Paris is one of the most infamous and historical cities in France and in Europe. The quintessential City of Love also is the hub of art, etiquette, and culture.
But, there are a few things you should know before you go.
How do you plan on communicating with the bakery owner when you want to buy a loaf? Where will you stay in the city? What sights do have to see, and which can you skip?
With a little research, you’ll have these questions answered. More importantly, you’ll be prepared to visit Paris and not stand out like a sore thumb. Keep reading for seven things you need to know about visiting Paris.
7 Important Things to Know Before you Visit Paris
1. Knowing Some French is Important
No matter what country you’re visiting, it’s a given that you should learn some of the language. The basics you need to know are hello, thank you, and goodbye.
In Paris, it’s considered incredibly rude not to start a conversation with hello. Whether it’s the barista at the corner café or the waiter at dinner. You should always greet them politely before getting to business.
Bonjour works well during the day. Bonsoir is for the evenings and nighttime.
Parisians are sometimes called inherently rude people. This isn’t the truth. French people simply enjoy and value their culture.
If you visit Paris and disrespect the culture by not taking part in pleasantries like this, you may receive some rudeness.
2. Each Neighborhood Has Its Own Personality
There are 20 neighborhoods in Paris, each with their own perks and setbacks. Instead of settling for the touristy area, do your research.
The Latin Quarter is at the centre of everything in Paris. Besides the main sights, there are plenty of bars, restaurants, and shops. The architecture is exactly how you picture Paris looking.
The Bastille neighborhood is where young Parisians actually live. It’s slightly more affordable than the neighborhoods directly on the river. And, the biggest market in Paris, the Bastille Market, is here.
Montmartre in the 18th neighborhood sits north of the centre upon a large hill. You’ll find the best views of the city here, as well as the Basilica of the Sacre-Couer. It’s about a 1-hour metro ride from Notre Dame, so there are fewer crowds.
No matter where you stay in Paris, make sure it has access to everything you want to see. The metro connects the 20 neighborhoods to the main streets and sights. These are the details you want to know before you come to Paris.
3. There’s a Whole World Outside of Paris
This may shock you, but Paris isn’t all that France has to offer. In fact, there are hundreds of amazing places outside the city worth trekking out to see.
When you visit Paris, reserve a couple of days for day trips.
One of the places you must see is Versailles. This historic and elegant city is only 23 km from Paris. Tour the castle that Louis the XIV, XV, and XVI lived in!
Another amazing day trip from Paris is Normandy and the D-Day beaches. Explore the beaches that the Americans and Canadians landed on during World War II. There are plenty of museums and historic landmarks to observe.
4. See the Sights and Go Off the Beaten Path
Of course, you’ll want to see the Tour Eiffel and Notre Dame while in Paris. Those are some of the most visited landmarks in the world. But, Paris has much more to offer and even more spectacular photo-ops.
You have to get off the beaten path to see the real Paris.
There are a few ways you could do this. Go exploring on your own without following a map or instructions. Or, use Airbnb Experiences.
Airbnb Experiences is a tool for locals to show their favorite parts of their city. You might end up on a walking tour of the best coffee spots or playing frisbee in a park. Browse the Paris listings and plan some out-of-the-box activities.
5. Carry Cash with You
It’s smart to always carry some cash with you in Paris. Although cards are often accepted, they aren’t the most frugal choice to pay with.
Many stores will have a minimum purchase amount to use a credit card. This makes you spend more than you were planning and potentially blows your budget.
Also, Paris is a city of markets. There are farmer’s markets every day of the week; most of them only accept cash.
Luckily, the bank ATMs in Paris have surprisingly low fees. Confirm with your bank at home that you can withdraw cash from with bank card in foreign countries.
6. The Rules of Bises
You’ve likely seen Parisians do the double kiss in movies and TV shows. This isn’t a parody; air kisses, or bises, are part of the culture in Paris.
Worried about how to do it or when to do it?
When you meet someone for the first time in Paris, shake hands. Make eye contact and introduce yourself.
After, when you encounter someone you’ve already met, you can air kiss. It’s usually just one on either side, but people who are close might add a third.
7. Do as the Parisians Do
If you want to stand out like a sore thumb in Paris, act like a stereotypical American. You’re sure to get some irritated glances.
To fit in with the culture, you just have to do as the Parisians do. Keep your voice volume low. Even children are expected to use indoor voices most of the time.
Make eye contact when you speak to people. No matter how uncomfortable it makes you. Parisians aren’t afraid of long, unbroken eye contact.
Lounge clothes are only for lounging at home, not outside. Gym clothes are only for the gym, not for recreational wear. Your everyday clothes should be polished and clean.
Ready to Book Your Flights and Visit Paris?
There’s a reason why Paris is one of the most visited places in the world. Its history, culture, and food make it legendary.
When you visit Paris, make sure you do your research and get the right advice.
TravelExperta can help ensure your trip is amazing. For help planning your trip, contact us.