Paris, why do I have a love hate relationship with you? Your metro is filthy and stinks. Your people (Parisien) are not the most friendly. Your restaurant service has much room for improvement.
But all the above go away (for a brief moment), when I see the Eiffel tower. It never loses its charm for me, and I can’t explain why too! Perhaps, it is the conditioning from Western movies, or the unique colour of the Eiffel tower, or maybe it is the accordion music playing in the background. The Eiffel just always tingles my heart.
To help you make the best out of your Paris trip, so that you don’t leave Paris with too much discontent, below are some of my Do(s) and Don’t(s) in Paris.
DON’T spent a whole day on Champs Elysees
I know, the media has conditioned us to think that Paris is just all about the Eiffel tower, Louvre museum, and Champs Elysees. However, there’s really no need to spend too much time there. I won’t deny that Champ Elysees is pretty, and very chic Parisien. I’m just saying Paris has so much more to offer.
If you want to shop, consider taking a stroll along Rue Tiquetonne, Le Marais, and many more smaller shopping streets for a more authentic Parisien shopping experience (minus the tourists).
Do take your time at the Eiffel tower
However, I reckon you take your time at the Eiffel tower, especially if it is your first. It really is a beautiful work of art!
Tip: To capture the whole Eiffel tower within your camera frame, you want to take your photos from Trocadero station.
Check out Saniya’s post as she detailed out more info on ticketing, accessibility and food on the Eiffel tower!
Do allocate at least one full day for the Louvre
The museums in Paris are world class. However, the queue can be very long. During my last trip, I really wanted to visit Musee de l’Orangerie to see the Monet lilies, but eventually had to give up queuing as it started raining.
If you can only visit one museum during your trip, you must do Musee du Louvre. Ticket is 15 EUR for standard, 17 EUR if bought online (but guaranteed entry in less than 30 minutes).
The Louvre is HUGE! I am not kidding! It is the world’s largest arts museum. It has at least 8 departments, with over 380,000 objects, and 35,000 art works! Yes, there’s the Mona Lisa, but trust me it is overrated!
There will be sections which you are more interested than others. I recommend you to read up before your visit, and plan your way around the huge compound.
Do explore outside the Louvre, and walk towards Jardin des Tuileries
And when you are done with vast collections and exhibitions inside the Louvre, you want to hang out outside where the glass pyramid stands. It is one sexy piece of architecture.
Even more at night!
From Pyramide du Louvre, head west towards Jardin des Tuileries. There are lots of greens and fountains, which are perfect for picnic.
Do eat mille feuille
And while you are at Jardin des Tuileries, you must try the mille feuille from Sebastien Gaudard! Mille feuille (literally translates million sheets) is a French pastry dessert, made of puff pastry layered with pastry cream.
It is so good, I didn’t even remember to take a photo before gulping it all down by myself.
DON’T eat from food stands near touristic areas
You should know better than to eat from food stands near touristic areas. These tourist traps are lousy and overpriced.
DON’T let Parisien restaurant service get to you
If you do find yourself a nice local Parisien restaurant (you will know when they don’t have an English menu), prepare yourself for the worst restaurant service you ever had in your life.
Waiters in Paris DO NOT wait tables, even more so if you are not local. They don’t help you get seated. If you help yourself, they’ll tell you off in French. Whatever you do, they are always going to be irritated.
Sometimes, I pity them, cause they just look unhappy with their lives. And so, I tell myself that they are just trying to get through their day, and if they want to take it out on me, I can (and will) consciously choose to let this negativity stops with me.
I just keep repeating this mantra: Let it go, let it go, turn away and slam the door. OK, maybe just not the last part.
I can (and will) do it, cause I’m not going to let this ruin my holiday!
Easier said than done. So, when all fails and you are almost going to give in to your animal instincts …
Do take a stroll along the Seine river
Take a walk, sweat it out, and it will all be OK.
Really, I very much enjoy walking on the streets of Paris, with street artists showcasing their works, and musicians busking on the sidewalk. All these just for me to avoid using the Paris Metro.
DON’T like the Paris Metro
I am not a fan of the Paris Metro. It is crowded, dirty, and worst it smells like urine everywhere!
Do say “Bonjour Madame / Monsieur”
Learning and using some basic French phrases can help you go a long way, especially when you are a tourist. Be it asking for directions, or getting coffee.
- Bonjour (“bon-ju”) : Hello / Good day / Good morning
- Bonsoir (“bon-sua”) : Good evening
- Madame (“ma-dam”) : Madam
- Monsieur (“mon-seer”) : Sir
- Merci beaucoup (“mer-see bow-coop”) : Thank you very much
- Au revoir (“o re-vua”) : Goodbye
You may just want to practise by re-watching Beauty and the Beast!
Do watch the Moulin Rouge
If you can afford it, you should watch the Moulin Rouge, at least once if your lifetime. It is cabaret at its highest standard. The show was really impressive, and the dinner course pretty good.
Do visit Sacre Coeur
There are also many free activities to do in Paris, if you are on a tight budget. One of my favourite is Sacre Coeur.
Do try escargots
You really should give it a try, if you haven’t. Yes, they are sea snails, baked with French butter and herbs.
Yet to visit for me
I’m always looking forward to my next return to Paris. And when I’m there (soon), I want to visit,
- Musee de l’Orangerie
- Fountainebleau Chateau
- NMMA at Centre Pompidou
- Palais de Tokyo
What is your take on Paris? Share it with me by leaving a comment below!