Paris travel advice?

  • wantbigmusl

    Posts: 4

    Feb 28, 2014 1:41 PM GMT
    I'm heading to Paris for the first time 3 weeks from today, can anyone give me travel advice? I'm very social so would love to get to know some locals although my french isn't very good! icon_smile.gif
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Feb 28, 2014 4:18 PM GMT
    In tourist areas, many people speak English so don't be worried about not being able to speak French well.

    My favourite attraction was the Palace at Versailles -- truly, truly amazing! You can access it by train quite cheaply.

    As for museums, I actually preferred Musee D'Orsay over the Louvre -- having said that, I enjoyed them both. I find though that after a set amount of time in a museum I become "oversaturated" with art & I don't see anything. It may be better to figure out what you like (sculpture, folk art, specific kinds/styles of paintings, etc. -- I've figured out I'm a sculpture & big dramatic painting person) and see these things first so that you can actually enjoy them, and leave the rest for afterward.

    For restaurants, I really enjoyed the food at Gai Moulin (I had kangaroo steak). There are also great restaurants near Sacre-Coeur cathedral, near Molin Rouge (you just have to schlep up the mountain to get there).

    Enjoy your trip! I'm jealous!!!

  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Feb 28, 2014 4:28 PM GMT
    The catacombs are good (if you are not claustrophobic). They also exit into a non-touristy area where you can eat and drink cheaper than in the centre.

    When it comes to drinking, try to stick to places with happy hours if you can, outside of these times you could be paying 10 euro a pint icon_sad.gif

    People will tell you Les Marais is overrated, but it isn't. I went there and watched a gay shower show in a bar which was kind of a lol. My straight friend thought it was ridiculous which it kind of was, but what the hell!

    There are some nice wine bars and cafés near the canal. I went to one called Prune which was nice.

    Finally, the Eiffel Tower is genuinely quite good and the queues are not long (for the stairs).
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Feb 28, 2014 4:33 PM GMT
    xanadude saidIn tourist areas, many people speak English so don't be worried about not being able to speak French well.

    My favourite attraction was the Palace at Versailles -- truly, truly amazing! You can access it by train quite cheaply.

    As for museums, I actually preferred Musee D'Orsay over the Louvre -- having said that, I enjoyed them both. I find though that after a set amount of time in a museum I become "oversaturated" with art & I don't see anything. It may be better to figure out what you like (sculpture, folk art, specific kinds/styles of paintings, etc. -- I've figured out I'm a sculpture & big dramatic painting person) and see these things first so that you can actually enjoy them, and leave the rest for afterward.

    For restaurants, I really enjoyed the food at Gai Moulin (I had kangaroo steak). There are also great restaurants near Sacre-Coeur cathedral, near Molin Rouge (you just have to schlep up the mountain to get there).

    Enjoy your trip! I'm jealous!!!



    Roo' steak in "Le quartier du Marais" ...lol...
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Feb 28, 2014 7:50 PM GMT
    woodsmen saidGet a Navigo Decovert early in a week to travel around Paris using their subway for cheap.

    The Navigo Decovert pass saves a lot on local transit (good on all Metro, buses, and suburban trains). Bring with you the necessary 1" by 1" face photo, or you can pay 5 Euros for one in a Metro station camera booth. The pass is good starting Monday morning, thru the following Sunday, only. So, if you are arriving early in the week, definitely buy one for that week.

    The Paris transit region is dived into 5+ zones. A lot of tourists buy the pass only for zones 1-2, which is central Paris. However, if you want to visit the royal palaces at Fontainebleau (66 km from Paris) or Chantilly (40 km from Paris), a zone 5 Carte will cover that trip. Also, Zone 5 covers travel by the RER from airport Charles De Gaulle to/from Paris. So, if you are arriving early in the week, buying a Zone 5 pass for the week at the airport RER station will save you $. (Or for the week you are leaving). A zone 3 pass would allow you to take the RER to Versailles, La Defense and Vincennes.

    Details for the pass and buying it are explained at:
    http://parisbytrain.com/tag/navigo-pass/

    For current restaurant and other foodie suggestions, see:
    http://parisbymouth.com/

    Don't buy the Paris Visite pass - a waste of money.

    You can buy advance tickets to museums at a FNAC store - pay a slight commission but it saves waiting in long lines.

    Best sight - see the ancient stained glass windows at Sainte Chapelle - in the Palace of Justice - on the Île de la Cité. If you like classical music, you can combine this visit with a concert given there - they are frequent and not expensive.

    Finally, you can get a lot of current info out of TripAdvisor.com, and even ask specific questions that someone will answer.
    EDIT: Paris Forum:
    http://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowForum-g187147-i14-Paris_Ile_de_France.html
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Mar 01, 2014 1:49 AM GMT
    wantbigmusl saidI'm heading to Paris for the first time 3 weeks from today, can anyone give me travel advice? I'm very social so would love to get to know some locals although my french isn't very good! icon_smile.gif


    they'd rather you speak English than mangle French... wear comfortable shoes; buy a multi-day metro and museum pass.
  • WhoDey

    Posts: 561

    Mar 01, 2014 1:56 AM GMT
    Watch out for pickpockets and scammers that run wild
  • Thirdbeach

    Posts: 1364

    Mar 01, 2014 4:17 AM GMT
    When you enter a shop/store/cafe, say hello or Bon Jour to the person who works there.
    This is the French custom, and they will think you are rude for not doing so, and you may get poor service.

    Americans tend not to know this and are silent when entering a shop/cafe.

    I think this is why some French think Americans are rude, and why some Americans think the French are rude.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Mar 01, 2014 4:21 AM GMT
    Thirdbeach saidWhen you enter a shop/store/cafe, say hello or Bon Jour to the person who works there.
    This is the French custom, and they will think you are rude for not doing so, and you may get poor service.

    Americans tend not to know this and are silent when entering a shop/cafe.

    I think this is why some French think Americans are rude, and why some Americans think the French are rude.


    This is also common courtesy in my town. It's rude to walk in someone's place of business without a simple "hello."
  • Fullhouse

    Posts: 122

    Mar 01, 2014 4:29 AM GMT
    My favorite place in Paris is Hotel des Invalides (sp?) Napolean's tomb is in the chapel there. It also has the most amazing military museum. It is one of the lesser "touristy" sites, but definitely worth the visit. It is usually not near as busy as other tourist locations. Versailles is worth the visit, especially the gardens. The chateau is great, but I have always thought it smelled like Chinese food. Not sure why! As for shopping, stick to he Latin Quarter (rue de St. Michel) great shops, much more affordable than the Champs-Ellysee. You can get some great suits (inexpensively) in the basement of a place called De La Veine. Check it out!

    I know a few other out of the way places if you want to email me directly. Enjoy your trip.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Mar 01, 2014 6:57 AM GMT
    Thirdbeach saidWhen you enter a shop/store/cafe, say hello or Bon Jour to the person who works there.
    This is the French custom, and they will think you are rude for not doing so, and you may get poor service.

    Americans tend not to know this and are silent when entering a shop/cafe.

    I think this is why some French think Americans are rude, and why some Americans think the French are rude.

    Great advice - this is very important. And when you depart a shop say, "Au revoir" (goodbye). The clerk will normally reply, "Bonne journée." When you ask for something (even if you ask if they speak english), best to preface the request with "s'il vous plaît." Those 3 words will get you a much friendlier response.
  • WhoDey

    Posts: 561

    Mar 09, 2014 1:47 AM GMT
    HikerSkier said
    Thirdbeach saidWhen you enter a shop/store/cafe, say hello or Bon Jour to the person who works there.
    This is the French custom, and they will think you are rude for not doing so, and you may get poor service.

    Americans tend not to know this and are silent when entering a shop/cafe.

    I think this is why some French think Americans are rude, and why some Americans think the French are rude.

    Great advice - this is very important. And when you depart a shop say, "Au revoir" (goodbye). The clerk will normally reply, "Bonne journée." When you ask for something (even if you ask if they speak english), best to preface the request with "s'il vous plaît." Those 3 words will get you a much friendlier response.


    Shouldn't you do these things everywhere?
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Mar 09, 2014 2:00 AM GMT
    wantbigmusl saidI'm heading to Paris for the first time 3 weeks from today, can anyone give me travel advice? I'm very social so would love to get to know some locals although my french isn't very good! icon_smile.gif

    Don't worry if your French isn't very good. In Paris, they speak the language of love. And they will appreciate even your flailing attempts at French. Be careful you don't get run over while gazing at all the beauty that surrounds you.

    I don't know that a Navigo Decovert pass is strictly necessary, depending upon how far and wide you plan to travel. I didn't get one -- although it would have been nice to have saved money on the RER to and from the airport -- and just walked everywhere I wanted to visit. But I'm a hardy type who can walk for twelve hours a day.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Mar 09, 2014 6:19 AM GMT
    Le Marais is the gay area. I stayed in MonMartre when I was there. Basically I saw a lot of great museums. I didn't hook up with any French dude back then lol but they seem friendly. Good Luck.
  • ursa_minor

    Posts: 566

    Mar 09, 2014 7:34 AM GMT
    I think the cheaper way to go around is with the Carnet of tickets: 10 tickets which you can use extensively. They expire one hour after initial use - meaning you can switch trains if you get out of the subway system within one hour using the same ticket. Get a map of the Metro.

    We are having generally warmer spring temperatures now. From the average 9degC, we just had 17degC this weekend.

    The musea each have Museum Nights, the Louvre on Wednesday and Fridays. Orsay on Thursdays. Price is slashed greatly (if i'm not mistaken 25% off), plus the closing time becomes 10pm. So you can enjoy other outdoor destinations with the sun at your back.

    Have some crepe while watching the Eiffel tower.

    Have some Riesling while people watching outside a bar (i think the weather permits this now).

    If you're tired of the chic French food. Head out to the Jardin de Luxembourg area where the Pantheon is. Behind the small streets of the Pantheon is a small Ethiopian resto Godjo. I love their food, and very cheap. In fact in this area there are lots of other restos to try (it's a world mix - because it's a student area).

    Try not to get to too many destinations in one day. Your goal is to relax and enjoy the scenery and food.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Mar 12, 2014 9:44 PM GMT
    Paris <3

    If you want to get a lot done in a short space of time (mainly the tourist spots), have a look into the L'Open Tour hop on, hop off bus. It's a great way to see the city IMO.

    Montmarte is simply stunning; it's so hip and different. Definitely have a wander round and visit the Sacre Coeur.

  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Mar 12, 2014 10:52 PM GMT
    There is so much sex, love and dirt in the air! you can literally smell it.icon_biggrin.gif #meluvs

    I spoke what I can and locals do tend to speak French I do after a point speak English they will start guessing where I'm from like the West or East?, *some never knew people from Asia nor (believing I'm) could speak English icon_rolleyes.gif I speaks clear English almost without slang they go 50/50 on the look guessing out, Well play anonymous whenever necessary of a situation, above all relax be nice and enjoy! icon_cool.gif

    *1 PLEASE avoid those whom approach and ask a favor from you "SPEAK ENGLISH?? SPEAK ENGLISH??" icon_rolleyes.gif they are part pickpockets icon_rolleyes.gif

    *2& Don't believe scam Artist!! they will attract you in for a bet! and if you observe distinctively its their own people acting around guessing of "what fun is in betting" and they make helluva bet money on you.

    *3 Do know/plan where you are going!! before you leave your room/hotel. Don't go looking at Maps like confused there are con people looking on about and would love to seemingly help but not.

    *4 I would recommend if ever you are confused of where and all, ask the locals like real officer, restaurants managers/ waiters they are genuine in helping out.

    *5 In buying souvenirs, I'm a little particular where and what I buy! I would highly advice lookout for the ones Made in France , Not *Made in China icon_rolleyes.gif*OMG they are everywhere! open your eyes look at the details differences and carving style, original french souvenirs has more details on it compared to China made ones.
  • Suetonius

    Posts: 1842

    Mar 14, 2014 12:57 AM GMT
    WhoDey saidWatch out for pickpockets and scammers that run wild

    +1

    The pickpocket situation isn't as bad in Paris as in Naples or Rome, but it is pretty bad. There are very skilled pick-pockets on crowded metros, and wherever tourists go. They usually work in pairs or groups - one to distract you - by bumping into you, pointing out the birdshit he just put on your jacket, or asking for directions. Then the partner quickly lifts your wallet etc., and you have not even noticed. Keep your money in either a money belt or in a wallet in your front pants pocket (not a vest pocket), and in crowded situations, keep your hand on it as well.

    Also, near tourist attractions (e.g., the Louvre, Musee D'Orsay, etc, you will find groups that are asking you to sign a petition or some such, and will be asking you in English (or maybe if you just speak English). Ignore them, and keep moving. They are up to no good. (Why would any legitimate organziation be seeking English speaking foreign tourists to sign a petition?) They are a prelude to either getting your pocket picked, or demanding money from you.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Mar 16, 2014 5:14 AM GMT
    Most over-the-counter medications in the states require a prescription in France, so bring with you any over-the-counter (as well as prescription) drugs you may be taking. You can't buy most over-the-counter medications in French pharmacies. So, if you might need Advil (ibuprofen), or an antihistamine, nasal spray, or anything else, bring a supply with you.