The Ultimate Travel Guide For Visiting Paris
Ah Paris. It’s the city of lights, the capital of France, the second home to F. Scott Fitzgerald among many other things. It’s a beauty that’s been admired seemingly forever. It’s one of the most sought out destinations among tourists who combine daily in its streets, hoping to see its bakeries, its history, its paintings and its majesty. If you’re planning a vacation to the city sometime soon, then keep reading ahead. These are the sights to see and the tips to hold onto while visiting Paris!
1. Do dress for colder weather.
Paris tends to be lukewarm in the summer and mildly cold in the winter. That doesn’t mean you’ll have to leave the t-shirts and shorts at home but instead to bring along some outerwear in case it gets too cold for your liking. A sweat-jacket should do fine. If you have a hoodie, bring it along as well in case it gets too uncomfortable for your liking. This is a very helpful tip when visiting Paris, I mean who really enjoys being cold?
2. Do visit the Eiffel Tower when it’s not as busy,
Gustave Eiffel’s famous iron statue is so synonymous with Paris that all the world wants to see it. As such, lines for the tower tend to be notoriously long. Add in recent security measures and that could mean spending a longer time waiting than climbing. A good way to circumvent this is to go when there are less crowds and that usually means around opening or around 5 pm. At any other time, it would be best to buy a ticket, a sort of reservation to go up. But trust us, no matter when you do it, it will always be worth it. The Eiffel Tower is one of Paris’ most famous landmarks for a reason so live it up!
3. Do a lot of planning for your trip to the Louvre.
It is close to impossible to see everything the Louvre has to offer in one day. From ancient Mesopotamian artifacts to Renaissance painting to scenes from France’s own history, this museum really has it all. As a result, if you’re short on time, it’s best to go on a highlights tour or to focus on the section of the museum with the most interesting works, in your opinion. That way you can experience your favorite parts without having to rush. Speaking of highlights…
4. Do be aware of the Mona Lisa‘s small size before you get there.
Despite being one of the most, if not the most, famous paintings in the world, the Mona Lisa by Leonardo da Vinci is actually relatively tiny. This is especially true when compared to other works in the same museum such as Liberty Leading the People which takes up a large space on the wall it hangs from. Do also be aware that it’s kept safe behind glass so photography might be more difficult. Nonetheless, it is still a sight to behold and a must-see while in Paris.
5. Do also visit La Sainte-Chapelle when you’re there.
No it’s not the Notre Dame, but many could feasibly argue that it’s better. At Sainte-Chapelle, for instance, there is no such thing as too much stained glass. As a result of the sun shining through every layer of this glass, the chapel is legitimately one of the most beautiful sights in the entire city. This is especially true when you take in the star motifs on the roof, whose pattern from a distance resembles polkadots. The result is absolutely stunning. Victor Hugo never wrote a story around this place but that doesn’t make it worthy of your time. Marvel in its wonders; you won’t regret it. This is a must when visiting Paris!
6. Do not shy away from French cuisine.
French foods can be as conventional as they are creative and radical. For every sandwich on baguette, there are numerous forms of pâté, charcuterie and other processed meat spreads. Foie gras is essentially a fattier, non-spread version of this by the way. Unless you have dietary requirements to watch out for, don’t avoid these by how they sound alone. You’ll never know if you like something until you try it after all. In particular, it would be a mistake to miss out on escargots during your trip. If it helps, it usually comes in a delicious garlic butter or pesto sauce and tastes more like chicken than snail. Literally!
7. Do make an attempt to speak French when you’re there.
Sure, there are a lot of silent letters which don’t seem to make sense at first (until you notice the patterns they are in). Sure, there are nasal vowels which are hard to pronounce without much practice. Sure, there are just, in general, more sounds to need to pronounce than exist in the English language. But try it out nonetheless. Learn a few basic phrases such as “Hello,” “Goodbye” and . “Do you speak English” before you go. It’ll make you look better to the francophone populace and give you practice with a foreign language. I mean c’mon when visiting Paris you should at least try to speak the language!
8. Don’t fall for the “French people are rude” stereotype.
The French tend to avoid formalisms and emotions where they don’t really mean it. This, sadly, gives others the impression that the French don’t like them when, in reality, most French people just want to be sincere. Keep that in mind on your trip to Paris and be sure to block out any other negative stereotypes while you’re there too.
Do you think these tips will help you when visiting Paris? Let us know in the comment section below!
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Hi! I'm Tyler and I'm a sophomore student at the University of Vermont. I'm an English major and I'm minoring in French and Linguistics. I'm particularly interested in reading, writing, philosophy and the natural world (although the Internet is somewhere I hang out often too).