You are planning your big trip to the mystical city, la belle ville, capital of France: Paris. Everything is set: your suitcase is packed, passport ready to be stamped, and you’ve read all the “things to do in Paris” lists available on Pinterest.
But here’s what they didn’t tell you:
- Expect construction. It can be loud and an eye sore in your otherwise postcard perfect picture. Marie de Paris is always developing the city so expect to see green and white barriers in the roads and cranes in they skylines.
- Watch out for dog shit on the sidewalk and in the grassy areas at the park. Paris is one of the most beautiful cities in the world, but, Parisians will leave a pile of their dog’s shit on the concrete or in a park. Double check before you sit down for that scenic picnic in Champ de Mars.
- No seriously, there are pickpockets so be careful. I’ve had my wallet and phone pick pocketed. Keep items close to you and in a secure bag. Don’t let people distract you with petitions or knickknacks, they are most likely scams or distractions for their partner to pickpocket you.
- Get a Paris metro map or a Paris map. A Paris metro map (Paris subway map) is very useful and is free at most metro stations. The Paris metro can be difficult to navigate for you first time, check out my how to article on navigating the Paris metro system. A Paris map is also useful and can be found at tourism offices and most shops near Paris attractions.
- Expect huge crowds at the top attractions in Paris. Even on rainy winter days, expect a line at the Eiffel Tower. For some Paris tourist attractions you can purchase a ticket in advance to skip the line at the billeterie. Many attractions in Paris can be purchased in a tourism package deal. You can always skip the typical “things to do in Paris,” but rather, spend your time Paris sightseeing the free Paris monuments and Paris landmarks. Still looking for things to do in Paris? Check out my blog series PinDrop.
- Suitcases are a pain in the ass in the city of Paris. Taking a suitcase from the crowded airport, on a bus or train, through the Paris metro, to your hotel can become a challenge which includes many sets of stairs. Depending on your trip length, think about taking using backpack instead.
- Paris time change is different than the States. Of course there is a time difference but be aware if you are traveling near daylight’s saving that France changes a few weeks after America. The Paris time zone is is Central European Time Zone (UTC+01:00), check a time zone map or time zone converter for your specific time difference. Personally, I use the world clock feature on my phone to compare times around the world when traveling.