1. Accommodations: For me, I prefer staying in places offered through Airbnb because I want to experience places as if I were to live there. You know, like a local. Click here to earn $40.00 of travel credit.
The place I stayed in while in Paris is Airbnb # 20823. (See photo below.) It’s gorgeous and within short walking distance to restaurants and shopping. I’d say though, bring your own pillow and don’t use the washer if you do not like to hang your clothes to dry. (There is no dryer.) 😊
Have you stayed at a pretty awesome Airbnb place? If so, please share with me!
2. Eiffel Tower: In my opinion, the best photo of yourself and the Eiffel Tower is at the stairs of the Trocadero Gardens.(See photo below.) It’s free, no lines nor crowds of people. For the best shot, go super early. Google Maps will get you there and depending on how quickly you walk, it shouldn’t take more than 7 minutes from the front of the Eiffel Tower.
3. Next up is the Louvre Museum: *Please note, the Museum is closed on Tuesdays. The main entrance to the Louvre Museum is “Le Pyramide” (obviously, the pyramid. See photo below.) There will always be large lines and this is NOT lines for tickets, it’s strictly a line to get through security. Don’t use this entrance. It’s my recommendation to go through the underground entrance marked “Le Carrousel Du Louvre.” This is Paris’ underground shopping mall. I walked through the “Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel” and walked down on the left. Follow the signs for the ticket booth for the Louvre Museum.
4. Notre Dame Cathedral: Go early! (This is my recommendations for almost all touristy sites, especially if you want the best photos. 😉 This Gothic masterpiece (the denomination is Catholic) is located on a small island called the IIe de la Cite in the middle of the river Seine and is visited by over 13 million people annually. This Cathedral is stunning! (See photo below.) My favorite part is the sculptures depicting the life of Jesus from birth to when He was betrayed and the other sculptures depict some of His appearances. Also, it’s stained glass windows remain an important and beautiful collection of 13th-century Gothic art, with interesting details well worth exploring in more detail. I won't provide photos of the inside but leave that for you to see!
5. Visit the Arc de Triomphe (see photo below) for some of the best views of Paris or just to gawk at the heavy traffic and craze of people. It can be quite entertaining! Click here for more information about the Arc de Triomphe. (Side note- my photo was taken during "Firefighters Day" which is not a daily ordeal. So I'm sure you'll have a better shot!)
6. FOOD: Parisians are not big on “breakfast.” Their idea of this is simply… Café with pastries (usually croissants.) This “Café” is a shot of espresso which to me is very bitter. If you want more of an American coffee order “Filtré or Café Américain” which is your basic filtered coffee. The crème offered in Paris is milk…whole milk. You won’t find skim or low fat nor will you find the delicious flavored variety of cremes that we have in the US. Sugar is not given automatically but is typically offered on tables or on the bar at the Café Shop. After noon, Parisians do not use milk or crème in their coffee. For “lunch” pretty much all restaurants are packed at 12:30. I witnessed a new way to enjoy lunch like a Parisian. Lunches are bigger than at supper time. So, a full course meal will be listed in menus starting with “Entrée” (appetizers) then “Plat” (main meal) and then ending with “Dessert.” Lunch is a leisurely style of eating. So, no rush! If you eat meat don’t be afraid to try a charcuterie plate of things you’ve never had. Salads are becoming very common for lunch so don’t be afraid to order just that. Lastly, “dinner” is typically a lighter meal than served at lunch and almost always end with cheese. Bon Appétit!
7. Transportation: There is no need for a car in Paris. I flew into Paris and then took a cruise from the new port in Marseille. If this is your itinerary then my recommendation is taking the train from Paris to Marseille. I used Rail Europe . It was a great way to see the country! If you are riding preferred class like I did, there is a bar-buffet car with food/drinks for purchase. On this car, the line forms quickly as soon as the train takes off, so either be first in line OR wait awhile at your seat. US debit/credit cards will NOT work on this car so bring euros. Also, the preferred class has reserved seats so no need to fight the crowds to find a seat! While in Paris if you are staying in the city there is plenty of things to do within walking distance. Other than that, use the metro. Everything is clearly marked for what “line” metro you should use. It’s inexpensive and surely quick! There are also plenty of taxis and even Uber to use for further travels. Also, the Hop On/Hop Off Bus is available too if this is your preferred method of transportation with more of a touristy feel with information about different sites. This bus can be hot, (no ac but has an open roof and open windows) and it can be a little pricey. Lastly, there is also the bus to use as well.
8. Don’t forget a travel adapter for your electronics. The REI USB Multi-Nation Travel Adaptor Plug eliminates the need to carry multiple adapter plugs. Its design features a universal receptacle that accepts nearly any appliance's plug configuration. I have used it all over this globe. Works like a charm!
9. Download the app “Rick Steve’s Audio Europe.” I used this app as my tour through a lot of main attractions in Europe. It’s FREE which means you won’t need to pay for “guided tours” at the sites. Be sure to check his list of sites that he provides that way you can pre-pay for your tickets of the listed tour/s that he offers. If he doesn’t offer it at your interested site, then pre-pay for the guided tours. You see I am saying “pre-pay” for tickets, this is very important as it will save you time and money in the end. I used this app for all my site seeing spots in Paris.
10. The next app to download is “Translate.” You can use this app in the camera setting to skim over French words and it will translate it to your desired language. If you don’t know French, especially in Paris, this app is a MUST. I found that most restaurants do not offer English menus and the servers typically do not speak English and pretty much demand for you to speak French.
What's your favorite travel tip to Paris? Share away and thanks for visiting!