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Heading To Paris? Here Are 9 Common Travel Mistakes To Avoid
If you are heading to Paris soon, there are some common travel mistakes you should avoid. It’s a good sign that the world is trying to get back some sense of normalcy as more countries open their borders but forgetting the essentials could create a bad travel experience for you.
We’ve waited too long for this moment to travel to some of our favorite places, including Paris. We created a guide for common travel mistakes to avoid when visiting the City of Lights.
1. Reservations Are Key For Most Things Including Restaurants
As we continue to navigate life in a pandemic, one thing that has become common across the board is making reservations for restaurants. This was common practice pre-pandemic in Paris as it’s an essential step for securing a spot at one of the more than 100 Michelin-star restaurants in the city.
Do yourself a favor and book a reservation well in advance. Restaurants like Pierre Gagnaire – a three-star Michelin-star restaurant – open up the reservation books at least two months before your desired date.
2. Dining Out Is Slower. In A Good Way
If you’re traveling from the United States, you’re probably used to having water the moment you sit down, and the bill Is on the table before you take your first bite.
Don’t expect quick service in Paris. We only tell you this to save you the trouble of thinking you’re being ignored.
Dining out culture in Paris is not about how fast you can consume your food. It’s about enjoying the plate in front of you and taking in the moment. You will more than likely have to ask your server for the bill when you’re done.
3. To Tip Or Not To Tip?
This is a common practice that’s hard to shake, especially if traveling from America.
When traveling to Paris (or anywhere throughout Europe), tipping is not required as the bill will include a service charge.
What you tip is considered extra.
4. Let’s Go Back To Reservations. You Need Them For Attractions
Covid-19 restrictions mean that reservations are required to visit most museums, such as the Lourve and Château de Malmaison. You will have to book both the date and time. Many museums are strict and do not allow a grace period. Being on time is crucial, so you don’t lose your reservation altogether.
Use Paris Pass for a comprehensive list of most museums and attractions and book your tickets.
5. Breaks During The Summer
Summer is popular to travel to Paris, but we learned the hard way for those of us who traveled in July or August: Paris shuts down in the summer as many of the locals head to other destinations for vacations known as Les Grandes Vacances.
This means that some attractions, bakeries, restaurants, and other shops could be closed for you.
You want to be prepared as many places will not be open.
6. Don’t Forget To Experience Black Culture
Experiencing Little Africa and Black culture in Paris is an absolute must.
It’s located in the 18th arrondissement of Paris and known as La Goutte d’Or or “The Drop of Gold” by locals.
Here is where you will find African food, culture, and fashion.
Check out our guide to visiting Littel Africa by clicking here.
7. Where’s Your Metro Ticket?
Taking the train is one of the easiest ways to get around Paris. Even as the world adapts to having everything, including tickets on your phone, don’t forget you need your metro ticket to enter and exit the train stations.
8. Download Map and Metro Apps Before You Go
As you get around, make sure you download the critical apps while you have good service. International plans are good but often work on 3G, which means slower service.
Having essential apps before your trips, such as metro maps, the apps for any e-tickets, and WhatsApp to communicate, will help you navigate Paris smoother.
9. Greetings/French Politeness
Greetings and simple sayings go a long way in Paris.
Here are some expressions to have in your back pocket.
Bonjour Hello/Good morning (bahn-joor)
Bonsoir Good Evening (Bohn-swah)
S’il vous plaît Please (Sil voo pleh)
Merci Thank you (mer see)
Parlez-vous anglais? Do you speak English? (Par-leh-voo on-gleh)
L’addition, S’il Vous Plaît. Check, please? (Lih-ah-dih-see-ohn, sih-voo-play)