Dos and don’ts when traveling in Paris. Or anywhere else, for that matter…

We thought we were prepared for our long-awaited visit to Paris.

We had our progress tickets for the Louvre, the Musée Id ’Orsay, 2 times on the Batobus (river boat) and another 2 times on a hop-on, hop-off excursion bus, and a full-day visit to Normandy along with a show at the Moulin Rouge.

My traveling buddy, TJ, had brushed up on her small French. I listened to 2 speech disks out of the general library and understood I wouldn’t get any further than “bonjour, mademoiselle” and “merci,” yet it was much better than rien.

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TJ had spent hours figuring out our daily itinerary. We had traveled globally before, so understood much of what to expect.

And yet we were still caught flat-footed greater than we care to admit. But now we proceed admitting it anyway — even if some of them are embarrassing — in the pursuit of helping at least one other traveler.

Herewithour advice:


Trust homeopathic sleep aids or jet lag treatments. They didn’t work for usand we didn’t sleeping over a couple of hours about the 7½-hour flight over. We were equally unhappy when we arrived, and our room wasn’t prepared for the next half an hour. Consult your doctor to get Ambien or another sleeping aid, if you’re able to tolerate it. It’s better than shedding most of a complete day in your destination.

Put your phone in an open pocket or spacious handbag. Pickpockets are seeing, also stole a phone right from front coat pocket of a Utah woman we met on the bus.

Open your wallet at a crowded public place. Pickpockets are watching.

Fall for scammers. We were approached by strangers looking to pick up a gold wedding band directly facing ussaying, “Look what I just found. ” Keep on walkin’.

Carry a lot of things, or a huge backpack. You won’t want the majority of what’s in there anyway, and will regret the excess weight.

Put your train tickets/purse/phone into various pockets every time. You won’t believe how much time you’ll waste trying to find them if you want them, and may miss the bus when searching for that ticket.

Purchase more tickets for public transportation than you believe you’ll need. We ended up leaving approximately $20 in train tickets for the housekeeping staff in the resort.

Assume that just because a metro (train) ticket makes you someplace it’ll get you back again. Tickets do allow for transports, to get a limited amount of time, and should you ride a train outside of the jurisdiction you stopped, the ticket may not work for you back. Make sure your ticket is valid for the full route. And sometimes doesn’t even matter. We bought a carnet of 10 ticketstwo of which required us where we all wanted to proceed. But they didn’t operate at the following station. When we took the tickets to a cashier at the metro, they replaced thembut couldn’t clarify the reason why they didn’t function.

Copy tours. We purchased a Paris-by-night tour ahead of the Moulin Rouge but had gone to the exact places on the open-air bus.  We’d thought it’d be a good way to visit Paris, and it was — but once was enough. Using it as a way of transportation to get to websites was inefficient because of our time schedule.

Run to the very first café you see when you are tired and hungry. A number of them, we discovered, are tourist traps and might count in your ignorance to gouge you.  Know what you are purchasing and paying before the check comes. You don’t want to get stunned, as we all were, when two simple omelettes, three croissants and 2 cups of coffee comes to 80€ (about $91). And the server gives himself a significant suggestion before you sign the credit card slip. (You can create him redo the bill with no suggestion, but we were so amazed we let it go. And cursed him afterwards.)

Bring back tear gas canisters (see riots, under ). Even the TSA wouldn’t enjoy it. Or place snow globes in your carry-on bag. It’ll get confiscated. (I’m lookin’ in you, TJ.)

Can Know where your prepaid transport from the airport would be picking you up and how to contact them if you can’t find them. Once we landed in Charles De Gaulle Airport in Pariswe didn’t see any indicators and there weren’t any particular instructions on our records, so we called the phone number supplied. However, the bureau hadn’t contained that the international calling code (01) and we all were so jet-lagged it didn’t occur to us. So we ended up taking a not-inexpensive Uber to our resort even though we had paid for the transfer ahead of time. (The transportation provider apologized for getting an imperfect telephone number and promised us a refund.)

Purchase advance tickets as soon as possible. On one rainy day, the traces to the Musée Id ’Orsay have been long, however we zipped right past, tickets in hand.

Carry water, even in the fall and winter months. And wear comfortable shoes with heels that are stable. The centuries-old cobble streets are quaint but may be dull.

Bring medicine for diarrhea or constipation. While pharmacists you can find incredibly useful and most speak English, do you really want to need to take the time to discover a French drugstore? And then explain what you want as you can’t browse the boxes? (They are in French. Der.)

Put on a scarf in every season . Because of the humidity and unpredictable winds, their 52 degrees feels much more like 42, and also alters quickly. You’ll appreciate that scarf.

Get an worldwide calling/texting/data plan from your mobile company. We paid $10 per day for unlimited everything through AT&T, also it was well worth it.

Learn how to browse the city paths, whether hard copy or on the internet.  If you are trying to steer clear of data usage while at Paris, then download the Google Translate program and the corresponding French dictionary. In addition, there is a Paris Offline Map that you may download which will show you streets and metro stations. We also would map our destination with our iPhone program when using the resort Wi-Fi, then take a screenshot so we can quickly see our metro station transfers while looking for our destinations.

Learn some important phrases (it’s the considerate thing to do), or obtain a translation program on your phone. Because it’s city which caters to vacationers, English is spoken in many places. However, knowing how to state “the toilet is clogged” seems so much more economical in French: “Les toilettes sont bouchées. ” (And bliss, in that instance, is definitely the best medicine.)

Know what hours which public transportation you prepaid for is in performance. We had tickets to the Louvre to get 10 a.m. however the Batobus we had paid for didn’t begin running until 10 a.m. Be mindful of what alternative modes of public transportation exist so that you don’t wind up paying a lot just to get around.

And understand how to ride stated public transportation. Our very first time using the metrowe weren’t conscious that we needed to push a button at the door to exit the train, so we stood there like dummies and needed to ride to another stop and reunite. Plus, Parisians might be adept at sprinting to a metro car because the door shuts. We weren’t. Bruised wrists and shoulders taught us a lesson within our very first train ride.

Give yourself two as much time as you believe you want to get to your destination. Traffic jams happen, buses operate late, nationally protests clog streets (see under ).

Know about what’s happening in town. The day we arrived, there were enormous “yellow vest” protests in the Champs-Elysees, which our Uber driver cautioned us. The following Saturday, there was a replica of the protests, however we just knew about it by following the information on CNN International and our mobiles, so were able to avert the region yet again.

Maintain your sense of humor and don’t let street protests or 20 cups of coffee deflect you from getting the time of your lives.

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