For those of you fortunate enough to have visited la Ville Lumière (the city of lights), you would have found yourself immersed in Parisian life, French architecture and European cuisine.
Here, Crofton & Hall explains what to do and what not to do when visiting one of the worlds most visited cities.
Do: Live like a local.
It’s perfectly acceptable to visit the Musée du Louvre, Eiffel Tower and the Sacré Cœur. These attractions are what brings people from all over to Paris. But don’t forget there is more to Ile-de-France than the tourist attractions.
Wherever you’re staying, it is essential to have a fresh baguette each morning, otherwise, you may wonder if you’re actually in France or not. Having a coffee outside a quiet café is also another recommendation, there is definitely something very French about people watching sipping on your espresso.
It goes without saying, but you will discover more if you skip down streets that aren’t as busy. You will find far more unique things here. I stumbled across my favourite bistro when I decided that it was about time to go down less travelled routes. I also found a pop up art gallery that definitely wasn’t filled with tourists.
Do: Visit Montmarte
Montmartre is not to be missed when you visit Paris. The crowded Place du Tertre and the Sacré Cœur may be pretty (the church offers wonderful views over the city), but the Montmartre for locals is unique and does exist! The place feels like its own village, and you soon forget about the cramped attractions nearby. Visit local shops and get a vibe for the area. One place to visit is the cimetière de Montmartre, which is surprisingly peaceful and home to the famous French writer, Alexandre Dumas (and also home to a lot of cats, if that’s your thing)
Don’t: Go up the Eiffel Tower
The Eiffel Tower is the worlds most visited landmark, over 6.9million people visit each year. Surely that’s enough to put you off. It is very crowded and the queues can take an age. Get the metro to Trocadéro and get the best view of the Eiffel Tower from Jardins du Trocadéro.
Better still, get a view of all of Paris from the Arc de Triomphe. This is free for all EU citizens (visit quickly) under the age of 25. You can get an astonishing panoramic view of the whole of Paris from here, including the Eiffel Tower.
Do: Visit Galleries Lafayette instead of The Champs-Élysées.
Located fairly central and in one of the affluent areas of Paris, Galleries Lafayette offers so much more than a shopping experience. Just being outside the department store you will find historical buildings such as Palais Garnier (a 19thcentury opera house), L’Olympia (a 19thcentury concert hall) and Eglise de la Trinité (an 1867 Catholic church).
The Champs-Élysées may be more popular, but the shopping is not as good and you will be bombarded with people on the street trying to sell you all sorts.
Don’t: Pack the wrong things
You need to make sure you dress in the correct way. Paris will likely involve lots of walking, so make sure your footwear is comfortable. Make sure you dress for the weather. This summer, make sure you wear plenty of linens and light jackets.
Do: Take a boat ride along the Seine.
This is a great way to see a lot of the sights, and also see things you didn’t think existed. You can get on and off very easily. It is definitely easier and more relaxing than taking the tube or uber’s.
Don’t: Fall for street scams
There are A LOT of people that will aggressively try and get money out of you for ‘charities’, If you would like to give money to a good cause, do it online instead. Unfortunately, there are people in Paris that are willing to pretend to be a charity for a quick euro.
Do: Leave with no regrets.
Make sure you visit everywhere you wanted to before you arrived. Sometimes it might be an hour long queue to get into the Notre Dame, but if that’s your thing, don’t back out because you will kick yourself.
Don’t: Visit once
Everyone that visits once will want to come back again and again because you can never fit everything in during one trip to Paris.