Custom made Paris experiences created by a Parisienne
10 things you need to know about Paris
A Parisienne’s useful tips and recommendations
Essentially, we travel to experience something different that we can’t experience at home. So let’s embrace the differences!
PARIS IS DIVIDED IN 2 BY THE SEINE RIVER AND IN 20 NEIGHBORHOODS that work their way out in numerical order in a spiral fashion – like a snail’s shell – going clockwise. The 2nd arrondissement is above and to the right of the 1st, the 3rd is to the right and slightly lower than the 2nd, the 4th is below the 3rd, etc. You can see it clearly on the map.
PARIS HAS A GREAT TRANSPORTATION SYSTEM. The metro is quick, safe, cheap, reliable and goes everywhere you want to go in the City of Light. But if you want to save your time and energy I will propose you several interesting alternatives and we will discuss them.
Paris has temperate weather but THE WEATHER CAN BE QUITE UNPREDICTABLE even in the summer. When packing, to play it safe, think in terms of layers. Don’t forget to bring a nice dress or pants and shirt for a Parisian night out (and comfortable shoes are essential!).
HOTEL ROOMS (AND BEDS) TEND TO BE ON THE SMALLER SIDE. It can also be difficult to find rooms that will accomodate a family. Paris offers a nice choice of apartments to rent. You should consider that solution, you will not only get more room but save money as well.
TIPPING IS NOT REQUIRED in cafés and restaurants as waiters and waitresses are paid a full wage, independent of tips. You should tip based on the level of service. If the service is good, consider leaving 5 to 10% of the bill. If not don’t leave anything. Tip in cash as there is not an option to write in an amount on your credit card slip.
PARIS IS EASY TO GET AROUND. Depending on where you are staying you can walk most of the city. Paris is a (relatively) small capital, it has more or less a round shape and nothing is more than 3 miles away from the historic center, Notre-Dame cathedral. It’s a fantastic city for walkers from the new car-free river bank parks to cobblestone streets.
“BONJOUR” IS THE KEY WORD, everywhere, with everyone, when entering a taxi, a boutique or the elevator. It shows you are trying to speak French and Parisians will appreciate it. Try to say a few words in French. It will change everything in the way people perceive and treat you. .
IN PARIS YOU CAN BOTH EAT AND DRINK WELL FOR A REASONABLE PRICE. There are many restaurants offering both good wines and great cuisine at truly accessible prices. Beware that the American Express Card is not accepted everywhere, Visa and Mastercard are the most used here.
If you consider using FREE WIFI (pronounced weefee) outside of your hotel or apartment and don’t want to pay roaming charges, the city offers many hotspots. Nevertheless, my best advice would be to rent a Pocket Wifi at the airport or to have it delivered, all details here.
SHOPPING IS A MUST. Don’t try and resist it, just prepare your credit card (preferably one with a 0% foreign transaction fee – and tell your bank you will be travelling). Department stores, vintage boutiques, concept stores, outlets, you name it! Great bargains can be found during the sales in January and July each year.
Of course, this is just the tip of the iceberg and when you work with me I will share so much more.