I am très excited for my trip to Paris this weekend. I’m in major Paris trip planning, packing, and prep mode. I’ll have lots to share with you while I’m there… just wait until you see the apartment I’m staying in. But since I tend to err on the side of “over” rather than “under” when planning, I want to share a few tips that are good to keep in mind when planning a trip to the City of Lights.
Connaître un peu de français goes a long way.
As soon as you know that you’re going to visit Paris, start brushing up on your French. There are great resources out there to learn languages. I use the Duolingo app a lot. It’s easy to use, and they gamified the process, which makes it fun. I also love Comme une Française videos. Géraldine is great and her videos are incredibly helpful.
Make reservations for everything
If you didn’t know, Paris is pretty popular and as a result, reservations are a way of life. Whether it be a restaurant or museum, making a reservation is the safer choice. If you don’t like to plan your visit too much, you could always show up to a restaurant right when they open and hope to snag an available seat. Worst case, you miss out and have to grab some cheese, bread, and wine and dine a la carte by the Seine. (FYI: it’s a win win.) When it comes to museums though, I 100% recommend making an appointment or buying your tickets (or Paris Museum Pass) ahead of time. I don’t know about you but the last thing I want to do when I have three days in a city is wait in line to get into an exhibit or miss out on it completely.
Stay in city center and plan to walk
Paris is a very walkable city so when planning your visit try to stay near the city center. I recommend staying in the 1, 2, 3, 4, 6 or 18 arrondissements. They are closest to all of the shops, restaurants, and sights you want to see and easy walks to other areas.
Tipping is optional…BUT…
French law requires restaurants to include tax and tip in their prices, but it’s common practice to leave any extra change on the table or round up for great service. If you go out to a nicer restaurant, it’s also the habit to leave a 5-10% tip as well. If for any reason service isn’t included, a 10% tip is appropriate. For taxis, 10% is fine, and at bars, just round up, and you should be good to go.
Don’t plan everything
The beauty of Paris is that it’s perfect for strolling, so while it’s always good to be prepared… don’t feel like you have to plan everything. These are good things to know but I always think strolling through Paris’ beautiful city streets is an amazing way to explore. And who knows what you might find.