourist areas.

If you’re carrying a purse, keep it zipped at all times and on your shoulder. Sling bags should be on your front, facing forwards. For backpacks, bury your important documents and electronics at the bottom.

It’s also a good idea to carry waist pouches that can be hidden under your clothes; this way, you wouldn’t have to open your bag every time you need cash.

Pay attention to your surroundings! And pay double attention to where your phone is.

Stay safe.

17. Use the public transportation

The Paris Metro
Paris has a very advanced transportation network. Don’t hesitate to take the metro or the buses © Charles Loyer

Paris’ public transport is great for when you can’t walk the distance and conveniently extends out from the city center to wherever you need to go. There’s no need to rent a car or spend extra cash on a taxi or Uber.

One thing to remember is not to throw away your ticket!

Metro and bus staff might ask to check your ticket for verification, so make sure to keep it with you until you’ve exited the station at your destination.

18. Bring your student ID

You might not be aware of this, but people under the age of 26 are categorized under the umbrella of ‘youths’ – you’re still eligible for discounts.

Bring along your student ID or simply show any identification card if you fall within the ‘student’ or ‘youth’ classification.

Take advantage of the many discounted museums and spaces in Paris to stay within budget.

19. Get a Skip The line Ticket for fast museum entry

Tourists taking photo of Mona Lisa painting in the Louvre museum
The lines can be very long! Get a skip-the-line ticket to avoid wasting time during your trip to Paris © Alicia Steels

Be smart with your time! Avoid long lines at museums by purchasing a Skip the Line ticket.

You don’t want to wait two to three hours with the masses when saving time means you can visit more sites.

Note that the Paris Pass includes a Skip the Line ticket for over 60 attractions, and most with free entry. Simply show your pass for at the fast track entry.

For more information on which attractions are covered, visit the Paris Pass website.

Or if you want specific skip-the-line tickets here is a selection:

20. Don’t be a rude traveler, be a responsible one

This travel tip speaks for itself. Be a responsible traveler and respect the city you’re visiting. While there are many unspoken cultural etiquette you’d be hard-pressed to pick up in just a few days, basic respect is universal:

  • Don’t throw rubbish everywhere. Help keep the streets clean by hunting down trash cans or keeping your garbage with you until you can dispose of it.
  • Don’t be noisy. Holidays are exciting but it is no excuse to disturb those who are going about their daily routines.
  • Be polite. Greet people with a smile and say thank you when the occasion calls for it – and even better if you try it in French.
  • Be open-minded. Recognize that you are in a different country with different cultural values. You might come across things that surprise or shock you, but don’t be so quick to judge them.

And The Last Tip: Have Fun

Take your time and enjoy your trip to Paris
Take your time and enjoy your trip to Paris. Have Fun! © Destlii

Most importantly, enjoy your trip! Travel is rarely 100% smooth – you can almost expect a bump or two on the way.

How these bumps affect you is a matter of attitude.

Embrace your experiences and focus on what is going well; you’re here to release stress so don’t go looking for it.

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