“Paris.” – Even in that one word with 2 syllables, it gives travelers a special feeling. Romantic movies, love songs, and glossy literature have all contributed to the way we perceive when we just hear the word “Paris.” In today’s blog post, I will talking about Paris, which perhaps few tourists know about them. So, what to know before traveling to Paris? Let’s check out our suggested top 13 things to know before traveling to Paris and what to know before going to Paris to help you planning a better trip to the “City of Light” of the world — Paris.
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1. Parisians are not rude
Locals are not the type to actively look and approach someone who is get lost and offer help. But if you take the initiative to ask, they are willing and enthusiastic to show you. Parisians are relatively respectful of personal space and your private, unless you actively ask for help, they will not disturb or bother you. Once when I was looking for the exit gate at Gare du Nord station and couldn’t find the way I needed, just shouted “pardon” to a French guy, he enthusiastically showed me the way out even though he didn’t speak English well.
2. Say bonjour, bonsoir, merci, pardon, s’il vous plait
The French in general have some minimal code of conduct, they are very polite and respectful to others. I have been surprised many times when I always heard bonjour / bonsoir from the bus driver and museum staff, even though I was just passing by them very quickly. So try saying a few words like these to be able to integrate into Paris a bit, you also like foreigners to say “Hello” in your language, right?
When you need help, don’t forget to say “pardon” or “excuse” to attract the person being asked and say “s’il vous plait” (please) at the end of the request sentence. It’s not that difficult, right?!
3. Walking doesn’t have to follow the law
There is an implicit truth, Parisians cross the street even though there are no green lights for pedestrians. They can calculate just enough to be able to cross quickly without obstructing traffic. And when there are no cars on the road, you can freely cross.
4. Vehicles always yield to Pedestrians
Not only Paris, many other European cities too. But I was really impressed with the fact that the car stopped even when the traffic light was still green for pedestrians to cross, at that time I was in a hurry and forgot to look at the light but the car still stopped and let me cross first.
5. The French still speak English
The biggest mistake is that the French do not speak English, that is only applicable to a little older people or small cities in France, in Paris there are still many people who speak and understand English well. The French hate English, but that doesn’t mean they can’t speak it. When you ask in English they are still willing to answer.
6. Paris has a very familiar city arrangement and layout, just like Saigon
The French do not like to arrange andn layout the city according to equal satellite areas, on the contrary, they prefer to have a central district and surrounding districts. In Paris, there are 5 zones, usually when using the metro, you only need to buy tickets in zones 1 – 3 to be enough to covering the most central areas of the city. If you are familiar with Saigon, you will easily see this similarity and easy to navigate when traveling.
7. Public restrooms are rarely free
Whether you’re shopping at the magnificent Carrousel du Louvre, or strolling through the most bustling shopping mall of Galeries Lafayette, you’re unlikely to get access a free restroom. Usually you have to pay from 0.50 – 2.00 euros for a single use. Currently, a few free public toilets are only installed near popular tourist areas such as around Notre Dame de Paris or Eiffel Tower.
8. Countless traveling options
Just forget about expensive taxis, in Paris you can walk comfortably, taking a bus conveniently, rent a bicycle, rent a car very quickly. The city’s metro and tram system is also covered enough to serve your travel needs.
9. The city of art
There are about 130 museums and countless other private galleries as well as hundreds of sculpture exhibitions. Paris is truly a city of art. Each museum has a certain free day to visit, make sure you visit the museum website to get that information.
10. What to know before going to Paris — People under 18 years old, students, seniors & artists are always get a discount
Most museums offer free admission for those under the age of 18, and discounts for students under 26 and people over 60. Many art galleries even offer artists discounts. As long as you have enough documents to prove it, it’s always great to get a discount. Even TGV train tickets always have good fares for young and old people.
11. What to know before traveling to Paris — Don’t think of cheap dining while in Paris
You can absolutely go to the supermarket to cook for yourself to save money, but if you could not cook and only eating out, a burger costs at least 5 euros at PAUL, at restaurants, it costs you from 7-10 euros for a part of soup or salad, main dishes are always 10 euros or more. A meal at a 1-Michelin-star restaurant also costs you at least 40 euros. But it’s a pity to come to Paris without eating well, try pan-fried foie gras, foie gras pate, steamed mussels with white wine and served with potatoes, stuffed snails, and delicious desserts when dining in Paris. Because if you only eat supermarket food, don’t be proud that you’ve been to Paris.
12. Things to know before traveling to Paris — You can find… beef noodle in Paris
And many more Asian dishes. Paris has an impressive cultural mix, you crave Japanese, Vietnamese, Chinese, Korean, Italian or any cuisine, Paris always has. District 13 is known as the district with the largest number of Vietnamese people, coming here you will find all flavors of your hometown and even a supermarket selling Vietnamese food or goods, so you can come here if you are not familiar with Western food. In the central districts, bubble milk tea is sold quite a lot. During my 2-week business trip here, I must say that I was extremely craving bubble milk tea and was fortunate to find quite a few shops near the Louvre museum.
13. Theft, pickpocket, scam are quite popular
In the triangle of Paris – Rome – Barcelona, theft and pickpocket are always a big problem because these are extremely crowded with tourists, the paradise for pickpockets and scammers. Visitors often pay little attention and be prepared or alert. But I’ve been to Paris 4 times, so I have a few things to share.
- Theft or pickpocket is everywhere, it’s important to be careful or not.
- Do not let yourself be the center of attention when holding money to count, leaving your wallet indiscriminately, using a bag with a too wide mouth.
- Should act quickly and refuse to talk to suspicious people.
- Always buy travel insurance to prevent the risk of happening.
That’s what Paris is, there’s more to say, but I’ll keep here 13 things about the city that I love. Hope you have a great trip!
Some best day tours, trips, activities and transfer services, tickets in, from and to Paris you can refer to
- Paris Museum Pass
- Paris Pass with 1-Day Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Tour
- Mont Saint Michel Full Day Tour from Paris
- Bruges Day Tour from Paris
- Paris Big Bus Hop-On Hop-Off Tours (Open-Top)
- Paris Open Tour Bus Pass
- Eiffel Tower Skip-the-Line Ticket
- The Louvre Museum Skip-the-Line Guided Tour
- 4G SIM Card (Paris/Airport Pick Up) for Europe from Orange
Are you looking for more top things to do in Paris: Tours, activities, attractions and other things? Read more: Paris travel blog — The fullest Paris travel guide blog for a great budget trip to Paris for the first-timers. And let’s check it out more here.