Paris is a city like no other, dripping in fairy lights, love and history. Stepping off that bus I knew instantly that four days weren’t going to be enough time to wander the city streets and fully delve into the French culture.
So the task was set; fit as much as possible into four days…and boy did I do well. Whenever travelling there will always be things and experiences that you wouldn’t do again or recommend, so for those wishing bon voyage and jet setting to that land of croissants, I have a few helpful tips for you.
First of all: learn the language!
I heard mixed opinions about this, some saying it was a waste of time and that the French people would be offended by you butchering the language and others saying they’ll be offended if you don’t try. Either way you can’t please everyone but I can honestly say they appreciate the effort. The following four phrases will get you through almost any situation.
Bonjour – Hello
Merci – Thank you
Parlez-vous anglais? – Do you speak English?
Excusez-moi, Où est le métro? – Excuse me, where is the Metro?
Second: Don’t follow the crowd.
Your big tourist attractions like The Louvre and the Eiffel Tower obviously attract big lines so don’t follow everyone else. For example there are over 6 entry points for the Louvre so check all before standing in line for over 5 hours…and yes that’s how long you can be in line for.
Third: Get the best view without a crowd.
I was one of those people that was willing to stand in line at the Eiffel Tower for hours upon hours to just to climb the tower and experience the best view of Paris until it dawned on me, what’s a view of Paris without the Eiffel Tower…duh. My advice is to go to the L’Arc de Triomphe, situated at the top of the Champs Elysee. You can climb to the top and you get the most magnificent view of the city, it’s honestly breathtaking and you can get every landmark into one photo.
Fourth: Put on your comfy shoes and walk.
Walk, and walk everywhere you can. Paris is such a beautiful city and who wants to sit on a dirty train rather than wandering the streets filled with history and culture…that’s right, no one. The city centre is relatively small, so you can walk to all your major landmarks and on the way you can find amazing alleyways filled with artists and musicians making a living.
Fifth: Eat…then eat some more.
The food in France…oh my god. From amazing fresh bread, to every type of cheese you could ever imagine is right at your disposal. The French take pride in their food and service, being a waiter is the most prestigious and sort after job you can get. I would definitely recommend spending a day just hopping from one cafe to another, you might get fat but calories don’t count on a holiday right?
And lastly; Mouline Rouge…it’s an eye opener.
As a former dancer I felt like I couldn’t go to Paris without seeing if the Moulin Rouge really was really worth all the hype. Key thing is to have an open mind, I can guarantee it will not be what you expected. Think more along the lines of Cher and the 80’s more than traditional cabaret. I saw the 11pm show, which comes with a free bottle of French champagne. I would definitely recommend that showing over 9pm show, which is twice as expensive and you get a less-than average dinner. In my eyes it’s definitely a must see, just be prepared for the barely-there costumes…because there’s no avoiding them.
Without any hesitation Paris was my favourite destination out of the five I travelled to, the first time I saw the Eiffel Tower I swear I got a little teary. It exceeded all of my expectations and I can say without a doubt Paris truly is the city of love and lights.