After a month in Paris there are many things I have learned that I thought would be helpful to anyone planning to visit the city.
The best croissants are the ones you wake up at 6:30 for to wait outside your local bakery.
Pack pants, you will wish you had packed more than one pair when you realize Parisians wear them everyday.
Everyones in a relationship, so if you’re going through a breakup Paris is probably not the best place to get over it.
Bring a reusable bag wherever you go! Paris is super environmentally friendly and many places make you pay for plastic bags. So save our planet and your pocket change by bringing your own bag.
Food is super fresh and locally sourced so indulge!
But with indulgence walk to your next destination, which means pack comfortable walking shoes that will be durable to last your whole stay.
Or take public transportation! It’s super clean, easy to navigate, and relatively safe.
For the ladies bring a crossbody bag that you can keep close to you. Separate the money and credit cards you bring over into two separate wallets in case you find yourself in the unfortunate position of being pick pocketed. This includes moving your backpacks to your front when on public transportation or popular tourist areas.
Don’t buy anything from the one euro guys.
Use your french no matter how minimal or bad it may be. Parisians are more than happy to help you when you address them in french with a simple bonjour and a smile. Most people speak english, but it is also a good idea to ask if they speak english in french and then go on from there.
Get ready to relax while you eat. Meals are generally much longer than in the United States and it may take some time to adjust. The french do not carry their food or coffee on the go, but rather sit at a cafe and enjoy it there. Dinners are generally two to three hours long and it is the most relaxing feeling to enjoy your meal in the company of friends, family, or just the view.
Don’t forget your raincoat and umbrella. It rains much more often than you would expect and sometimes for only a short period of time during the day so don’t forget to grab an umbrella on your way out.
Before sitting at a cafe read any recent reviews online so that you know what to expect and how much to pay, (Molly Grant was our go to for this).
Tip is included in the price of all of your meals so don’t feel the need to leave extra. If a waiter or waitress tells you its not included, check your menu to confirm, otherwise they’re most likely lying since they know you’re a tourist and may not know better.
Go on a river boat tour! It’s a great way to see how the river divides the city and see many of the iconic sites like the Louvre and the Eiffel tower before you have the chance to visit them in person.
Keep your voices down in public. Americans speak extremely loudly and generally are not aware of it. Public transportation is normally silent and Parisians do not raise their voices louder than a whisper. It is very easy to spot a tourist on the streets because you can normally hear them.
On the first Sunday of every month museums are free to the public, so take advantage!
Parisians smoke a lot.
Coca Cola is soooo much better in France.
A croque monsieur is probably one of the best things you’ll ever eat.
Week two has completely flown by! I can not believe we are half way through with this incredible experience. This week we have covered Baroque and Romanesque architecture and visited two examples on our trip to the Palace of Luxembourg and Palace of Versailles. We observed the architecture, garden plans, and sculpture work in relation to one another and had some time to explore on our own. I finally visited the Eiffel Tower and am hoping to watch the light show one night before I depart. A trip to the top of the Arc of Triomphe provided the most amazing view of the city, after climbing roughly 200 stairs. This was nothing compared to the massive flights of stairs Holy Cross has in store for us, so the climb up was a breeze. This weekend we attended the French Open or Roland Garros, and watched the Women’s doubles, Women’s singles, and Men’s singles matches in one of the many annex courts. I had never attended a professional tennis match before and was extremely excited for the event. The hot weather required lots of water and sunscreen and I slipped out with no (new) sunburn! Sunday brought the heat, but luckily for us the first Sunday of every month is free admission to all museums in the city. We visited both the Pompidou, a contemporary art museum, and the Musee de L’Orangerie, famous for its collection of Monet water lilies. Monet is my absolute favorite artists and my inner second grade self was screaming at the sight of the massive canvases of water lilies. I hope you enjoy the following pictures! More to come on week 3!
My computer has finally loaded the gazillion of photos I took this week at Versailles and they are ready for you! Although this is only a fraction of what I saw, I hope that these give a better insight at what the day was like. It was probably one of my favorite days so far because of how much fun we had together as a group goofing around and exploring the huge estate Versailles makes up. Enjoy!