Advice for the Novice Paris Traveler

Paris can seem daunting to first time abroad travelers.  I promise the most difficult thing about planning a trip to Paris is getting your passport!  With a few tips your first trip to Paris will be memorable for the sights, smells and tastes, not for the hassles of travel.

Book the latest flight possible out of your city.  Why?  Well, because you will be running around all day taking care of last-minute preparations, and leaving copious notes for those handling your work, kids, and animals. By the time you get on the plane you should be sufficiently tired to sleep for several hours straight during your normal sleep cycle.  No jet lag pour vous!  Imbibe on a glass of champagne to set the mood on the plane, but don’t get carried away because the goal is to arrive refreshed and hit the ground running.

Give yourself down time to sit at a café and enjoy the ambiance (people watching) and don’t pressure yourself to do too much in one day.  Like Rome, Paris was not built in a day so you can’t see it in one day!

Choose your travel companions well; easy-going pals are the best!

Book a hotel or apartment through websites or agencies that give you the full picture of your accommodations.  I recommend booking a place close to where you want to be at the end of the day so when you are tired, you are already close to home.  Ensure that you have your creature comforts, but only the minimum to keep you happy – don’t waste money on an exercise facility because you’ll be walking everywhere!

Don’t worry about not knowing the language – a smile and a “Bonjour!” go a long way to communicating with the locals.  Although I do use Rosetta Stone, I also have developed my own practical tips to learning a new language.

Invest some time in learning the names and spellings of typical French foods so ordering at restaurants is easier and when in doubt, order a salade (salad) with pain (bread) to get you through to the next meal.

Visit every museum, church and monument you have time for – they are all worth it!

All photos property of Weekend In Paris.

17 Comments
  • Johanna Erika Dar
    Posted at 15:01h, 28 August Reply

    Nice tips. 🙂 a trip to Paris would be my dream come true.

  • monique
    Posted at 16:41h, 15 August Reply

    The people watching in a cafe is key. It’s great seeing Parisians go about their daily life. Also, try to go to a market. That’s definitely a treat.

    • Weekend In Paris
      Posted at 13:25h, 23 August Reply

      Hi Monique,
      Love the markets and people watching at cafes! It’s the best part year round to see them in their “natural habitat” out and about looking fabulously chic or over the top. We like to play the game of guessing where people are from as they walk by. Then we listen for their accents to see if we are right. 🙂
      Cheers,
      Priscilla

  • Tours Of The Vatican
    Posted at 14:58h, 15 August Reply

    I can’t agree more about bringing easy-going friends when you travel. I’ve made the mistake of going with my more high-strung friends a couple of times and I can’t stand it!! I feel like travel almost needs some kind of interview process… Though something tells me that wouldn’t go over all that well with my friends. :/

    Sara

    • Weekend In Paris
      Posted at 13:29h, 23 August Reply

      Hi Sara,
      Sorry this took so long to write. Somehow your post wound up in my spam box. I’m guessing the interview process takes place naturally so now you know who is high maintenance and who better left back home waiting on you to bring them a nice souvenir! LOL! 😉
      Here’s hoping all your future trip pals are easy-going!
      Cheers,
      Priscilla

  • Annette | Bucket List Journey
    Posted at 12:45h, 15 August Reply

    What a fabulous trip to do with girlfriends. I have to start planning my trip now…of course, using your great tips!

    • Weekend In Paris
      Posted at 18:11h, 15 August Reply

      Get planning and enjoy Paris!

    • Weekend In Paris
      Posted at 13:27h, 23 August Reply

      Hi Annette,
      So glad you took the time to read my blog and found it helpful. Plan then execute your trip! Life’s short, go to Paris!

  • Cathy Sweeney
    Posted at 14:12h, 14 August Reply

    Good tips! I’ve been to Paris twice, but still have so much more to see and do there on future trips. Clicked on the link to your practical tips for learning French post — great tips there, too. I also watched a lot of French movies before I went. Besides being helpful, it was fun!

  • travelwithlaughter
    Posted at 06:44h, 14 August Reply

    Thanks for the great tips. I am sending this blog to my sister for our trip!

    • Weekend In Paris
      Posted at 06:57h, 14 August Reply

      Excellent! Thanks so much for forwarding my blog onto new readers like your sister.

      Have a fun and laughter-filled trip!

      Cheers,
      Priscilla

  • Debbie Beardsley
    Posted at 13:00h, 12 August Reply

    I’m not a fan of liver, so I always make sure I know how to say liver in the foreign language.

    Great tips. Paris is big and can be daunting but with planning and grouping sites in the same area together, you can have a great trip and see the things most important to you.

    • Weekend In Paris
      Posted at 13:40h, 12 August Reply

      Hi Debbie!

      Thanks for the kind words and for taking the time to read my post. It’s nice to know that my tips are helpful and I, of course. welcome any that you have – like the liver!

      Cheers,
      Priscilla

  • culturefreak14
    Posted at 09:11h, 12 August Reply

    I loved your article! I have always wanted to go to Paris and your tips will be a huge help!

    • Weekend In Paris
      Posted at 11:06h, 12 August Reply

      I’m so glad you liked my Advice for Novice Paris Travlers! I hope that you are lucky enough to get there soon!

      Thank you for taking the time to read it and to comment.

      Cheers,
      Priscilla

  • laurahartson
    Posted at 09:02h, 12 August Reply

    Thanks for the heads up, I’ve still never been to Paris and I live so close!

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