Monday, September 22, 2014

Tips and things to know: Paris, France.

I realized that writing down the tips and things to know that I learned while being in Paris ended up being a GREAT idea since other travelers or even I myself could use it for future reference - but also that having to go through all 7 posts I wrote about it would be very time consuming for my readers.

Therefore I came to the conclusion that I should probably do aaaall the hard work for you and gather all my tips and things to know about Paris in this post!
~You're welcome~

[NOTE]: Some tips are taken out of context so I will put a link to the original posts as well so you will have a better understanding of why for example subway grates are evil and why our enemy #1 is a machine at McDonald's.

Tips and things to know about Paris, France:

Trip to Paris 1/7
  • Flying early in the morning or late at night might make your tickets cheaper (Of course this depends on which time of the year you're traveling and what your destination is)
  • Flying on a Sunday, right as a new work week is about to start, might also lessen the cost of your flight ticket (Again this depends on time of the year and destination)
  • Online check-in in the airport is easy and will spare you time and trouble. You can have your boarding pass sent to your mail, in a text, or print it at home or in the airport. 
  • The Roissy bus is a great way to get to the Opéra (near centre of Paris) and costs 10.50€ (Which is MUCH cheaper than a taxi). When you get off at the bus stop there will be guides to help you find your way. 
  • Taxis in Paris are expensive and from 20.30 (or something like that) to 6.30 you'll have to pay double price.
  • If you happen to take a taxi you should have the address written down. Not all taxi drivers were easy to understand. The first one we met didn't speak English at all!
  • Many of the Parisians were well dressed. Pack your finest summer clothing to blend in.
  • Parisians people are fabulous. Get it into your head. They look great even when running! (Sorry, I know I'm generalizing much but I meant it in the best way!)
  • A french girl who visited my class earlier this year told me that French people in general will be more positive towards you if you approach them in French or try to say a few words. The picture below probably isn't completely correct but it is a great help to learn some useful basic expressions.

  • French people seem veeery open. We were literally stopped in the street by a guy who stuck out his phone and wanted us to give our numbers!
  • Avoid eating near attractions and places with too many tourists - These places tend to be much more pricey although the quality of food is about the same.
  • If you are in Paris on important days like Bastille Day, follow the crowd! Chances are there is something they know that you don't and you might end up finding yourself standing in the middle of a big event.
  • Don't be scared of asking for help or directions. Although they can be hard to understand, Parisians seem very friendly and certainly don't mind talking to foreigners. (But be polite)
  • If you plan on visiting Louvre, make sure to bring good walking shoes and not dress too warm. The roof works like a greenhouse so it can be very hot in there. Also, make sure to grab a free map from the counters below the stairs. The place is HUGE. Trust me, you will need a map. 
  • In Denmark we are very aware of the red and green men at crosswalks (I found a great entry about it HERE). However, Parisians seem to not mind it that much and they actually continue walking even when the man is red(!!). Beware of following the crowd here and look out for cars!
  • It's clear that Champs-Élysées is the nice part of Paris! There was absolutely no trash in the streets but a few pieces of gum here and there.

  • Don't be afraid if it takes some time for the money to go through when you pay with your card (like Mastercard). It should work (at least with Mastercard. I would guess other cards should work too?)
  • If you do happen to pay with your card, wait for the screen to say "Retirez carte" before removing your card or the transaction won't go through.
  • H&M is expensive in Paris </3 
  • You never know how the new environment will affect your skin. Bringing a face mask or two is a great idea to both maintain your looks and relax after a long day.

Trip to Paris 4/7
  • You might get a discount if you order Disneyland tickets from home instead of buying them there.
  • Some tickets to Disneyland include transportation
  • The closing show begins at 11pm. If you wish to use the transportation provided by Disney you might miss the show. I'm not 100% about this though. 
  • RER A4 takes you to Disneyland
  • Don't buy the metro/train tickets online. They cost more that way than if you buy them at the desk.
  • "Sortie" means exit and is useful to know if you suddenly don't know how to get out of the metro.  
  • IF you happen to buy your Disney ticket online and print it yourself you will get through the entrance more quickly.
  • "Disneyland Paris" is a great and free app that you should consider getting if you're going to Disneyland. It shows you restaurants, opening hours, waiting times, attractions, etc.
  • Remember sunglasses and sunscreen because you will spend a lot of time standing in direct sun when waiting in the lines and you can easily get burnt without notice.
  • Don't buy souvenirs before you are 110% sure you're done trying rollercoasters! There is nowhere to store your belongings and Disney employees are not allowed to watch over it.
  • Be there in good time for the parade to make sure you'll get a good enough view to take pictures and even high five the pirates!
  • If possible, stay for the show! You do not want to miss it! And be there in good time also! Like.. an hour before if you want to be close.
  • If you don't know how to get home, don't panic! There are taxis, buses, and a metro to bring you home.
  • "Saumon" means salmon, "coppa" is some sort of ham, and "poulet" is chicken.
  • There are a lot of interesting restaurants near Moulin Rouge. Don't miss that area!
  • Printemps is quite pricey so if you are planning to go, prepare your wallet.
  • Also, Maria and I were discussing if we should go to Printemps or one of the big churches. Looking back I would definitely have chosen the churches.
  • No tips for today :O 
  • Watch out for subway grates. They are evil and WILL embarrass you at any cost. 
  • Expect a long waiting-time at the Eiffel Tower.
  • We paid 8€ for a ticket. But you will have to pay again later if you want to get to the actual top. Kids are cheaper too. 
  • If possible, go to the Eiffel Tower on a less hot day. It's terribly hot when you choose to walk instead of taking the elevators. (Yes, the Eiffel Towers DOES have elevators).
  • Drinks (water, soda, crushed ice etc.) are overpriced in the shops near the Eiffel Tower. Bring your own if possible. 
  • Avoid eye contact with the street sellers and don't react when they call out to you. I know it's rude and I felt bad about it but they will never leave you alone if you make contact. 
  • Also, if people walk around half whispering "Speak English?" ignore them. They want you to sign something where after you will have to pay to some sort of fictional "fund". 
  • Paris has a city tax so tourists will have to pay 1€ for each night/day they spend there. We stayed for a week so we both had to pay 7€ each.
  • Fix your ride back to the airport in good time so you won't feel stressed the last day. Then you will also have time for backup plans in case something goes wrong. 
  • Public transportation might not be available at all times of the day.
  • Taxis are DOUBLE price at night (I don't remember the exact hours anymore but it was from 21-22 to 6-6.30). Therefore, make sure your flight back won't be early in the morning or you will literally pay the price for it. 
  • Save cash for the moment you have to go home so you won't have to search half the city for ATM machines in case the hotel/taxis don't accept cards. 

That was is :)
I hope you will find these tips useful if you're going to Paris some day~

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