It’s hard not to fall in love with the city of romance. Paris is home to The Eiffel Tower, The Louvre, romantic streets, old churches, chic bistros, beautiful rooftops, lovely food and picturesque sidewalk cafes and so much more. With thousands of years of history, you could return to Paris again and again for the rest of your life and there will always be something new to discover and experience. Like with most large cities, you’re first visit can be overwhelming and we recommend you plan your visit to be longer than 2 – 3 days.
Learn basic French
Make an effort to learn basic French. For example, greet or start conversations with “Bonjour” (Hello), or “Bonjour monsieur,” (Hello Sir) or “Bonjour, madame,” (Hello Madame), or “parlez-vous anglais?” (do you speak English?) This simple effort to speak French before you inevitably start speaking English and pointing at things will earn you extra respect from whomever you are exchanging with. Other basic French you should know are, “Au revoir,” (Goodbye until we meet again ); “sil vous plaît” (please) ; “merci” (thank you) and “excusez-moi” (excuse me)
Beware of pickpockets
Be extra vigilant when travelling on the Paris metro system. Keep all of your most important belongings at the bottom of your backpack or shoulder bag. Make sure you keep a firm grip on your bag to prevent being target of snatch & run robbers. A good idea would be to leave most of your wallet contents in the hotel safe and go out with only a small amount of cash and one of your credit cards. This is logical when travelling around all big cities – not just Paris!
Use public transport
The simplest and cheapest way to travel around Paris is on the metro or bus network. A single journey costs around €2 and a book of 10 tickets (perfect for traveling around Paris) is only €15. Private taxis are every expensive and should be avoided for long journeys. Uber is operating in Paris and offer more competitive prices. The best way to get to central Paris from Charles de Gaulle Airport is to take the train. Once you reach Gare du Nord, you can connect to you final destination using the metro. And finally, there are dozens of really great apps designed for navigating around Paris – we recommend Citymapper!
Book ahead to avoid long queues
The best way to avoid queues (and save money) is to purchase The Paris Pass. If you’re looking to visit all the major attractions that Paris has to offer, then buying The Paris Pass is a must. You’ll not only get free unlimited travel on the metro, RER, and buses – you can also skip the long queues so you can spend more time taking in the sights and less time waiting in lines.
Be careful crossing the road
Zebra crossings are just a welcome pattern on the road for some Paris road users, so pay extra attention when you are crossing the road. The same goes for road crossings with lights. When the light is green, take extra caution while crossing the street. Like any other country you visit, you have to keep mind that the way people use the roads in the country you’re visiting may be very different to what you’re used to in your home country.
Tipping is not required
In Paris (and across France), tipping is not usual unless, so do not feel pressured to tip. For example, the restaurant bill you receive will have a 15% service charge already added to the total cost. The charge is included in the price stated on the menu – it’s not an extra cost at the end of the meal. Of course, this doesn’t mean you don’t have to tip. A tip will always be welcomed like most places in the world!
Emergency Numbers in Paris
- Medical Emergencies: Dial “15”
- Fire brigade: Dial “18”
- Police: Dial “17”