Paris, The "City of Light" is a destination in itself and it is on every traveler's list. As one of the cultural centers in Europe and one of the most romantic cities in the world, the things to see and do are almost endless but without a proper planning, they can become easily overwhelming. However, it doesn't have to be this way. A few minor twists can completely transform your Parisian experience.
Learn a few basic French words
You may know, that France is one of the European countries where Engish is not widely spoken. If you are not prepared, the language barrier can easily create unpredicted and challenging situations. That being said, there are ways to go around this. Patience and learning a few basic French words like "Bonjour", "merci", "S"il-vous-plait"is a good start!
Choose a centrally located hotel
Paris is one of the most pedestrian-friendly cities in the world. Comprised of 20 arrondissements (neighborhoods), there are a variety of accommodations that can satisfy many travel tastes. If you are a first-time visitor, choosing a hotel that is either a walking distance to major must-see sights( Eifel Tower, Norte Dame, Louvre Museum etc) or near a train station can save you a lot of time and frustration. For our recent stay, my husband and I choose the boutique Louison Hotel located in Saint- Germain-des-Pres neighborhood. Also known as "Luxembourg", this arrondissement is home to the Luxembourg Museum and Gardens. This being our first time in Paris, we loved the location: steps away from multiple metra/train stations (including Gare Montparnasse for a short train ride to Chateau De Versailles), shopping, and a wide choice of restaurants and historical cafes including Le Procope, the oldest cafe in Paris. There was a nice mix of residential buildings and small hotels that didn't feel touristy.
Reserve your museum tickets ahead of time
Paris is home to one of the most visited museums in the world and if you don't reserve your tickets in advance you risk waiting on hours-long lines.
Travel Tip: Choose a ticket with a time entry/skip the line option. For some museums, you may have to do that a weeks in advance.
Travel Tip: If you are planning to purchase The Paris Pass, consider for how many days you are in Paris and how many museums you like to see per day (once activated, the Paris Pass have to be used in consecutive days and might not make a financial sense)
Give yourself an extra time to get to your point of interest
Paris metro is one of the oldest and one of the best systems in the world, but the complex metro system can be a challenge even for the most experienced traveler. Expect to take a couple of days to master the train system and to get lost a few times before getting used to it.
Travel Tip: If you can, just walk! You will get exercise and you will discover hidden neighborhood gems on your way.
Get an early morning start
Why would you get up early on your vacation? There are many reasons to do so, but the primary being is to avoid the crowds! Unless you book a "behind the closed doors/after hours entry" private experiences you will still wait on lines, but they will be considerably shorter compared to mid-day museum visits, also you will get better picture opportunities.
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