I fell in love with Paris as soon as I arrived and I would go back tomorrow. It is the only place I have visited so far that I would consider living in for a significant amount of time.
Café after café, restaurant after restaurant was packed with people of all ages talking about everything and anything. Parisians struck me as the type of people who enjoy life. Perhaps it was the romance of the city, I suppose I’d have to go back to find out.
What do you think of before you go to Paris? Drinking coffee along the banks of the Seine, looking starry-eyed at the Eiffel Tower while being embraced by a loved one? Those things are possible but they are not what I think of now I’ve been to Paris.
What I think of is the beautiful parks with their golden leaves. I think of the perfect symmetry of the whole city (Go to the top of the Eiffel Tower or the Arc de Triomphe and you will see what I mean).
The point I’m trying to make is that every place, even a city as iconic as Paris, can and will mean something different for everybody.
What struck me was, people live here. Okay it cannot always be as beautiful as I saw it. I’m sure Parisians have the same problems as the rest of us but still a Parisian office worker can have lunch in a beautifully maintained park staring at the Eiffel Tower.
Here are just some of my tips for anybody planning a visit to Paris but I will always remind people to have their own experience and Paris, or any city in the world, will mean something different to you.
Before you go
My girlfriend bought me a trip to Paris for my birthday. We love to travel and I have always wanted to visit Paris so it was the perfect gift.
As with practically all my holidays we bought tickets for Paris attractions before I left home so I could skip the line and save money where possible.
My girlfriend bought me the tickets for my birthday so I can’t help you out on price but our ticket included access to the Eiffel Tower, a river boat cruise along the Seine and an open top bus tour around the city.
We also got our one-day Disneyland ticket before we left as well as tickets to have lunch on the Eiffel Tower.
Check the weather before you go. Unlike Rome, which I visited recently, Paris does have Autumn and it can become quite cold. If you are lucky you can avoid the rain but a raincoat is still recommended depending on the time of year you plan on visiting.
As I said at the start, people warned me about Parisians being rude but I did not find this at all and I thank my French for that. I am by no means fluent but even an attempt at a couple of words is enough of an effort.
If you learn more than Bonjour and Merci you are probably doing better than most so it might be time to break out the dusty school books.
Forget snails and whatever else you think is only on the menu in France. If you want to try escargot that’s up to you. I didn’t. But there is so much more on offer too. Most of the beef we got was either French or Irish which meant it was high quality and delicious.
I would recommend a light breakfast before a big early lunch and late dinner. Crepes always serve as a nice after meal treat. We spent many nights under the Eiffel Tower with our crepes.
The Parisian underground metro system is one of the best in Europe, if not the world. It is cheap, relatively clean and has stops at all the major tourist attractions.
We found the staff at the stations to be patient but I would recommend trying to get familiar with the map of the metro system early on in your holiday as it can speed along your process if you know where you are going.