Tuesday, 7 April 2015

Tips for visiting Paris

Another Paris post, this time I’m sharing what I wish I had known before we went a few weeks ago! It’s a big old city and there is stuff to do for a good 4 or 5 days but even then, if you don’t facilitate well and plan what you’re doing or where you’re going, you could be waisting valuable time! We went for 3 nights, 4 days and were definitely ready to come home on the 4th day but there was still so much we could have done but we were just so tired. 

Tips for visiting Paris


Tip 1 - Pack comfortable shoes. Forget about looking good and fitting in with the ‘fashion’ over in Paris, your poor feet will hate you if you don’t pack comfy shoes so treat yourself to a new pair of sneaks if you need to or pack a pair of flat boots, you’ll be thanking me later, I promise. 

Tip 2 - Apps can be your best friend for the weekend. Before we went, I downloaded a few apps to use whilst out in Paris because my French is terrible! Not only for the language, it’s handy to have a metro app on your phone too because the metro is the easiest thing to get around on if you know where you need to go! I got the Paris Metro RATP Map and Route Planner app (Apple devices) which allowed you to type in where you wanted to go and it gave you the fastest and easiest route - p.s., most of the Metro lines still give you phone signal too! I also installed the iTranslate app just to translate words at meal times as a lot of restaurants don’t have English menus. 

Tip 3 - Research places to eat for each day or search for restaurants near your hotel before you go. We really struggled to find places to eat, yes there are 100’s of restaurants but without knowing what they were serving without actually picking up a menu it was tough to choose and I feel like we would have benefitted so much more by finding places to eat before we were there. A lot of the cafes served the same sort of things so unless you’re fine with Burgers or Pizza for the whole time you’re there, do this. We only had 2 decent meals whilst we were out in Paris and even they weren’t ones to shout about. Do your research, you’ll really appreciate it when you’re there! 

Tip 4 - Beat the queues and Pre-book tickets for excursions before you go. We would have loved to go up the Eiffel Tower but we weren’t prepared to wait in the 2-3 hour long queue for it! If I had known that you can pre-book your Eiffel Tour ticket before you go then I would have done that but because we didn’t, we would have had to queue for a ticket. The same goes for The Louvre. I have never seen so many people waiting in a line, upstairs and downstairs! 

Tip 5 - Get your Macaroons from McDonalds! There are so many patisseries that serve Macarons but out of the ones I tried, the McDonalds ‘McCafe’ ones are not only the cheapest but I actually think they were the nicest. I like my Macarons a little chewy and these were just perfect. Obviously everyone is different but for the nearly €12 price difference on a pack of 6, they’re definitely worth trying! 

Tip 6 - Be prepared to see lots of homeless people in the popular areas. I know you see this in most big cities but the homeless will beg and seem like they’re everywhere within the touristy areas. We saw so many people on Champs-Elysee that it was quite overwhelming, some people may not be phased but others get quite emotional so at least you’re now aware! 

Tip 7 - Buy a Crepe from the street vendors near Notre Dame. You can’t go to Paris and not have a Crepe, they’re so good and I’ve found that the littler stalls selling them are the best! Again, you’ll thank me later...

Tip 8 - Book an Uber to take you to and from the Airport! The taxi service in Paris costs you between €50-60 depending where you’re staying for transfers to/from Charles de Gaulle but if you book an Uber, it is a set fare of €30.00 plus, if you use my code uberemlou you’ll get €10.00 free credit! You can download the app and you’re ready to go! 

Tip 9 - If you order a Burger or Steak, make sure you ask for it to be cooked brown throughout. The French love their Beef pink, to the point that when we ordered a Burger on the last day, the mince hadn’t been cooked and it was falling apart. We couldn’t eat it and even though we asked for it ‘Medium’ it literally looked like it had been put under the grill for 10 seconds. So unless you’re prepared to eat it like that, ensure the waiter understands you want it cooked throughly! 

Tip 10 - Have a back-up plan for each day incase of bad weather. A lot of Paris’ attractions involve you being outside, luckily, we didn’t experience any rain so were able to stay outside for the majority of the weekend but if you get a heavy downpour, you may want to do something to avoid the rain. Things like shopping, museums and cafe’s are all fab to fall back on so try and be flexible with your days if the weather is predicted to be bad. 

I hope these tips help you have a wonderful weekend in Paris, it’s such a gorgeous city and there is something to do for everyone, no matter what time of year you go or who you go with! Let me know if any of these are helpful too or if you have any more tips for people who are planning a trip to Paris soon!