It’s been a little over three weeks since we got back from our trip to Paris, and we are missing it A LOT — the food, the atmosphere, the architecture, the art, the sidewalk cafes… I could go on and on. We spent most of the week exploring the city, seeing the sites, and eating. It was an amazing vacation!
We did a lot of research to make the most out of our time there. We bought books (see tip #7), asked friends who had visited, and watched many television shows about Paris (we are huge fans of Anthony Bourdain!). I had also been to Paris before, but only for a few days at a time and over six years ago. All in all, all of our research paid off. It was a perfect anniversary trip! For all of you who are thinking about visiting soon or have Paris on your travel bucket list, we’ve put together a top 10 tip list to help make the most out of your time in the city. Enjoy and happy traveling!
- Pick a great hotel with an amazing concierge. Our concierge made our trip. He was able to recommend top restaurants and get us reservations, for lunch and dinner, the whole week! We stayed at Hotel Madison on Saint-Germain.
- If you sit down in a restaurant and there are no French people in it, only tourists, run. Your meal will be mediocre and over priced.
- Tip for avoiding tip #2, don’t eat at places near the tourist attractions; instead find a small café or bistro on a side street a few blocks away. Also, ask your concierge for recommendations (see tip #1).
- Buy the museum pass. It will save you hours of waiting in line to see attractions. You can buy them at the airport at the tourist desk in baggage claim. More information here.
- Take your time and enjoy all the little nuances that make Paris great. Don’t rush or pack your schedule. Stick to 1-3 sites per day.
- Buy a Rick Steve’s pocket guide book. It has all the information you’ll need for the sites and is petite enough to fit inside a purse.
- Bring at least two pairs of great walking shoes. The best way to see the city is by walking and you will be doing a lot of it.
- Make sure you have at least one card with a chip in it, and stop by the ATM every couple days to get cash out for your expected expenses. We saw more than one American who had trouble paying with magnetic strip credit cards — ATM cards with magnetic strips still work perfectly fine though. Cash was the easiest form of payment everywhere we visited.
- Eat a croissant or pastry of your choice at least once a day. Enough said.
- Lastly, soak it all in! Wander around the city on foot, take the two hour lunch, enjoy a glass of wine or espresso, and people watch at a sidewalk cafe!
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