Paris is a beautiful and vibrant city with a rich history and culture.
Here are a few things to know before visiting Paris:
see also: Parisians’ Hidden Paradise
- Language: French is the official language of Paris, but many Parisians speak English, especially in the tourism industry. It can be helpful to know a few basic French phrases, such as “Bonjour” (hello) and “Merci” (thank you).
- Currency: The currency in Paris is the Euro (EUR). It’s a good idea to exchange some money before your trip or use an ATM once you arrive. Credit cards are widely accepted in Paris, but it’s always a good idea to have some cash on hand for smaller purchases or for use in areas where credit cards may not be accepted.
- Climate: Paris has a temperate climate, with average high temperatures ranging from the mid-50s Fahrenheit (12-14°C) in the winter to the mid-70s (22-24°C) in the summer. It’s a good idea to bring layers and a raincoat, as the weather can be unpredictable.
- Transportation: Paris has an extensive public transportation system, including the Metro (subway), buses, and trains. It’s a convenient and affordable way to get around the city. You can purchase tickets or passes at kiosks or vending machines located at each station.
- Sights and attractions: Paris is known for its iconic landmarks, such as the Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame Cathedral, and the Louvre Museum. There are also many other sights and attractions to explore, such as the Champs-Elysées, the Latin Quarter, and the Montmartre neighborhood.
- Food and drink: Paris is known for its delicious food and drink. Some must-try dishes include croissants, baguettes, cheese, and wine. There are also many different types of restaurants to choose from, including traditional French bistros, fine dining establishments, and casual cafes. It’s a good idea to make reservations in advance, especially for popular or high-end restaurants.
- Shopping: Paris is known for its fashion and shopping, with many high-end stores and boutiques located in neighborhoods such as the Marais, Saint-Germain-des-Prés, and the Champs-Elysées. There are also many markets and flea markets where you can find unique and affordable items.
- Accommodations: Paris has a wide range of accommodations to choose from, including luxury hotels, budget-friendly hostels, and vacation rentals. It’s a good idea to book your accommodations in advance, especially during peak tourist season.
- Safety: Paris is generally a safe city, but it’s always a good idea to take basic safety precautions, such as keeping your belongings close, staying aware of your surroundings, and trusting your instincts. Avoid walking alone at night in deserted areas and be cautious of pickpockets, especially in crowded tourist areas.
- Tipping: Tipping is not expected in Paris, but it’s common to round up the bill in restaurants or leave a few Euros for hotel housekeeping. It’s also customary to tip hairdressers, taxi drivers, and other service providers.
- Cultural norms: It’s important to be mindful of cultural norms and customs when visiting Paris. Some things to keep in mind include:
- Greeting people with a kiss on both cheeks is common among friends and acquaintances.
- Smoking is not allowed in many public places, including restaurants, bars, and public transportation.
- It’s customary to dress nicely in Paris, especially in formal settings such as restaurants and theaters.
- French people tend to be punctual, so it’s important to arrive on time for appointments or reservations.
- Parisians are known for their love of art, culture, and good food, so be prepared to indulge in all that the city has to offer.
- WiFi: WiFi is widely available in Paris, with many cafes, restaurants, and hotels offering free WiFi to customers. There are also many WiFi hotspots throughout the city that you can access with a prepaid card or by purchasing a data plan.
- Tourist passes: There are several tourist passes available that offer discounts on attractions, transportation, and other services in Paris. These include the Paris Pass and the Paris Museum Pass. It’s a good idea to do some research to determine if one of these passes would be worth the investment for your trip.