1. Learn a few French phrases. Learn sil vous plait, merci, and pardon. Anytime you walk into a store, you will be greeted “Bonsoir” or “Bonjour” and it’s polite to greet them back. When you leave the store, you should say, “Au revoir”. You’ll be amazed how powerful the following phrase is: “Je suis désolé, je ne parle pas français”. Vendors will usually jump in before you even finish the sentence and try to help you in English.
2. Wander. Combine the Metro with long walks to really see Paris. You won’t get lost and if you do, the Metro will get you back to the center of things. On the Metro, buy the discounted book of ten tickets – the carnet. Tickets can be shared among multiple family members. Make sure to hold onto your ticket to exit from the station. Download a free app with the Paris metro map for your phone. When your feet complain that they can’t go another step, then find a table at a café and sit – drink wine or coffee, people watch and plan.
3. Make time for the Museums. The Paris Museum Pass provides free entry and quicker entry to over 50 museums and monuments. Don’t try to do the whole Louvre in one day. Pick one section based on your interests and take your time. Don’t forget the smaller museums—like the Picasso museum and the Rodin. You can wander the Rodin Garden. The Musée de l’Orangerie has Monet’s water lilies, and the Musée d’Orsay has Manet’s pieces and lovely views from the roof deck.
4. Be adventurous, but be smart too. Avoid scams and pickpockets. If some encounter doesn’t feel right, don’t engage…just keep on walking. To get across the busy roundabout over to the Arc De Triomphe, there are stairways leading down to tunnels that run underneath the road. Free public bathrooms are rare. Be sure to find a bathroom whenever you’re at an attraction or in a restaurant.
5. Eat, drink and be merry. Look for places that advertise fait maison and have a little drawing of a house and pan with a lid – that indicates that they make their food in-house. Enjoy fresh baked bread and croissants at a boulangerie. If you order a café with that croissant, you’ll get a very strong espresso. If you want something more like a latte, you’ll want to order a crème. A proper French meal ends with fromage (cheese!). Enjoy a picnic – pick up a baguette, some cheese, fruit and a bottle of wine and head to a park. The Champ de Mars in front of the Eiffel Tower is a great place for an afternoon picnic.
<<I can guide you on selecting the best arrondissements and hotels as your travel base for your Paris adventure. I’m able to secure discounted passes for Paris attractions and tours. Let’s book a dinner cruise on the Seine River. Let’s plan a daytrip out to Versailles or a train ride out to the Champagne region for a glass or two of bubbly. And Paris is a great hub for other European travel by train – be in Brussels in an hour, London in two, and Amsterdam in three.