Paris is known for being many things- the city of love and the city of lights. It is also the capital of France and home to many famous artists. It’s a top tourist destination and a must-visit city during any Europe trip. Thinking about going to Paris for the first time? Have a look at my first impressions and tips before embarking on your journey.
- Forget taxis- take public transport
After arriving at Charles De Gaulle airport on Thursday evening I was totally dead after a long work day and a quick flight. Don’t let your jet lag and general laziness lead you into taking a taxi to the city center. Public transport is great, and a ticket from the airport to the city center only costs 10€, which is a fraction of what you would pay for a taxi. Also, Parisian traffic is notoriously bad on par with LA traffic!
- Stay in a nice district
Paris, like most metropolitan cities, has a lot of different districts that significantly vary. Make sure you pick a nice arrondissements that suits you! There are twenty, and I recommend Montmartre located in the 18th arrondissement.
- Don’t try to see and do everything
If it is your first time in Paris you simply shouldn’t try to see and do it all in one fell swoop. You simply won’t be able to! Paris has so many great sights, lovely parks, and famous (and huge) museums. I recommend going to one big museum a day, maximum two and spending the rest of the time exploring the city.
I visited the Musée d’Orsay, Musée de l’Orangerie, and the Grand Palais Rodin Exhibition while there. Admittedly, I skipped out on the Louvre, because the line was massive, but also because the weather was nice and I wanted to spend more time outside. Just think about it like not seeing everything also gives you a good reason to come back another time!
- Try to speak French
French is a tricky language with the irregular grammar patterns and difficult pronunciation, but who cares! Simply try to speak French and the locals will really appreciate it. I was surprised that by the end of the trip I could complete small interactions entirely in French and a lot of the times people were happy to switch to English.
- Don’t be scared of the locals
Parisians have a reputation for being unfriendly. Well, I don’t know if it is just that Berliners are even worse, but I found everyone in Paris to be super friendly and helpful. Every restaurant I went to I the waiters were very nice and even offered recommendations of what to order.
- Get lost in the city
My first thought when I looked at the metro map, was, “ OMG, this place is huge! Six separate transport zones! Berlin only has three!” After my first day sight seeing, I decided to go running the morning without a map or GPS to see what I would find. Don’t be afraid to just wander around and let the city surprise you.
- Try French food
The French are known for being culinary gods and I have to confirm it! Everything I ate in France was absolutely fantastique! Especially if you have a sweet tooth, be prepared for the best baked goods and macrons of your life. I highly recommend
- Pain Pain for baked goods- 88 Rue des Martyrs, 75018 Paris, France
- Le Relais Gascon for the best salad of your life- 6 Rue des Abbesses, 75018 Paris, France
- L’Ecrin for bistro dishes- 80 Rue de Dunkerque, 75009 Paris, France
If for some ungodly reason you don’t want to eat French food check out
- Dosanko Larmen for ramen- 40 Rue Sainte-Anne, 75002 Paris, France
- L’As du Fallafel for kebabs- 34 Rue des Rosiers, 75004 Paris, France
- Check out the street art
Normally, when you think of checking out art in Paris you think of going to one of their many world renowned art museums. While I was there, there was even Art Paris, Art Fair going on with additionally exhibitions. Be sure to keep you eyes open to the many wonderful street artist and graffiti you can find in Paris. Some famous names are Levalet, C215, invader, Clet Abraham, Jef Aérosol, Le MOUVEMENT and Miss.Tic, just to name a few.
- Hangout along the Seine
Whether you are looking for a nice place to take an evening stroll or a great place to go jogging, the banks of the Seine are the perfect place. While you are passing by, check out little parks such as the Berges de la Seine. The Canal St. Martin is also a great chillout spot, which connects the Canal de l’Ourcq to the river Seine.
- Have a drink at a lovely cafe
Take a few mindful breaks during your trip and try to soak it all it! You are in Paris! Watch the world go by while sipping on some incredible French wine. Life is good!