It’s cheaper and more effective to purchase a “Paris Visite (transit)” pass for the time you will be in the city. You can use it for city busses and subway trains and wont have to worry about purchasing multiple tickets per transfer station. Only take a cab if it is necessary!
When using the escalators in the train stations use the right side to stand the left to walk up. Standing on the right side screams tourist and you may be targeted by pick -pockets.
Walk at a quicker pace. Being from the south we take our time so I made sure to walk at a speed that was much quicker than my usually. People in the city don’t waste time and my goal was to blend in.
Learn key phrases and questions in French to make it easier to get around. I would speak to someone in French and if they picked up on my accent they would speak English back to me. The majority of people in Paris speak English but you should at least try to speak the language at first.
Stay away from restaurants with red awnings if you’re on a budget. This is a tourist trap as prices will be steep. There are food chains like pizza hut, McDonalds and KFC and there is a kabob place on every corner it seems LOL. Also "boulanheries" will have sandwiches for sale and other food items other than pastries. I advise to purchase fruit, snacks and water from the market and keep them on you to not over spend. One you’re in the heart of Paris prices are like those in Disney land.
Markets and grocery stores do not bag your groceries and do not provide you with free bags to do so. Remember to take an empty bag with you when going to market. They will have some bags for sale that are inexpensive.
Before leaving for Paris, ask your bank if they exchange USD for euros and do it before you leave. The exchange rate is lower in the states and it eliminates you having to have money out in the open in a foreign place at an exchange booth. Also have your cards put on a travel plan and update to the ones with the chip in it if you don’t already have that kind. It is very difficult to find places that only swipe cards, everyone has converted to the chip.
If you don’t plan on purchasing an international plan, be sure to purchase a burner phone once you arrive. There are also free apps you can use to stay in contact with friends and family that will not cost you and allow you to use your phone via text and call.
What’s app, Skype, face time, facebook messenger and calls, Google hangouts are just to name a few.
When using these apps they will need Wi-Fi to run so there will be times your phone will not work.
Be careful when connecting to Wi-Fi hotspots in the city. Try to stick to Wi-Fi parks and businesses. Most businesses will be password protected but if you ask the waiter they will gladly share with their customers.
If you need to use a map to find a place on your phone load the map while you have Wi-Fi connection and once it’s loaded you should still be able to pull it up anywhere without a connection.
Make sure to pack clothes for every type of weather if you’re traveling in the summer or spring. In one summer day it can go from cold and rainy, to hot and humid, to hailing and windy, to cold! You may need to start out in layers and strip as the day goes.
Make sure you have comfy comfy shoes. It will be a lot of walking and depending on where you’re visiting the roads are old cobblestone that is very uncomfortable to walk on. People don’t wear gym shoes like new balance, which will screams tourist. If sneakers are worn they’re for fashion and most people wear nice shoes (loafers flats, heels, etc.)
Depending on where you decide to stay, if not in a hotel, be advised that not every building or residence has air conditioning! You may want to set aside a few Euros to purchase a fan on your trip because it gets pretty hot in the summer months.
I made sure I dressed in clothing I could go anywhere in. in the states I have no problem throwing on gym clothes and doing what I need to do but I wouldn’t dare in Paris. You want to look like you belong as much as possible.
Don’t worry about gaining weight while you visit. I ate absolutely everything that I wanted and actually lost weight LOL. You’ll be doing a lot of walking and hydrating and will burn way more calories than you actually consume. So enjoy the pastries people and try a quiche Lorraine for me!
I hope these tips and tricks help you to better prepare for your Paris excursion. All in all Paris is a beautiful place and you will never forget your time there!