The truth is, my first visit to Paris was a massive disappointment. There were many things I set out to see, eat and experience that I didn’t, mainly because of time, but also because I just didn’t really know how to do Paris!
Being a first time visitor in Paris isn’t easy. I found it to be an incredibly overwhelming city with so much to see and experience, it was hard to know where to even begin. Admittedly, I was never going to see everything I set out to on my first trip to Paris anyway. There was simply not enough hours in the days to do so, being only in the city for a few short nights! Looking back though, I still remember the sinking feeling I had leaving Paris and feeling so disillusioned by the city.
Nonetheless, don’t let my first time Paris experience be yours; one of disappointment and regret. I have put together a list of ways to conquer and enjoy your visit to Paris.. coz really, Paris shouldn’t exhaust or disappoint you, but rather fill you with excitement!
Here is Paris in 8 Steps!
TIPS & THINGS TO KNOW
Get Touristy but don’t go overboard
It’s totally understandable your first time in Paris you have already planned and researched a whole lotta attractions and major sites you want to see and cram them all in a short space of time. But doing this won’t work. It’s impossible. Paris is such a big city that you couldn’t possibly do it all in a few short days. Rather, enjoy a few major sites you would like to see and spend time enjoying them rather than just rushing everything. There is always a next time, so try to enjoy what you do experience this time and make a to-do list for a round two visit.
If you are going to indulge anywhere, be it Paris! The city not only of love but food heaven is here too. Seriously, eat your heart out and worry later about the excess waistline.
Paris is known for wonderful food and there are many restaurants and cafés all over the city, so there’s never a problem finding a place to eat.
As a general food guide:
– It might be helpful to know some of the specialties of the Neighborhoods in Paris as some parts are known for certain types of food, alas, you may as well find that ‘neighborhood’ or ‘district that is famous for it.
– You will find many restaurants, cafes and bistros located around Paris and some will have multi language menu boards out the front while others are all in French. In this instance, I would opt for the all French menu over the partly English menu for a different experience. It may or may not turn out to be the best food you’ve eaten but least you tried something different!
For more dining out in Europe tips, you can check out my tips here.
Although it’s not the cheapest option, staying in a great location can make your stay that much better! Seriously though, when I was in Paris I stayed just out of the city so it took a long bus ride and some walking to get me remotely close to anywhere and anything I wanted to see. For the sake of a few more Euros and to avoid the annoying, long and unnecessary train or bus commute, I recommend splurging out a bit more for a more central location.
Relax and Picnic
Relax? In Paris? Yes, you heard me! Paris is quite a bustling city, yet at the same time can be the opposite too! With many lush green parks available to take refuge in, there is no better Parisian experience than too sit back, relax and enjoy a picnic with beautiful surroundings. If you time it right, you can watch as the sun sets. You can check out my Guide to picnicking in Paris here.
Embrace the weather
The weather can change really fast in Paris, so let it come as no surprise if you experience two seasons in one day here. The weather can change from hot and sunny to cold, rainy and wet all in a day, so definitely remember to pack an umbrella with you so you are at least prepared but also some comfortable walking shoes.
Take advantage of free stuff
Everyone loves free stuff right?! There are actually quite a few things in Paris to see and do for FREE. Sightseeing is free for sites such as Notre Dame, Arc de Triomphe and Champs-Elysées (to name a few), however if you love museums and art then free you could take advantage of the free museums around the city on the first Sunday of every month! Just make sure you get there early to avoid the crowds. Alternatively, you can pick up a Paris Museum Pass that gives you free entry to 60 museums around Paris and you are able to visit each as many time as you want. It costs 42 € for two days, 56 € for four days or 69 € for six days.
POPULAR PARIS SITES TO SEE
– Eiffel Tower
– The Lourve
– Notre Dame
– Palaces of Versailles
– Arc De Triomphe
– Place de la Concorde
– Jardin des Tuileries
– Musée d’Orsay
– Le Marais
– Canal Saint-Martin
BASIC FRENCH WORDS TO KNOW
Bonjour = hello
Au revoir = Goodbye
Oui/non = Yes/no
s’il-vous-plaît / merci = please / thank you
Comment allez-vous? = How are you?
Excusez-moi = Excuse me
Je ne comprends pas (zhe nhe comp-rehn pah) = I don’t understand
Parlez-vous anglais ? = Do you speak English?